Bonevac on Coulter

by Brian on May 6, 2005

For some unknown reason my browser ended up pointed at Right Reason earlier, and I saw a post by Dan Bonevac on Ann Coulter. Well, I thought to myself, if there are going to be any sensible conservatives in blogtropolis, Bonevac, who is a pretty fine philosopher, should be among them. If someone is going to be able to show what is valuable in contemporary conservatism by distinguishing it from what Ann Coulter does, it should be him. Sadly, that wasn’t to be.

Here’s Bonevac’s description of Coulter.

The Daily Texan describes Coulter as “an extreme right-wing pundit,” accosted by “hecklers.” But who is really “extreme”? Coulter speaks as an unapologetic conservative, but I could discern nothing particularly extreme in her views. She differs from most conservative speakers only in being exceptionally quick-witted, funny, and good-looking. She takes delight in insulting prominent liberals, calling former President Clinton “a philanderer,” Senator Boxer “learning disabled,” and Senator Kennedy “a human dirigible” who “has trouble keeping to the middle of the road.” But she engages in nothing resembling hate speech. Her rhetoric seems positively mild compared to the invective routinely appearing at Democratic Underground and the Daily Kos.

Nothing resembling hate speech? Let’s go to the tape, via Media Matters.

[Coulter] claimed that the Democratic Party “supports killing, lying, adultery, thievery, envy“; who said of the idea that the American military were targeting journalists, “Would that it were so!“; who said President Clinton “was a very good rapist“; who insisted that “[l]iberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole“; who said that “I think a baseball bat is the most effective way these days” to talk to liberals; who said it was lucky for former senator Max Cleland’s political career that he lost an arm and two legs in Vietnam; who has said her “only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building“; and who wrote that the only real question about Bill Clinton was “whether to impeach or assassinate.”

If that’s not hate speech, the term has lost pretty much all its meaning. And we haven’t yet got to the killer quote.

When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that [American Taliban supporter] John Walker [Lindh] is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed too. Otherwise they will turn out to be outright traitors.

Bonevac has some speculations about why liberals don’t like Coulter. Here’s my explanation. I have somewhat strong con-attitudes towards people who want to kill me. This could be because I’m a namby-pamby pacificist. Or it could be a perfectly sensible reaction.

Bonevac goes on to praise Coulter for saying, “[Democrats] oppose Priscilla Owen because she ruled that a Texas law requiring parental notification for 14-year-olds to have abortions meant that parental notification was required for 14-year-olds to have abortions.” Of course the very decision that Coulter and Bonevac are talking about here was a dissent by Owen that was described by that well known leftie, Alberto Gonzales, as an unconscionable act of judicial activism that adopted an interpretation nowhere to be found in the said statute or its legislative history. Of course, assuming that Coulter is telling the truth about anything is a fool’s option, so Bonevac really should know better.

There are often calls in the blogworld for academics on one side or another to denounce vicious person X who is in some indeterminate sense on ‘their side’. Unless X is in a position of real political power, e.g. a Senate Committee Chair, these calls seem thoroughly misguided to me. Conservative academics are under no more obligation to denounce vile commentators like Coulter than social democrat academics are to denounce the extremists on their flanks, the Ward Churchills of the world and the like. Frankly there is too little time in the day to be spent trying to find out if some Labor voter from the University of Woolloomooloo said something false that I should be distancing myself from. But I don’t go around actively aligning myself with the very worst my side has to offer. Bonevac can’t say the same thing, and he should feel ashamed of that.

Coulter commits the worst political sin you can commit in a democracy – she doesn’t allow that there might be such a thing as a loyal opposition. In Coulter’s world there is only support for the government or opposition by any means possible. This way lies perpetual revolution, and I can’t imagine why anyone, let alone a conservative, would want to be along for the ride.

For the record, I should note that I don’t condone the disruptive behaviour of the Marxists at the meeting Bonevac describes. If rightwingers want to have a little bit of groupthink in the privacy of their own auditoriums, that should be allowed in a free society. Given Coulter’s history you might want a police officer or two on hand to make sure she stays on the safe side of the line between free speech and criminal incitement, but as long as she does they should be left to talk amongst themselves.

{ 62 comments }

1

Matt 05.06.05 at 4:16 pm

It’s sad that Bonevac can’t see how extreme and vile Coulter is. It’s often said that she’s just the Right’s Michael Moore, but of course that’s not right. The only person nominally on the left that really compares to her is, I think, Linden LaRouch. Of course LaRouch (SP? I don’t even know how to spell his name)can barely give away his moronic ravings, even on supposedly liberal college campuses, while Coulter sells millions and is invited to speak at the law school at Texas and other places by the Federalist Society, a group w/ a not insignificant amount of influence. This says something quite terrifying about our country. That Bonevac can’t see it says something rather depressing about him.

2

Barry 05.06.05 at 4:18 pm

I wouldn’t say that it’s sad that Bonevac can’t see. I’d say that he’s a liar, and that it’s sad that somebody like that is a professor.

3

Hiram Hover 05.06.05 at 4:28 pm

Thanks for a great post.

I’m constantly astonished by conservatives’ rush to defend Coulter and to deny the obvious–that what she says has little relation to rational or meaningful commentary, and that much of what she says is indeed “hateful” by any meaningful definition of the word.

The best that can be said for her is that she’s not a serious commentator at all (even by the Sunday talk show standards), but a one-woman traveling circus, and the hateful statements part of her act. That’s why these college talks are clearly the right venue for her–besides the lucrative income they yield, they produce a reliable flow of the protesters she needs to maintain her identity as the “outrageous” Ann Coulter.

4

nolo 05.06.05 at 4:33 pm

Sorry to see that Bonevac is so easily bamboozled. His logic textbooks were a joy to teach (and learn) from.

5

Dan Kervick 05.06.05 at 5:12 pm

Coulter is a person who gives the distinct impression of not really believing half the things she says. She doesn’t seem to know a great deal about the real world of affairs, but does seem to have a fairly good grasp of the psychology of many of her liberal interlocutors, and it is the latter which is her chief concern and occupation. Her greatest talent is for entertaining herself and fellow-conservatives by pushing various liberal buttons, and she and her fans then get a good laugh from the predictable squirming and yelping that result. Conservatives are also entertained by Coulter’s success in using her agressively and ambivalently sexualized persona to comically emasculating effect against easily-intimidated liberal dweebs. But it’s hard for me to get worked up about anything she says, since her tongue is usually planted so firmly in her cheek. The best way for liberals to respond to Coulter is just to get the joke and move on.

That a generally smart guy like Bonevac cluelessly takes Coulter’s over-the-top, self-consciously extreme media dog-and-pony show as an expression of mainstream conservatism disconcerts me far more than anything Coulter herself could ever say. Taken on its face, his judgment is an embarrassment. But perhaps he also doesn’t believe what he is saying. Or maybe Coulterism is an accurate portrayal of the exaggerated, bigger-than-life, rootin’-tootin’ Texas-style conservatism Bonevac sees around him.

Most conservatives are far more moderate in both their temperaments and considered views than the uber-conservative Nazi-shiksa caricature presented in Coulter’s one-woman stage show. Coulter appeals mainly to the Mr. Hyde component of the conservative mind. She gives a kind of cathartic expression to their suppressed angry impulses, their visceral emotional reactions and their ill-considered first thoughts and cognitive outbursts – things that they then set aside in the light of rational reflection. But to take the extreme persona as an expression of ordinary conservatism would be to mistake the conservative id for the conservative ego, or the conservative reptile brain for the whole conservative mind.

6

bob mcmanus 05.06.05 at 5:39 pm

You are simply awesome,Kervick, at least in your description and explanation of Coulter. I defer to Mr Neiwert as to what degree “the conservative reptile brain” is actually manifest around us. I have not yet noticed judges falling like tenpins, despite the rhetoric, for example. Certainly other proto-fascist movements demonstrated more actual violence in their nascence.

The dangers of Coulterism might be more evident in the gradual corruption of Dr Jekyll, a certain increasing embarrassment at acts of comity and compromise.

7

bob mcmanus 05.06.05 at 6:06 pm

That is what you get when you read a blog in reverse order. Having just read the posts on Bingo and “Good Christians” (and the allusion to “Good Germans” is intentional it is obvious that the reptile brain of the right is now dominant and hurting as many people as it can. Coulter can’t be tolerated.

8

KCinDC 05.06.05 at 6:43 pm

Brian, you can have power without being a politician. Coulter doesn’t chair a Senate committee, but she has a hell of a lot more influence than Ward Churchill (who was a complete unknown until the right wing made him into a mini-celebrity).

9

fyreflye 05.06.05 at 7:04 pm

Why do we keep calling people like Coulter “conservatives?” It’s an insult to authentic conservatives, i.e. those who believe in conserving the best and most nurturing aspects of traditional culture. Coulter and those who support her are radicals determined to tear down every program supported by traditional American liberalism; not necessarily because they hate it but because pretending to hate it gains them money and attention.
The sad fact is that so many traditional conservatives now either support or at least tolerate these radicals, having fatally linked their cause with the Republican Party and now unable to dissociate themselves from it as it degenerates into a crazed political cult.

10

Bernard Yomtov 05.06.05 at 7:25 pm

Why do we keep calling people like Coulter “conservatives?”

The sad fact is that so many traditional conservatives now either support or at least tolerate these radicals, having fatally linked their cause with the Republican Party and now unable to dissociate themselves from it as it degenerates into a crazed political cult.

Good work, fireflye. You answered your own question.

11

Davis X. Machina 05.06.05 at 9:00 pm

But it’s hard for me to get worked up about anything she says, since her tongue is usually planted so firmly in her cheek.

But will the next angry guy with a Ryder truck full of ammonium nitrate and dragster fuel have his tongue planted firmly in his cheek?

12

Jerry 05.06.05 at 9:26 pm

The humorless left never reveals itself so much as when it goes into its swooning vapors about Coulter. Think of her as the banderillo who plunges the darts into the bull. Stung, it swings its heavy head around, always a beat too late. The woman wouldn’t be so disliked were it not for the rather large nugget of truth in what she says. I think she should be silenced by pies and yells about ass-fucking at every appearance she makes. This is very effective polemics.

13

Mr Ripley 05.06.05 at 9:30 pm

After having been fired by Jonah Goldberg and harshed on by FrontPageMag and Commentary, she’s still being taken seriously and complimented for her “conservatism”? The mind reels.

14

nick 05.06.05 at 9:35 pm

Coulter is a live-action version of an online troll. Simple as that. The only useful responses to her trolling are to ignore her, or to outdo her. Since ignoring her seems increasingly difficult, I suggest that public ridicule, in as outrageous a fashion as possible, is the best approach.

15

nick 05.06.05 at 9:36 pm

The woman wouldn’t be so disliked were it not for the rather large nugget of truth in what she says.

And that would be? A large Chicken McNugget, more like.

16

Bruce Wilder 05.06.05 at 9:47 pm

the “privacy” of “their own” public auditoriums???
Do conservatives now own the University of Texas?

When a provocateur gives a public speech, she should expect what follows. That a young man was actually arrested for giving her what she deserved, reveals all we need to know about the proto-fascist Right in this country.

17

markus 05.06.05 at 9:52 pm

so the new theory among defenders of Anne Coulter is that not finding anything funny about a “comedian” who only offers fart jokes (or slapstick; violent and eliminationist rhetoric is more to the point, but nevermind) reveals both that fart jokes are profund, deep and full of hidden truth and that those unable to laugh when they are offered as political commentary are deeply conflicted about their own bodies?
In that case, would some expert please enlighten us by an exemplary exegesis of a Coulterism? Perhaps it will turn out, that “the poet’s compassionate soul .. contrives through the medium of the verse structure to sublimate this, transcend that, and come to terms with the fundamental dichotomies of the
other” and that “underneath [her] mean callous heartless exterior [seh] really just wants to be loved”.

18

Jerry 05.06.05 at 10:06 pm

The left defines a provocateur as someone who disagrees with the iron orthodoxy imposed on the campuses. Of course, they must be silenced. Pies in the beginning.

19

nick 05.06.05 at 10:26 pm

Sorry, jerry: you just don’t have the legs to mimic Coulter.

20

Seth Finkelstein 05.06.05 at 10:35 pm

“Can’t you take a joke?” should not be a get-out-of-responsibility-free card.

There’s a long history of cloaking meanness with the excuse of “humor”.

[I nearly illustrated this post with a string of deliberately over-the-top references. But I eventually decided that those making comparisons to a banderillo would not react so placidly when their own oxe was gored]

21

almostinfamous 05.07.05 at 1:22 am

if by this point in time, people are still wasting valuable brain cells on ann coulter, then they are not, as the cool kids say, ‘with it’. one might as well get smashed every night and toke up every 6 hours. at least you get to enjoy yourself doing those things. and its less poisonous than listening to ann coulter, too

22

Steve J. 05.07.05 at 2:12 am

All to many people on the maggot Right take Ann Coulter seriously, just as they do Limbaugh. These liars are NOT harmless satirists.

23

abb1 05.07.05 at 3:51 am

What Dan Kervick said, in the first half of his comment, before the psychobabble stuff.

Think of her as attempting to write (and act) sort of a modern “Gulliver” or “A Modest Proposal”, only more primitive and with little talent.

24

lakelobos 05.07.05 at 6:31 am

Why don’t we talk about Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper and the BTK murderer? The witch has nothing to offer and, yes, she is looks like a cheap hooker.

25

rea 05.07.05 at 6:32 am

“Think of her as attempting to write (and act) sort of a modern ‘Gulliver’ or ‘A Modest Proposal’, only more primitive and with little talent”

When has anyone on the left ever gotten away with this sort of excuse? In public discourse in the US, everything sad by a lefty (and evidently, “lefty” extends much farther right than it used to–see, e. g., Justice Kennedy)gets examined under a microscope for hidden outrageousness, while the Coulters and Limebaughs and DeLays and Santorums and Cornyns are just using harmless hyperbole or being funny.

26

abb1 05.07.05 at 7:11 am

When has anyone on the left ever gotten away with this sort of excuse?

Well, she was kicked out of the National Review. And I think Ward Churchill is pretty much performing the same stunt these days. I checked: his 2003 book is ranked 6000-something on Amazon, Coulter’s “Treason” also published in 2003 is 8000-something. She does have a new book and it’s ranked 200-something, but should Churchill publish another book now, he’ll probably beat her.

Not sure he can make a Time mag cover, but who knows.

27

pedro 05.07.05 at 9:15 am

When Coulter says that the Oklahoma City bomber had should have blown up the New York Times building, our brilliant conservative friends think there’s a “large nugget of truth” in what she says? Good heavens. You know what’s very troubling these days? When a liberal idiot says something unpardonable–think of Ward Churchill’s remarks on 9-11–, it’s *news*. When a conservative idiot like Ann Coulter says she wishes for a terrorist explosion in the New York Times building, it is somehow ‘political commentary’, no matter that, upon given the chance to retract the comment, the callous imbecile refuses.

28

Chris Baldwin 05.07.05 at 9:23 am

“Why do we keep calling people like Coulter “conservatives?” It’s an insult to authentic conservatives, i.e. those who believe in conserving the best and most nurturing aspects of traditional culture. Coulter and those who support her are radicals determined to tear down every program supported by traditional American liberalism; not necessarily because they hate it but because pretending to hate it gains them money and attention.” – Fyreflye

That’s an excellent comment, although I’m afraid to say they might actually be sincere. I’m no conservative, but to call these people conservatives is a joke. I prefer ‘right-wing nihilists’.

29

RJ 05.07.05 at 9:51 am

Don’t forget to mention her hate speech in

http://www.nationalreview.com/coulter/coulter.shtml

which includes the infamous quote, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” (Sept 13, 2001)

30

Bernard Yomtov 05.07.05 at 12:12 pm

Please note that Coulter was not fired from National Review because of her views. She was fired because she became embroiled in a personal dispute with Goldberg and Lowry. Goldberg tells his side of the story here.

From the article:

So let me be clear: We did not “fire” Ann for what she wrote, even though it was poorly written and sloppy. We ended the relationship because she behaved with a total lack of professionalism, friendship, and loyalty.

It is important that the dispute was not over the substance of what she wrote. National Review was not offended by it. (Goldberg does say it was a “mistake” to run it, though the nature of the mistake is unspecified). The argument that what she says is totally disapproved of by “sensible” conservatives is simply false.

31

Jimmy Doyle 05.07.05 at 2:30 pm

Well said, Brian. Bonevac has shot himself in both feet, and then inserted the bloody stumps firmly into his mouth.

(Compelling image, no?)

32

tvd 05.07.05 at 2:53 pm

“A spoiled child is telling us our Social Security isn’t safe anymore, so he is going to fix it for us. Well, here’s your answer, you ungrateful whelp: [audio sound of 4 gunshots being fired.] Just try it, you little bastard. [audio of gun being cocked].”—Comedy Bit on The Randi Rhodes Show on Air America Network, 4/25/05

33

RSL 05.07.05 at 3:16 pm

Why do liberals insist on talking about Coulter? By paying even the least bit of attention to her, all you do is fatten her paycheck.

She’s irrelevant and should be ignored. So if you’re bothering to read this, stop immediately and switch to some other thread where your time is better spent!

34

Anthony 05.07.05 at 6:17 pm

Any movement which is animated by the ghost of Karl Marx is intrinsically a violently eliminationist movement, even if it has learned to tone down its rhetoric to acheive political success. Having lived around leftists all my adult life, I’ve learned that they’re unlikely to have the guts to carry out their fantasies of slaughtering all their political opponents and everyone they deem an oppressor, but the fantasy reflects a real desire on the part of many in the left.

If someone on the right wants to expose the violent fantasies of the left, and return the favor with some violent fantasies of her own, issued from the luxuries of her home or a TV studio, I’m not offended.

The fact that the violent retributive fantasies of one woman on the right have a much larger audience than all those of bloviators of the left ought to give the left pause. Perhaps people on the left should ask “Why do Americans hate us so?” when they contemplate Anne Coulter’s success.

35

washerdreyer 05.07.05 at 7:32 pm

In America, what exactly is this movement animated by the ghost of Karl Marx? Are there more than five people in it?

36

Steve J. 05.07.05 at 7:33 pm

TVD –

Yes, that was bad and Rhodes & AAR have apologized. Coulter has NEVER apologized.

37

tvd 05.07.05 at 8:44 pm

Did Rhodes apologize for this one last year?

“The Fredo of the family is the president of the United States, so why doesn’t his father or his brother … take him out for a little fishing, and let him say some Hail Marys – he loves God so much. … You know, Hail Mary, full of grace, God is with thee – pow [gunshot sound] – works for me.”

Don’t think so.

But really, who cares? Neither Rhodes or Coulter are actually advocating violence, and it’s disingenuous to maintain they are. Coulter’s hyperbole is used to dismiss her theses out of hand, with lists of minor errors standing in for actual counterarguments.

I do assure you, if Rhodes is ever credited with saying something intelligent, I shall give it a listen on its own merits and leave Fredo behind.

38

abb1 05.08.05 at 5:43 am

Anthony,
what’s ‘eliminationist‘ and where does Karl Marx say anything about slaughtering any (let alone ‘all’) of his political opponents?

Seems to me, the ghost of Benito Mussolini that guides Anne Coulter (and the rest of you fellas) is much spookier.

39

opie 05.08.05 at 7:53 am

Am I dumbfounded by the number of people who see Coulter as anything other than a wind-up artist, albeit one less courageous than Sasha Baron Cohen?

Am I the only one who thinks she’s done us a favour?

I’ve not heard of Bonevac, but he sounds like someone who takes Coulter at her word; a gullible bonehead whose internal discourse can only take statements at face value. He’s a sucker, pure and simple.

Coulter, like Cohen, provides a place in the limelight for such people to expose themselves, which they do quite naievely, and to their detriment. We should be thanking her for effectively ridiculing so many of her erstwhile comptriots.

40

tad brennan 05.08.05 at 8:19 am

Dan Bonevac *is* a fine philosopher. I have also found little to agree with in his RR posts.

Let’s set him aside, because there is a larger phenomenon at work.

A lot of academic philosophers, of every political stripe, are now trying to write about politics via blogs. And it is quite striking how many of them have difficulties in bringing their professional virtues to bear on their own most deeply-held views.

There is this notable clunking and grinding when they try to switch gears; it is as though they have never tried to put those two parts of their brain into contact with each other, and now the synchro-mesh isn’t working right.

I saw this first outside of the blogging context when I heard one of the worlds best philosophers of physics attempt to give a talk on religion. He was amazingly inarticulate and incoherent when he shifted from the area of his professional competence and tried to talk about his personal beliefs–it was almost painful to watch. He had never before tried to think clearly about his own deep Christian commitments, and was simply unable to do it. I don’t mean simply that his lecture didn’t meet *my* standards of clarity; I mean he was almost unable to finish his sentences. Normallly possessed of an almost preternatural facility with words, he simply couldn’t get the thoughts out.

So too on blogs. Philosopher X is fully conversant with the problem of intensional ascriptions in opaque contexts, and has written papers about the topic. And yet when he mentions a critic of Bush, he says things like “why do they want the jihadists to win?” All of the analytical sophistication drops out the window; he makes arguments in politics that he would laugh to scorn in a journal article.

In this respect I think that the problem may be more acute in the analytic than in the contintental part of the profession. The continental types, who have always been more engagé, enjoy a more uniform badness of argument throughout all of their writings. There is no abrupt drop-off in rigor; it’s just slogans and rhetoric all the way through.

Anyhow–I think a lot of analytic philosophers are much more able to think clearly about things they have no stake in; when they try to discuss things a little closer to home, all of their patience, fair-mindedness, clarity, attention to distinctions, etc–all of their analytic virtues–get lost. Maybe after we all have a little more practice we’ll be better at combining the two.

41

tad brennan 05.08.05 at 8:43 am

my last post suggests a hypothesis:

political blogging by analytic ethicists will tend to be better than political blogging by analytic philosophers of language, science, metaphysics, etc.

Ethicists like Hilzy at Obsidian Wings and Velleman at L2R give us some evidence for this.

We’ll consider you an exception on the other side, Brian.

42

ken 05.09.05 at 1:55 am

Hey Tad Brennan:

Hate to toot our own horn, but John Perry and I, two diehard analytic philosophes of language, aren’t exactly chop-liver when it comes to blogging about things other than analytic philosophy of language — including every now and then politics.

Check us out at http://theblog.philosophytalk.org.

43

herostratus 05.09.05 at 2:36 am

She’s too skinny. I worry about her. Is she eating right? Maybe I should send her a brisket.

44

Tom Perkins 05.09.05 at 12:25 pm

“I have somewhat strong con-attitudes towards people who want to kill me.”

Are you like enough John Walker Lindh to merit execution? Did you serve this country’s enemies under arms?

Just asking.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

45

lurker 05.09.05 at 12:41 pm

Ouy! Have you seen her brisket?

46

Michael B 05.09.05 at 1:22 pm

The fundamental problem with all this umbrage vis-a-vis Coulter is a total failure to place her own rhetorical responses and initiatives in the social/political context within which they exist. That is precisely why Bonevac’s articulation is fully warranted, a warrant otherwise explained in this response to a Roger L Simon post.

47

cleek 05.09.05 at 1:36 pm

She’s irrelevant and should be ignored

her sales numbers disagree with your “irrelevant”

48

abb1 05.09.05 at 2:48 pm

…warrant otherwise explained in this response to a Roger L Simon post…

Huh? Frank Rich of all people is the justification for Coulter’s hyperboles? Come on Michael, this is too much. Aren’t you being a bit Coulterish yourself here?

49

Michael B 05.09.05 at 3:03 pm

abb1,

I use the phrase “the Frank Rich’s of the world,” also indicating “Rich and his ilk,” i.e., Rich was merely an example, relevant to the cited post. That you’re using that to be more generally dismissive is telling in and of itself.

50

PersonFromPorlock 05.09.05 at 3:14 pm

Ah, the Left! Still confusing ‘humorless’ with ‘serious’, are you?

51

Michael B 05.09.05 at 3:18 pm

Of being “generally dismissive,” the following:

“There is no abrupt drop-off in rigor; it’s just slogans and rhetoric all the way through.” tad brennan

Harrumph! Which explains the entirety of your own posts, consisting solely of (highly generalized) slogans and rhetoric? Too, even if the anecdotal evidence referred to can be dismissed out of hand, as indicated, it remains an anecdotal and solitary instance nonetheless, hardly a reason for indulging – assumming one is concerned with rigor – in such sloganeering and rhetoric.

52

Al Jackson 05.09.05 at 5:44 pm

I can’t speak for all conservatives, but I personally will disavow Ann Coulter the same day mainstream Democrats disavow

the Daily Kos
the Democratic Underground
Randi Rhodes
Michael Moore
or
Ted Rall

Pick any one. They’re all every bit as hateful as she is. Why should the right give up our attack dogs while the left breeds more?

53

Oh Snap! 05.09.05 at 11:28 pm

What is this “oh silly liberals, it’s only a joke!” horseshit? Haw haw, that wacky Coulter sayin’ I should be beaten an’ jailed an’ tortured an’ killed, what a kidder.

This from the same pack of conservatives up in druthers because a couple of their ilk took cream pies to the face? The lot who had a kid arrested for a relatively germane comment about ass-fucking?

54

Qwinn 05.10.05 at 1:41 am

Course, there was nothing wrong with Molly Ivins approvingly quoting someone who said “The only thing wrong with Texas Baptists is that they don’t hold them under the water long enough.” Hyuk hyuk!

Pretty sure she never apologized for it, nor did she become the icon of liberal “hate” for it. But that’s primarily cause out of the Left, this is small potatoes.

Is it obvious she has no love for conservatives? Of course. But do I seriously interpret it as a literal death wish on them, as in believe that she “wants to kill Texas Baptists”? Of course not. She’s obviously joking. It’s not particularly funny if you’re on the receiving end of it, but if you’re on the other side, I’m sure you do think it’s funny. That’s why all this “Gah, she wants to kill us!” whining is so hypocritical and absurd.

As to the only substantive point raised in the post:

“Bonevac goes on to praise Coulter for saying, “[Democrats] oppose Priscilla Owen because she ruled that a Texas law requiring parental notification for 14-year-olds to have abortions meant that parental notification was required for 14-year-olds to have abortions.” Of course the very decision that Coulter and Bonevac are talking about here was a dissent by Owen that was described by that well known leftie, Alberto Gonzales, as an unconscionable act of judicial activism that adopted an interpretation nowhere to be found in the said statute or its legislative history.”

This has been previously completely debunked years ago – Gonzales’s quote was not referring to Owen’s dissent at all.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/475onxpt.asp

Of course, assuming that Lefties are telling the truth about anything is a fool’s option, so the readers of this blog really should know better.

55

abb1 05.10.05 at 2:09 am

Michael, but you’re using Rich as an archetype. I just don’t see how he could suffice for this role here, he’s a typical ‘thoughtful’ liberal, very careful, very let’s-give-credit-to-the-other-side-where-is-due kind of writer. It’s like saying that Ward Churchill’s act is a natural response to David Brooks. I guess I just surprised you picked Rich; isn’t he a NYT cultural critic now?

56

Michael B 05.10.05 at 3:13 am

abb1,

Neither overtly, nor less so, did I reference Frank Rich as an “archtype,” instead I referenced him more simply as one simple example, within this post.

Re, your characterization of Frank Rich as a “careful” and “let’s-give-credit…” kind of guy, we will, to put it mildly, simply have to disagree. It’s true, F. Rich is currently fronting as something of a “cultural critic,” but he forwards the same schtick he’s always forwarded. So again, we’ll have to part ways on our differing, indeed polar opposite, assessments of F. Rich.

(In point of fact, it’s within the referenced post, for one, that F. Rich examples himself as anything but thoughtful or careful. I don’t take someone like F. Rich all that seriously, he’s more of an affective leftist or pseudo-liberal than anything more substantial or considered, but the NYT gives him a forum nonetheless, so to that degree needs to be taken into account.)

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Qwinn 05.10.05 at 3:55 am

“Michael, but you’re using Rich as an archetype. I just don’t see how he could suffice for this role here, he’s a typical ‘thoughtful’ liberal, very careful, very let’s-give-credit-to-the-other-side-where-is-due kind of writer.”

Right. Describing people who oppose the unprecedented use of judicial filibusters to permanently deny judicial nominees with majority support a vote as “A High Tech Lynching in Prime Time”, and comparing them to segregationists, George Wallace, and the Ku Klux Klan – that’s what ‘thoughtful’ liberals are all about.

I entirely agree. That is exactly the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from those that liberals describe as “thoughtful”. It really never does get any better than that.

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abb1 05.10.05 at 6:42 am

Frank Rich’s cheap shot at Ron Silver as a “C-list publicity hound” (therefore presumably not entitled to public interest in his opinions) in this morning’s NYT. Silver, however, besides his distinguished acting career, has been a political activist literally for decades, has worked in intelligence and understands Chinese.

What ‘distinguished acting career’? I’m not an expert in acting careers (Mr. Rich probably is, however), but I only remember Silver in a couple of cheap psycho-killer movies; the rest is TV stuff, correct? Is this really a distinguished acting career? And what does his allegedly being able to understand Chinese have to do with anything?

Don’t you think “C-list publicity hound” sounds like a mild compliment compare to Coulter’s typical stuff? Not that I’m against Coulter or anything, it’s just that comparing her with Rich seems kinda absurd.

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John Mack 05.10.05 at 11:16 am

Surely one of the interesting things about Coulter is that she was a good appellate lawyer and has a good legal mind. Her role in both the Paula Jones case and the Bush v. Gore election matter was not incosiderable. Also, up until about 2001, she wrote a very enjoyable, if chaotic, column, one which sometimes resembled Camille Paglia on speed. She could even be graceful on occasion — she her tribute to John F. Kennedy, Jr. Then, shortly before she joined National Review, she became a caricature of herself, writing short, sarcastic columns on the same subject, making ever more outrageous statements, and, one might add, making more and more money. All of which suggests that in the world of political analysis, there may be an inverse relationship between the quality of what one has to say and the remuneration one receives for saying it.

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Michael B 05.11.05 at 10:21 am

In the end, all the high dudgeon and all the trumpery with the attendant tone of a J’accuse proclaimed from some putative moral high-ground – all that would be easier to absorb as an earnest proclamation if, but if, this same crowd of superior moral agents approached other interlocutors, those not given to acerbic invective, with the reasoned give-and-take and open-minded equanimity they seem to be suggesting would follow, if it weren’t for Coulter’s highly aggressive style. The woman just doesn’t know her place. It is precisely that lack from the Left, the lack of a more reasoned and temperate discourse – even when the opposition is decorous – that serves to frame Coulter within the appropriate, contemporary social/political context.

Via normblog and another blog, three recent articles serve to high-light this salient and ubiquitous fact: Christopher Hitchens, David Aaronovitch and Martin Kettle.

Hitchens is having to argue, oh doncha know kids, that Abu Ghraib isn’t like Guernica, nor is the taking of Fallujah comparable to Guernica. He also parenthetically notes: “One of the cleansers of Darfur, only recently, employed [the Abu Ghraib photos] as a tu quoque to pre-empt any American condemnation of his activities.” Such are the rationales the intemperate Left is helping to forward. But no mind, righteousness inheres to every utterance from the Left, those who question as much are to be cast into the outer darkness and subjected to sneering disdain.

And a sample from David Aaronovitch: “All of a sudden I began to experience the left from the outside. And the first thing that struck me was its capacity for smug certainty and uniformity of response. Look at the cartoonists, whose work trumps debate. You may have Blair the poodle, Blair with blood-stained hands, Blair the liar, Bush the absurd chimp, but never, ever, Galloway the consort of tyrants or Kennedy the comforter of “insurgents”.

Or Martin Kettle: “So much for the voters, then. The electorate may have chosen in their reduced millions to return a Labour government with Tony Blair at its head, but that was last week. This week, it’s back to business, almost as though the election counted for nothing. For too many journalists and Labour MPs, it is clear that the voters are now deemed to have come up with the wrong answer. If the democratic process chose not to get rid of Tony Blair, then they – we – will now have a go at remedying the voters’ verdict. It was all absolutely predictable but none the less shocking and outrageous for that.”

Coulter uses invective and caustically acerbic rhetoric – and then some – in large part because it is very much what the Left and adjoining precincts deserve. The Left wants to wage their own overly heated rhetorical battles and wars; they want to sneer and smirk at virtually any conception that disallows of their self-endowed, and oft proclaimed, self-righteousness; they not inoften demand carte blanche to engage in the most disparaging, disdainful, vacuously arrogating forms of ad hominem bile and spittle; they want to do so, often enough, with some form of post-modern gloss or other forms of sophistical pretension to place a veneer over their despising, totalizing contempt for virtually any and all opposition – and they want to do so and then be treated decorously, as high-minded moral agents.

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Henry 05.11.05 at 11:00 am

“vacuously arrogating” is very fine as a neologism, and “caustically acerbic” has a nice air of redundancy about it. But “not inoften demand” suggests that we have a major talent on our hands; it’s a little masterpiece.

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Michael B 05.11.05 at 11:40 am

oh henry,

I appreciate the dismissive sneer, precisely so, for what it’s worth; I have been, oh so, put in my place. In point of fact I quite consciously indulge in those types of redundancies, excesses, very much because of the essentially Leftist audience who will read, and then dismiss them, regardless as to how they are worded. It’s not as if a debate or dialog is being sought in the first place.

Regarding the dismissiveness per se, thanks for demonstrating one of the primary points made.

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