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The FULL TIME COVER ARTICLE on ANN COULTER -- Ms. Right -- Available at Time Canada
Time Canada ^ | April 18, 2005 | John Cloud

Posted on 04/20/2005 11:52:18 AM PDT by hinterlander

Anne Coulter and I were well into a bottle of white Bordeaux—and I believe she was chewing her fourth piece of Nicorette—when it happened. From what little I knew of her—mainly her propensity for declamations such as “liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole”—I thought it impossible for Coulter to blush. Many of her fans would later tell me it was her fearlessness they admired, her fully unburdened sense of outrage against liberalism, against anyone left of Joseph McCarthy (whom Coulter flattered in her best-selling book Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism).

But in person, Coulter is more likely to offer jokes than fury. For instance, you might ask her to name her historical antecedents in the conservative movement, and she’ll burst forth, “I’m Attila the Hun,” and then break into gales of laughter so forceful you smell the Nicorette. “Genghis Khan!”

So finally, I asked that she be serious. I wanted to see the rancor that allegedly is her sole contribution to public discourse (that and being a “lying liar,” in Al Franken’s estimation, as well as a “telebimbo” [Salon] and a “skank,” according to a blog kept by Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott). Why, I asked, did she enjoy attacking others and being attacked?

She composed herself and offered a very Ann Coulter answer. “They’re terrible people, liberals. They believe—this can really summarize it all—these are people who believe,” she said, now raising her voice, “you can deliver a baby entirely except for the head, puncture the skull, suck the brains out and pronounce that a constitutional right has just been exercised. That really says it all. You don’t want such people to like you!”

The couple at an adjacent table—which, this being Manhattan, was a handsbreadth away—visibly stiffened, and the man groaned. The woman looked at Coulter with white-hot hatred, and Coulter ... blushed.

“You’re blushing,” I marveled. As she continued to pinken and covered her mouth with a delicately thin hand, she giggled and protested, “I am not. I’m laughing. Maybe I’m a little drunk. There are a lot of things that would make me blush. Viciously attacking liberals would not.”

“No, you are.”

“I am not! ‘And she had had several glasses of wine,’” she told me to write.

O.K., she had, but whether she was truly embarrassed, what I saw of Coulter in that moment was a personality far more labile and human than the umbrageous harridan I had expected. After all, one of her most voluble critics, writer Eric Alterman (What Liberal Media?) told Time, “The idea that she doesn’t coarsen our culture and make it more difficult to speak complicated truths is nonsense.”

But while Coulter can occasionally be coarse—she’s not one of those conservatives who won’t say “f___” two or three times over dinner—she doesn’t seem particularly uncomplicated. When I spoke with her friend Miguel Estrada, an attorney and onetime White House nominee for a judgeship (Estrada asked President Bush to withdraw his name in 2003 after a Democratic filibuster targeted Estrada’s conservatism), he said Coulter’s appeal 15 years ago, when they met, was “the same as it is today. She was lively and funny and engaging and boisterous and outrageous and a little bit of a polemicist ... Most of the time, people miss her humor and satire and take her way too literally.”

I began to wonder, in a moistly liberal formulation, whether Ann Coulter might be ... misunderstood? All her right-wing capering aside (“We’ve got to attack France!”), Coulter was an Ivy League–educated legal writer before she was a TV pundit. She’s an omnivorous reader (everything from her friend Matt Drudge’s website to the works of French philosopher Jacques Ellul), and she isn’t afraid to begin a column on Bush, as she did in January, “Maybe he is an idiot.” (The column pointed out that the most direct way to make abortion illegal would be ... to make abortion illegal—not, as Bush had exhorted that week, “to change hearts.”) Although Coulter is often compared to conservative radio king Rush Limbaugh, he is “first a broadcaster,” as he described himself in one of his books. He said his show “is, after all else, still entertainment.” Coulter, on the other hand, doesn’t think of herself as an entertainer but as a public intellectual. Many would say she’s more of a shrieking ideologue, but regardless, her paychecks come solely from writing and giving speeches. She earns nothing from TV.

To be sure, Coulter is far from the most accomplished conservative presence in America today. Talk radio’s Limbaugh, even after his OxyContin addiction was made public in late 2003, has greater reach; Sean Hannity has his own TV show; old-guard guys like William Kristol and George Will have more power in Washington. Countless conservative scholars—Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Richard Posner—write with greater intellectual heft.

But no one on the right is so iconic, such a totem of this particular moment. Coulter epitomizes the way politics is now discussed on the airwaves, where opinions must come violently fast and cause as much friction as possible. No one, right or left, delivers the required apothegmatic commentary on the world with as much glee or effectiveness as Coulter. It is almost impossible to watch her and not be sluiced into rage or elation, depending on your views. As a congressional staff member 10 years ago, Coulter used to help write the nation’s laws. Now she is far more powerful: she helps set the nation’s tone.

Coulter’s ubiquity on political talk shows is exceeded only by her inability to write a book that doesn’t become a best seller. Her current effort is titled as churlishly as the three that preceded it: How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter. It recently ended a 16-week run on the New York Times best-seller list even though it’s mostly a collection of previously published columns. Despite Coulter’s indifference to the online world—she doesn’t blog, and until recently she had little direct role in—she has a staggering presence in cyberspace, where pro- and anti-Coulter forces wage unending battle. Her “official chat” site, which Coulter never visits, draws 1,000 posts a day. A recent documentary, Is It True What They Say About Ann?—co-directed by a friend of Coulter’s, journalist Elinor Burkett—has played at film festivals and won some favorable notices.

But Coulter’s influence on the culture is both more diaphanous and more significant than the calculations of book sales or Web postings suggest. She is the bogeyman of politics, the figure that liberals use when reaching for the ultimate insult, the way conservatives use Michael Moore. When the New York Times reviewed Michael Crichton’s new novel recently, critic Bruce Barcott sneered that it “resembles one of those Ann Coulter ‘Liberals Are Stupid’ jobs.” (After reading that, Coulter e-mailed me: “I AM THE GOLD STANDARD FOR LIBERAL BILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”) Vanity Fair’s Wolcott has called Coulter “the Paris Hilton of postmodern politics”; Time’s own Andrew Sullivan has called her a “huckster of ideological hate” on his blog.

Some conservatives—many of them Coulter’s rivals for screen time, as she points out—have also drawn their knives. “Ann’s stuff isn’t very serious,” says a pundit who didn’t want to begin a public spat with Coulter. “We have this argument every now and then among our side: whether she is a net minus or net plus to conservatism. I have come to the conclusion that she’s a minus.” Even fans speak of Coulter in ways that suggest some distance: “I think Ann is a brilliant girl, and she’s got the quickest mouth in the East,” says the Rev. Jerry Falwell. “Now, I probably won’t use her on Sunday morning in my church because she is capable of getting a little aggressive.”

That’s right: Ann Coulter burns too fiercely for both the temples of the secular left—the New York Times—and of the religious right—Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. But it’s suspicious when conventional wisdom ossifies around someone so thoroughly. Why does she make so many people itch?

It’s not just that she can be callous and mouthy; as all those he has called “Feminazis” know, Limbaugh has operated in that genre for years. Coulter is more like Clare Boothe Luce, the wife of this magazine’s co-founder, who rankled the Roosevelt establishment in the ’40s with her take-no-prisoners opposition to the New Deal and communism. In her first House floor speech as a Congresswoman representing the Connecticut district where Coulter later grew up, Luce called Vice President Henry Wallace’s liberal approach to postwar foreign policy “globaloney,” a proto-Coulterism that shocked many in Washington. Today Coulter often speaks under the auspices of a conservative group called the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute that was founded by Luce admirers in 1993.

Vanity Fair once said of Luce, who edited that magazine in the ’30s, “She combines a fragile blondness with a will of steel.” Similarly, one is astounded to hear from Coulter something like, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity,” as she famously wrote of Muslims who were cheering after the Sept. 11 attacks, not least because Coulter might be shrink-wrapped in a black-leather mini as she says it. The combination of hard-charging righteousness and willowy, sex-kitten pulchritude is vertiginous and—for her many young male fans—intoxicating.

In February Coulter went to Washington to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (cpac), the premier annual event for movement conservatives. When she arrived, the Atrium Hall at the Ronald Reagan Building was hot with anticipation. Activists occupied every inch of available floor space; hundreds stood in the back. Wearing an ankle-length fur and a wide-eyed expression, Coulter had to be pushed through the crowd by a team of handlers. When she swept past the spot I was wedged into, the young men near me went aflutter. “Ann Coulter should be staying on our floor!” one said lasciviously. During a Q&A at a private reception later, another guy raised his hand and asked her out.

Coulter’s speech was part right-wing stand-up routine—she called Senator Edward Kennedy “the human dirigible”—and part bloodcurdling agitprop. “Liberals like to scream and howl about McCarthyism,” she concluded. “I say, let’s give them some. They’ve had intellectual terror on the campus for years ... It’s time for a new McCarthyism.” Curtain.

Liberals who believe that Bush’s is the show-no-weakness, make-no-apology presidency see Coulter as its Ur-spokeswoman. That is a facile insult both to Bush, who constantly professes a desire to unite the country, and to Coulter, who wouldn’t mind if much of the country moved to Canada. But unlike Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News star, Coulter has never wobbled on Bush’s signature deed, the war in Iraq. “The invasion of Iraq has gone fabulously well,” she wrote last June, a few weeks after O’Reilly suggested the U.S. might need to pull out. Her only argument with Bush is that he isn’t more like President Reagan. “‘Compassionate conservative,’” she says, “carries the same negative implications as ‘articulate black.’” Coulter believes not just in less government but in almost no government. She would eliminate the departments of Education, Commerce, Agriculture and several others. She opposes abortion rights and has written that court-ordered school-desegregation plans have led to “illiterate students knifing one another between acts of sodomy in the stairwell.”

Coulter conveys an aura of privilege, wealth and—above all—certainty. “Would that we all could have the political and moral clarity that seems to come so effortlessly from Ann Coulter,” wrote an admiring Lisa De Pasquale of the Luce Policy Institute last year in the conservative publication Human Events. But can it be effortless? One theory about Coulter is that she is less Joe McCarthy and more a right-wing Ali G, acting out a character who utters what the rest of us won’t. (“That led him to masturbate into [White House] sinks?” she asked in 1999, when President Clinton’s rough childhood was mentioned on Rivera Live.)

“This isn’t a game,” Coulter said at CPAC. “The fate of our troops isn’t a game. The fate of the victims on 9/11 is not a game.” But she told me several times that, as she put it in an e-mail, “most of what I say, I say to amuse myself and amuse my friends. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about anything beyond that.”

So which is it? Is she a brave warrior or a shallow hack? Or is Ann Coulter that most unlikely of conservative subspecies: a hard-right ironist?

Not long ago, i called coulter’s mother and read her one of her daughter’s more rakish lines. Last year, after the New York Times published a Reagan obituary that mentioned the Iran-contra scandal 15 times, Coulter wrote that Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is “a little weenie who can’t read because he has ‘dyslexia.’”

“Oh, dear,” said Nell Martin Coulter, 76, with a laugh.

“Now, is that the way little girls are brought up to speak in Connecticut?” I asked. Ann Coulter grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut; her mother was raised in Paducah, Kentucky. “I know it’s not the way little girls are brought up to talk in Kentucky.”

“I think you’ve got a point there,” Nell Coulter said, chuckling, “but that is the way she expresses herself, and she does have obviously strong likes and dislikes. That’s just the way she puts things ... I think a person who has strong convictions is more convincing to someone who is wavering.”

In other words, it’s not an act. But as Coulter herself points out in Is It True What They Say About Ann?, “I think the way to convert people is to make them laugh or to make them enraged ... Even if I could be convinced that if I had gone through 17 on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hands, I might convince one more liberal out there, I think I’d still write the way I write, because it gives me laughs.” Coulter told me that when her editor suggests cutting a line from a column to save space, “I’ll ask him, ‘But is it funny?’ And if he says it’s funny, I’ll cut an actual fact [instead].”

People say that Jon Stewart has blurred the line between news and humor, but his Daily Show airs on a comedy channel. Coulter goes on actual news programs and deploys so much sarcasm and hyperbole that she sounds more like comedian Dennis Miller on one of his rants than Limbaugh. Consider an exchange on Fox News in June 2001 with Peter Fenn, a Democratic strategist. At the time, Barbra Streisand had suggested that Californians practice more conservation, to which Coulter responded:

COULTER: God gave us the earth.

FENN: Oh, O.K.

COULTER: We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the seas.

FENN: Oh, this is a great idea.

COULTER: God said, ‘Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It’s yours.’

FENN: Oh, terrific. We’re Americans, so we should consume as much of the earth’s resources—

COULTER: Yes. Yes!

FENN: —as fast as we possibly can.

COULTER: As opposed to living like the Indians.

Coulter and Fenn were both laughing. But her rape-the-planet bit would later be wrenched from context and repeatedly quoted as Coulter nuttiness. “What p_____ me off,” Coulter says, “is when they don’t get the punch line.”

But it’s possible to get the punch line and not laugh. Last year Coulter wrote a column in which she joked, “Like many of you, I carefully reviewed the lawsuits [alleging bias] against the airlines in order to determine which airlines had engaged in the most egregious discrimination, so I could fly only those airlines ... Imagine the great slogans the airlines could use:

“‘Now Frisking All Arabs—Twice!’ ...

“‘You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin—Not So Fast, Mohammed!’”

But that’s not (or not only) a joke. Coulter actually favors discrimination based on skin color in airports. She argues that airports should establish a separate line for men and boys whose complexion suggests they could be from the Middle East; they would be screened more thoroughly than other passengers.

“Basically,” she says breezily, “aged 15 to 45—12 to 45, say. Swarthy men ... We’d be searching, you know, Italians, Spanish, Jews, males—but you’re excluding the women. You’re excluding the old people. You’re excluding American blacks.”

“Didn’t we throw out discrimination based on skin color a long time ago?” I ask.

“This is just safety, and I wouldn’t do it for drug dealing,” she says. “I wouldn’t do it for speeding. I wouldn’t do it for a normal crime. It’s a serious issue, but it is insane what is going on in the airports right now.” Coulter’s friends had told me that nothing angers her quite like standing in an airport security line. (She travels frequently to give speeches at $25,000 a pop—up to $50,000 if she must cross the Mississippi River.) Conveniently, her plan would let her glide through a metal detector the pre-9/11 way (shoes on, dignity intact).

Coulter says profiling makes sense when Muslims have committed virtually all the terrorist attacks against Americans for the past 25 years—she begins a terrorism time line in her latest book with Iranian militants taking Americans hostage in Tehran in 1979. She says of Timothy McVeigh’s bombing in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, “One does not a pattern make.” And why wouldn’t al-Qaeda recruit white or black Americans? “It’s harder than it sounds. You’re increasing the transaction costs.”

It would be easier to accept Coulter’s reasoning if a shadow of bigotry didn’t attach to many of her statements about Arabs and Muslims. At the reception after her cpac speech, she mocked some of the more ornate claims of torture from suspected terrorists detained by the U.S.: “It’s completely insane stuff. ‘The government flew me to Las Vegas and made me have sex with a horse,’” she said to laughter. But then she added with a grin, “Liberals are about to become the last people to figure out that Arabs lie.” How did such a flagrantly impolitic person become such a force in American politics?

Ann Hart Coulter was born in New York City on Dec. 8, 1961. (That’s according to her Connecticut voter registration. Coulter says she won’t confirm the date “for privacy reasons”—she’s had several stalkers. “And I’m a girl,” she adds.) Her father John, 77, was a G.I. Bill student who became an FBI agent and then a corporate lawyer; Nell Martin, who raised Ann and two boys, is the daughter of a Paducah printmaker. Coulter learned to argue around a dinner table populated by a Catholic father, a Presbyterian mother and two brothers—one of them “a Presbyterian and an anti-Papist,” Coulter says with a titter, and the other a Catholic. “And I’m like Hillary with the Mets and the Yankees—I root for both.”

The Coulter family argy-bargy was friendly but intense, and formative. “For a younger girl with two older brothers, you’ve got to learn to mix it up, stand up for yourself,” says Merrill Kinstler, 41, a stock trader and close friend. “Older brothers are not going to cut you any slack. If you say something stupid, you figure, next time, I’m going to be better at it.” Kinstler, an ex-Democrat who speaks with Coulter virtually every day, describes her as “a cat who thinks she’s a dog. She’s very much a woman, but she likes ... mixing it up in what I think is a very guy way. Let’s put it this way. I have never heard from her, and I know I never will, the following two words: I’m offended.”

Indeed, Coulter can be almost as acerbic with herself and her family as she is with liberals. “Because I’m a cranky conservative,” Coulter has written, “the world simply reinforces my prejudices on a daily basis.” Even her dear mother isn’t exempt from her raillery. Last year Nell Coulter learned she had ovarian cancer. She underwent surgery in 2004 and has had regular chemotherapy this year. She says Ann has taken her to every appointment and remembered every detail for the doctors. But it’s not Ann’s nature to sound weepy; among her greatest fears—boredom, irrelevance, getting caught on a plane without a nicotine patch—is sentimentalism. For weeks, as we talked for this story, she wouldn’t go on the record about her mom’s cancer—she half-jokingly said any humanizing detail might slow attacks from liberals, which help sell books. When she finally relented and said I could call her mother, she matter-of-factly told me to do so before the following Wednesday. “She gets the chemo on Wednesday, and once the chemo sets in”—Coulter began to laugh—“for the first week, she gets a little daft from the chemo ... Whenever I call them [her parents], it rings. It rings. It rings. The phone picks up. ‘Wait a minute. I have to take my hearing aid out.’ ‘Find the phone that works.’ It’s pandemonium calling old people!” Coulter often speaks with great affection for her parents, and she said this with a light, you-know-how-it-is tone. But there’s no mistaking: this is a person who will say anything, even when the camera is off.

Coulter got on the honor roll as a kid, fenced and played lacrosse, went to Ramones and Grateful Dead shows (dozens of Dead shows—drug free, she claims). She grew up in a Reagan household and began to explore conservatism on her own at Cornell. There she discovered both liberals, who made her more conservative, and feckless conservatives in the “cigar-smoking, martini-drinking, oh-I-get-drunk-all-the-time libertarian mode,” who made her more socially conservative. But there was a twist. In 1984, in an article for the conservative Cornell Review, Coulter attacked its editor for writing, “Statistics are like bikinis: what they show is important, but what they conceal is vital.” “The message is clear,” Coulter responded in her article. “The vital parts are the breasts and the vagina, so go get her.” I was surprised to find that the piece made a standard feminist argument against pornography (an “atrocity” in which women are “exploited” and “dehumanized”). Its opening lines are: “Conservatives have a difficult time with women. For that matter, all men do.”

Coulter—who likes to shock reporters by wondering aloud whether America might be better off if women lost the right to vote—howls at the idea that she was a campus feminist. But even today, she can write about gender issues with particular sensitivity. In 2002, after Halle Berry won her Oscar, Coulter said in her column, “Berry’s unseemly enthusiasm for displaying ‘these babies,’ as she genteelly refers to her breasts, reduces the number of roles for any women who lack Berry’s beauty-queen features.”

And of course the biggest case Coulter ever helped handle as an attorney (she got her law degree from the University of Michigan in 1988) was a sexual-harassment claim of an unsophisticated woman against her powerful former boss. Coulter was one of a handful of informal legal advisers quietly helping Paula Jones, who had alleged in a 1994 lawsuit that she suffered distress and retaliation at her state job after refusing Arkansas Governor Clinton’s request for oral sex in 1991. Coulter interviewed Jones and helped write her legal briefs.

Meanwhile, Coulter had emerged as a star in the 24-hour news culture that flowered in the mid-’90s. In 1995, giddy after Republicans took Congress for the first time in 40 years, she had moved from an anonymous corporate-law job in Manhattan to the Washington office of a freshman Republican Senator, Spencer Abraham. Flirty and quick-witted and fun—ex-conservative David Brock says in his book Blinded by the Right that “Ann seemed to live on nothing but chardonnay and cigarettes”—Coulter charmed both Democrats and Republicans. She already knew (or had dated) many young conservatives at Cornell and Michigan, and just 10 weeks after she arrived in Washington, National Journal named her one of its conservatives under 40 who were “likely to have an impact.”

In 1996, a new cable-news channel asked Coulter to audition for a spot as a commentator. She appeared on msnbc its first day and quickly became one of its most loved and hated contributors. A few months later, she began writing for Human Events, among the oldest conservative publications in the country. (Coulter jokes in How to Talk to a Liberal that the journal “had to break a half-century ‘no girls’ rule to hire me.”) In 1998, John Kennedy Jr. asked her to write a regular column for his glossy political magazine George.

Washington wasn’t quite sure what to make of the spindle-shanked blond. “When I first met her,” says a fellow conservative, “she was walking around with a black miniskirt and a mink stole, making out with Bob Guccione Jr. in the stairwell.” (Coulter dated publisher Guccione, son of the porn mogul, for six months. She says the stairwell story “could be” true, although “I make out in public less often now that I’m publicly recognizable.” As for living on chardonnay and cigarettes, Coulter says that’s “definitely true.”)

Except for a brief stint in Missouri, where she clerked for a federal judge, Coulter has never lived in a so-called red (Republican) state; in fact she obliterates the overcooked red-blue, Republican-Democrat distinction. Although beloved in Bush country, Coulter lives in a New York City apartment, loves expensive Manhattan restaurants, chews Nicorette in church and hardly ever misses the drag queens’ Halloween parade in Greenwich Village. She likes to tell people, “I get up at noon and work in my underwear,” but it’s not actually true. Coulter is rarely up before 1.

MSNBC found Coulter “blunt, rude and just completely over the top,” says Stephen Lewis, a former msnbc producer involved in Coulter’s hiring—and firing. The network dismissed her at least twice: first in February 1997, after she insulted the late Pamela Harriman, the U.S. Ambassador to France, even as the network was covering her somber memorial service. Coulter said Harriman was one of those women who “used men to work their way up” and suggested “Sharon Stone or Madonna” as her replacement. Even so, the network missed Coulter’s jousting and quickly rehired her.

Eight months later, Coulter’s relationship with msnbc ended permanently after she tangled with a disabled Vietnam veteran on the air. Robert Muller, co-founder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, asserted that “in 90% of the cases that U.S. soldiers got blown up [in Vietnam]—Ann, are you listening?—they were our own mines.” (Muller was misquoting a 1969 Pentagon report that found that 90% of the components used in enemy mines came from U.S. duds and refuse.) Coulter, who found Muller’s statement laughable, averted her eyes and responded sarcastically: “No wonder you guys lost.” It became an infamous—and oft-misreported—Coulter moment. The Washington Post and others turned the line into a more personal attack: “People like you caused us to lose that war.”

But her troubles with MSNBC only freed her to appear on CNN and Fox News Channel, whose producers were often calling. In 1998, Coulter was one of the first pundits to argue forcefully that Clinton should be impeached; she helped lead the charge by writing High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, which became a best seller. When reporters asked David Schippers, the House Judiciary Committee’s chief investigator, for a “road map” to the impeachment inquiry, he told them, “Read Ann Coulter’s book.”

After Coulter helped get the President impeached, one might have expected her to follow fellow anti-Clinton machinators—Linda Tripp and her friend Lucianne Goldberg come to mind—into obscurity. But Coulter’s second book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right, an assault on the media, spent eight weeks at the top of the Times best-seller list and rekindled the debate on whether reporters show a liberal bias. Slander was followed in 2003 by Treason, and by then Coulter had inspired an industry of debunkers, people who scour her every utterance for mistakes large and small. Entire websites were devoted to this purpose.

When I asked Coulter about her mistakes, she responded by e-mail: “I think I can save you some time ... The one error liberals have produced is that I was wrong when I said the NYT didn’t mention Dale Earnhardt’s death on the front page the day after his death. There have been novels and Broadway plays written about Ann Coulter’s one mistake, which was pretty minor IMHO [in my humble opinion]—the Times article DID begin: ‘His death brought a silence to the Wal-Mart.’”

Actually, it didn’t. The article began, “Stock car racing’s greatest current star and one of its most popular and celebrated figures, Dale Earnhardt, crashed and was killed today ...” The article doesn’t mention Wal-Mart, although a subsequent piece did.

Coulter has a reputation for carelessness with facts, and if you Google the words “Ann Coulter lies,” you will drown in results. But I didn’t find many outright Coulter errors. One of the most popular alleged mistakes pinging around the Web is from her appearance on Canadian TV news in January, when Coulter asserted that “Canada sent troops to Vietnam.” Interviewer Bob McKeown said she was wrong. “Indochina?” Coulter tried. McKeown said no. Finally, Coulter said haltingly, “I’ll get back to you.” “Coulter never got back to us,” McKeown triumphantly noted, “but for the record, like Iraq, Canada sent no troops to Vietnam.” What he didn’t mention was that Canada did send noncombat troops to Indochina in the 1950s and again to Vietnam in 1972.

To be sure, Coulter’s historical efforts can be highly amateurish. Her writings on the Civil War—she calls Confederate soldiers “a romantic army of legend”—could only be penned by a (Northern) dilettante. And although she has admiringly cited the work of cold war historian Ronald Radosh, he says she misinterpreted that period in Treason. “There were Soviet spies in postwar America,” he says. “But McCarthy was really a nutcase ... She’s like the McCarthy-era journalists in a way. She’s just repeating what they said, that the only patriotic Americans are on the right.” Radosh, a fellow at the conservative Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank, also says Coulter has exaggerated his own troubles as a conservative in academia. “She called me a victim of the left and the academy. That’s partially true, but I’ve had plenty of jobs in academia.” Coulter responded that Radosh had complained to reporters in the past about being blacklisted. She also called him “a chickens___.”

One consequence of Coulter’s feline aggression is that she wins not only enemies (including one who hired a private investigator to look into her past) but creepily devoted fans. She has had discussions with the FBI about her stalkers, one of whom sent flowers every day for six months. Coulter is terrified her address will become public, and she sometimes hides behind a surgical mask when she flies. Ever since two men threw pies at her at the University of Arizona last year, she has traveled with a bodyguard, a bourbon-drinking ex-cop who says, quite believably, that he can kill with his bare hands. Even so, Coulter told me her most persistent stalker “is the one who will kill me someday.”

Meanwhile, she is a single woman in her 40s who has been engaged at least three times—“I don’t know, something like that”—but never married. Instead, she spends time with a large group of devoted friends, among them a restaurant critic, a children’s book author, an ex-supporter of perennial U.S. presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche’s, a liberal p.r. agent, an actress and myriad bankers. She sees her friends for long dinners with lots of laughter and Ann Coulter stories. One friend has dubbed her “the blond-tressed fascist spellbinder.”

Although it drives Coulter crazy, even friends sometimes say her public and private personas differ. Kent Brownridge, 63, general manager of Wenner Media and a longtime Democrat who used to work for George McGovern, says, “You couldn’t find a nicer friend” than Coulter. But, he adds, “I think she has a professional point of view or a shtick or whatever ... Ann has perfected a thing she does on TV because she is outrageous and funny. That’s her business, public commentator.”

But I’m not sure the public and private Anns are so different. On TV or in person, you can trust that Coulter will speak from her heart. The officialdom of punditry, so full of phonies and dullards, would suffer without her humor and fire. Which is not to say you don’t want to shut her up occasionally. Not long ago, I went to church with Coulter—Redeemer Presbyterian, an evangelical congregation in Manhattan. The actor Ron Silver had also tagged along—Coulter brings lots of people to church, including, at one time, an ex who is Muslim. Pastor Timothy Keller spoke of the importance of allowing one’s heart to be “melted by the sense of God’s grace because of what he did on the cross for you.” After he finished, I asked Coulter whether she had managed to convert her Muslim boyfriend. “No,” she answered, her heart apparently not melted: “I was just happy he wasn’t killing anyone.” With that, she threw her head back and laughed. --With reporting by Nathan Thornburgh/New York

TOPICS: Canada; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Front Page News
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1 posted on 04/20/2005 11:52:24 AM PDT by hinterlander
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To: hinterlander

I can't believe they spelled her name wrong -- first word of the story, no less!

2 posted on 04/20/2005 11:54:18 AM PDT by jdm (You only live once, and usually not even then.)
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To: hinterlander

It was also available a few days ago on the American site.

3 posted on 04/20/2005 11:54:25 AM PDT by BullDog108 ("Conservatives believe in God. Liberals think they are God." ---Ann Coulter)
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To: hinterlander
I love this pic of Ann.
4 posted on 04/20/2005 11:55:38 AM PDT by No Blue States
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To: jdm

It is spelled correctly on the American site. Maybe Cannukians use an "English" spelling ;^)

5 posted on 04/20/2005 11:56:12 AM PDT by BullDog108 ("Conservatives believe in God. Liberals think they are God." ---Ann Coulter)
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To: BullDog108
It was also available a few days ago on the American site.

Oh. Every time I tried it, it had subscriber restrictions.
6 posted on 04/20/2005 11:56:20 AM PDT by hinterlander
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This one too.

7 posted on 04/20/2005 11:57:02 AM PDT by No Blue States
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To: hinterlander
I like this photo of Ann and Matt; I don't know what's going on with the guy on the left, though.

8 posted on 04/20/2005 11:58:31 AM PDT by jdm (You only live once, and usually not even then.)
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To: hinterlander
You can go to for a login/password. That is what I do for these resticted sites.
9 posted on 04/20/2005 11:58:41 AM PDT by BullDog108 ("Conservatives believe in God. Liberals think they are God." ---Ann Coulter)
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To: BullDog108
You can go to for a login/password. That is what I do for these resticted sites.

You don't consider sharing usernames and passwords for paid-subscription (not free-subscription) sites to be stealing?
10 posted on 04/20/2005 12:01:27 PM PDT by hinterlander
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To: BullDog108

I think you maybe right there Anne in England is mostly spelt with an e at the end. My mum used to get most upset because she is an Ann without the e and most times unless she told people they would spell it with the e.

11 posted on 04/20/2005 12:02:19 PM PDT by snugs (An English Cheney Chick - BIG TIME)
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To: hinterlander
white Bordeaux

UGH, now that's WORSE than the cover shot.

12 posted on 04/20/2005 12:04:24 PM PDT by 1Old Pro
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To: jdm

That's Monica on the left, showing off her/his presidential kneepads!

13 posted on 04/20/2005 12:06:09 PM PDT by TexasCajun
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To: hinterlander

Nice pic
which is what TIME should have put on their cover instead of that awful one they did...

14 posted on 04/20/2005 12:13:23 PM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: hinterlander

16 posted on 04/20/2005 12:22:19 PM PDT by Fenris6 (3 Purple Hearts in 4 months w/o missing a day of work? He's either John Rambo or a Fraud)
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To: hinterlander
I guess that the apostrophe in my thread title (Coulter's) blocked it from a search of previous thread titles posted here containing the term for "Coulter" --
...but I still beat you by thirty hours in posting this. :o)
Indexing related threads:
The FULL TIME COVER ARTICLE on ANN COULTER -- Ms. Right -- Available at Time Canada
  Posted by hinterlander
On News/Activism 04/20/2005 11:52:18 AM PDT · 13 replies · 577+ views

Time Canada ^ | April 18, 2005 | John Cloud

FULL TEXT of Ann Coulter's TIME mag cover story now posted online (for FREE!) at
  Posted by RonDog
On News/Activism 04/19/2005 6:06:48 AM PDT · 29 replies · 1,779+ views ^ | April 24, 2005 | John Cloud

17 posted on 04/20/2005 12:25:08 PM PDT by RonDog
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To: hinterlander

I heard that her first complaint about the Time story was the picture of her they used, proving that Ms. Coulter is first of all, a woman.

18 posted on 04/20/2005 12:29:37 PM PDT by Spok
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To: hinterlander

That was long and pretty fair I thought.

But, Coulter IS loose with her facts, I don't read her for anything except humor. She embarassed me in an argument once cuz in one of her books she says that 10 million Americans were members of the communist party or something and cites an article. Well the article turned out to cite testimony by Edgar Hoover saying that for every one member of the communist party there's 10 supporters out there. It was just off the top of his head and she cites it as a fact in a completely biased way. I hate having to be a fact checker while reading something. 'Course, I occasionally still read her just for laughs.

19 posted on 04/20/2005 12:33:44 PM PDT by traviskicks (
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Comment #20 Removed by Moderator

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