Skip to comments.Andrew Sullivan: It’s all getting a little hysterical (Ann Coulter = Michael Moore)
Posted on 07/05/2003 4:28:35 PM PDT by Pokey78
Few would dispute that shes a babe. Lanky, skinny, with long blonde hair tumbling down to her breasts, Ann Coulter has been photographed in a shiny black latex dress. Shes whip-sharp in public debates, has done a fair amount of homework and has made a lot of the right enemies.
If much of modern American conservatism has made headway because of its media savvy, compelling personalities and shameless provocation, then Coulter deserves some pride of place in its vanguard.
But that, of course, is also the problem. In the ever-competitive marketplace of political ideas in a world of blogs and talk radio and cable news it is increasingly hard to stand out. Coulters answer to that dilemma is twofold: look amazing and ratchet up the rhetoric against the left until it has the subtlety and nuance of a car alarm. The left, in turn, has learnt the lesson, which is why the attack dog Michael Moore has done so well.
In fact, its worth thinking of Coulter as a kind of inverse Moore: whereas hes ugly and ill-kempt, shes glamorous and impeccably turned out. (Her web page, anncoulter.org, has a gallery of sexy images.) But what they have in common is more significant: a hysterical hatred of their political opponents and an ability to say anything to advance their causes (and extremely lucrative careers).
Coulters modus operandi is rhetorical extremity. She was fired from the conservative National Review magazine when, in the wake of 9/11, she urged the invasion of all Muslim nations and the forcible conversion of their citizens to Christianity.
As Brendan Nyhan, the media critic, has documented, her flights of fancy go back a long way. No punches are pulled. Ted Kennedy is an adulterous drunk. President Clinton had crack pipes on the White House Christmas tree. You get the idea.
In Coulters world there are two types of people: conservatives and liberals. These are not groups of people with competing ideas. They are the repositories of good and evil. There are no distinctions among conservatives or among liberals. To admit the complexity of political discourse would immediately require Coulter to think, explain, argue. But why bother when you can earn millions by being insulting? Here are a few comments about liberals that Coulter has deployed over the years: Liberals are fanatical liars. Liberals are devoted to class warfare, ethnic hatred and intolerance. Liberals hate democracy because democracy requires persuasion and compromise rather than brute political force.
Some of this is obvious hyperbole designed for a partisan audience. Some of it could be explained as good, dirty fun. It was this formula that gained her enormous sales for her last book, Slander, which detailed, in sometimes hilarious prose, the liberal bias in much of the American media.
Her latest tome ups the ante even further. If biased liberal editors are busy slandering conservatives, liberals more generally are dedicated to the subversion of their own country. They are guilty of yes treason.
A few nuggets: As a rule of thumb, Democrats opposed anything opposed by their cherished Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did not like the idea of a militarily strong America. Neither did the Democrats! Earlier in the same vein: Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of Americas self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant.
And then: The myth of McCarthyism is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times. Liberals are fanatical liars, then as now. The portrayal of Senator Joe McCarthy as a wild-eyed demagogue destroying innocent lives is sheer liberal hobgoblinism. Liberals werent hiding under the bed during the McCarthy era. They were systematically undermining the nations ability to defend itself, while waging a bellicose campaign of lies to blacken McCarthys name.
Coulter does not seek to complicate her view of liberals with any serious treatment of the many Democrats and liberals who were ferociously anti-communist. Scoop Jackson? Harry Truman? John F Kennedy? Lyndon Vietnam Johnson? She doesnt substantively deal with those Democrats today from Senator Joe Lieberman to The New Republic magazine who were anti-Saddam before many Republicans were.
She is absolutely right to insist that many on the left are in denial about the complicity of some Americans in Soviet evil, the guilt of true traitors such as Alger Hiss or the Rosenbergs, who helped Stalin and his heirs in their murderous pursuits.
Part of the frustration of reading Coulter is that her basic causes are the right ones: the American media truly is biased to the left; some liberals and Democrats were bona fide traitors during the cold war; many on the far left today are essentially anti-American and hope for the defeat of their country in foreign wars.
But by making huge and sweeping generalisations about all liberals, Coulter undermines her own arguments and comes close to making them meaningless. If you condemn good and bad liberals alike, how can you be trusted to make any moral distinctions of any kind? And by defending the tactics of McCarthy, she actually plays directly into the hands of the left.
What she wont concede is that it is possible to be clear-headed about the role that some liberals and Democrats played in supporting the Soviet Union, while reviling the kind of tactics that McCarthy used.
In fact, when liberals taunt conservatives with being McCarthyites, conservatives now have to concede that some of their allies, namely Coulter, obviously are McCarthyites and proud of it.
Ron Radosh, one of the most reputable scholars who has studied the McCarthy era in great detail, is appalled at the damage Coulter has done to the work he and many others have painstakingly done over the years.
I am furious and upset about her book, he told me last week. I am reading it she uses my stuff, Harvey Klehr and John Haynes, Allen Weinstein etc, to distort what we actually say and to make ludicrous and historically incorrect arguments.
You might recall my lengthy and negative review in The New Republic a few years ago of (Arthur) Hermans book on McCarthy; well, she is 10 times worse than Herman. At least he tried to use bona fide historical methods of research and argument.
Radosh has endured ostracism and abuse for insisting that many of McCarthys victims were indeed communist spies or agents. But he draws the line at Coulters crude and inflammatory defence of McCarthy: I think it is important that those who are considered critics of left/liberalism dont stop using our critical faculties when self-proclaimed conservatives start producing crap.
Amen. American politics has been badly damaged by the scruple-free tactics of those like Moore and Coulter. In some ways, of course, these shameless hucksters of ideological hate deserve each other. But America surely deserves better.
? Not sure I follow you?
Lyndon Johnson was not anti -communist. Lyndon was pro-Johnson. If that meant sending American soldiers into So. Vietnam to prop up the Saigon government until after the 1968 election and his reelection, he would do it. It didn't matter if the enemy was commie or not. "Charlie" was, simply, Lyndon's political enemy. Nothing more. (sigh)
Scoop Jackson is anything but representative of the Democrat party today or even in his own day. He was a maverick in their ranks and in no reasonable sense represented anything in their mainstream. Truman did fight the commies fairly consistently - not great or all out, but about as good as one could expect from a Dem and certainly better than his old Soviet-cuddling boss Franklin Roosevelt. The same goes for Kennedy who did stand up to the commies (cuban missile crisis), one of the few Dem supporters of McCarthy, and was eventually killed by a communist (Oswald) or many communists (Castro's minions), depending on if you take the standard version or the conspiracy fringe version.
LBJ an anti-communist? Not a chance. He fought another faction of communism abroad while doing his best to install his own version here at home. It was called the Great Society.
In other words, Sullivan's attempted rebuttal does nothing more than prove Coulter's rule by citing the few exceptions (some of them genuine exceptions and some anything but).
I find it amazing that so many folks take any of them so seriously. ;-)
Coulters modus operandi is rhetorical extremity...Well, sort of.
But her style was BETTER described HERE:
[Coulter] 'I love to pick fights with liberals'
Electronic Telegraph ^ | 19 July, 2002 | Toby Harnden
Posted on 07/19/2002 4:40 AM PDT by brityank
'I love to pick fights with liberals'
Right-wing broadcaster Ann Coulter captured the belligerent mood of America after September 11.
Toby Harnden meets her in enemy territory
Believe what you read about Ann Coulter and you could be forgiven for wanting to skip a lunch date with her. Surf the web and you can take your pick - she is anything from a "Right-wing telebimbo", "America's favourite blonde neo-fascist" or "Ku Klux Coulter" to the "whore of babble on". She is also the "Queen of the Maneaters", a female friend warns me.
Coulter is not difficult to spot as she enters the chic La Goulue restaurant on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. She is rail-thin, wears a skirt so short that it would be better described as a small flannel, and leaves men staring in silent awe. "It's my total slutty look," she confides later.
Loud and proud:
'It's my total slutty look'
says Ann Coulter
It's a good thing I've got a tape recorder, she tells me breezily, because writers who take notes "always step on the punch line and make me sound like a pedestrian idiot".
Coulter is no idiot and few would describe her as pedestrian. With an Ivy League degree from Cornell, she went to law school before joining a corporate practice and working as legal counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Her book High Crimes and Misdemeanours became the definitive conservative case for impeaching President Bill Clinton and her syndicated columns gained a nationwide following.
She has also been a big hit on television since the Clinton scandals broke. Totally fearless, relentlessly combative and unwilling to brook any talk of mushy compromise, Miss Coulter is the ultimate pin-up for the militia crowd.
It all happened by accident, she says, happily. "It really was just God looking down and saying: 'We've got enough lawyers, I'm putting you on TV'."
Now she is sitting pretty at the top of the New York Times bestseller list with her second book, Slander, a devastating diatribe against the Left and all its works - the New York Times in particular.
Coulter's approach is not so much "take no prisoners" as "capture one's opponents, string them up with piano wire, machine-gun them until all movement has ceased and then fire a celebratory volley into the air..."
(I'm hoping you are vain enough to scan what is written about you here.)
Couldn't you have told us one place where Ms. Coulter got it wrong in her book if you are going to be so critical?
You quote some fool who does the same thing (fail to point out any inaccuracies) as if that were evidence that Coulter hasn't done her homework.
Surely you can do better.
Right because Dumbo Moore is too fat. Otherwise, they are both idiots who make idiotic statements that are unsupportable. Andrew is right. Ann is more attractive than Moore but nonetheless she is nut. She undercuts her own argument when she claims all Dems are traitors and all Dems are anti-American. Was Reagan a traitor during his years as a Dem. Was Jean Kirkpatrick a traitor? Was Strom Thurmond? Hell he was a Democrat longer than he was a Republican and he definitely was a Dem during the McCarthy period.
Sullivan's logical premise in that statement is a load of fallacious garbage unto itself. It is also indicative that he is unfamiliar with what Coulter wrote about McCarthy.
To start, Sullivan begins with the premise that McCarthy used the dirty and evil tactics that are popularly associated with his name and that therefore any praise of him is a defense of the indefensible.
The argument only functions if (1) we assume Sullivan's premise about McCarthy to be correct and (2) we assume that Coulter simply praised his name in spite of the tactics that are previously assumed. But as anyone who has actually read the book will tell you, Coulter does NOT simply praise McCarthy and in fact develops an argument as to why many of the assumptions contained in Sullivan's own premise are factually inaccurate.
She said we should invade nations that promote terrorism. She did not use the word 'forcible' when she said that we should convert Muslims to Christianity.
But go ahead and believe what you want to believe.
Was Jim Robinson evil when he was a democrat? Ronald Reagan? I need a delineation point. Have all democrats always been evil? Was there a cut-off point say, January 26, 1983 where any non evil democrats left the party? Please clarify.
...speaking of poorly written and tedious.
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