Yesterday, you'll remember, Ann Coulter, speaking about John Edwards, said the following vile, hateful words: "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I - so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards." In a well-crafted response, Howard Dean said, "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds. The American people want a serious, thoughtful debate of the issues. Republicans - including the Republican presidential candidates who shared the podium with Ann Coulter today - should denounce her hateful remarks."
So, to recap, one the one hand you've got a disgusting statement by someone - Coulter - with a track record of similar statements. And, on the other, the measured response of an individual - Dean - simply asking those GOP presidential hopefuls speaking at the same conference as Coulter to, in his words, denounce her hateful remarks. One problem, one I anticipated when I called on conscienceless conservative Nancy French - of, among other things, the Web site Evangelicals for Mitt - to say, without a shred of hesitation, that there is no place in the political world for comments like Coulter's, whose appearance after Romney's at CPAC, said Romney, was "a good thing". And that problem is this: Someone at Evangelicals for Mitt doesn't think what Coulter said was wrong.
Democrats were not the only denouncing Ms. Coulter. "The comments were wildly inappropriate," said Brian Jones, a spokesman for Senator John McCain, a Republican candidate for president who did not attend.
Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, said: "It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.
This is nonsense. Romney was just praising Coulter effusively at CPAC, and he hasn't taken back his praise. All he did was argue that her words in that particular instant were offensive. This is a non-apology. This is what Romney said right before Coulter called Edwards a 'faggot':
"I am happy to hear that after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh yeah!"
If Romney, or Giuliani, or any other major Republican were really doing anything but basking in the hatred and bigotry in the conservative leadership, they would pledge not to attend any more events where Coulter is speaking. Coulter is a big draw and wildly popular among right-wingers; denouncing her more extreme comments is a popular sport among Republicans, because it allows them to both hold mainstream appeal while basking in the overt racism and bigotry that she often displays.
Romney and Giuliani need to move beyond this, or they need to own it. And so far, it sounds to me like Romney still thinks that hearing from Coulter is a 'good thing'. I wonder if any reporter will actually find out if he still thinks that.
Edwards campaign manager
David Bonior responds, via email:
Did you hear about Anne Coulter's speech this afternoon attacking
John? A friend just forwarded me the video and it's one of the
worst moments in American politics I've seen.
I can't bring myself to even repeat her comments. Her shameless
display of bigotry is so outrageous you actually have to see for
yourself to believe it.
This is just a taste of the filth that the right-wing machine
is gearing up to throw at us. And now that it's begun, we have
a choice: Do we sit back, or do we fight back?
I say we fight. Help us raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash"
this week to show every would-be Republican mouthpiece that their
bigoted attacks will not intimidate this campaign.
Bigotry seems to me a strange choice. Is this really what's
at issue here the disparaging of someone for being homosexual? Coulter
probably would have called him a "salamander-head" or "potato-face" if it would have riled up the crowd as well.
RedState's Mike Krempasky kindly
stops by MyDD to challenge the idea that this strain of conservativism
is a monolithic herd -- he says of Coulter, "what
a waste of breath," and points to a post he made some
ninth months ago where he called her "despicable."
Hot Air's Bryan Preston says
Coulter was over the line, belittling "faggot" as
this year's "raghead." And over at the Corner, Kathryn
Jean Lopez says that this is just Ann
Coulter being Ann Coulter.
Precisely! The Ann Coulter that showed up CPAC was a known-quantity
ordered up to entertain the troops. She's exactly who might appeal
to the young CPAC-goer in 2007.
There's an opportunity here to move away from this language of "denouncing" and everyone running around after everyone
else to say they're sorry. Back in 1980, Ronald Reagan announced
his candidacy with a "states' rights" speech in Philadelphia,
Mississippi -- where three civil rights workers had been killed
in 1964. Why? One reading is that Reagan was personally so deeply
racist that he would celebrate the murders of those working for
racial justice. Seems more likely to me his motivation was more
likely this -- he just thought it would work. It would propel his
campaign and get him votes.
Was it important that Reagan apologize? Or was it a chance to spotlight
just what some people are willing to do to win an election?
Update [2007-3-3 11:35:31 by Nancy Scola]: I attributed a Hot Air post to Michelle Malkin when it was in fact the work of her editor Bryan Preston. I regret the error.
Update [2007-3-3 12:55:50 by Jerome Armstrong]: Mitt Romney and Ann Coulter at CPAC
Friday afternoon, Republican mouthpiece Ann Coulter brought hate-speech politics to a new low.
This video shows Coulter addressing the American Conservative Union's Political Action Conference, March, 2, 2007 in Washington, D.C.
We must show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire.
Can you help us raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" this week to keep this campaign charging ahead and fight back against the politics of bigotry?
They're going to use her to raise money. They call her a bigot. Too bad they didn't point out her Adam's Apple.
makes a whole lot of sense that Mitt Romney would
sing the praises of Ann Coulter. Romney is clearly wants to
prove he's credible to a certain strain of conservativism in which
Coulter is something of a rock star. She's the entertainment at
CPAC -- an event that a conservative DC media guy would call the
-- for a reason. There may be an effort in some circles to paint
Coulter as some sort of outlier, but in actual fact she's a node
on a network that forms the backbone of American conservativism.
I just whipped this up, but consider how at all starts to fit together.
Coulter's first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case
Against Bill Clinton, was published by Regnery,
a D.C. based conservative publishing house. Top Regnery authors
include Michelle Malkin, former RNC chair Haley Barbour, and Newt
Gingrich. Eagle Publishing
is Regnery's parent company. Eagle also owns Human
Events, a conservative newspaper that's been kicking around
in 1944. It was reportedly Ronald Reagan's favorite read. Of Human
Events top selling
points is that it's "the periodical in which the peerless
Ann Coulter, author of the smash bestseller, Godless, drives
multicultural defeatists up the wall." As of two months ago,
Eagle also now
owns RedState, a website created in in
sort of the reverse image of Daily Kos. Eagle Publishing and its
various properties share other talent. Erick Erickson, for example,
is both the CEO of RedState and a featured writer for Human
Domenech helped to run RedState and was also an editor at Regnery.
Then there's Coulter's weekly column, which runs on Townhall.com.
Townhall.com was launched by the Heritage
Foundation, which is, of course, conservatism's most prominent
and respected think tank. So on and so forth. This is tip of the
iceberg stuff, as anyone who has studied the conservative
Ann Coulter may well now be a rogue
elephant -- you know, the ones who are shunned for their anti-social
behavior and eventually lose their minds? But she comes, no doubt,
from this conservative herd.