I watched snippets of the Conservative Action Conference that took place a few days ago. It's where Ann Coulter was applauded for calling John Edwards "faggot." I don't know why C-SPAN covered such an event but I'm glad it did, because everyone in America should see what the conservatives are talking about when they get together. All their presidential candidates attended and spoke at this CPAC. Of course, there are many shades of conservatism and GOPers, but, really, does that rhetoric (and advocated policies) represent the majority of the right wing and its voters?
As usually, the straw man--the biased liberal media that ..dominates everything--got a beating at this conference, but you should hear what the conservatives' brightest stars have been saying. Those views aren't limited to a private conference, but are peddled daily on talk radio (where conservatives dominate), mainstream radio and TV, cable channels, and newspapers.
Actually, I do want to see the progressives exposing more of the garbage spewed by icons of the right, like Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, just to name a handful. Any public official, any candidate, any aspirant for elective office who shares these views must be exposed and must be made accountable. Why, we should give such talk more exposure, take it outside their conservative enclaves and present it to the rest of the country. Let's see whether such views are indeed accepted by most Americans.
I was very disgusted by Ann Coulter's remarks at CPAC. I think it is time to let her sponsors know that we are not happy with their support of a hate-monger like Coulter. Contact the sponsors of her speech:
CPAC Phone: (800) 752-4391. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and National Center for Public Policy Research: (202) 543-4110/ Fax: (202) 543-5975/e-mail: email@example.com
morning comes word that every Republican east and west of the
Mississipi is appalled -- appalled! -- that Ann Coulter would stoop
to slurring a Democratic presidential candidate. As it turns out, none of them
had ever heard Ms. Coulter open her mouth before. This explains
how they were blissfully unaware of such Coulterian
wit and wisdom as 2005's "[Bill Clinton] was a very good
rapist," 2004's description of one of the tenets of Islam as "'kill
everyone who doesn't smell bad," 2002's "my only regret
with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times
building," and from the highly productive year of 2001: "we
should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them
to Christianity" and "the presumption of innocence only
means you don't go right to jail." On, and also from that year,
her take on the legacy of school desegregation: "illiterate
students knifing one another between acts of sodomy in the stairwell."
So on and so forth.
Being a provocative, cutting, political comic is one thing. Being
an nondoctrinaire political thinker another. Both are things Ann Coulter is not. She's a bully, has been for years, and is
egged-on in her bullydom because her shtick appeals to a certain
element in American conservatism. It's what made her one of the stars
of CPAC. So all these apologies and condemnations? A bit empty.
After the jump, the blast from the past -- the horrible, incredibly
offensive words from Whoopi Goldberg in 2004 that outraged the White House and got her dropped
as a SlimFast spokesperson:
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