In the wake of Monday night’s foreign policy debate, conservative commentator and provocateur Ann Coulter revealed just how ignorant she is (not that it took much work) when she referred to president Obama as a â€śretardâ€ť in a universally maligned tweet.
Political correctness aside, Coulter’s comment not only reflects her profound disrespect for the office of the president, but it shows a complete lack of empathy for the millions of mentally disabled Americansâ€”including one who publicly scolded herâ€”who find the term offensive. But really, what do you expect from someone who has praised Donald Trump as being good for the Republican Party?
Now, I’ll admit I don’t spend too much time thinking about Ann Coulter, nor have I read any of her books. I fall well outside her target demographic, and I kind of like it there.
But when I found out that she would be in Philadelphia Thursday night promoting her new book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama, at an event at the National Constitution Center sponsored by Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, I simply couldn’t resist the temptation to see what all the fuss is about.Â To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was more intrigued to hear what kind of garbage Coulter was going to spew or see exactly what type of person pays $35 for the privilege of eating it.
For those who may be unfamiliar with her, Ann Coulter is the bĂŞte noire of the feminist right; a media personality, author and all-around rabble-rouser, she relishes stirring up partisan controversy of the most virulent kind, mostly because it sells books, but also, I suspect, because she thrives on the attention.
To that end, she has called liberals heathens, referred to Arabs as â€ścamel-riding nomads,â€ť made light of parents who disown their gay children, and suggested that the appropriate U.S. response to 9/11 would have been to â€śinvade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianityâ€ťâ€”without ever bothering to explain exactly who â€śtheyâ€ť are.
And if that’s not enough, she has done it all while building a truly impressive dossier of fudged facts.
People either love her or hate her.
After a standing ovation from a large and almost exclusively white audience, Coulter jumped in with both feet, opening the evening by warning us that if Obama wins a second term and the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, â€śit’s lights out for America.â€ť Really Ann? That bad, huh?
What followed was a Vaudevillesque hour-long conversation between Coulter and conservative radio host Chris Stigall that was riddled with cheeky, below-the-belt one-liners targeting President Obama (including a several-minutes-long discussion of the President’s use of the word â€śbullshitterâ€ť in an interview with Rolling Stone), Vice President Joe Biden, Chris Matthews, MSNBC, The New York Times, CNN, and just about any other person or organization that falls within her exceedingly broad definition of “Liberal.” She took every opportunity to praise Mitt Romney, at one point referring to the candidate as â€śan intellectual Ward Cleaver,â€ť which she apparently meant as a compliment.
The banter eventually evolved into a discussion of her new book, in which Coulter accuses the Democratic Party of highjacking the issue of race and â€śusing and abusing black peopleâ€ť for political ends by exploiting â€śwhite guiltâ€ť to further an agenda that offers little of value to African Americans as a community.
According to Coulter:
â€śThe Obama candidacy allowed liberals to engage in self-righteousness about race and get a hardcore Leftie in the White House at the same time. In 2008, we were told the only way for the nation to move past race was to elect him as president. And 53 percent of voters fell for it. The 2012 Obama campaign is going to inspire the greatest racial guilt-mongering of all time.â€ť
As is common to right-wing polemicists, Coulter peppers her rhetoric with just enough truth to merit consideration. She points out, rightfully, that, historically, the Democratic Party was pro-segregationist, that the first black Senatorâ€”Hiram Rhodes Revelsâ€”was a elected as a Republican (he switched to the Democratic Party after leaving office), and that America suffers from a heightened sensitivity to race that sometimes crosses the line into hysteria. This is of course no secretâ€”nor is the fact that the media has a tendency to sensationalize issues of race.
But for the purpose of blatant self-promotion, Coulter drapes what could, under the right circumstances, be compelling, if not entirely convincing arguments in a string of increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories ranging from the assertion that liberalsâ€”including Senator Ted Kennedyâ€”helped pass the 1965 immigration act as part of a nefarious plan to bolster their voter base to claims that the Democratic Party is planning to trade condoms and pizza for votes in November (a claim that was repeated at least twice by audience members during the Q&A session that followed the talk).
I’d like to report that Ann Coulter is nothing more than a female version of Rush Limbaughâ€”loud, abrasive and unpolished. But she is not. And that’s what makes her scary. Coulter is intelligent, articulate, and most worrisome, she seems to believe everything she says. Fortunately, whatever fan base she has is already too far gone to matter.