Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ann Coulter, John Edwards, and CPAC

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The firestorm over Ann Coulter's calling John Edwards a "faggot" at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) continues. Earlier today, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney -- all of whom are Republican presidential candidates -- condemned Coulter's remarks. Ed Morrissey points out that Romney, in particular, had to distance himself from Coulter's homophobic slur because she announced her probable support for his candidacy at the conference.

Ed also has the strongest criticism of Coulter I've seen from the right. In an update to his initial comments, Ed writes:

Since this is likely going to remain a hot topic today, let me add a few more thoughts in response to the points raised [by his readers].

First, criticizing Coulter's use of the word "faggot" is not a suppression of free speech; it is an exercise of free speech. We're not advocating her arrest for using the word. We're just saying it was stupid, unnecessary, and hateful. This is no different than Melissa McEwan calling Christians "Christofascist Godbags" and Amanda Marcotte's incendiary hate speech about Catholics. We howled about that when John Edwards hired them; why do we defend Coulter's appearance at CPAC?

Also, if CPAC continues to invite Coulter to these events, then unfortunately, these little rhetorical bombs reflect on conservatives. We just spent most of the week criticizing John McCain for not meeting the conservative base at CPAC. If Coulter said this in an interview on her own, it would not have reflected on CPAC or conservatives but on herself. Yesterday, though, she used our platform for that little nugget of vileness -- and some in the audience cheered her for it. Conclusions can reasonably be drawn from that.

I had to laugh when someone noted the use of the word "fag" and "faggot" in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the song "Money For Nothing". Yes, they're there, but we're not supposed to think highly of the people that use them. In the song, the "voice" is a whiny, shallow man (a physical laborer, for a bit of class warfare from Dire Straits) who thinks that musicians do nothing all day long. It's a critique, not a celebration, of that voice, from a musician obviously tired of hearing those comments from naysayers. In Fast Times, it's used for a realistic view of how teenage boys ridicule anything different. In fact, both of these comparisons show one of the problems with Coulter: she's juvenile. She's arguing at the level of a thirteen-year-old.

A few commenters compared "faggot" to the N-word, saying that gays use it as a term of endearment and then get hypocritically offended when straights use it to describe them. I'm not familiar with that level of usage, but let's say it's true. If Ann Coulter got up and desceribed Barack Obama as a "n----r" as part of a joke at an event like CPAC, would you think that reflected well on conservatives? Uh, no.

Bottom line: Coulter's remark was indefensible. She had the right to say it, but that doesn't make her right for saying it, and she deserves every bit of criticism she's getting.

Plenty of conservative bloggers have said, with varying degrees of vehemence, that Coulter should not have said what she did -- but most have placed their remarks within a context of loud whining about the left's supposed pettiness and hypocrisy in piling on her.

Sister Toldjah is a prime example: She offers a perfunctory one-sentence critique of Coulter (actually just a reference to past critiques); then spends the next 700-plus words pillorying liberal bloggers, in one of the most bitter, defensive posts on the subject I've seen:

My feelings on Ann Coulter are well known among my readers, so knowing how I feel about AC should give people a stong [sic] indication about how I feel about her latest verbal bomb thrower. After reading the reactions of many other rightie blogs in the blogosphere over the comment, I know I’m not alone.

What I want to focus on is the Nutroots hypocritical foaming at the mouth outrage over her remarks (you can see some of the links on that here) and as usual calling for the right en masse to condemn her. Even DNC Chair Howard Dean has gotten in on the act.

These are some of the same people who went ballistic when John Edwards now-former bloggers’ extremely nasty and acerbic comments they posted at their blogs were plastered at several well-known sites for all to see, to the point there were calls from Catholic groups for Edwards to fire them. He lamely did not, after accepting their ‘non-apology apology’ for the comments, but a few days later both bloggers resigned, citing their unwillingness to have their every little word scrutinized (aww - it’s tough being in the big time, isn’t it?). Now, I’m sure you all remember how the Nutroots cheered like mad dogs when Edwards decided he wasn’t going to let them go. It was a ‘victory for free speech!’ they cried, and a ’smack down of the right and religious fanatics!’

In other words, the cries of condemnation for the remarks of Edwards’ former bloggers from their own website were lone voices in the wilderness. The people complaining the most about their comments were bloggers on the right, and Catholic groups. The left was busy wailing about how two of their favorite Nutroots bloggers were having their ‘free speech rights’ trampled on. Strangely, the same rule doesn’t apply to Coulter as far as they are concerned. Marcotte, and others, should be allowed to go on with their hateful tirades without being criticized, while Coulter’s remarks deserve no less than BLANKET CONDEMNATION.

What was the reaction from the Nutroots over Daily Kos/Huffington Post hero Mike Stark’s making it his life’s mission to stalk prominent conservatives every chance he gets? OUTRAGE that one of his more violent episodes was stopped midstream by alert Senator Allen staffers. Here were some examples of the Nutroots response to the tackling of Stark by those staffers:

Think Progress posted this little tidbit in their “Corrupt Establishment” section:

Stark is not, as CNN reported, a “protester.” He is a constituent who was trying to ask Allen a question[.]

TPM Cafe:

So I just had a longer interview with Mike Stark, the man who was thrown to the ground today by staffers for Senator George Allen for asking their boss a couple of questions.

Stark the stalker is so highly looked upon by the left that he was hired by an Air America radio show to be a reporter on their show.

Why bring up old Stark incidents now? Because the same day Ann Coulter made her condemnation-worthy remarks that the left are calling for blood over, Mike Stark the stalker was busy doing what he does best, and this time it was in a picture with Michelle Malkin. Now, Allah reports that Michelle didn’t know who he was at the time, but all the same, it’s creepy and scary the way that this fanatic operates. Now, is the reaction from the left to Stark’s latest stalking incident anywhere close to their flipping out over Coulter’s comments? Why no.

Simply put, there’s no reaction whatsover. But I’d bet that very soon, we’ll see posts from lefty bloggers complimenting Mike on how “clever” he was to even get into CPAC in the first place.

This is yet another legendary example of the far left’s patented ability to stand out as the absolute biggest hypocrites on the planet by once again not practicing what they preach. The right condemns their own, and condemns the left when they get out of line, but the left sees fit only to condemn the right, while routinely praising stalkers and potty mouthed bloggers on their side.

That is why when the left starts their outrage campaigns by calling for “the right” to condemn another conservative, I just chuckle. For those of you on the left who think you’ve scored a victory because so many ‘rightie bloggers’ have supposedly ‘caved’ to your demands for condemnation of Coulter’s comments, you need to take a cold shower, because the condemnation had nothing to do with your stupid demands and everything to do with the right holding their own side accountable for outrageous remarks/actions, something you guys have demonstrated once again you don’t have the ability, willingness, nor honesty to do. Lying hypocrites.

Maha has a different take; she thinks Coulter is taking more heat from the right than she did in the past:

A couple of days ago the righties were congratulating themselves for how mild of speech they are compared to us foul-mouthed lefties, after this fella determined that lefties use dirty words a whole lot more than righties. And then Ann Coulter jumped in with an over-the-top comment about John Edwards being a “faggot” (huh?), and now they are torn between denouncing and defending her.

The funny thing is, a whole lot of them are denouncing her. I do believe some (probably not all) of those denouncing her today are the same people who winked and grinned in the past when Coulter wished death and violence on just about everyone on the planet.

This may mean the Right has had a little bit of a consciousness shift lately. A few short years ago, I clearly remember, many rightie bloggers flung profanity-laced ad hominems with reckless abandon in all directions and didn’t give a thought to the consequences. I’d argue that rightie bloggers used to be at least as randy with the naughty words as lefties are. When I was researching Blogging America (late 2003-early 2004) it struck me that language on most of the rightie blogs I stumbled on was, on the whole, more foul than that of my brothers and sisters of the Left. This was an impression, not a scientific survey, and taken from a random sample of both high- and low-traffic blogs. But I saw what I saw. These days you have to know where to look to find a foul-mouthed rightie blogger. At some point, I postulate, rightie bloggers began to police themselves pretty stringently. So while they still spread hate and ignorance, they do it with cleaner language. ...

Barbara's illustrative link in her sentence, "The funny thing is, a whole lot of them are denouncing her," is to Ed Morrissey. But Ed is unusual among right-wing bloggers, as I noted above -- and it's not just in this instance. Although Ed's political views are as right-wing as they come, his sense of fairness is much more highly developed than most others on his side of the blogosphere. Ed is a genuinely decent, kind man (to the extent I can glean such qualities from his writing). The thing about Ed is, though it's uncommon for him to be offended or outraged by the same things I am offended or outraged about, when he does criticize a fellow conservative, he does not get defensive or make excuses. If you take a look at the reaction among right-wing bloggers to Ann Coulter's "faggot" remark, I think you'll see that the bulk of it is of the "Yes, but..." variety.

One final point: Michelle Malkin made a point of saying that Coulter got only "a smattering of laughter" for calling John Edwards a "faggot." That is untrue, and it's so easy to verify that you really have to wonder what value Malkin imagined there was in lying. There was a brief moment before the applause began, probably because the audience was startled by what Coulter had said, but then people started clapping, and the applause built -- accompanied by loud cheering, which became positively thunderous when Coulter said, "... so I -- so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards," and immediately went to questions.

The video is here. Judge for yourself.

Exit quote from Andrew Sullivan:

... The big passion at CPAC is between Brownback and Romney, with some love for Hunter and Tancredo. That's the base. It's a party that wants nothing to do with someone like me. All I heard and saw was loathing: loathing of Muslims, of "illegals," of gays, of liberals, of McCain. The most painful thing for me was the sight of so many young people growing up believing that this is conservatism. I feel like an old-style Democrat in 1968.

1 comment:

libhom said...

Ann Coulter's comments were cheered and aplauded by the attendees. (I've heard the audio, so I can't be fooled by Michele Malkin et. al.)

The phony condemnations by rightists who have promoted the very value system behind Coulter's comments are hypocritical.

Sullivan's comments were self-serving and deceptive. He knows damn well that the far right movement which he often supports has racism, homophobia, and Christian supremacy as some of its core values. He is pretending to be wounded by the expression of an ideology he has worked far too hard to promote.