Monday, March 05, 2007

Conservatives to CPAC: Please, No More Speaking Invitations for Coulter

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Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind has written an open letter to "CPAC sponsors and organizers" requesting that they refrain from inviting Ann Coulter to speak at CPAC again. He is asking that conservative bloggers sign the letter. As of this moment, 20 bloggers have done so, but Hackbarth says that he has received many more signatures which have still to be put up on his blog. The letter:

Conservatism treats humans as they are, as moral creatures possessing rational minds and capable of discerning right from wrong. There comes a time when we must speak out in the defense of the conservative movement, and make a stand for political civility. This is one of those times.

Ann Coulter used to serve the movement well. She was telegenic, intelligent, and witty. She was also fearless: saying provocative things to inspire deeper thought and cutting through the haze of competing information has its uses. But Coulter’s fearlessness has become an addiction to shock value. She draws attention to herself, rather than placing the spotlight on conservative ideas.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2006, Coulter referred to Iranians as “ragheads.” She is one of the most prominent women in the conservative movement; for her to employ such reckless language reinforces the stereotype that conservatives are racists.

At CPAC 2007 Coulter decided to turn up the volume by referring to John Edwards, a former U.S. Senator and current Presidential candidate, as a “faggot.” Such offensive language–and the cavalier attitude that lies behind it–is intolerable to us. It may be tolerated on liberal websites but not at the nation’s premier conservative gathering.

The legendary conservative thinker Richard Weaver wrote a book entitled Ideas Have Consequences. Rush Limbaugh has said again and again that “words mean things.” Both phrases apply to Coulter’s awful remarks.

Coulter’s vicious word choice tells the world she care little about the feelings of a large group that often feels marginalized and despised. Her word choice forces conservatives to waste time defending themselves against charges of homophobia rather than advancing conservative ideas.

Within a day of Coulter’s remark John Edwards sent out a fundraising email that used Coulter’s words to raise money for his faltering campaign. She is helping those she claims to oppose. How does that advance any of the causes we hold dear?

Denouncing Coulter is not enough. After her “raghead” remark in 2006 she took some heat. Yet she did not grow and learn. We should have been more forceful. This year she used a gay slur. What is next? If Senator Barack Obama is the de facto Democratic Presidential nominee next year will Coulter feel free to use a racial slur? How does that help conservatism?

One of the points of CPAC is the opportunity it gives college students to meet other young conservatives and learn from our leaders. Unlike on their campuses—where they often feel alone—at CPAC they know they are part of a vibrant political movement. What example is set when one highlight of the conference is finding out what shocking phrase will emerge from Ann Coulter’s mouth? How can we teach young conservatives to fight for their principles with civility and respect when Ann Coulter is allowed to address the conference? Coulter’s invective is a sign of weak thinking and unprincipled politicking.

CPAC sponsors, the Age of Ann has passed. We, the undersigned, request that CPAC speaking invitations no longer be extended to Ann Coulter. Her words and attitude simply do too much damage.

Barbara O'Brien thinks it's the conservative movement that has changed, not Coulter:

Ann Coulter must’ve wondered what hit her. She trotted out her usual shtick at CPAC, and the Right when ballistic over it. ...
[...]
In fact, Coulter’s been spewing the same spew for years. What she said at CPAC was actually rather mild by Coulter standards. But as I wrote here, her problem is not that she has changed, but that the movement that supported her has changed. They are having to work harder at persuading themselves that they are morally superior to the Left, and lately this effort has taken the form of pretending they are more genteel of speech than we are.

Thus, the Coulter we have all known all these years is off-message.

Meanwhile, Coulter, apparently delighted by all the attention she is getting, today accused David Bonior, John Edwards' campaign manager, of "fronting for Arab terrorists":

Soon after [Coulter's slur against Edwards at CPAC], Bonior announced he was sending out a fund-raising letter seeking "Coulter Cash" to "show every would-be Republican mouthpiece that their bigoted attacks will not intimidate this campaign."

A copy of Bonior's letter was posted on Coulter's Web site, with this note underneath: "It's always good to divert Bonior from his principal pastime which is fronting for Arab terrorists."

Bonior was elected to Congress 13 times in Michigan, and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1968 to 1972.

Paula Zahn, did you by any chance catch John Edwards' first public response to being called a "faggot"? [Emphasis mine.]

"I think its important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention. ... I also believe that [it's] important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can't stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used."

I guess she didn't:

On the March 5 edition of CNN Newsroom, correspondent Rick Sanchez reported on right-wing pundit Ann Coulter's March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which she said she "can't really talk about" Democratic presidential hopeful and former Sen. John Edwards (NC) because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' " Sanchez said that "with her latest anti-liberal tirade, she took outrageous, some say downright hateful, to a new depth." Yet even as Sanchez reported Coulter's "downright hateful" comments, on-screen text throughout the piece promoted her scheduled March 5 appearance on CNN's Paula Zahn Now: "Ann Coulter on CNN's Paula Zahn, tonight 8 PM ET." The text appeared for 51 total seconds during the report, which lasted 2 minutes, 16 seconds.

1 comment:

Hairy Carrot said...

Ann Coulter has always scared me with that Manson-esque crazy look in her eyes. Good thing the family values and Christian right love her so much, because I don't think she's making new friends these days.