Why Ann Coulter Rocks

From the Foreword to her Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2002), by Rush Limbaugh, reviewing the reception of Coulter's book in the liberal media:
Over on MSNBC, the soon-to-be-canceled Phil Donahue also displayed the left's terrific sense of humor.  In Slander, Coulter writes, "Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do.  If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."  Donahue incisively summarized Coulter's point for his audience by saying, "If a liberal has indoor plumbing, he's a hypocrite."

Donahue's interview took a nasty turn when--in utter seriousness--he asked Coulter to respond to the accusation that she was an anti-Semite.

DONAHUE: Let me just tell you.  He accuses you, among other things, of being an anti-Semite.

COULTER: Maybe that will help me with the Muslims.

DONAHUE:  He says that you left New York because you wanted to get away from all these Jews.  Did you say that?

COULTER:  I find this very interesting, that I write a book saying liberals won't argue about things, instead what they do is call conservatives names.  And I come on your show and all you're doing is calling me names.

DONAHUE: No, I'm not calling you.  I'm saying that this is...

COULTER:  Right, you're quoting other people who called me names.
I want to have the wit to make ripostes like that.  Maybe after I've consciously practiced being conservative for a bit longer....


  1. So, what are your thoughts on her recent use of the word "retard"?

  2. I would want to know the full context in which she used it. Coulter is not one to pull her punches, but in all of her books that I have read (which is verging on most of them), she uses insult to attack the powerful, not the disadvantaged. She also always has a file of examples in which the very same insults were used against conservatives without anyone making a peep in protest. In the book I am reading now (Treason) she gives a near tear-jerking account of the way in which Democratic senators baited Joe McCarthy for hiring homosexuals. Not the McCarthy you would expect, given the use the press has made of him to this day.

  3. Right after the debate, she tweeted "I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard". She later tweeted "Obama: "Stage 3 Romneysia" - because cancer references are HILARIOUS. If he's 'the smartest guy in the room' it must be one retarded room." When asked to comment on the tweets later, she is reported to have said, "The only people who will be offended are too retarded to understand it".

    The only problem I really have is with that last comment. Yes, using retard the way she did offends me, but big deal. The real problem for me is her dismissal of the community that was offended by it for non-political reasons. I assume that when she says "the only people" the people she's talking about are liberals. Fine. Calling liberals retarded is, in my opinion, fair game for a pundit like Ann Coulter.

    But in being dismissive that way of everyone, not just the politicos, she's being willfully ignorant. Using retard colloquially? fine. Whatever. Making all offense political? less so. There are people who, until very, very recently, *were* considered and labeled "retarded" by the medical community who were offended by her statement. And she just said that it's because they *are* that way that they're offended. She just called people who have a mental handicap, if they were offended by her use of the word "retard", by a really unkind name for their handicap. That's why I have a problem with the last of her comments.

  4. I don't know her personally of course, so it is difficult for me to speculate why she responded to the comments on the original tweets the way that she did, but nothing in her books suggests to me that she would be purposefully insulting to the mentally handicapped in the way that you imply. She has zero tolerance with the whining of the liberal media establishment, which I presume was intended as the audience for her response. I agree, however, that she might have worded her riposte somewhat better, which makes me sad, given what I said in my original post. It is hard having one's heroines make mistakes, too. Particularly when it makes it even less likely that they will be heard for what they are really trying to say. Modern political discourse is a minefield, where even entirely innocent comments about binders can become cause for feeling insulted. What do you think about President Obama's coinage "Romneysia"? Isn't this using a debilitating condition to score political points, too?

  5. Oh, absolutely. The two political parties are two sides of the same coin, and use language in equally problematic ways. But having just seen Ann Coulter make that sort of riposte, to seeing you praise her wit...it made me want to speak up - because I would, in my own quiet way, claim you as one of my heroes.

  6. I am honored--and thankful that you spoke up. I hope that you are emboldened to have a look at what Coulter says in her books, not just in her tweets. I am reading Treason right now and having to revise my whole sense of American history since World War II. If nothing else, she gives her readers lots to think about.

  7. I've actually read a fair number of Coulter's books, and I'd never say she wasn't worth reading.

  8. I think I have finally figured out what bothers me about all the Ann Coulter posts. It is not just that I hold a different political viewpoint than she does or you now do. I think I am in some ways liberal and in other ways conservative. What bothers me is that I cannot take history written as polemic very seriously as history--whether the polemic is conservative or liberal. I have spent too much time studying the competing ways different religious and political factions try to claim and use what they identify as the "true" version of ecclesiastical history--just to take one instance--not to be suspicious of hard left or hard right narratives of American history.

  9. Have you read Peter Novick's That Noble Dream? That might give you a different perspective on how "objective" it is ever possible to be in writing history. No historian writes without bias, and some of the most biased work has been presented (and received) as "straight" history. Coulter is at least entirely up front about what her bias is. The historians (and journalists) with whom she is arguing typically have not.


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