Of all the political commentators out there, I think Ann Coulter and her politics of hate best illustrate why I’ve come to hate politics.
I don’t dislike Coulter because she’s conservative. There are many conservative voices out there that I admire. I dislike her because everything that comes from her mouth is coated in vitriol. One example that has always stood out is this interview she did with self-proclaimed right-wing blogger John Hawkins. Some could argue that Coulter and Hawkins were just having a lighthearted discussion that was meant as humor. But when she suggests it would have been fine for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to walk into the New York Times building and blow up all the reporters and editors, I have trouble seeing what’s funny:
John Hawkins: You’ve caught a lot of heat for a couple of quotes you made. In your column three days after 9/11, you said, “We know who the homicidal maniacs are.They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” You also said in an interview with the New York Observer, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.” Do you stand by those quotes or do you think that perhaps you should have phrased them differently?
Ann Coulter: Ozzy Osbourne has his bats, and I have that darn “convert them to Christianity” quote. (Thank you for giving the full quote. I have the touch, don’t I?) Some may not like what I said, but I’m still waiting to hear a better suggestion.
RE: McVeigh quote. Of course I regret it. I should have added, “after everyone had left the building except the editors and reporters.”
In her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism, she has this to say about some of the 9/11 widows:
These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis. These self-obsessed women seemed genuinely unaware that 9/11 was an attack on our nation and acted as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them. … I’ve never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much. …
The Democrat ratpack gals endorsed John Kerry for president … cutting campaign commercials. … How do we know their husbands weren’t planning to divorce these harpies? Now that their shelf life is dwindling, they’d better hurry up and appear in Playboy.
Her basic message is always that people with liberal views are godless and unpatriotic. Looking at it from my own corner of the universe, I know many liberal-leaning people who go to Church every Sunday and proudly fly the American flag from their homes. I also know a lot of conservatives who think religion is a bunch of hooey and don’t show much patriotism.
It’s a shame Coulter has to use hateful and derogatory rhetoric the way she does, because I do think there’s a genuine conservative intellectual buried in there.
I generally agree with her when she says liberals were wrong to think Ronald Reagan crazy for ditching détente and seeking to run the Soviet Union into the ground. In hindsight, we can see that Reagan forced the Soviets into a military spending game they couldn’t win, and they got buried beneath the rubble of an economy that rotted from the inside out because of their rigid communist system.
I also think it’s daft to ban all forms of religious expression from public schools. I think kids should be learning about all religions. When they decide what to believe in adulthood, they have some real reference points to draw from. Of course, Coulter would not approve of including Muslims in that mix because, as she has said, all terrorists are Muslims.
Some of you will read this and think I’m being one-sided, but the fact is that I don’t think Coulter represents everything wrong with the Republican party. I think she represents everything wrong with the political discourse in general.
In a future post, I’ll write about a liberal commentator who poisons the political well as the conservative Coulter does, because unlike FOX News — and MSNBC and CNN, for that matter — I believe in doing things the fair and balanced way.