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Say “American conservative commentator” and what do you picture? A middle-aged guy in shirt and necktie, right? Speak of a “hardline Republican pundit” and what else comes to mind? Perhaps a big-mouth butterball like Rush Limbaugh? Or a Bible-bashing, burn-in-hell televangelist like Jerry Falwell? Or a gun-stroking, right-between-the-eyes cowboy a la Charlton Heston. Right? Chances are, you are not picturing a Manhattan blonde with dating worries and enough acid one-liners to blow the Manolo Blahniks off the Sex And The City gang. Chances are you are not picturing Ann Coulter: columnist, TV star, bestselling author, heroine for the ultra-right and hate figure for what remains of liberal America.
Whether in the jeans and cowboy boots she’s wearing today or one of the tiny skirts that accompanied her first TV appearances, she does not fit easily into Michael Moore’s pantheon of Stupid White Men. Yet those whom Moore despises, Coulter reveres. She worships George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld. Her only beef with the Republican party is that it’s not rightwing enough. Her grievance against the war on Iraq: that it missed out all the other Muslim countries that should be on America’s target list. As she wrote in a now-notorious column that appeared on September 13 2001: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
Ideas like that, fired out in print or in mile-a-minute speech on US cable television’s countless political talk shows, have helped make Coulter a phenomenon. Her last book, Slander: Liberal Lies About The American Right, topped the non-fiction bestsellers’ list throughout the summer of 2002. Her next book–Treason: Liberal Treachery From The Cold War To The War On Terrorism–is due out in June and its publishers expect similar glory. They’re unlikely to be disappointed. Coulter has it on good authority that President Bush has read Slander–or at least held it in his hands and looked at it (that, incidentally, is just the kind of cheap, liberal shot that Coulter would expect from a limp-wristed, European, communist rag like this one, as we shall soon discover). She is in constant demand on the US lecture circuit, packing college debating societies or playing to adoring audiences among the conservatives who have made her a star.
And, more satisfying for her than all the rest, she has succeeded in driving to fury US liberals, the people she baits for sport. Her enemies created an entire website in her honour—-replete with transcripts, photographs and talking points such as Coulter: Evil Or Just Stupid? They have shaken the thesaurus for damning soubriquets: Bitch Goddess, Conservative Fembot, Right Wing Telebimbo, Ku Klux Coulter. Eric Alterman, one of the sharpest writers on the American left, has just published a book that is, in large part, a response to Slander. It’s called What Liberal Media? and, on the website tied to the book, he devotes an entire appendix, “Fact-checking Ann Coulter”, seeking to establish that her work is riddled with inaccuracies, distortions and, yes, outright lies. When one Wisconsin newspaper, the Oshkosh Northwestern, ran three trial columns of Coulter’s, to see what readers made of her, she “generated more mail and calls than any other writer we’ve ever tested. People either love her or hate her. There is no middle Ann ground.”
Maybe there are plenty of provocative writers with a knack for arousing their readers to adoration or anger. Perhaps there are plenty of rightwing American pundits, filling their country’s radio and cable TV schedules with polemical bile. But Coulter is something special. Some of the magic works in print, but it’s on TV–and in person–that you get the full experience. She has a magnetism that sets her apart from the bulk of the talking-head industry: once you see her, it’s hard to look away. Suddenly you stop clicking the remote and just stay transfixed, staring at the TV–your jaw slack with disbelief at her sheer gall. The sweeping extremism of her statements coupled with her consuming self-confidence: it’s a compulsive combination.
Faced with a TV anchor, she doesn’t sit still or polite. She interrupts constantly, talking over her hosts, denying them the chance to butt into her own stream of argument. Some are reduced to blubbering jelly. Which makes the transcripts hilarious reading. One has ABC News’s Bob Woodruff jabbering, “Well, if it, if–if, in fact…” before Coulter pounces again. Another has her interviewer reduced to waving to catch her attention. “Ann, Ann, hello?” he calls desperately. Like a train wreck or a prize fight, something about Ann Coulter makes you sit up and look.
Her fame is such that she now has not one but two totems of modern celebrity. She has been plagued by stalkers (though the FBI urges her not to talk about it). And she has inspired her very own TV character. Viewers of The West Wing who know and have grown to love Ainsley, the clever, sassy, blond-haired Republican who made mincemeat of liberals on a talking-head show, should meet the real-life version. Her name is Ann Coulter.
The Coulter phenomenon is about more than just her: it’s rooted in a clutch of current trends in American life, some of which are only just dawning on outsiders. Whether it’s America’s shift to the right or the rise and rise of America’s motor-mouth, talk-show culture, or the popular rebellion against establishment media or the emergence of a new Republican babe-ocracy, Ann Coulter represents it all.
Especially the coarsening of the public conversation, say her liberal accusers. For while The West Wing’s Ainsley is eventually tamed, realising that even liberals and Democrats are human, Coulter remains outrageously contemptuous of anyone to the left of Bush. The TV networks, the French, the liberal wing of the Republican party–she hates them all, and says so with a vitriol that shocks an American media still rather prim in its habits. “That girl sure has some mouth on her,” says one Democrat strategist, shaking his head in quiet disbelief. “She’s an oral copulator for the Republican party.”
What he has in mind are Coulter apercus such as her 1998 observation that her dilemma during the Monica Lewinsky affair was whether Bill Clinton deserved impeachment or assassination. (“If we were a healthier country, that would have been the only question,” she tells me when we meet for lunch in Manhattan. “I praised the old British system when the punishment for an impeachment could be a hanging.”)
Coulter certainly has a talent for the incendiary remark, as if thought moves from brain to mouth without even a fractional delay. She does it in conversation, breezily suggesting al-Qaida made a mistake hitting New York. They should have struck at some other city, she says; if they had, the east coast elite would have been too lethargic to strike back. “If Chicago had been hit, I assure you New Yorkers would not have cared. What was stunning when New York was hit was how the rest of America rushed to New York’s defence. New Yorkers would have been like, ‘It’s tough for them; now let’s go back to our Calvin Klein fashion shows.’ ”
And she does it in print, a medium that would give her the chance to pause, reflect and hesitate–if she wanted to take it. But Coulter goes right in, cheerfully defaming Clinton in Slander as a rapist (“more likely than not,” is her only qualifier) and declaring that US liberals despise their own country. “Even Islamic terrorists don’t hate America like liberals do. They don’t have the energy. If they had that much energy, they’d have indoor plumbing by now.”
If this was all Coulter did, perhaps people wouldn’t get so angry with her. She’d just be a fairly shocking, political stand-up comic with a knack for the smart quip: Carrie Bradshaw with Donald Rumsfeld’s politics. (Like Carrie, Sex And The City’s fictional columnist, Coulter says she likes to write at home, dressed in her underwear.) But Coulter’s talent for outrage does not stick within accepted, entertainment industry, limits. She dares enter terrain most would consider radioactive. She talks race.
That swipe at Islamists and their bathrooms is a mere taster. In a column published less than 10 days after September 11, Coulter offered a list of tips to improve airport security. Here’s tip No 3: “We should require passports to fly domestically. Passports can be forged, but they can also be checked with the home country in case of any suspicious-looking swarthy males. It will be a minor hassle, but it’s better than national ID cards.”
“Swarthy males” got Coulter into trouble, eventually leading to her removal as a contributing editor to the website of the National Review. Since National Review is an unwavering organ of the American right, getting sacked from there for being too rightwing takes some doing. Coulter was too politically incorrect even for those who loathe political correctness. She is hardly repentant. (She slammed those who fired her as “just girly-boys”.) Instead she cheerfully goes right on offending. Not all Muslims are fanatics, she says. “It’s probably only 10% of them. But that’s still millions of people.” This is something we have to be honest about, she says. Hence her enthusiasm for what American liberals condemn as “racial profiling” in airport security. She thinks it’s “retarded” that guards can’t just frisk “people who look like the last two dozen terrorists” who hijacked planes on September 11, but instead “have to shake down white paraplegics in wheelchairs”.
But wouldn’t this “ethnic” approach have failed to catch the terrorist who, before 9/11, was the worst in US history? Wouldn’t a hunt for “swarthy males” have missed out the 1995 bomber of Oklahoma City, the Gulf war veteran and all-American white male, Timothy McVeigh? “Ah, the old Timothy McVeigh chestnut. A few years ago, a man was killed with a crossbow in Brooklyn. That doesn’t mean New York City cops should be focusing on the problem of crossbow violence.” In other words, McVeigh was an exception. Swarthy and Islamic is the rule.
Sharing a table at a New York bar with Coulter, watching the heads turn, you’re seized by the urge to test her. Is she for real? Is she making this stuff up, like a comedian doing a shtick? How far will she go? “What if the free market offered Muslim-free air travel?” I venture, by way of bait. Would that be a smart move? “This is my idea,” she says brightly, competitive as a child. “I’m way ahead of you. I think airlines ought to start advertising: ‘We have the most civil rights lawsuits brought against us by Arabs.’ ”
And how would Muslims travel? “They could use flying carpets,” she says, a grinning picture of charm. But worry not: lots of other swarthy ethnic groups would be subject to the Coulter plan for selective security. “You’d be searching a lot of Italians, Greeks and Jews.” Intensively frisking just 20% of travellers would make flying quicker for everyone, she says. “Have you seen these lines for getting through? Everyone suffers equally. Which presumably is the dream of the Guardian: modelled after their beloved Soviet Union.”
This is what talking to Ann Coulter is like: she flits from one rightwing prejudice to another, taking not so much as a gasp for oxygen. In a couple of sentences, she can play with overt racism, soften it with a line so provocative she could only be kidding, then round off the performance with a sweeping smear of the liberal enemy. Coulter has turned riffs like that into an art form.
This is the work Coulter was born to do. She grew up in well-to-do Connecticut, inside a family she describes as “upper middle class”. Conservative values were all around, whether personified by her stay-at-home mum or her Republican neighbours (though they were “moderate” Republicans, says Coulter now–a species inferior even to liberals). Argument coursed through the home, chiefly from her dad. “My father was a lawyer. He was a union buster,” she says with pride. He encouraged constant debate around the dinner table. Young Ann got used to forming an opinion and presenting her case.
Next stop was Cornell University, where Coulter arrived as a fully formed ultra-conservative. She picked fights with any campus liberal she could find, “with my roommates, with my professors, with everyone I bumped into”. Then came law at the University of Michigan where she set up a branch of the Federalist Society, a conservative lawyers’ network committed to overturning what they see as half a century of liberal domination of American law.
She did four years as a corporate lawyer, but her prime interest was always political: she moved to Washington, becoming a counsel to the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by two years in a public interest law firm. Before her 30th birthday, Coulter was well plugged into the rightwing fellowship of the law. Little wonder, then, that when a young southern woman called Paula Jones decided to sue President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment–claiming he had exposed himself to her, and demanded oral sex, while he was governor of Arkansas and Jones was, technically, his subordinate–the rightwing legal eagles who swooped down to represent her included Ann Coulter. The young conservative lawyer even lent a hand to the soon-to-be-notorious Linda Tripp.
Was this feminism, championing the victims of a male predator, or plain political partisanship: the chance to bring down a Democratic president? “Neither I nor anyone I know would have defended Clinton had he been a Republican,” Coulter says now. “I didn’t particularly mind his policies, largely because he didn’t have any–if you don’t count felony obstruction of justice.” In that case, surely she was just as troubled by the sexual harassment accusations hurled by Anita Hill at Clarence Thomas, George Bush Snr’s ultra-conservative nominee for the US Supreme Court in 1991? “I believe Thomas was telling the truth and Hill was lying. Also, as I recall, the gravamen of Hill’s–lying–accusations against Thomas was that he asked her out on a date. Meanwhile, in addition to Clinton’s smooth Cary Grant move–‘Kiss it’–with Paula Jones and a slew of ‘Jane Does’, he was credibly accused of raping Juanita Broaddrick, a charge he never denied.” Coulter is nothing if not a reliable partisan: she believes the worst Paula, Linda and Juanita have to tell–but is certain that Anita is a liar.
In the mid-1990s, Coulter added an extra line of work to her already burgeoning career in the legal wing of what Hillary Clinton would later call “the vast rightwing conspiracy”. A new cable TV network, MSNBC, was looking to take on CNN by having a daily panel of pundits ready to offer running commentary on any news as it broke. They would sit on stools for hours at a stretch and be known as “Friends of MSNBC”. The trouble was, Coulter recalls now, “They didn’t know any conservatives, so they had to call round.” (How typical of the liberal media.) She’d written a couple of articles, so she got recommended. The network gave her a screen test and knew they’d found a star. She was on air for MSNBC’s very first day. “They kept firing me, like every two months, they kept firing me for saying something conservative.” But TV loves a human firework, and she was never off screen for long.
Now 38 (though some say 40), she’s become a national figure with the power to divide. Conservatives are besotted with her. While we speak, a succession of white guys, probably in their 40s, break off from watching live sports on the bar’s wide-screen TV and come to pay homage. “I love you on Fox,” says one. “You’re unbelievable. I’m proud of you.” When sales of Slander leapt up one weekend in June, Coulter’s publishers were intrigued: had their author appeared on the Oprah Book Club without telling them? No, it was Father’s Day: people were buying Coulter for their dads.
What her fans can’t resist is the confidence, the political-correctness-be-damned certainty, the sheer balls of Ann Coulter. Even liberals can get swept along on the Coulter wave: instead of methodically taking her to task, point by forensic point, you find yourself gobsmacked into stunned silence by her brio. She’s difficult to interrupt and, if you do, trickier still not to sound like an earnest killjoy, a slave to PC who just doesn’t get the joke.
So you let a lot of it go, even when her views tend towards the obnoxious and her journalistic methods towards the pretty appalling. It’s not just the factual slips–she cites Bobby Kennedy’s assassin, Sirhan Sirhan, as an early example of Islamic terrorism, even though he was a Christian –but her willingness to make the most sweeping, generalised statements on the flimsiest of evidence. Of course, this is an occupational hazard in the opinion business, but Coulter is still an exceptional case. She sounds off about the Middle East plenty, but has never been there. She does the same about Islam, mocking those who describe it as a religion of peace. What is the source of her wisdom? It turns out she “had a Muslim boyfriend for a while”. (How would she have felt if he had been one of the men frisked at the airport, thanks to his racial profile? “Safe.”)
There’s some nutty logic, too. She has argued that the US press exhibits liberal bias because Republicans don’t have the wealth to own their own media outlets. One has only to glance at the business interests of the Bush cabinet–“The Oil and Gas Administration”, one anti-corruption activist called it–or the financial clout of the party’s core backers in, say, the pharmaceutical or tobacco industries, to want to laugh out loud at that claim. Indeed, the whole liberal media thesis is built on a foundation so shaky it can ignore, to name but two, Conrad Black’s empire and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The latter’s unashamedly right-leaning Fox network is changing the face of US TV news, while newspapers such as his New York Post are cheerleaders for the right.
Coulter’s selective blindness extends beyond America’s borders, too. We’re talking about Washington’s determination to spread democracy across the planet when I mention the credibility problem: America’s past support of assorted vicious regimes and its thwarting of democracy where it didn’t suit the US. Wasn’t that done in Central America in the 1970s and 1980s? “Not by conservatives. Liberals were propping up [Nicaragua’s Daniel] Ortega and as soon as Ronald Reagan won the cold war, suddenly we had a vote and it turned out they didn’t like the Sandinistas after all.” What about Chile, where they elected Allende and America said, in effect, “You can’t have Allende”?
Coulter is looking blank: “Who was elected by a free and open democracy in Chile?” Allende, I repeat. “I don’t know enough about that to speak to it. But sometimes there are bigger fish to fry. The worldwide threat of communism was a bigger one.”
Or there’s the email dialogue we have after our lunch, in which I ask more about the war on Iraq. “You know, I was not enthusiastic about the last Gulf war,” she replied. “Of course, it goes without saying, I rooted for our team once the shooting started. But I wasn’t for that war. I was also against sending Americans to the Balkans. My point is, I’m genuinely against America deploying troops without a really, really good reason. I just can’t imagine anyone not seeing 9/11 as a really good reason for wiping out Islamic totalitarians.” So Coulter makes the link that made even Tony Blair squirm with embarrassment, the fictitious connection between Saddam and al-Qaida. She goes further, describing the Muslim-persecuting, fiercely secular Ba’athists–those who made a capital crime of praying too zealously–as “Islamic totalitarians”.
She’s also a hypocrite. She lambasts liberals for name-calling, even though barbs and insults are her idea of small talk. She condemns the liberal press for judging women by their looks, before announcing, “I don’t think I’ve ever encountered an attractive liberal woman in my entire life.” She slates the liberal media, dismembering its flagship TV shows as citadels of Bolshevik bias–and then accepts their invitations to promote herself on their airwaves. (Slander refers to NBC’s breakfast anchor Katie Couric, known to everyone else as America’s sweetheart, as the “affable Eva Braun of morning TV”. Couric had her on the show, anyway, and the two women inevitably clashed. Coulter enjoyed it: “Everyone loves a catfight.”)
Less appealing still is her mock–it surely can’t be real–endorsement of 1950s pre-feminism. Her language is full of casual sexism, whether it’s “catfight” or her musing on the French revulsion at America’s use of “manly force”, but it goes beyond words. She cites with great pride a compliment paid by a friend: he told her she wrote like a man. “He said, ‘All of the columnists in the op-ed page of the New York Times write like women. It’s always, ‘I was doing such and such today.’ And it’s all ‘feelings’ and ‘Why do they hate us?’ And it takes them, like, four paragraphs to get to the point.’ And he said to me, ‘You write like a man, just straight in. Point, point, point, point.’ ”
As she says this, a typically liberal thought strikes. Maybe we should condemn Ann Coulter a little less and understand her a little more. For wouldn’t a psychologist hear in this woman’s delight in male praise, her disdain for her own femaleness, the cry of the young Coulter girl, craving the approval of her tough, take-no-prisoners, all-argument-all-the-time father? Isn’t she like Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a conservative, dominant man who grooms his little girl to talk and fight just like him–just like a man? I wonder what a shrink would suggest lay at the root of Ann Coulter’s hard-core conservatism. “Is the shrink a patriotic American?” she replies. “He’d say I’m just fine.”
Later she’s explaining why the US should not only leave the United Nations–“It’s a useless, pathetic organisation”–it should actually boot the New York-based body out of the country altogether. “I just don’t think these ridiculous countries with tin-pot dictators should have any say over anything America does. This isn’t hatred for them. I wish them luck. But expanding the franchise? I’m annoyed how broad the franchise is in America already. Extending it, what, to the French?”
Why does she think the franchise is too big already? Who exactly has the vote who shouldn’t have? “Women,” she says, laughing. “It’s true. It would be a much better country if women did not vote. That is simply a fact. In fact, in every presidential election since 1950–except Goldwater in ’64–the Republican would have won, if only the men had voted.”
As for her own life, she insists she would love to be a traditional 1950s woman–the kind Julianne Moore might play in the movies–if only she could meet the right man. If that happened, she would give up her work “instantly”. But isn’t work the driving force of her life? “Yeah, it is. But that’s because I don’t have somebody supporting me.” (For now she’s stuck with serial dating, the longest relationship weighing in at around 18 months.)
So you could dislike Ann Coulter pretty intensely. But my suspicion is that, despite herself, she could end up wooing even the very Guardian-reading, cheese-eating, Bolshevik girly-boys she disparages with such ardour. She is, for one thing, a sharp-witted writer whose tart, terse columns make an easy, compelling read. She’s often ahead of the game. She wrote, “Attack France!” in 2001, long before conservatives in Britain and America were in the grip of anti-Chirac fever. She makes some good points, too, noting that Europeans attack America both for going into countries (Iraq) and for staying out (Rwanda). They’re damned when they intervene and damned when they don’t.
More importantly, it is refreshing to hear what the American right really think. Instead of decoding Cheney or reading between the lines of Bush, Coulter gives it to you straight. Here’s her foreign policy: “Dangerous regimes run by crazy people who may develop trouble, yeah, I think we should knock them out.” Now, isn’t that what Rumsfeld really believes but is too afraid to say out loud? In the words of Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative Media Research Centre, which monitors alleged bias: “She says what’s on her mind, which so often parallels what’s on the minds of millions of people out there–but others are unwilling to say so.”
Above all, there is something about Coulter’s attackers that makes you want to rally to her side. They denounce her with such vitriol, and sexism, that she almost emerges–and she would barf at these words–as a target for feminist sympathy. In print she is trashed as a telebimbo or fembot, and her hate mail routinely damns her as a slut, bitch and whore. Even the much-admired online magazine Salon once ran a piece that demeaned Coulter in thoroughly misogynist terms. Coulter had written a complaint about single life in Washington, and Salon responded with some dating advice to help her in her “quest for tube steak”. The magazine’s tips ranged from “Buy a vibrator” to “Stop being such a mean bitch”. She laughs this all off, of course, since she has no interest in being a victim, but you can’t help but feel that some of the flak that has landed on Ann Coulter is not about her politics. Put another way, few conservative men arouse this kind of hostility. Besides, you’ve got to love a woman who manages to construct a feminist argument for the right to bear arms. Does she own a gun herself? “I do.” Where does she keep it? “Well, that’s more classified than who I’m dating. Guns are our friends. God made man and woman; Colonel Colt made them equal.”
Even if you can’t bring yourself to be an enthusiast, Coulter is worth noticing. For she represents something rather larger than herself and her skill in carving out a starred career. She is the culmination of a trend that has been building on the American right for several years: the sense that they are somehow a beleaguered minority battling a state controlled and run by the left. That will sound like science fiction to non-Americans, who see the US as a land in the grip of corporations, tobacco giants, arms manufacturers and Christian fundamentalists. But the airwaves of talk radio have long crackled with the buzz of a group that sees itself not as America’s governing majority but as a besieged, underground movement of dissent–with the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Watergate felon-turned-broadcaster G Gordon Liddy raging against the powers that be. Coulter’s book shared its perch on the bestsellers’ lists with another by ex-CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg called simply Bias. Both set out to prove that the US is dominated by a liberal elite that shuts out mainstream, regular, conservative Americans like them.
How much of a regular conservative is she? She has one big thing in common with a large chunk of the American rightwing tribe: she describes herself as a “very serious” Christian. “Christianity is even more important to me than homosexuality is to liberals–which apparently comes in a close second to defending Saddam Hussein and preaching anti-Semitism.” What about her gay friends: don’t some Christian conservatives regard their sexual lives as an abomination? “I’m not God, I don’t decide who goes to Hell,” she says. “All I can do is live my life according to my understanding of what God wants of me and–as luck would have it–I’m not a lesbian. If I were, one look at your dashing military spokesman [Gulf war Colonel] Chris Vernon would convert me. And if you think that Christianity is tough on homosexuality, you should hear what your pals, the Muslims, do to them.”
A Christian, then. And also anti-abortion. She is disdainful of abortion clinic workers who feared for their safety after being named on websites. In three decades, she wrote in her column, “the casualty figures are seven murdered abortionists to 30 million murdered babies”. Is she a member of that suddenly-influential group, the neo-conservatives? “No, I’m a gentile,” she told the New York Observer. “That’s only partially a joke. These days, the term ‘neo- conservative’ is almost always used to insult someone. More recently, the term has become a liberal epithet to mean ‘Jew conservative’.” So what is she? “Just your typical, immodest-dressing, swarthy male-loving, friend-to-homosexuals, ultra-conservative.”
She is also the poster girl for a specific offshoot of the US right wing: the Republican babe-ocracy. She, along with pollster Kelly Anne Fitzpatrick and fellow pundit Laura Ingraham, is a new face for US Republican politics, easing out the blue-blazered, boardroom males who used to represent the rightwing presence on TV. The West Wing’s Ainsley is no coincidence: she is a tribute to the visibility of this new sect, and Ann Coulter is its high priestess.
More importantly, Coulter’s success represents a feature of US life that separates it starkly from most countries, including Britain. She benefits from, and is now a star player in, a polemical culture that has made political argument a mass activity. Scan the top-selling books in Britain and it’s all gardening and cookery. Look at what America’s buying and it’s non-fiction books of argument. Every new Bob Woodward tome on the US government becomes a smash hit, while slash-and-burn polemic–whether it’s Coulter on the right or Michael Moore on the left–sells by the crateload. Maybe it’s to compensate for the cautious style of US newspapers or the bland, neutered language of mainstream US politicians. A gap has opened in American political culture and motor-mouths like Ann Coulter are filling it.
But above all, Coulter is thriving because America itself is changing. The country is shifting rightward, the more so since September 11. The Bush administration is not a freak of nature; it enjoys wide public support. Its belief, put crudely, that the US is number one on the planet and that anyone who stands in its way is either a terrorist or an appeaser of terror, is not on the wacky fringes but commands broad endorsement. And Ann Coulter gives it a voice. We may not want to hear it, but if we are going to understand where the mightiest power on earth is heading, we may have to start listening.
‘When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker [the young American who fought for the Taliban] is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realise that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.’ Speaking at the 2002 Conservative Political Action Conference
On Bill Clinton’s search for office premises, and the ambience of Harlem
‘After all other suitable office space in Manhattan had dried up–and also after spending the weekend golfing in an all-white club in Florida–Clinton announced he would take an office in Harlem. As one of my friends remarked, that should be nice: Having escaped a mugging on the way to work, Clinton’s female employees will then have to face an accused rapist in the office.’ From her column, Clinton Does The Harlem Shuffle
On feminists and their ‘kind word’ for adultery
‘So in a maniacal pursuit of equality… these querulous little feminists stripped women of the sense that they can rely on the institution of marriage and gave men licence to discard their wives. But at least women can choose to be pigs now, too! This is what happens when you allow women to think about public policy.’ From her column, National Organisation For Worms
On court-ordered desegregation of schools
‘Few failures have been more spectacular. Illiterate students knifing one another between acts of sodomy in the stairwell is just one of the many eggs that had to be broken to make the left’s omelette of transferring power from states to the federal government. From her column, Ashcroft And The Blowhard Discuss Desegregation
On taxation and the poor.
‘The rich are the ones who pay taxes, so of course an across-the-board tax cut helps them the most. As soon as the poor start paying their fair share of the tax burden, they’ll get a tax cut too.’ From her column, Sigh Of The Crook
On Hillary Clinton
‘The wannabe sex kitten Hil… abrasive harridan… psychotic behaviour… If Hillary acolytes could read, they wouldn’t be Hillary acolytes… her entire life has consisted of her lying or stonewalling’ All from her column, Channeling Jackie
Eric Alterman in What Liberal Media? quotes her calling the former first lady ‘pond scum’ and ‘white trash’, while terming the late Pamela Harriman a ‘whore’, and Gloria Steinem a ‘deeply ridiculous figure’ who ‘had to sleep’ with a rich liberal to fund Ms magazine.