This is delicious. An open letter to CPAC is appearing on numerous conservative websites:
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.
They just don’t get it, do they? Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are the same visible, high profile, symptom of the problem with what is modern ‘conservatism.’ Throw in Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Dinesh D’Souza, and the rest, if you still don’t understand.
CPAC and the ‘conservatives’ can do their best to attempt to extricate themselves from the mess that is the current Republican party, but it is little more than a transparent run from the mess they, in large part, created. It was the self-styled ‘conservatives’ who pushed Terri Schiavo. It is the self-styled ‘conservatives’ who want to blame everything on immigration and liberals. It is the self-styled ‘conservatives’who use gay bashing and gay marriage as election year issues every year. It is the self-styled ‘conservatives’ who think supporting the troops means Purple Heart band-aids mocking John Kerry and claiming that “just a few bad apples” are responsible for the Abu Gharaib mess. All those things and more find ample support at the members of CPAC- look at the blogs who attended.
The problem isn’t that Ann Coulter said what she said- because in all honesty, the notion that saying an offensive word can get you into rehab is, in and of itself, pretty funny. Were it just a play on past political correctness, it would have been very humorous. But it wasn’t, and the reason her comments are a problem is that the majority of the ‘conservative’ movement is dominated by people who think there is something wrong with homosexuality and that there are few things worse than being a “faggot.”
And let’s be real. While some in the crowd were apprehensive when she made the remarks, perhaps recognizing the political difficulty this would create, a good number applauded. Ann Coulter is, at this point, a known quantity (especially after the raghead remarks last year), and she delivered what they knew she would deliver. Where were the complaints in advance of her appearance?
There were none that I am aware of, and this is just damage control. An open letter isn’t going to solve the real problem with the conservative movement. And hell, the authors can’t even write this letter without sniping at liberal websites. Ann Coulter is not the problem- she is a symptom of the problem.
Full disclosure- I used to like Coulter and still like reading Coulter in one sense- as a cranky SOB, I do enjoy people who manage to piss off that many people. It is Rush’s one good quality in my opinion. One good trait (in my opinion) does not, however, undo the damage they and those like them are doing and have done to our politics.