On One Hand

May 10, 2005

Anne Coulter’s Not So Bad

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:54 pm
Tags: ,

In spite of what I hear from people around me, I’m really not bothered by Anne Coulter as much as others who hold my political views are. I think she’s fairly easy to debunk and I don’t consider her to be that threatening. She’s not as influential, not as well-armed, and not as popular among Right-Wingers as Liberals seem to believe.

We all know that Anne Coulter is nothing short of radical. But if we take into account the tendencies of the political world, we realize that the hardline right, which is the group to feed off of Anne Coulter’s statements, does not have many foul-mouthed skinny blonde women on its front line thundering the treasons of the Liberal Left. There’s a reason for this: these people like their women quiet, prude, and smiling, a la Marilyn Musgrave and Laura Bush. If one looks hard enough, one realizes that Anne Coulter gets a great deal of criticism from the Right, and is influential primarily among secular neo-cons and young people, who are not as pervasive as we think. Coulter-loving Conservatives may be common on the Internet and among immature and idealistic College Republican groups, where younger neo-cons accumulate, but they aren’t the ones making up huge voting blocks of Evangelical Christians, and they aren’t swing-voters turing elections to Bush.

There’s another reason my blood doesn’t boil at the mere sound of Anne Coulter’s name. Feel free to slap me for saying this, but there is a thing or two about the woman that I actually respect. I appreciate the fact that she breaks a trend that I see annoyingly frequently in the Right: the tendency of Conservatives to pretend that they’re less racist/sexist/classist/puritan than they really are. They try to play to the center and don’t admit that they’re reactionaries, and preach populist messgaes when they’re really elitists. Anne Coulter is honest, albeit a nut, but says what she means. She’s a Conservative who Moderates can easily not vote for.

What I mean is, political conversations often go like this: when Liberals are talking about the increasingly wide gap between rich and poor, Conservatives say, “our policies handle poverty better; welfare only keeps people down and cutting taxes for the rich actually benefits the poor in the long run because rich people hire poor people when they have more money.” Democrats know that it’s bullshit. Anne Coulter is the type of Conservative to come right out and say: “I don’t like poor people, I don’t think an income gap is a bad thing, I think low-income people are low-income because they’re not as hardworking/intelligent/moral as we are and they deserve to be where they’re at.” Anne Coulter never addressed poverty per se in such a way, but she has come right out and bared her tobacco-stained teeth on other issues, Gucci purse swinging in all directions. She admits her that she sees Islam as an evil force in the world, stating that America can counter terrorism by invading the Middle East, taking over, and converting all Muslims to Christianity. That’s quite a controversial statement to make, and I think we’d be better off if more Conservatives made it. Do I agree with her view? Absolutely not! But I think it’s easier to argue with someone who admits the view outright, as opposed to someone who tries to justify extreme-Right actions with centrist moral justifications. I don’t believe for a second that George W. Bush doesn’t hold the same opinion on the Middle East and Islam that Anne Coulter does, and I don’t believe for a second that his pro-Christian beliefs didn’t influence his decision to invade Iraq. But George W. Bush woudln’t admit the fact that he’s an ethnocentric crusader to save his life, and he’s much harder to criticize as a result.

Besides, Anne Coulter’s funny, she’s an interesting person when she’s not talking about politics, and she’s got an impolite, impure, irreverent manner of speaking that young liberals appreciate in others. She’s not afraid of having a few drinks and she’s a single woman living in Manhattan at an age most other Republicans are long married.

Anne Coulter dogs on Liberals as a whole because they don’t address her arguments (more often, they throw food), saying that this is how Liberals operate. I disagree with Anne Coulter on this; I think Liberals are much more open to new arguments, self-correction, opposing ideas, and change than Conservatives are, (in fact, I think that is the most distinguishing characteristic between the two groups) which is why I identify as the former instead of the latter. But when it comes to Anne Coulter, I think that liberals really do seem to fire back with emotional, angry, ad hominem responses. This is a result of the illusion the corporate media paints of America, of the political dichotomy between Left and Right that can only be faced with arms raised and bared teeth, never moderation, understanding, or compromise. Skeptical, critical Liberals should know better than to play into the role. The best way to disarm an opponent is with respect, honesty, restraint, openness, and a rational coolness and good humor that we, the Liberals, are much better at than our counterparts. Look at our actions – look at our reluctance to use force over diplomacy in Iraq, look at our respect for the progress of science, look at our concern for all people, even those who initially don’t seem concerned about themselves – look at these issues and we see how Liberals differ from Conservatives, and we realize why we’re on the side that we’re on. If we would apply our good reasoning to addressing Anne Coulter’s statements, rather than loathing her name, we would make more progress than we do now.

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3 Comments »

  1. I REALLY enjoyed this. I wish I could be so clear and rational when I think about Ann Coulter.

    Did you see her on Jay Leno tonight? I caught some of it. She spoke my school about a week ago, and I’m glad I didn’t go. If I had, I would have either 1) protested, which would feed her flames or 2) tried to listen respectfully and end up in tears.

    Anyway. Just wanted to let you know you’re brilliant.

    Comment by punkstress — May 11, 2005 @ 7:03 am | Reply

    • I did see her on Jay Leno tonight, and that’s what inspired me to write this. I used to hate Anne Coulter, but I’ve read about her in sources as objective as they can be, and realizing that she is a person with bad ideas rather than just bad ideas made me soften my view.

      Comment by ononehand — May 11, 2005 @ 7:50 am | Reply

  2. I don’t know… I do like that she is open and ready to say whatever the hell she is thinking, but I still want to have that knee-jerk personal-attack reaction with her. Which is funny, since I don’t do that with all conservative figures! I think it’s party because, in her case, she is using the same tactics herself. All I’ve read of hers is “Slander,” back in the fall, but it seemed like a lot of the book was personal (or at least nonpolitical) attacks on liberals. Sadly, a lot of liberals I know do play up to that image all the time, and the rest can be goaded into it by her writing.

    Comment by callmeweirdbut — May 11, 2005 @ 6:32 pm | Reply


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