There was a time when Coulter, Cheney, and Bush could consider themselves in the majority. They could say of themselves that their ideas and policies had found public favor, and so they must be right, or at least popular. Those times are gone. Bush's ratings are in the twenties, Cheney's are around fifteen or so, and Coulter has been criticized over and over by her own allies for going too far with her trademark hate-speech. But Coulter, Cheney, and Bush just stick with what they know. They do the very thing that gets them in trouble over and over, and, if possible, they intensify or expand it. We know of Bush that he is no longer looking for the approval of us, his contemporaries. Now he is looking for the approval of history--somehow, someday, he plans to be vindicated, and he reads plenty of presidential biographies to bolster his nerve. Talk about betting on a longshot!
Cheney, who is reported to carry a hazmat suit with him everywhere, seems positively delusional. As the situation deteriorates even further in Iraq, he travels around the world, telling people who know better that everything in Iraq is great, and that the administration's policies are a big success. And you have to agree with him--the war on terror is certainly working, if representatives of the Taliban can get close enough to try to assassinate him--not! Coulter, who drew serious fire last summer when she attacked the 9/11 widows, is back at CPAC using her influence to undermine any Republican presidential hopeful who supports her. McCain, Romney, and Giuliani can try all they want to distance themselves from her, but she is going to stick to them until they all go down together. No, Bush, Cheney, and Coulter haven't learned, and yes, they can't learn. What they demonstrate is that their brand of "conservatism" is beyond reason and learning, and is, in fact, an uncontrollable pathology. It will not be Cheney and Bush who refrain from attacking Iran because they have realized that it is beyond stupid and well into suicidal to do so, it will be others who prevent it. As for Coulter, she will continue to invite her supporters to mock and disdain those she disagrees with until she has no more supporters and becomes simply a freak show.
If you look Coulter up in Wikipedia, you will see that she makes a revealing remark about her "faith": she believes Christ's message is that "People are sinful and need to be redeemed, and this is your lucky day because I'm here to redeem you even though you don't deserve it, and I have to get the crap kicked out of me to do it." "According to liberals," though, "the message of Jesus ... is something along the lines of 'be nice to people.'" In other words, Coulter embraces Christianity as an expression of absolute shame and humiliation and Christ as primarily a victim.
One thing that was astonishing about the Bush administration between 2002 and 2004, when it had, to all appearances, a lock on political power in this country, was that this sense of victimization was pervasive. Victimized by Joe Wilson! Victimized by the press (who actually collaborated with them in hiding all their crimes)! Victimized by Saddam Hussein! Victimized, according to Coulter, by the 9/11 widows and by people who don't want to be called "faggots"! Victimized by the captives in Abu Ghraib and the detainees at Gitmo! Victimized, according to Dinesh D'Souza, by those families who don't look or act like traditional nuclear families!
Things that D'Souza says are also telling. How is Osama Bin Laden like American liberal culture? You or I might not see any similarities at all, since Bin Laden is a militant Islamist who would like for America to get out of Afghanistan and for American liberals to abide by sharia law. To American liberals, Bin Laden represents every atavistic, violent social dynamic that they have tried with all their might to leave behind. For D'Souza, though, liberals and Bin Laden are the same, because they victimize him equally. These feelings of victimization (which are evident in the tone of grievance that these conservatives habitually voice), are the key to Bush/Cheney/Coulter conservatism because it is these feelings that are never assuaged or satisfied in a society where all citizens are created equal.
The liberal ideal is that the marketplace would be level, the law would work impartially, and the rules would be the same for everyone. Some liberals additionally believe that historical crimes should be rectified, and that the state should provide the same services for all citizens (in fact, this latter policy was shown, a couple of weeks ago, to produce considerably better lives for the children of Scandinavia and the Netherlands than those of the more conservative US and UK). One rationale behind liberal social policies is that they are just, but another is that they work better to prevent disaster--children whose mothers get excellent prenatal care, for example, have a better chance at being born healthy and living healthy lives, and therefore of costing less and producing more.
What we notice among conservatives like Coulter, Cheney, Bush, and some Christian groups is that "equality" means nothing--they feel victimized if they are not dominant and if challenges to their dominance are not suppressed. Bush and Cheney want unfettered power; Coulter wants to incite explosions, murders, and hate-crimes. Any attempt on the part of anyone to diminish their power in any way they perceive as an attack on all of their power. This is what makes them dangerous, in the same way that killers and abusers are especially dangerous when they are challenged by their potential victims.
People like Cheney, Bush, and Coulter always present a problem to the societies they live in, because they are hair-trigger aggressive. Their "fight or flight" instincts are easily aroused and they cannot perceive the actual degree of danger in any situation--all dangers are equally overwhelming, and so must always be met with an overwhelmingly forceful response, which is as likely as not to get them into even more trouble. Cheney's hazmat suit and his refusal to discuss his daughter's lesbianism show the same terror as Bush's constant use of the word "terrorist" to describe those who disagree with American aims in those "terrorists'" very own countries. The terms Coulter is always using to disparage perceived rivals--terms having to do with sexuality, gender roles, and looks--show where her terror lies.
As their supporters desert them and they come to feel more and more endangered, the question becomes one of containment. We have all noticed that Bush and Cheney are more dangerous. Quietly subverting them has become a Pentagon project; whether it can be done is an open question, given that they still have a core of true believers.
Fortunately, Coulter doesn't yet have her finger on the red button, but looking at her, you can begin to understand some of the female crazies we have known--Madame Mao, Imelda Marcos. The best thing about them--maybe the only good thing--is that as they become increasingly ridiculous and frightening, they demonstrate for all to see that they are exactly the sort of persons our society needs to innoculate itself against.