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On the D-List

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Ann Coulter never met an incongruity or contradiction she didn't embrace.

In her 2002 book Slander, the conservative commentator rails against the New York Times for its misinformation and wanton liberal bias on 198 of the book's 261 pages.

"The Times regularly interprets standard Republican positions as fanatical, religiously based racist hate crimes," Coulter writes.

But take a close look at the top of the book's cover: "The # 1 New York Times Bestseller." And just so readers don't forget, the back of the book reminds us, "Don't miss anything that # 1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Coulter has to say."

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Ann even has contempt for Times readers. "We read letters to the editor of The New York Times from pathetic little parakeet males and grim, quivering, angry women on the Upper West Side of Manhattan hoping to be chosen as that day's purveyor of hate. These letters are about one step above Tiger Beat magazine in intellectual engagement."

(Of course, the big exposé here is that Ann apparently reads Tiger Beat.)

Moving on...

"...liberals prefer invective to engagement," she writes, "The hate-mongering and name-calling on the left might be a droll irrelevancy, except that it has a debilitating effect on real issues."

And... she's RIGHT! No reasonable debate can take place on the real issues with this incessant, inane name-calling and hate speech. Except Ann then turns around and engages in the very things she says are wrong.

Christie Todd Whitman is a "birdbrain" and a "dimwit." Senator Jim Jeffords is a "half-wit." The New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin is a "political hack duly celebrated for making things up, engaging in unethical behavior, and sliming other liberal journalists for a want of alacrity in bending over for Bill Clinton."

And in one quote, anti-hate-mongering Coulter uses the word "hate" no less than 5 times in describing liberals: "Liberals hate [1] America. They hate [2] 'flag-wavers,' they hate [3] abortion opponents, they hate [4] all religions except Islam (post 9/11). Even Islamic terrorists don't hate [5] America like liberals do. If they had that much energy, they'd have indoor plumbing by now."

Of course, Coulter defends all this as "colorful commentary."

The New York Observer's George Gurley wrote (Aug. 25, 2002) that Coulter's been described as "'crazy' or 'insane.' She is a lunatic 'right-wing nut,' and also a dangerous and demonic one.

But Ann Coulter is none of that. She is a self-anointed, conservative, one-woman castigation machine who grew up whip smart, and quick-witted who describes herself as "cheerfully argumentative."

Using her own standard, I would describe Coulter as a conservative who "prefer(s) invective to engagement... [who] cheerfully... [uses] hate-mongering and name-calling... except that has a debilitating effect on real issues," Ann.

From Coulter's perspective, contradictions like this don't seem to matter.

However, with her popularity in book sales and media exposure, Coulter has turned from conservative defender to CEO of Outrage, Inc.

In a Fox News interview (June 22, 2009) Coulter defends the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller. "I don't really like to think of it as murder. It was terminating Tiller in the 203rd trimester."

Or this famous screed against the 9/11 widows critical of the Bush administration: "These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-parrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband's deaths so much."

In March of this year, Coulter came face-to-face with a Mulism student who took exception to a remark by Coulter where the conservative said that Muslims shouldn't be allowed on airplanes, but rather take "flying carpets."

University of Ottawa student Fatima Al-Dhaher told Coulter that she didn't own a flying carpet. What mode of transportation would she then suggest?

"What mode of transportation?" Coulter repeated. "Take a camel."

Coulter later tried to explain away the remark as "satire."

For Coulter, outrage is not a specialty it's the gift that keeps on giving, getting the media attention she seems to so desperately crave. Who else is as raucous, raunchy and vainglorious? Wait... that would be the Queen of the D-List herself, comedian Kathy Griffin.

Think about it, Coulter fits the mold to perfection: Anything outrageous equals media attention.

Except for one tiny detail: When Griffin makes a joke, most people laugh because she's funny; when Coulter makes a joke, she defends it as rational policy.

"Political 'debate' in this country is insufferable," Coulter writes in Slander, and she's right. However, rather than attempt to put a more respectful and cogent face on that debate, she resorts to a plethora of the very invective she decries.

Sure, Griffin is on the D-List and proud to admit it. "The beauty about the D-list," Griffin says, "is that people who are on it probably don't know they are."

When it comes to rational, political debate, Coulter is and doesn't.

Jim Lichtman writes and speaks on ethics to corporations, associations, and schools. His commentaries can be found both on Huffington Post and www.ethicsStupid.com