I guess “Misguided” wasn’t a strong enough word

Ann Coulter, 2011

There’s not much to say about the format of this book, so I’ll breeze over it and get to the tally of good vs. bad statements. The book is about 30% insightful and 70% lost in the mist of ideology. Part I is an extended political blog, by which I mean a commentary on current affairs, with a bit of injection of a book the author has been reading and a few excursions to past political battles. Ann Coulter belongs to that rare class of people who get paid to produce blog posts. In this case she is trying to make the point that liberals are populists who call for democracy as mob rule, while Republicans represent the heritage of America’s intellectuals and never appeal to the mob. It’s kind of a disingenuous argument, but maybe a thoughtful one: we constantly see in this book liberals supporting random, unjust mob violence while conservatives support formal warfare with a named enemy. The conservative approach to force is more regimented and targeted. Liberals like to think they can avoid force, organization, or targets. I don’t think that means Republicans have never been populist, though.

Part II is a history of the French and American Revolutions as told by Ann Coulter, which is exactly what you think it is. There’s not much worth quoting from this part of the book. However, it’s a fair antidote to anyone who claims Coulter lacks a grasp of political regimes and ideologies. She also gets a swipe in at hippies, and Martin Luther King. I think her point against King is pretty poignant–people who remember with excitement the 1963 Civil Rights March cannot really say they did anything there other than show up and be part of the mob. But, because it’s Ann Coulter, this is framed badly, as part of an ideological argument rather than a measured analysis.

Part III discusses the segregationist left and the Central Park Jogger case to explain how liberals always appeal to the mob. The information here is mostly just the facts, attempting to contribute to the “mob rule” theory. In Part IV, we delve into an attack on the Lamestream Media and a passionate defense of CNBC analyst Jim Cramer and Sarah Palin that leans towards bizarre.

Then we learn that the New York Times proudly carries an award in its office that one of its reporters received for covering up the death of 15 million Ukrainians in the Holodomor, and refuses to give it back despite the pleas of many intellectuals. Also, they backed Mao Tse-tsung over Chiang Kai-shek. Also, “Senator John Kerry (D-MA) dismissed Republican arguments [against Pol Pot] as ‘anti-communist hysteria.'” (265) And Noam Chomsky still supports Pol Pot. (266) Juicy stuff.

Touche: Points for Coulter

A liberal is a person who: … is enraged with Karl Rove for releasing the name of a CIA paper-pusher (which he didn’t do)–but are copacetic with WikiLeaks putting hundreds of thousands of classified security documents on the Internet. (58)

Senator Sam Ervin, another liberal luminary–instrumental in the destruction of anti-communist Republicans Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon–told his fellow segregationists, “I’m on your side, not theirs,” and advised them to face up to the fact that “we’ve got to give the goddamned niggers something.” (179)

NBC anchor Brian Williams reported that in Berlin Obama “brought throngs of people” into the center of the city, “surging to get close to him, to hear his message… I heard one American reporter tonight say it’s hard to come up with a list of others who could draw such a crowd, but then gain it’s hard to know what we witnessed here today.” Wasn’t there another political leader who brought out the crowds like that in Berlin once? (29)

A mock documentary depicted President Bush’s assassination as a news event–and went on to win the International Critics Prize at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival (not to mention “Best Date Movie of 2006” by The Nation magazine). (37)

Conservatives don’t threaten to leave the country if a Democrat becomes president. Liberals do so every four years. (42) [This is followed by a long, footnoted list of prominent liberals who have threatened this.]

Sharpton … led the angry mob on a march through the Hasidic center of Crown Heights … Then, in 1995, Sharpton famously incited an anti-Semitic pogrom against a Jewish-owned store in Harlem … Of course, after all this, Sharpton became a pariah–Oh wait! No, in the opposite of paying a penalty, he became famous and ran for president and Al Gore kissed his ring after these spectacles. (47)

American civilians killed by Ashcroft: 0. American civilians killed by Reno: 80. As Dade County (Florida) state attorney, Janet Reno made a name for herself as one of the leading witch-hunters in the notorious “child molestation” cases from the eighties… (56)

WTF? Points Against Coulter

Applauding a joke is a public gesture intended to announce, I’m with him!–rather like a Heil Hitler salute. (247)

Obama was showered with awards. He won not one but two “Best Spoken Word Album” Grammy awards … (He then gave the least profanity-laced acceptance speech of any African-American Grammy winner in history.) (33)

“Dissent is patriotic” only when a Republican is president, and we must have “respect for the office” only when a Democrat is president. (36) [I’m pretty sure Republicans make this shift more frequently than Democrats.]

Now let’s go mock Jesus. (As is so often the case, the mob said, “Kill the Jew.”) (23) [The entire starting point for centuries of anti-Semitism is turned around to make Jesus the Jew and the mob a group of… liberals, I guess.]

Posted: July 20th, 2011 | Res pueriles 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “I guess “Misguided” wasn’t a strong enough word”

  1. 1 David M.A. said at 7:25 pm on July 21st, 2011:

    “Wasn’t there another political leader who brought out the crowds like that in Berlin once?”

    John F. Kennedy?

    (Yes, I know the point of that sentence.)

  2. 2 Not quite anonymous said at 2:37 pm on August 15th, 2011:

    Re: Chomsky and Pol Pot, see the work of Ear Sophal (the link below is to his undergraduate thesis, believe it or now; Ear Sophal is now a professor at the U.S. Naval University…)
    Regarding U.S. support for Pol Pot generally, and much-misunderstood historical factors surrounding, see:

  3. 3 joseph said at 9:49 pm on December 5th, 2012:

    I began listening to the book on CD yesterday. When I heard the line about the “least profanity-laced acceptance speech of any African-American Grammy winner” I had to rewind and see if there was an Obama joke hidden in there that I had missed. But it seems it was a real howler. Not so much simply because “that’s racist” but because it was so utterly irrelevant, using that moment in the text to disparage other members of the same race.