Ann Coulter: A Liberal Defense of the Conservative Pundit


Ann Coulter has described herself quite precisely as a polemicist. Polemics is intended only to establish the truth of a point of view, while refuting the opposing point of view. That makes me an apologist, in the Classic Greek sense of mounting a systematic defense of liberalism using facts and information to argue with. Early Christian writers also called themselves apologists, but sometimes they wrote polemics, too.

Our only political common ground is that we both like lemonade on a hot day, the music of the Grateful Dead, and the crazy (oops) humor of Dave Barry. Very deliberately, Ann Coulter has twice insulted a group with which I self-identify: ‘Tards who are also liberals.  (“Tard” is the correct form of the slur, except in the deep rural South.) It encompasses many so-called disorders of the mind, but it’s common on schoolyards everywhere, sad to say. Ann is again correct, sort of. Liberals ask, why not leave it in the schoolyard?  Anyone?  Beuhler?

The dog I have in this fight is my lifelong Asperger’s Syndrome. As a mental disability, I highly recommend it. It has been useful to my writing, gifting me two national awards in a field I know little about. Once, I made $500 on a whimsical lottery ticket just by trusting my bankable intuition. Although I was totally socially retarded in my class, the most popular dude later became Oregon’s most infamous serial killer.

As I knew he would; I also have Cassandra’s Syndrome, the agony of foreknowledge caused by the impotence to change anything. (Ann Coulter could be a poster child for that one. Just ask her about the election.)

Hers could be a legitimate disability, worthy of our pity. You’ve heard of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder? Maybe it’s medical, and she can’t help herself when the whim arises to call the twice-elected President of the United States of America a “retard,” and for good measure, use the same word on a whole room of SRO liberals.

Some would claim that she doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, but still they hold her responsible for using insensitive words, not to mention attacking views they happen to hold. Many words are in poor taste, whatever that means. In 1865, pianos had legs but women had “limbs;” in 1952, the dirtiest epithet was “Red.” Some words are currently taboo, fully off-limits to most right-thinking people; not Ann. She thinks slightly to the right of that arch-criminal, Spirochete Agnew, lacking only his gift of Tourette’s Alliteration. Him I can hate, and death does not exempt him from it. He wasn’t even funny.

My many friends who believe in the Democratic Party have both asked me, How can I stand that rhymes-with-castle-witch, given the horrible things she says, believes and supports? Our only political common ground is that we both like lemonade on a hot day, the music of the Grateful Dead, and the crazy (oops) humor of Dave Barry. I disagree sometimes with every jarring, harsh syllable — as is my right – but I admire her courage and willingness to MAKE us examine the impact of words. Especially now.

“Well, then, you must be a retard.” Verbatim, what was said by Dems when I tried to explain my complicated, ambivalent feelings about Ann Coulter. She entertains me. Yes, she uses hot labels that seem rude to the easily offended. No, she has not yet outdone Lenny Bruce or George Carlin, my personal heroes and saints in Word Heaven. These liberal gentlemen made America stop and think about the impact of innocuous-looking character strings.

So while I abjure the use of profanity for emphasis, I really effing like Ann Coulter. Her presence in this angry political environment sustains my faith in the dialog. Stipulated, Rush Limbaugh is surely hempy (old word for “hang-worthy”) and should be penciled in for a sudden visit from the Angel of Death, to quote the immortal Carlin. Sununu would be palatable if cannibals ate him. Akin should be, no pun intended; I suggest the strapado.

But for my inchoate world to make sense, such as it does, Ann Coulter needs to be in it, profitably ranting invective against retarded liberals like me. Like a pitiless otter, she joyfully charges the sticky whitewater of gnar liberal outrage. They loathe her, and thereby make her rich. Their rage keeps her famous.

Who opened a discussion about the mentally and physically alter-abled, a nearly voiceless group that will now be heard from, beginning with John Franklin Stephen’s open letter of kind but invincible rebuttal? How does a 30-year-old man with Down’s syndrome reach the hearts of a national audience with his impeccable, gentle words? Very hard to do, unless someone starts by throwing a word in our faces. That was no liberal, it was Ann Coulter.  God bless her loose lips, I say.

To my putative mind, Ann Coulter is much like Andy Kaufman, a complex and brilliant comedian. Maybe I’m just dumber than a wooden Native American, and as bereft of common sense as a victim of Polish ancestry, but I marvel at her syntax. Dozens of cruel shibboleths smoke out the too-easily offended. (If we liberals have one weakness, that’s it; Achilles’ heel is not just a body part.)

What’s left of my analytical left-brain just won’t cope with some questions: Does she have any limits? Is there any word she won’t employ? Has she no decency, not even one scintilla of empathy for the feelings of others? Is she utterly and hopelessly out of her ever-loving, effing mind? Does she truly imagine these are moot playground words on the monkey bars of modern media? No, yes, yes, maybe, no, no! cries my heart.

She’s not so much the enemy of evolving feminism as a warm wind fanning the ember into a flame. You’d have to be clinically stupid not to notice the paradox and self-refutation, when she says America would be a better country if women couldn’t vote. Sirhan Sirhan said Robert Kennedy would grant him parole if RFK was still alive. Get it?

Ann Coulter feeds on tumult and uproar, sipping the anguish her words cause liberals, who rise to the bait: “No, that’s a fascist lie! Wait, she can’t use that word! What has she got, Tourette’s Virus?!?”

Then she laughs all the way to the NYT bestseller list by defending the indefensible, using verbal judo to hip-throw challengers: Are you sure Canada didn’t sent troops to Vietnam? Sure they did. No? I’ll get back to you. Leaving doubt, you see, and not giving an inch. Oddly enough, she was almost correct in an oblique sense; it depends on your definition of the word “send.” The U.S. sent a lot of drafted troops to Canada.

"If Ann Coulter is a Christian, I'm a Martian." Heard that one before. The connection with the divine is very mysterious and personal. Let’s not probe into the numinous views of Ann Coulter, soul-at-large; it’s none of our holy business. The proper study of Ann is, after all, Ann.

For better or worse, I recognize a kindred spirit in Ann Coulter. And now, like a cherry atop the sundae of election-year politics, almost a parody of sweet Marilyn: “You’re a ree-tard, Mr. President …” How I love it when Ann talks dirty.