There are a lot of conservatives who have been long-time defenders of conservative columnist/author Ann Coulter. Yours truly stopped defending Ann about three years ago, when a fellow conservative helped me to realize that I couldn’t defend Ann Coulter’s increasingly inflammatory remarks while calling liberals to the carpet for similar remarks and still have any credibility on the issue of over-inflated, sometimes insulting and demeaning rhetoric. He was right.
That is not to say that I disagree with everything she says. In fact, I’ve read two of her books and in both found news stories she referenced and discussed both insightful and helpful in debates against liberals. What I dislike about Ms. Coulter’s style is her way of getting her point across. Armchair pundits across the political spectrum have complained for years about the demise in civilized debate and I’ve been among those who’ve wondered what happened to it, and whether or not this country can ever return to that style of debate. Conservatives like Ann Coulter do not help in that regard. In fact, the only thing she helps to do is to further poison the well of discussion already infused with the venom from others on both sides of the aisle who have chosen that same path.
It goes without saying that we are all passionate about our beliefs – heck, my remarks here about how I feel there are liberals like Sen. Jay Rockefeller who I think are undermining the war on terror should show anyone how passionately I feel regarding this bogus NSA ‘scandal.’ However, there is a way to go about arguing in favor of your beliefs without throwing in over-the-top remarks about “ragheads” and whether or not you should have taken a “shot” at Bill Clinton when you supposedly had the chance . Whether joking or not it adds nothing to the debate and, in fact, detracts from it. When passionate debating over an issue turns poisonous, nobody wins. I will call to the carpet anyone on the left who engages in this style of the debate, as I will anyone on the right who does similarly. I think we all should.
Joe Gandelman nails it:
The problem is: she’s indicative of the rapid decline of issue-based political discourse in this country. Political opponents are described as evil enemies versus competitors with different ideas and approaches. It’s anti-PC that sells exceedingly well on radio and cable talk shows and on college campuses in particular — but people roaring in laughter at the undercurrent of zingers that jokingly suggest assassination is what’s troubling (and particularly because these same folks would be up in arms if someone such as Michael Moore suggested the same thing about people on their side).
In closing, I’d like to repeat something I’ve said often at this blog in the past: this is not about whether or not someone has the right to say something; it’s about whether or not it is right to say. No matter if there are liberals out there who won’t hold other liberals accountable for their over-the-top hateful diatribes, we have to hold our own accountable. In my opinion, that is the right (no pun intended) thing to do.