Thanks to Ken Prescott at Called As Seen, we have seen these Ann Coulter statements from this interview:
John Hawkins: How about dashing off a quick sentence or even just a word or two about the following individuals...Most of this is simple hard-edged political commentary, and pretty good stuff at that.
Cindy Sheehan: The Dennis Rodman of the peace movement.
Joe Wilson: World's most intensely private exhibitionist.
Michael Moore: Rumors of his depth are greatly exaggerated.
John Murtha: The reason soldiers invented "fragging."
George Bush: My Commander-In-Chief.
John McCain: War hero and let's leave it at that.
Alec Baldwin: Our main source of so-called "greenhouse gases".
Except for the itaclicized portion about John Murtha. I think Murtha's positions on Iraq are foolish and I think he's acting like a fool. But Coulter's comment is appalling. Ken Prescott:
Ann, I racked and stacked one of my Marines back in the day for making a joke about fragging an officer, and I personally marched him to the brig. You do not joke about stuff like this, particularly about an elected official, no matter how much you dislike him.Before you start suggesting that we need to cut Coulter some slack, please note that the above interview was done by e-mail. There was no slip of the lip here. She deliberately typed those words.
Dean Barnett of Soxblog says it well:
[T]he real issue with Ann . . . is her style. [Other analysts] distill . . . her rhetoric down to its substance; the only reason such an exercise is necessary is because her rhetoric is unnecessarily laden with ad hominem insults, personal invective and gratuitous bomb throwing. If Coulter wants her ideas to be taken seriously, she should cease burying them under the personal attacks that her work so prominently features.Someone with high-profile credibility on the center-right or right needs to say something about these sorts of Coulter excesses. Otherwise, their own credibility suffers. Last week I heard Michael Medved, a talk radio host I admire greatly, go to great lengths to defend Coulter and excuse her over-the-top punditry. Others have done the same. I wonder if these hosts have not become so afraid of their core audience that they have succumbed to a new form of political correctness: Thou shalt not call out or criticize very conservative pundits when they cross the line?
Almost 5 year ago National Review Online severed its relationship with Coulter. Jonah Goldberg's comments about that famous event are telling:
In the wake of her invade-and-Christianize-them column, Coulter wrote a long, rambling rant of a response to her critics that was barely coherent. She's a smart and funny person, but this was Ann at her worst — emoting rather than thinking, and badly needing editing and some self-censorship, or what is commonly referred to as "judgment."Read the whole thing. I wish more conservatives were willing to show the spine that Goldberg and NRO showed. (Goldberg even apologized for running the Coulter column that sparked the controversy.)
To my mind, most of what Coulter says is defensible, but her very frequent out-of-line zingers are not. More of us should call her on such lapses. Otherwise, I think we are complicit in her rhetorical malpractice.