Ann Coulter: Idiot, Ignorant, or a Case of Arrested Development?
Upon reading a given column by Ann Coulter, a thinking person is left with a number of questions. The most pressing, of course: “Is she serious?” This is not a rhetorical question– it’s a legitimate mystery. Clearly, the woman can write. She’s a lawyer, an author, and a political commentator. Her writing style is effective– fast paced and strangely absorbing. She’s a master of her craft.
Which makes it even more confusing. Because, as you know if you’ve ever read a Coulter column, by the time you finish with it her style is the last thing on your mind. More likely, your head is ringing from the sheer stupidity of her arguments.
For instance, her post 9/11 foreign policy: “We should invade [middle eastern] countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity.” [Syndicated column, 9/12/01].
Her thoughts on female voters:
“If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen… The Democratic Party ought to be hanging its head in shame, that it has so much difficulty getting men to vote for it. I mean, you do see it’s the party of women and ‘We’ll pay for health care and tuition and day care — and here, what else can we give you, soccer moms?’” [October 2007, Interview with The New York Observer]
She’s a shrill, screaming weasel. She’s cornered the market on misguided outbursts, and in the age of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore, that’s no easy feat. She’s the literary equivalent of a tirading, temper-tantruming three-year-old at a dinner party, and her parents are too overwhelmed to deal with her.
Clearly we have a paradox. How can one be so talented and yet so painfully misguided? We find this quote to be very enlightening:
She says: “The swing voters — I like to refer to them as the idiot voters because they don’t have set philosophical principles. You’re either a liberal or you’re a conservative if you have an IQ above a toaster.” [Fox's Beyond The News, 6/4/2000].
Really, Ann? What about, say, a voter who is pro-life and concerned about the environment? Or a voter who believes we should not be in Iraq, but also favors economic deregulation? Or someone who believes that in a country as successful as ours, no child should go without health care– but at the same time doesn’t want to reward people simply for being unemployed?
Idiots, according to Coulter.
In short, Coulter’s worldview is incredibly simplistic. It’s black and white, good versus evil, right versus wrong. There is no middle ground.
Now, I’m far from a moral relativist, but this is outrageous. Our political landscape is far, far too complex to be understood in such simple terms. We are dealing with a world in crisis. Oil prices are going through the roof. Our economy is faltering. Climate Change is an increasingly real threat. For Coulter to suggest that there are only two possible approaches with which to confront these challenges is ludicrous.
And yet this woman is a millionaire. Why? Because people buy her books. People read her newspaper columns. This is why Coulter is so dangerous– because at precisely the time when Americans need to be rallying together, she is driving them apart.
Now, obviously Coulter is not alone in this. There are many voices across the political spectrum doing their best to polarize America– to divide us into completely incompatible sections. While Coulter may not be the most well known, she is certainly the most shameless.
So yes, she is serious. She’s a talented entertainer with a warped worldview. She knows what she believes and she is going to express herself, civility be damned. In her mind, you’re either a loyal, inflexible, intolerant conservative, or you’re her enemy.
This should not be surprising, given that she sees the world in the way that she does. Many of us can sympathize with her– after all, we were all children once.
It’s just that the rest of us grew up.