Friday, February 10, 2006

Sheesh, Ann

OK, I admit it: I often find Ann Coulter funny. But not today:

With Ann Coulter you should only expect a bad stand-up comedian with a conservative schtick. That's what CPAC attendees got today. My expectations were low, yet she proceded [sic] to go below them. She referred to Muslims as "ragheads."

Sigh. Thanks, Ann. Any other thoughts? Keep them to yourself, will you? Stop doing us "favors." And as is so often the case, thanks, Instapundit, for the point to the site.

Update: Of all the things I've written about since starting this blog, I never dreamed for a minute that I'd get my longest comment thread out of an eye roll at Ann Coulter.

So. Addressing some of you in the comments, beginning with my buddies and high school classmates from long ago, the Kirby brothers: Thom, I've got to get over to your blog to indulge in some cussing! And Gary, yes, I know some might read this post as ammunition; I chose to write it anyway. You're correct, I think, that the Left won't self-police and won't acknowledge self-policing efforts on the Right, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't do what we know is right. In my ever-so-humble opinion, of course.

On to the rest of yez. I am indeed a fiscal conservative and I'm not at all pleased with Federal spending at the moment. However, I don't make the mistake of attributing the "Clinton surplus" to Clinton when he was the beneficiary of the so-called "peace dividend" (which, recall, led to comments like Rumsfeld's infamous but absolutely true "You have to go to war with the army you have," along with outrage from the Left that we ought to have delayed going to war while we built up our military, while our enemies would presumably have been leaning on their guns and trimming their nails, maybe having a smoke) and the bubble. And I likewise find it utterly clear that in order to have a Federal budget, you have to have a Federal government, which implies a nation, so national defense takes precedence over a balanced budget for me. A more descriptive and accurate statement about my fiscal policy, such as it is, is that I favor fewer and smaller government programs but recognize the fact of certain "natural monopolies," such as an army, without which a nation cannot function well, or at all.

I was and am a classical liberal: a devotee of and believer in the individual, his rights, his responsibilities. The term "liberal" has been long hijacked by some on the Left who act and talk as if they believe it means "dedicated to the premise that 'social' justice, as opposed to justice, ought to be the preeminent goal of society." I favor tolerance (but not preference nor a "right" not to be offended); equality of opportunity (but not efforts to create an impossible level playing field); equality under the law; freedom of speech, of the press, of religion, of assembly; I believe in freedom from unreasonable search and seizure - but also that the word "unreasonable" means something different from "any"; I believe in the right to keep and bear arms and in the responsibility of those who choose to do so to train and protect themselves and those in their household to avoid tragic accidents (and I point out that a pool is much more dangerous, statistically, than a gun); I believe that the Constitution is a "living" document in the sense that its words and ideas should and do continue to direct and inspire Americans, and speak hope and defiance to oppressed people around the world, but not that it's a "living" document in the sense that contextual reinterpretation ought to trump original intent. And finally (for purposes of this discussion), I'm absolutely thrilled that I didn't have to fight my way across the world, learn English laboriously as an adult, and undertake to become a citizen by dint of effort and commitment in order to enjoy the rights, liberties, opportunities, and responsibilities that devolve on American citizens generally. In short, I believe that being born American is the single luckiest thing ever to happen to Americans (beyond being born in the first place).

Does that clear anything up? I'm not a Democrat and have never been a Democrat (all right, I admit I was campaign manager for the "Democratic" candidate in my high school's mock election in 1984 - thanks a lot, Kirbys, for showing up and making me refer to those bygone days so much here) - but there are a whole lot of Democrats out there who, by their words and behavior, can't honestly be called "liberal" in this sense. "You keep saying tha' word; I do no' think it means what you think it means." Ditto "progressive," but I have no particular affinity for the term (I'm not convinced that progress for progress's sake is necessarily good), so I won't muddy the waters by amending my description of myself to include it.

When do I find Ann Coulter funny? When she says something like this:

The Democratic Party has decided to express indignation at the idea that an American citizen who happens to be a member of al Qaeda is not allowed to have a private conversation with Osama bin Laden. If they run on that in 2008, it could be the first time in history a Republican president takes even the District of Columbia.

or this:

Andrew Jackson, the father of the Democratic Party, may have had some unpalatable goals, but at least they were big ideas. Wipe out the Indians, kill off the national bank and institute a spoils system. Love him or hate him, he never said, "I'll be announcing my platform sometime early next year." The Whigs were formed in opposition to everything Jackson stood for.

The Republican Party emerged from the Whigs when the Whigs waffled on slavery. (They were "pro-choice" on slavery.) The Republican Party was founded expressly as the anti-slavery party, which to a great extent remains their position today.

Having won that one, today's Republican Party stands for life, limited government and national defense. And today's Democratic Party stands for ... the right of women to have unprotected sex with men they don't especially like. We're the Blacks-Aren't-Property/Don't-Kill-Babies party. They're the Hook-Up party.

I do not find her funny when she refers to Muslims as "ragheads." At moments like those, I find it appalling and inexplicable that she could say such a thing while apparently sharing a number of other principles and beliefs with me, which is pretty much the point of this post. Lindata, by "eliminationist" language do you mean "racist" or something similar? Coulter certainly uses insulting language about liberals frequently, but not generally in this vein; otherwise I wouldn't read her at all. Insult comics have a long and - well, not glorious, but at least storied tradition; racist comics went out with the Polish joke. Ann Coulter again crossed a line that she's crossed on a few occasions in the past (I hated her comments culminating in "now more than ever" about converting all Muslims to Christianity, for instance, while, as a Christian myself, acknowledging that Christianity appears to me to have a much better claim to the term "religion of peace" than Islam, based on both the teachings and the recent behavior of adherents of each), but as an entertainer, not as a spokesman for me.

So. Thanks for the spurious congratulations on "discovering" my "limits." Let me offer my congratulations on your exposure, willy-nilly, to the fact that the Right, while no more monolithic than the Left, is perhaps something different from what you thought it was.


Lindata said...

Ann Coulter has used eliminationist language against liberals for a long time, and it hasn't been funny for a long time. Thanks for noticing.

Anonymous said...

Can we please hear some more about how Democrats are too close to Michael Moore? I never get tired of that!

God of Biscuits said...

When DO you actually find Coulter funny and not just hateful?

Good on ya, though, for finding that you DO have limits when it comes to schadenfreude.

Anonymous said...

Lipstick bio... "If liberals were still "classical," I'd probably be one. Because they're being silly at present, I'm not one. I am, however, a fiscal conservative in any case,..."

So am I to surmise you vote republican because GWB and ilk have reduced our debt? Curtailed gov't spending?

You and your vanilla uniformed tendy GOPers are the reason we're in this mess.

Gahrie said...

An anonymous troll from the left. What a surprise.

Unfortunately Jamie, your troll proves a point I was going to make. Whenever we police our own, it just provides the Left another chance to attack. And the Left will never reciprocate by policing their own, because nothing is too extreme when attacking the Right.

Anonymous said...

Gahrie, is that yor real name or are you hiding behind an alias?

Ann coulter is the face of the modern Republican party whether you like it or not. Hatred of freedom, anti-due process, blind faith in republican government power,and pro-torture. She advocates the murder of anyone who disagrees with Bush. She is an all out fascist Cunt. She says what many of you only think. Care to prove me wrong.

Anonymous said...

I also find Ann Coulter often very funny. She is my comedic mentor.

Consider this an homage Ann.

If God is just, he will see to it that Ann Coulter is gang raped by 100 arabian horses who were forcefed Viagra 40 minutes earlier.

To those who may be offended, that was a joke. You conservatives have no sense of humor.

Gahrie said...


1) I am using a pseudonym, and left a link to my blog. I use the pseudonym because my real name , Gary Kirby, is fairly common.

2) You have proven my point about the Left with your posts better than any argument I could have made.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is your point?

You should endorse those who advocate the murder of people with my beliefs because to do otherwise will cause me and my ilk to stoop to Coulter's level. Is that the point you were trying to make Gary Kirby?

p.s. The first anon was not me and my name is Ed Mix.

Kirbside said...

Hey guys if you want to argue and cuss come over to my blog, Let Jaie have the civil discourse...

Roderick said...

did you catch Ann's comment about elderly liberal Supreme Court Justice john Paul Stevens?

She said that someone should poison his coffee so Bush could appoint another right-wing wacko in his seat.

Do you think that was funny too?

Ann Coulter is considered mainstream on the Right since she is a regular on 'Faux' news and she has had several best selling books.

THR, could you please tell me why you are no longer a liberal. I get tired of all of you guys who said that you were once liberals or Democrats but you saw the light. Somehow I have a hard time believing that you ever really believed in anything liberals stood for if you are now a Republican which is the equivalent to being a neocon.

Devil's Advocate said...

Who cares about Ann Coulter? she is a -- bad -- performance artist. The more publicity you give that bilious shrew, the more money she makes.

She is nothing but an annoying gnat. So, smack her (i.e., ignore her), and she'll go away when the attention and therefore the money dry out.

Railroad Stone said...

I thought she said to poison his Creme Brulee.

Gahrie, are you suggesting that you should not police your own, just to avoid attacks from the left?

Can you provide an example of something The Left should be "policing"?

Railroad Stone said...

I thought she said to poison his Creme Brulee.

Gahrie, are you suggesting that you should not police your own, just to avoid attacks from the left?

Can you provide an example of something The Left should be "policing"?

Jamie said...

OK, friends and neighbors, I've updated rather than responding in the comments to some of yours. In short, though, I'm wishing I drew a better class of comments. (Thanks, by the way, 12:33 Anon, for reminding me to close my browser before walking away from the computer, lest my 8-year-old be introduced to a word he's never heard or seen.) Goodness, you people, can't you do better than this?

Let's tally up the gratuity:

* "Democrats=Michael Moore" is the best "talking point" we on the Right have;
* Ann Coulter is hateful;
* I'm having an attack of schadenfreude;
* GWB is a spendthrift;
* "vanilla uniformed tendy GOPers" - actually I can't tell whether that's gratuity or not, since maybe the commenter meant "uninformed," but if it was in fact "vanilla uniformed" no one sent me the memo and I look pasty in vanilla - and this is the first I've heard that Republicanism is "trendy" if "trendy" was what the commenter meant;
* the big prize: "Hatred of freedom, anti-due process, blind faith in republican government power,and pro-torture. She advocates the murder of anyone who disagrees with Bush" and "fascist," and of course the word I won't repeat - Mr. Rove was rubbing his cold, cold hands together in glee as he read that one;
* gang rape - nice. And not at all hateful;
* "Ann Coulter is considered mainstream on the Right since she is a regular on 'Faux' news and she has had several best selling books" - which would mean, naturally, that Al Franken is considered mainstream on the Left, yes? And that I, who don't frequent Lefty hangouts, am the appropriate one to judge who is "mainstream" on the Left?
* Ann Coulter makes a tasteless (but not racist, not this one) joke about poisoning a Supe's creme brulee, and because I didn't specifically reference it in my post, I approve? Good gravy. Shall we take a walk over to Kos, second and third most trafficked blog according to TLB, after, and each one more than double the hits of Michelle Malkin, the first Righty blog listed?

Whew. I do not want to have to approve comments - even though I "hate freedom." Can you at least keep it PG?

Kirbside said...

are you sure your married Jamie? Divorce him and marry my brother, you'd be a great addition to the Kirby family.

Jamie said...

Thommy, remember I tried that back in high school? But thanks for the compliment (if it was one!).

Gahrie said...

I can only plead youth, ignorance and insecurity.............

Kirbside said...

of course it was.... and remember, if at first you don't suceed, try try again....

Anonymous said...

Re: "big prize" - which adjective is not accurate? Gitmo, Abu Grahab, NSA spying and FISA statute and 4th Am don't apply in time of "war" arguments, exploding government spending, and so on. No one who believes in less government CAN or DOES support this Administration unless they are lying to themselves.

Re: The rape "joke" was a Coulter style "joke". It was meant to be offensive. Of course if you respect Ann you have no right to be offended.

Although accurate, I should not have used the C-word. I apologise.

Kirbside said...

I wonder what federal spending would be like under a Gore Administration?

Jamie said...

Anonymous at 4:07, you get the "big prize" for fitting the most talking points into the smallest space. You start with "Ann coulter [sic] is the face of the modern Republican party whether you like it or not," which, it seems to me, ought to be a lot more up to me than up to you, seeing as how I'm the Republican in these parts. Then you list your grievances against my party: "Hatred of freedom, anti-due process, blind faith in republican government power,and pro-torture." These broad strokes you've now tightened down into "Gitmo, Abu Grahab, NSA spying and FISA statute and 4th Am don't apply in time of 'war' arguments, [and] exploding government spending."

[Sigh.] I'm going to take some stabs here. Gitmo==anti-due process? Abu Ghraib==pro-torture? NSA/FISA/4th Amendment==Republican power good, Democrat limits on power bad? Hatred of freedom=um. I've run out. All of the above?

All right then. Gitmo=!anti-due process; Gitmo==enemy combatants are not necessarily entitled to due process. Under some circumstances they may be, but by no means is (or ever was) due process meant to be extended to such.

Abu Ghraib=!pro-torture. Abu Ghraib==insufficient supervision of young and headstrong guards who acted in defiance of orders and training, and were caught at it by the military, with an investigation and courts-martial resulting. Also, naked pyramids=!torture. They aren't an effective interrogation technique, but they aren't torture.

NSA etc.=!blind faith in Republican governance. NSA etc.==acknowledgement that there's never been a war in which civil liberties could be as perfectly maintained as in peacetime. The trick in our society is to give up as little as possible while doing what's necessary to uphold national security and defense. Have you ever had a ration card? I have, not because of war (I'm far too young!) but because military dependents overseas had to have them for certain goods back when I was one. I've also been subject to considerably more official scrutiny than, I'd say, any well-behaved teenage American citizen on American soil, and I've had my movements seriously constrained by military curfews, roadblocks, no-go areas, etc. I had to carry an ID card everywhere I went, and show it on demand by any uniformed person. (Probably I was only required to show it to MPs, but in practice I figured I'd be best off being ready to produce it to anyone in uniform rather than to risk misreading insignia or anything. Some of my more envelope-pushing friends might've had a different standard. Gary?) These "infringements" on my personal liberty were part of military life, necessary for the effective, safe, and secure running of a military base. I grew up in and affected by a quasi-police state, created by those charged with protecting the civil liberties as well as the lives and livelihoods of civilian Americans and our allies. Yet, I was free; and every non-child person on every base with which my family was ever associated not only knew themselves to be free, but also stood ready to fight for our freedom, all the while knowing that we'd personally enjoy marginally more of it if we weren't military.

It's perhaps this perspective that I bring to my feelings and analysis of the "domestic spy scandal!!" that, to you, appears to represent an unconscionable infringement. The other side of the argument - that the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces does not have an intrinsic Constitutional right and duty to intercept enemy communications wherever they occur, regardless of attempts to limit that right and duty by other branches of government, is inexplicable to me, unless I first twist my brain around the idea that to some, we're not actually at war. Once I accomplish that feat of mental acrobatics, I can sorta get it, but the solution to the problem is not for me to deny reality, but for you to accept it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Ok, let me explain it for you.

The "Commander In Chief" does NOT have the right to read my email, listen in to to my phone conversations or invade my privacy in any way manner or form without a warrant issued by a court consistant with the Constitution of the United States.

It's called the "law".

Get it?

Jamie said...


What I "get" is that you, like so many on your side of the debate, continue to mischaracterize the NSA program according to what you fear may be happening rather than what the Administration and other credible sources say is happening. The scare quotes around "Commander in Chief" make my point: that some people don't realize there's a war on. If we're at war, CiC is one vital Constitutional role of the Executive. If we're not, the role still exists, but is less important in practical terms.

The "law" you're speaking of (and the not-scare-but-rather-irony quotes around it are, I'd say, just as ironic as you'd like them to be) is not a behemoth existing in a lonely vacuum; it's, first, the Constitution, and only second, the body of statutes that flesh out the Constitution's framework. (And, I guess, somewhere in the hierarchy, common law, but for our purposes that's not important.) The Administration claims inherent authority for the President as CiC to intercept enemy communications. This authority has been used by every wartime President and many non-wartime Presidents ranging back to Washington. The difference here is, I think, threefold, and I present them in the order in which they occur to me rather than in any empirically-determined order:

1. The President in question is George W. Bush.
2. The means of interception has an Orwellian flavor because never before in history has it been possible to intercept so much sigint. However, never before in history has it been so easy for distant enemy agents to communicate, either, nor has such an overwhelming lot of sigint been extant.
3. It's been a long time since we've fought a war in which enemy agents were known to be on our soil. Last time we feared such, Japanese-Americans were interned; this time, we know we're harboring the asp in our figurative bosom, but we've (some of us) forgotten how to respond to the threat.

Congress is doing what it does every time an Executive claims inherent authority: pushing back. Congress, husbanding its own power, is, according to the Administration, overreaching by trying to claim some "right" for itself or "necessity" for the Executive to seek further Congressional approval beyond the AUMF to conduct this surveillance. The Administration's legal position is, then, (1) inherent Constitutional authority, bolstered by (2) the AUMF, and supported by (3) the "other statutes" provision under FISA. Congress's position is that they want a piece of the action greater than the Administration is willing to give up, being dissastisfied with their two checks on the Executive's CiC power, impeachment and the purse. (Also, they're content to have hearings rather than use either of these checks because they have to hold two things in tension: their belief that this program is both necessary and lawful, as demonstrated by their failure to complain about it until the NYT leak happened, and their desire to play to a portion of the electorate that's been all worked up into a lather by the - uninformed but breathless - way the program has been portrayed in the press.) The Supreme Court might eventually be called on to rule on the question, because it's all about separation of powers, nothing much about "breaking the law" per se, but the Supes, I understand, tend not to embroil themselves in such debates very often. So the question may not ever be resolved, but only fade into the background until the next time it's needed.

Unless you are talking to suspicious folk overseas (or, more probably, they are talking to you, because you're the needle in the haystack, they're the neon-colored thread that sticks visibly out of the haystack and leads to the needle), your emails aren't being read, and your phone conversations aren't being listened to. So says the Administration. You may doubt them if you wish, but you may not credibly accuse them of breaking the "law" without either evidence (beyond your conviction that they just have to be because they're so lawless) or understanding of the law that applies. But reread the Fourth Amendment: it frees you only from unreasonable searches and seizures, not from any, a point I addressed in my update to this post. Do you make a Constitutional argument when you walk through the security gates at the airport? When you cross the border and customs agents look in your trunk? When you're caught speeding and the police officer asks to see your license and registration? These too are warrantless searches - but perfectly permissible under the Constitution. A smoking gun isn't always required before a permissible warrantless search is triggered - but in this case, the Administration claims that the smoking gun is actually present. We'll see the outcome of the hearings. So far, those coming out of the secret portion of the hearings are coming out convinced, from what I've heard.

Biff Usually said...

I am pretty sure I have seen Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World self-police the left. Unfortunately, I cannot think of any specific instances at the moment, or I would list them. But there are some on the left who do speak with voices of reason.

None of them are named Michael Moore.

The problem I see is that those on the right seem to give GWB the benefit of the doubt every time. He says everyone at Gitmo and at Abu Ghraib is a "terrorist," therefore how they are treated cannot be bad. We have seen more than a few instances of people who seem to be innocents imprisoned either by unfortunatly being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or having been sold to US interests for reward money by agents of foreign governments. Do these people deserve due process? As far as I am aware these cases are a minute percentage of those incarcerated, but that could be because the vast majority of the detainees have not received due process.

Maybe, just maybe, more would be considered innocent if we allowed some sort of oversight. As it is, they are all just sitting, wasting away, at best.

And what does the future hold for those at Gitmo or at Abu Ghraib, or at "black sites" hidden who knows where? If they are truly terrorists, you can't ever let them go. Are we going to hold them until they die?

The method I have seen described for the monitoring of telephone and email communication is not at all specific to individuals. Instead it is a datamining technique which checks large numbers of messages for certain words or phrases, and then looks in more detail at whatever gets flagged. This, according to what I have read, is aimed at quite a wide swath of private communications. Not at all just listening in on a few specific conversations with "known" terror suspects.

I could be totally wrong. But GWB has admitted that the eavesdropping will continue with no checks whatsoever until we "win" this war, that by its very nature can never be won.

That doesn't bother you?

Jamie said...


Not sure if you were addressing me or Gahrie - I'm not used to having more than one commenter! - about the self-policing of Left and Right; my point to Gahrie was that whether or not we on the Right get credit for self-policing, we ought to do it. Gahrie has a different point to make, one about which I'm not sufficiently schooled in Lefty blogs to confirm or deny.

As for people "wasting away" in Gitmo, etc., you're right that this conflict has elements we're not used to when we talk about war. By declaring "war on terror" rather than "war on Nation X," we do set up a situation where it's rather more difficult to know when we're "done." This is why I'm not knee-jerkily against military tribunals for detainees. But non-US citizens are not automatically entitled to due process; there's no reasonable way around this. And therefore I do not support permitting detainees - even the ones who are eventually released - to bring their cases in non-military courts. I have no fear that the truly innocent will find a voice (one of the benefits of having a distinctly liberal and activist bunch of lawyers on the Left is that they'll help to ensure that justice is done for those few victims of the terrorist-seeking dragnet); but it's already documented that some released detainees have returned to the battlefield, such as it is, resulting in more American deaths.

In short, the fortunes of war: a few innocent people will suffer. The fewer the better, but there's no way to narrow the criteria for detainment so far as to ensure that no innocent person is ever detained without running the significant risk of missing more non-innocents than we already are.

NSA program: Sigh. I'll have to post more on this. You say, "GWB has admitted that the eavesdropping will continue with no checks whatsoever" - not exactly. GWB has stated (not "admitted," as if it's a confession wrung from him) that it'll continue until the war is won, and has no power to force it to continue once he's left office. Now, though (as I said above) it'll be a bit more difficult to tell when this war is won than a more typical war (but even in a more typical war you don't always know right away - when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Washington didn't know for a good while that that would be the definitive surrender resulting in the end of the American Revolution, for example), the fact that this program is reviewed every month and a half or so as well as the fact that we're a functioning democracy with a system of checks and balances including Congress's power of the purse and ability to initiate impeachment proceedings at any time they believe they can make the case both militate against an out-of-control KGB-esque infringement on the rights of the citizenry. My husband worries more about future presidencies than this one, in this regard - but Congress still has these powers and the will and desire to consolidate its own authority even across partisan lines, the American public still has electoral power, and until someone declares himself President-For-Life, we probably don't need to dig the catacombs.

Cobra said...

Ann Coulter, in her own words:

>>>"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building."

>>>"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

>>>"“Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant.”"

>>>“When contemplating college liberals, you really regret once again that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors.”"

>>>“Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.”

>>>“whether to impeach or assassinate”

Now, I personally think Ann Coulter is great from my liberal perspective. Her campus speeches convert more students to LIBERALISM than any allegedly left winged professor EVER could.

In fact I hope Ann, Michelle "Bring back Internment Camps" Malkin, and the rest of their crew get even more vociferous.

By the way, who needs Michael Moore when REALITY is availible, and giving out the same message?