Sunday, June 11, 2006

Oh, please!

How do you know your party is dominated by losers? When your members of Congress have nothing better to do than to badmouth newspaper columnists:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., said Thursday on the House floor that Coulter is a "hatemonger" and called on Republicans to denounce her: "I must ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle: Does Ann Coulter speak for you when she suggests poisoning not Supreme Court Justices or slanders the 9/11 … widows? If not, speak now. Your silence allows her to be your spokesman."
Bull. Is Rahm Emanuel asked to defend everything written by, inter alia, Molly Ivins, Barbra Streisand, Robert Scheer, or Al Franken?

When are people going to grow up and understand that journalists are not politicians? You read the column or don't -- your choice. You buy the book or you don't -- your choice. Syndicated columnists don't get to vote on your taxes or whether we go to war. If Rahm Emanuel doesn't like Ann Coulter's book, let him write his own book (suggested title: "Hired Truck: How the Daley Machine Screwed Taxpayers and Elected Me to Congress.")

Dan Riehl comments:
If the best they can do to try and bash Republicans is swipe at authors and right wing radio types, they got nothing to bring. It's okay by them if Kerry calls our troops terrorists, or Murtha calls them murderers, but let's not offend the "heroes of 9/12"??
Exactly. I just got finished sending off a 3,000-word review of GODLESS and it is ridiculous to expect Republicans to defend Coulter based on a handful of sentences that happened to catch the eye of a reporter at the New York Daily News. (Obviously, Rahm Emanuel hasn't read the book himself.)

Meanwhile, Will Hinton is calling for a Coulter boycott:
It is high time to "excommunicate" Ann Coulter from the conservative movement. So I am issuing this call to the conservative movement across the country: Boycott Ann Coulter! …
It is high time to separate from Coulter just like we did with Pat Buchanan and David Duke.
This is absurd. If you don't like Ann Coulter, fine, don't buy the book. (Buy DONKEY CONS instead!) But Will's hysterical tone -- calling Coulter “one of the greatest danger that exists to the conservative movement” and comparing her to David Duke -- demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the relationship between journalism and politics.

Ann Coulter is not running for public office; she's selling a book. There may be things in the book that Will doesn't like, and things that Rahm Emanuel doesn't like. (Frankly, I didn't like it when she compared Stephen Jay Gould to Robert E. Lee.)

It is, however, ridiculous to think that a syndicated columnist, however irresponsible or incendiary you may believe her to be, is “one of the greatest danger that exists to the conservative movement.” If I had to nominate such a columnist, I might pick David Brooks of the New York Times, but I'm not calling for a boycott of Brooks.

I actually liked Brooks' Bobo book, but he lost me when he started up his "National Greatness" crusade. (His 1997 Weekly Standard article doesn't seem to be online, but is referenced here.) Christopher Caldwell's anti-Southern screed in the Atlantic Monthly was part of that same stupid era. The conservative intellectual elite was in a post-1996 funk at the failure of Bob Dole -- a "big-government fossil from the Nixonian Epoch" -- to defeat Bill Clinton. Brooks and Caldwell (who was a senior editor at the Weekly Standard) are both Blue-state Yankees, and thus completely misunderstand the Red states, and their frustrations with the Gingrich-led Congress led them to attack social conservatives and advocates of limited government.

This Weekly Standard-led "national greatness" crusade resulted, in a roundabout way, in the "Compassionate Conservatism" of the current administration, with which everyone is now so unhappy. So the distemper of Blue-state conservative intellectuals after the Dole disaster seems to have resulted in yet another disaster, but at no point do the architects of these disasters seem to consider that maybe the GOP should return to emphasizing a combination of limited government and social conservatism -- a combination that was a winner in both the Reagan and Gingrich "revolutions." But I digress ....

Regardless of Coulter's errors, then, it is silly to pretend that she is a menace to society, or to the GOP. Brooks and Caldwell might be a menace to the GOP, but only if Republicans are foolish enough to keep listening to their bad advice.

To Messrs. Brooks & Caldwell: I'm only funnin' with you boys. Ain't nothin' wrong with y'all that couldn't be fixed by spending a long weekend in the infield at Talladega. Or at "Volunteer Jam." Or a tent revival. Or an SEC football game. Or, as a last resort, hunting in Texas with Dick Cheney.

-- McCAIN