Saturday, June 10, 2006

Coulter Republicans Speak

Posted by BobcatJH in General Discussion: Politics
Fri Jun 09th 2006, 11:36 AM
Well, I knew this would happen. I write a story about the face of the Republican Party, Ann Coulter, and the Ann Coulter Republicans come out of the woodwork to prove my point. Through replies to the post, comments elsewhere and personal e-mails, right-wingers illustrated my arguments as only they could: Embarrassing themselves.

Coulter Republicans, like their namesake, are unable to do what seems so simple a tactic in a debate. They can't, for the life of them, disagree with someone on the merits of their argument. Instead, they lob grenades from afar, ruining the dialogue by making it about mudslinging, not civil, coherent, rational back-and-forth.

Why do this? Why drag any debate into the gutter instead of moving it forward by making solid points? Why, when pressed on actual issues, resort to name calling and overused right-wing insults? Because, deep down, Coulter Republicans are hiding a dirty secret. They simply don't know what they're talking about.

Claiming to speak for "Middle America", one right-wing e-mailer told me that "Coulter said what many in America did not dare to say as we saw the 9/11 widows pontificating. They just seemed like they were enjoying the spotlight a bit too much. The same to say about Sheehan. Even on critisizing Bush I think their credibility got undermined by playing the partisan game. ... Always looked bad to me and Coulter nailed it. Good for her." Well, there's a reason many in America "did not dare say" what Coulter said about the 9/11 widows. Because what she said was ridiculous and has no place in civilized society. When you call these individuals "broads", "witches" and "harpies", adding, "I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much", you're not making a point. You're lobbing insults and looking to start a fight.

These women didn't seek the spotlight. Do you think the widows wanted to see their husbands die on September 11? Do you think Cindy Sheehan wanted to lose her son? What's admirable and worthy of respect is that they used their losses to point out the Bush administration's shortcomings. If criticizing the government on the merits of its actions is "playing the partisan game," then consider that the widows said many of the same things the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission said in their final report. And that Sheehan has made points about the war in Iraq made by prominent Republicans, including Sen. Chuck Hagel and President Bush himself.

One commenter, T, took things a step further, saying the widows "exploit their husband's death" and saying the same of Sheehan, "that bitch". Not done, T added about Sheehan that "I can see why that WHORE sheehan's husband divorced her WRINKLY ASS!!!" Nice. A real "compassionate conservative", don't you think? It wasn't the childish insults, however, that stood out from T's comment. It was when T criticized the widows and Sheehan for "using someone else's death to advance your politcs". This, more than anything, shows me the grasp T has on the current state of affairs. Widows speaking about about how little has been done to prevent the next September 11? Using someone else's death to advance your politics. A president and his party using "September 11" as a rallying phrase for every misguided policy since the tragedy occurred? Just fine.

When they're not insulting people or making faulty arguments, Coulter Republicans employ tired right-wing talking points and overused bumper-sticker language. Aaron from the blog My Brain is Made of Things Made of Gold encountered one such Coulter Republican. This particular right-winger marked the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by insulting Russ Feingold. "Today Russ lost a powerful ally in his war against America. This is Feingolds worst nightmare not only did the BusHitler score a victory it was given to him by the evil civilian killers who make up the US Military," Chris said. He later added, "Russ has to be crushed that his on going campaign to defeat America in its war on terror took such a serious blow."

When confronted point-by-point by Aaron, Chris replied both there and at his blog by accusing those who questioned him of thinking they were the smartest people in the room (his words) and by referring to them as evil moonbats. Chris even went so far as to send me an e-mail with the subject line of, and I'm not kidding, "Wow what a smug arrogant prick you must be". He also referred to me as an "asshat", accused people like me of never being happy, insulted my education and said "you have wasted most of your young life already". Notice that, at no point in any of his responses, did Chris rebut Feingold (or Aaron or I for that matter) on the merits of our arguments. Instead, he turned the debate into an opportunity for him to insult those who dared respond to his mistake-filled, meritless writings.

Getting back to a point our first example made, he accused the widows and Sheehan of "playing the partisan game". This gets to the heart of Coulter's point, something Amanda Marcotte illustrated perfectly when she wrote, "I think the purpose of slandering 9/11 widows is that Coulter needs an outrageous distraction to smuggle in the idea that politics is a game and anyone who takes is seriously should be ejected from game play." She adds, "There's already a tendency in our culture to value detached observation above experience and Coulter's building on that to argue that anyone who is actually hurt by a government policy or action should be disqualified from speaking out against it."

And that's just it. Coulter, despite her bluster and heated rhetoric, is really arguing that it's not fair for the widows - or anyone with direct experience, for that matter - to speak out. Writes Marcotte, "She's also trying to bolster the already-existing idea that if one side has much better arguments than the other, the other side should get a handicap to make it 'fair'." But this isn't, as Marcotte says, a game, despite what a Coulter Republican would argue. This is real life, and some arguements are better than others. Arguments with, say, evidence behind them.

Arguments without evidence, accordingly, come part and parcel with being a Coulter Republican. Why? Because people like Coulter don't know what they're talking about. A local radio host, one friendly to her beliefs, asked Coulter to speculate today on the fall elections. A seemingly easy question to answer. A question that Coulter stumbled and bumbled through with severe difficulty. Her answer revealed that she has no grip whatsoever on electoral politics, only on grenade tossing and below-the-belt, sophomoric insults. Issue by issue, she has nothing substantive to add, a fact that conveniently gets lost in a deluge of her shameful slurs.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at what's happened, considering my track record as regards to right-wingers commenting on what they read on liberal blogs. Here's the thing, Coulter Republicans. Debate us on the merits of what we say. Find fault with the intellectual underpinnings of our arguments. Disagree with our points, not on details that have little to do with the matter at hand. That you are unable to do so speaks to your inability to engage in reasoned discourse. That you treat politics as a game speaks to your ability to rationalize policies that have had disastrous results. Policies that have had real-life effects and real-life consequences. Ask the widows. Ask Sheehan. Women with more character than any Coulter Republican will ever have.
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