“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”
So said Ann Coulter on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). (She was alluding to Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington’s recent stint in residential therapy, Washington’s penance for a remark directed at a gay castmate.) It wasn’t the first time Coulter had used the CPAC stage to toss out an epithet; a year ago, she told the crowd that “I think our motto should be post-9-11, ‘raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.’” Her response to a young Muslim who rose during the question and answer session to point out that remarks like that make it hard to recruit other Muslims to the conservative movement? “Well, I make a couple jokes about Muslims, and they kill 3,000 Americans — fair trade.”
Why does Coulter say such despicable things? Simple: to shock people into noticing her. The word for a person who behaves that way is attention-whore. Sure enough, Coulter got her pile of cash left on the nightstand; the story of her latest slur appeared in hundreds of media outlets over the weekend, and campaign spokesmen for Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and John McCain all issued denunciations to distance themselves from her.
Though actual prostitution is arguably a victimless crime, Coulter’s attention-whoring is not. With the notable exception of McCain, every major candidate for the Republican presidential nomination spoke at CPAC, and Coulter’s lame joke created a headache-by-association for all of them — particularly for Romney, the candidate that Coulter claims to support. The only one who she actually helped was John Edwards, who turned Coulter’s attack into an effective fundraising pitch.
In short, the moral case against Coulter the attention-whore is infinitely stronger than the case against an actual whore. Does a street-walker deserve opprobrium? Those who say yes can give various reasons. Perhaps she’s degrading herself, perhaps even spreading disease among her customers. But people who aren’t even in the room when she’s doing her job will never catch a thing from her.
That Coulter is so successful does not speak well of the conservative movement. The seemingly-endless line for her book-signing after the CPAC speech is testament to an eagerness to get down in the mud that’s clearly widespread — particularly among college students, who get a deep discount for CPAC registration and therefore make up a large chunk of the crowd. But young conservatives take their cues from movement elders who are far too tolerant of Coulter’s shtick.
If CPAC organizers would like to better-tailor next year’s conference to the traditional values that so many attendees stand for, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to fire up Craigslist, head to the “erotic services” listings, and order a call girl or two to work the exhibit hall. It would be much classier than letting Coulter return.
John Tabin is a writer in Washington, DC.
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | James Velasquez
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Joseph Hammond