Monday, March 05, 2007

Much Ado About Hypocrisy

The hilariously over-the-top Ann Coulter is no stranger to controversy. The willowy chain-smoker has earned huge sums by writing books that are largely free of useful insights or commentary, but loaded with sticky barbs levelled at left-wing politicians and luminaries.

While such an approach is not, in itself, unique, Coulter has built a brand for herself though just how over-the-top she's been. She's called for the New York Times to be bombed (because its editorial coverage is, in her view, slanted to the left), dubbed Democrats as "godless," and accused Iraq War critics of treason. Those with a brain (and a sense of humor) chuckle and note that she's quite adept at selling this over-the-top rhetoric with a wink and a nod.

I've long theorized that in another 10 years, when her books stop selling, she'll come clean and admit it was all an act.

Well, she outdid herself again, referring to Democrat John Edwards as a "faggot":

"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," Coulter said Friday at the gathering in Washington, D.C.

Insulting to gays? Absolutely. A departure from the Coulter schtick? Not at all.

Just as typically could be expected, the old-party establishment scrambled into action to condemn Coulter's naughty word and deliver her yet another fresh dose of publicity:

[Democratic National Committee boss Howard] Dean said, "There is no place in political discourse for this kind of hate-filled and bigoted comments. While Democrats and Republicans may disagree on the issues, we should all be able to agree that this kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds."

Of course, Dean's appearance on right-wing religious television to decry gay marriage, and his initial comment on the Vermont civil unions bill as governor ("It makes me uncomfortable") just ooze with respect -- they're downright love-filled and tolerant.

The 2008 Republican presidential front-runner, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York, who spoke to the conference just hours before Coulter, told ABC News over the weekend that Coulter's comments "were completely inappropriate and there should be no place for such name-calling in political debate."

Unless the person in question is a controversial artist, or operates certain sorts of businesses. Oh, and on gay marriage, Mr. Guiliani has underscored his resolute opposition to equal treatment under the law.

A spokesman for Sen. John McCain who was absent from the conference called Coulter's comments "offensive," adding that "political discourse ought to be more substantive."

Perhaps Senator McCain believes that his support for Arizona's failed anti-gay marriage amendment wasn't offensive, and that his reason for supporting it (some claptrap about "values" that he never could articulate) was "substantive." Thoughtful people disagree.

spokesman for former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who preceded Coulter at the conference Friday and said that he was happy to hear that the conference would hear from her, called Coulter's words "offensive."

"Gov. Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect," Romney's communications director Kevin Madden said.

But not enough dignity or respect to be treated equally under the law in Massachusetts, where the good governor declared that gays were "trying to make Massachusetts the Las Vegas of gay marriage" and urged Massachuttans to "protect marriage from homosexuals."

And what of Mr. Edwards himself? He weighed in:

Edwards, the target of Coulter's confab, wrote on his Web site that "the kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large."

Amazingly enough, this is literally the first time ANY gay issue received any attention on Edwards' web site at all. In fact, up to today, a search for "gay" or "faggot" on that site turned up nothing. (By the way, the former word still has no results, at least according to Google).

The media is filled with a laundry list of other politicians, organizations, etc. all demanding Coulter's head on a platter.

As the regular gaggle of Republicrat politicians weigh in to scream their outrage at Coulter's intemperate language and thereby "prove" their tolerant credentials, consider the following point:

Which would you rather have -- a world where anti-gay politicians like those listed take a break from assailing your family and your wallet to take on Ann Coulter's political incorrectness; or a world where you're treated equally under the law and Coulter's comments are chuckled off?

Ann Coulter's offense was a one-time high-school insult -- but old party politicians insult the intelligence, families and dignity of GLBT people every day of the year. That's far more deserving of condemnation, in this humble blogger's view.