Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, March 05, 2007

Ann Coulter shows her true colours
I've never had much time for Ann Coulter. In my opinion, she is one of those publicity-hungry firebrands that is always sprouting controversy to have her picture in the dailies. Her writing and commentary usually falls in the 'ridiculous' category, and her one-eyed positions leave her as little more than a court jester for conservative Republicans.

Her latest efforts, in which she called presidential candidate John Edwards a "faggot" at a televised conservative conference, illustrate the dire pedigree of the columnist. [See video here,] Coulter is well-known for this type of attack, having called Bill Clinton gay as well as declaring (at the same conference) in a discussion about black Republicans "our blacks are better than their blacks."

Such is the quality of Coulter, she will not apologise for the comments, stating: "C'mon, it was a joke. I would never insult gays by suggesting that they are like John Edwards. That would be mean." One wonders whether Mel Gibson or Isaiah Washington could have successfully used that humour defence.

Some Republican politicans, most notably those in the 2008 race, have been quick to express their disdain for her comments, but some of the hardened conservative politicians have been less forthcoming. Conservative stalwart Sean Hannity could only muster "It's not a term that I would use" and refused to chide her personally.

The entrenched conservative segment of the Republican Party has been significantly emboldened during George W Bush's two terms and commentators like Coulter have had free reign to deliver their diatribes, largely without rebuke. However, with the waning of both Bush and the Republican Party's fortunes over the last two years, it seems that Pandora's Box has been opened and little can be done to return them to their narrow audience. It may take a reproach - or at the very least a distancing - from George W to put them back in their box. Don't hold your breath...


Coulter last night was back-peddling (or as Fox invariably puts it - "Firing back") from her comments with more hilarity, claiming that the word 'faggot' has nothing to do with gays: "'Faggot isn't offensive to gays; it has nothing to do with gays," Coulter said on "Hannity and Colmes" Monday night. "It's a schoolyard taunt meaning 'wuss,' and unless you're telling me that John Edwards is gay, it was not applied to a gay person."