Ann Coulter was the freshest face of Conservatism, or so I thought in the fall of 1996. Ann was passionate, articulate, and courageous in espousing her Christian faith and conservative principles.
But I soon discovered that in every facet of her career, this self-described provocateur and acclaimed right-wing diva has proven herself a hypocrite or a charlatan (or both).
Within a short span of time, Coulter would become the premiere spokesman for Conservatism – despite – or, perhaps because of – the dysfunctional aspects of her character and life.
Now she has been regarded as a Conservative Icon for over a decade. Young America’s Foundation distributed a popular poster, The Beauty of Conservatism, solely showcasing its premiere polemicist as the quintessential exemplar of conservatism.
Early in her speaking career, the Claire Boothe Luce Policy Institute (CBLPI) gave Coulter an award for her “unfailing dedication to truth, freedom and conservative values and for being an exemplar, in word and deed, of what a true leader is.”
Many of Coulter’s colleagues and most of her fans regard her as a heroine; some even call her a goddess. To them, she has won the Trifecta of beauty, brains, and balls. Moreover, they treat her as a victim of left-wing bias and hatred. Indeed, in their eyes, she can do no wrong.
The Beauty of Conservatism hones in on those charismatic qualities which catapulted Coulter to the top and highlights the dark side of Ann Coulter, which has astonishingly been exalted and emulated by many of her colleagues and fans.
The Beauty of Conservatism: The Seduction of Ann Coulter and the Cuckolding of Conscience
Daniel J. Borchers
Published: December 8, 2011
Chapter One of The Beauty of Conservatism portrays Coulter as both seductress and seduced. The next chapter examines the cuckolding of conscience in both Coulter’s life and her spheres of influence. Chapters Three through Six explore major facets of Coulter’s image: beauty, brains, balls, and heroic victim.
Chapter Seven examines Coulter’s views of female liberals, while Chapter Eight looks at the polemical nature of her work in general. Chapter Nine highlights Coulter as the Goddess of the Conservative Movement – a theme prevalent within Conservatism since the Clinton presidency.
Chapter 10 examines Coulter’s then latest book, Demonic, and its author. Chapter 11 contends that Coulter is not really a conservative. Finally, four appendices complete this book: one looks at Coulter as her fans view her – a “totally hot babe”; two examine the issues of beauty and wisdom from a spiritual perspective; and one callers the reader to “Take Action.”
The Beauty of Conservatism reminds the reader – regardless of political persuasion or spiritual sensibilities – to what Conservatism aspires and how that aspiration can be attained.
Here is a sampling from The Beauty of Conservatism.
The Seduction of Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter is both seduced and seducer. She is seduced by success, captivated by celebrity, driven to achieve acclaim, and she will do anything to accomplish her goals, using her charm, charms, and charisma to great effect.
Many factors from Coulter’s childhood and life as a young adult have had an enormous impact upon the person she would become. Those genealogical, familial, and socio-economic roots grew the person who would become the Ann Hart Coulter we know today.
Ann takes pride in her pedigree and in her perfect family. She emerged from her personal petri dish of family, pedigree, prosperity, and ideological purity with an intense desire to succeed. As her close friend, Jim Moody, told me, “She was always a high aimer.”
Coulter wanted to be the best, to prove herself – to have all lights shone upon her. Her sense of needing to perform to be loved would forever haunt her. Her need to satisfy an authoritarian father and a trophy mom, the last born urge to be better than the rest, the burden of living up to her family heritage and to adhere to strict religious standards, these all converged to create a person who would become a conservative celebrity and puritanical prima donna.
Virtually all of my sources confirm that Coulter’s personality traits have remained constant, or increased in degree. She has always been a fun-loving, talkative, provocative person, an on-the-edge traditionalist tweaking her foes. Engaging and energetic, the life of sorority parties at Cornell, Coulter vivified affairs in Michigan and would become the perfect host at her own get-togethers in the 1990s. Those personality traits were well ingrained long before she entered law school. However, her character traits would dramatically change upon the cusp of becoming a star.
The Cuckolding of Conscience
Coulter was one of MSNBC’s most flamboyant personalities. Her outrageousness garnered both love letters and hate mail. “According to producers, Coulter gets more fan mail than any other contributor.” But Coulter’s colorful rhetoric offended her employer (and their audience). Coulter puts her own unique spin on things: “They kept firing me, but then they’d rehire me. People just went mental when they saw a real conservative on TV.” In her eyes, she was “a real conservative,” not “too extreme.”
Beginning in October 1996, Coulter became a ubiquitous guest on radio and television talk shows and frequently flew to Hollywood to appear on Politically Incorrect. As it turns out, Coulter had dated its host, Bill Maher, several years earlier, in 1994. Moreover, Coulter’s close friendship with Geraldo Rivera enabled her to appear weekly on his television talk show.
The character flaws noted earlier in her life were more aberrational, not normative. However, with her success, politically and professionally, and her growing grassroots and elitist clout, Coulter became a victim of the success syndrome. An MSNBC Health News article, titled “Power: the greatest aphrodisiac?” provides greater insight into this affliction. The Success Syndrome describes “a set of symptoms characterized by power-driven compulsive behaviors.” “Sexual compulsives are but one subgroup of success syndrome sufferers.”
Success Syndrome sufferers experience denial, as well as a belief they can get away with it. Al Cooper, a clinical director in California, concludes, “It’s about power. It’s about gratification. It’s about grandiosity.” Whichever symptoms are manifested, power remains at the root of the syndrome.
Virtually from her birth, a nexus of forces would mold and shape Ann in diverse, and even opposing, ways. Birth order would ensure that Ann would grow up with ambivalence while being the center of attention, a pampered prima donna in the making, while her experience as a baby in an incubator would both magnify her protective family environment and deaden Ann’s own ability to reciprocate compassion towards others. Ann would grow to feel a loneliness within which could not be filled by others.
Every one of these initial forces from the moment of her birth were inward-focused, emphasizing Ann Hart Coulter as the center of her universe. Additional transformational forces further exacerbated Ann’s tendency towards developing a narcissistic personality.
Author and evangelist Chuck Swindoll has contrasted living a godly life with pursuing and absorbing four worldly traits: fortune, fame, power, and pleasure. Swindoll notes that some people prostitute character for fame. Ironically, in her 2011 best-seller, Demonic, Coulter wrote, “For some people, nothing is more important than fame.” Was she writing from experience?
Image – her own self-image and that which she strives to project to others – is exceptionally important to Coulter. As we will see, the four worldly traits mentioned by Swindoll – fortune, fame, power, and pleasure – are manifested to one degree or another in Coulter. Meanwhile, her projected image – one which is at the root of how she wants to perceive herself and be perceived by others – features the quartet of beauty, brains, courage, and heroic victim.
Being among – and considered one of – the beautiful people is integral to Coulter’s self-identity.
Coulter is deeply invested in her beauty, psychologically and professionally. From her youth onward, beauty has been a formative and pervasive part of her life. Indeed, in many respects her own self-identity would revolve around her real and perceived pulchritude.
Since 1998, Coulter has been regarded as a conservative sex symbol and conservative goddess, an image Coulter meticulously embraces and enhances. Indeed, much of her fame can be attributed to her “conservative pinup” status.
As a “conservative” sex symbol, Coulter declared, “‘I am emboldened by my looks to say things Republican men wouldn’t.” A few years later, she amplified her self-description: “I’m a female as opposed to a boy commentator, and that emboldens me. If I were a liberal, I’d be described as looking like a high-fashion model.”
Parlaying pulchritude into power, Coulter’s beauty would frequently insulate her from criticism. Her wit and humor would likewise cover a multitude of sins. Yet, Coulter simultaneously encourages her sex symbol status while denying doing so. Howard Kurtz introduced a Washington Post profile of Coulter this way: “The woman on the bar stool – long blond hair, short black skirt, spiky heels, chain-smoking Carltons – looks like she’s waiting to be picked up.” Just one year later, as an essayist for George magazine, Coulter posed for a photo at a bar, as if she were waiting to be picked up.
Coulter certainly appears extremely comfortable with her looks, boasting, “I think I’m totally telegenic.”
… Brains …
Coulter chortled over MSNBC host John Gibson’s remark about her 1997 profile photo in George magazine: “It’s like the centerfold for intellectuals, right? She’s got a staple across her brain now.” As Susan Estrich would later prophetically put it, “They are blinded by the blonde.”
Indeed, even the conservative weekly Human Events for which Coulter writes, hawked her very first book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, with a promotional ad which similarly dwelt on brains and beauty, boldly declaring: “She’s blonde. She’s brilliant. She’s Bill Clinton’s worst nightmare come true.”
A remarkable YAF Video released in 2007 – “Smart Woman, Short Skirt” – explicitly links beauty and brains with Conservatism – which, in turn, parrots YAF’s Poster, “The Beauty of Conservatism.” This video’s opening question, “What do the looks and ideas of these [liberal] women have in common?” is answered, “They’re all scary.” The video then exclaims, “Thank God for conservative women,” with the remainder of this short promotional video being wholly devoted to Coulter.
Coulter concurs: “We conservative women really do have the best looking women on our team. We’re smart too, which is why we are conservative.”
“I am the illegal alien of commentary,” boasted Coulter, explaining, “I will do the jokes that no one else will do.” Those jokes – those polemics – include cavalier condescension towards those she asserts are retarded. Being beneath her, the objects of her derision are denied the humanity which God has given them.
Coulter is wont to use the R-word – “retarded” – without hesitation. Forever asserting that liberals are stupid, idiots, morons, and the like, for many years one of Coulter’s most popular speeches declared liberalism a mental defect. Naturally, “retarded” is apropos for her lexicon.
In Guilty, Coulter called Scott McClellan an “idiot,” “retarded press secretary,” and “butterball.” In 2011, alluding to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Coulter joked, “I think these programs to mainstream the learning disabled may have gone too far.”
A few months later, she said, “To quote the great Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic base are ‘F-ing retards.’” Coulter insists on insisting that “Liberalism is a mental defect,” and asserts, “It’s as if all the brain-damaged people in America got together and formed a voting bloc.”
… and Balls!
In Ann Coulter, conservatives appeared to win the punditry Trifecta, possessing the perfect synthesis of beauty, brains and balls.
In a Time cover profile, John McCloud asked whether Coulter is “a brave warrior or a shallow hack?” McCloud asserted that she is a “combination of hard-charging righteousness and willowy, sex-kitten pulchritude.”
Comfortable with her femininity, Coulter often exhibits what one could describe as masculine behavior, which is essential to her goal of projecting courage. She often acts like the prototypical alpha male, even claiming to have – and being praised for having – balls.
She has been called “a fire-breathing conservative,” “the fearless Ann Coulter,” and “Ann, the only male in the Republican party.”
The Claire Boothe Luce Policy Institute confidently promotes her as, “Ann Coulter: Provocative. Brilliant. Fearless. If you bring her, they will come.” Coulter’s “journalistic home,” Human Events, advertises Coulter’s column with these words: “First. Fearless. Free.”
Having given literally thousands of interviews, Coulter is more than comfortable on camera, before a microphone, or talking with a reporter. However, on the odd occasion, she has been known to walk off the set – while on the air – and to abruptly cancel scheduled interviews for fear of being bested.
While on-air on Hannity and Colmes, Coulter literally walked off the set. Having just said something stupid – “As for catching Osama, it’s irrelevant. Things are going swimmingly in Afghanistan.” – Coulter could not defend her position and simply ran away. That strategy has been used a few times during radio interviews as well.
But Coulter doesn’t just run from liberals, she runs from conservatives! On numerous occasions, Coulter simply hangs up when an interview is going badly, or in a direction she does not want.
For instance, she has repeatedly hung up on pro-life talk show hosts who question her support of Mitt Romney. The American Right to Life created a website and posted a video to hold Coulter accountable for her inconsistency within the pro-life movement.
According to these conservative pro-lifers: Coulter even fled from fellow conservative Mike Huckabee, who “assertively called her inaccuracies into question.” Consequently, “she walked out after one segment, though she had been booked for two.” It’s no wonder Coulter runs away from her critics, especially those who can most effectively refute her: she runs away from herself. Coulter fears looking in the mirror – more so as time goes by.
Is Ann Coulter courageous? Coulter has nothing to fear. She is rewarded when she does well, and she is hailed as a heroine when she behaves poorly. Coulter is slick. She knows how to divert attention from her faults and foibles, and she counterattacks with the best of them. Being a consummate wordsmith, versatile in delivery, charismatic in conversation, Coulter well knows how to manipulate individuals and audiences for her own benefit.
Still, the sheen on her armor is growing dull and rusty. Even some of her friends are coming to see the “real” Ann Coulter. Conservative author, activist, and radio talk show host, Kevin McCullough – a close Coulter friend who has defended some of her most indefensible conduct – recently wrote a rare and remarkable dissent in which he pondered: “Maybe Ann is lazy. She is certainly disadvantaged. She definitely shrinks when challenged.”
I Am Victim, Hear Me Whine
Ann Coulter desires to be seen as possessing beauty, brains, and balls – the typical conservative narrative for Coulter – but, of necessity, she also wants to be viewed as a heroic victim in order to use that perception as a fig leaf to clothe her own wrong behavior. Coulter wants to be seen as a courageous, beleaguered, yet victorious, underdog – one who is completely innocent in her actions and absolutely pure in her motivations.
Coulter claims, “[The mainstream media has] certainly tried to [destroy] me, but that’s why I go through ten years of my allegedly career-ending statements and even if Washington politicians currently there can’t learn, perhaps some young right wingers will.” Obviously, the reverse is true.
The mainstream media actually courts Coulter, who has appeared on innumerable programs on major television networks. As reported by Media Matters of America, from April 28, 1997 through October 2, 2007, Coulter appeared at least 195 “times on at least 13 individual programs on MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC.” That study ignored Coulter’s ubiquitous presence on the Fox News Channel and her frequent appearances on CNN, ABC, CBS , and other networks.
Far from being the victim that she likes to portray herself as, Coulter has victimized countless people without consequence to herself or her reputation. As Coulter’s cachet within the Conservative Movement grows, Conservatism itself diminishes. Contrary to the prevailing conventional wisdom among conservatives who tout Coulter’s celebrity status, the success of Conservatism is indirectly proportional to Coulter’s success.
Describing the essence of Guilty (2009), Coulter said it is “basically about how victimhood is rewarded and everyone wants to be a victim. It’s about the rewards and praise you get for being a victim and the way liberals use victimhood and they oppress others.”
In a 1997 profile of Coulter, columnist Mary Jacoby made one of the most perceptive observations about her subject: “[Coulter] seems to despise weakness of any kind.”
Although Coulter is far more than the sum of all her fears, those fears seem to bubble up into every aspect of her life. She loves being regarded at one of the brightest, most beautiful, and most courageous people, and she certainly despises the notion of even being perceived as weak or inadequate. In her theology and in her humanity, the weak and the base are unlovable – perhaps even irredeemable – and for someone who, from her childhood onward, has sought to earn love, to be seen as imperfect and, therefore, unworthy of love, is anathema.
Whenever Coulter embraces her own victimology she does so in the context of being courageous or heroic. The beauty with the brains and the balls cannot accept being seen as a victim. That would admit to being weak and insufficient.
The shame of being a victim is too much for her ego.
Spawn of Satan Convention
Ann Coulter is an irredeemably cruel person. Not sure? Ask Ann.
Coulter, who claims to be a victim even as she victimizes others, insists, “There is nothing so irredeemably cruel as an attack on a woman for her looks. Attacking a female for being ugly is a hideous thing, always inherently vicious.”
Coulter is the mistress of irredeemable cruelty.
Coulter’s contention was published in her second book, Slander (2002). Later, on the very same page, Coulter engaged in the very same rhetoric she decried, suggesting Maxine Waters, Chelsea Clinton, Janet Reno, Madeleine Albright and Bella Abzug should be called ugly.
Rephrasing and expanding upon her point in Slander, Coulter elaborated, “I think one [thing] that tells you more than anything else about [liberals is] their regularity with which they attack women for their looks. Attacking a woman for her looks is always inherently vicious. It’s a nasty thing to do. These are not comments that are meant to be funny, they’re meant to make their victims hurt. … There is no equivalent of that on the Right … That is a vicious, ugly thing and it tells you everything you need to know about liberals.”
Doing an “irredeemably cruel” thing is what Coulter habitually does, with the aid and comfort of her colleagues who also occasionally engage in that identical form of demonization. One could call it character assassination, except that would imply that one’s looks determine one’s character.
Perhaps there’s a personal reason for Coulter’s generic assertion, “I think women are more vicious than men.”
By the turn of the millennium, Coulter’s hate speech had become customary, so much so that former congressman John Kasich, while guest-hosting The O’Reilly Factor, courageously confronted Coulter. On January 11, 2001, Coulter both engaged in and denied using hate speech. Coulter went ballistic when Kasich suggested her own rhetoric was inappropriate: “No! No, that is not true and I really think it is important to distinguish any attacks I’ve ever leveled at, at public officials have had to do with what they’re doing. I haven’t made fun of someone for makeup.”
Polemics R Us
Ann Coulter is the archetypical polemicist of the 21st century. Her preferred self-description is that of polemicist, though controversialist and provocateur will do.
Two days before the release of If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans (2007), Coulter published a pre-emptive essay to frame the debate. That essay – excerpting what Coulter considered the key point in her book – emphasizes the accuracy of the psychological forces analyzed thus far in The Beauty of Conservatism. Her essay title – “Liberals and the Woman Who Hates Them” – reiterates enmity as the fanatical fuel which drives her.
Notice the modifier – “the Woman” – as if she alone of all women (or of all people) hates liberals. Her ego posits her as the solitary “gyno-American” standing up for truth, justice, and the American way.
The Orwellian memory hole almost immediately came to fore with Coulter making this astonishing claim: “Liberals spend so much time hating, hating, hating that they can’t get anything done. I mean, we all thought that Clinton was a cheap pervert, but we didn’t hate him.”
What happened to “the Woman Who Hates Them?” Or, for that matter, the woman who, in 2000, declared, “If you don’t hate Clinton, and those who labored to keep him in office, you don’t love your country?” Didn’t she remember the title of her own essay meant to propel her book to number one on the best-seller lists?
But then, on Fox & Friends, Coulter again remembered:
KILMEADE: How could you possibly pull off a book with this type of genre, and this type of theme, Ann Coulter? Where does it come from? The anger? The directness? The bluntness?
COULTER: Thank you, thank you. Pure resentment and hatred.
Recall Coulter’s words: “The only rational reason for anyone to run for a house seat is that great human motivator: fire-breathing, deep-seated, Fred Goldmanesque loathing. … Hate – the fuel that powered the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy.”
Rationalization also reemerged with a Coulteresque redefinition of hate speech: “‘Hate speech’ is telling the truth about liberals.”
“You must outrage the enemy. If the liberal you’re arguing with doesn’t become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you’re not doing it right. … Start with the maximum assertion about liberals and then push the envelope, because, as we know, their evil is incalculable. … Nothing too extreme can be said about liberals, because it’s all true.”
Going back to 2002, Coulter declared, “It doesn’t take much to provoke liberals. But, yes, I do find it fun. Usually I know when I’m baiting them, how I’m baiting them, what they will react to.”
In If Democrats Had Any Brains, Coulter affirmed: “Uttering lines that send liberals into paroxysms of rage, otherwise known as ‘citing facts,’ is the spice of life. When I see the hot spittle flying from their mouths and the veins bulging and pulsing above their eyes, well, that’s when I feel truly alive.”
Goddess of the Conservative Movement
Ann Coulter has become the Conservative Idol, deemed worthy of worship by her groupies. Today, many conservatives decry sexism on the Left without recognizing it on the Right.
The subject line for an email promotion from Patriot Depot (8/31/11) read “Why Conservative Girls Look Better Than Libs.” At CPAC 2010, Young America’s Foundation spokesman Jason Mattera boasted: “This is our Woodstock, but our women are beautiful and we don’t snort cocaine.”
During the Q&A session at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2002, Coulter was queried as to whether her good looks prevented people from taking her seriously. Denying any such treatment by her conservative comrades, Coulter asserted, “Liberals are total sexists.” Coulter’s short-term memory skills were decidedly lacking as had just been introduced to that very audience with Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” echoing throughout the auditorium.
A considerable cohort of conservatives consider Coulter beautiful. Many of those so enamored are blinded by that perceived beauty and incapable of seeing any moral faults or ideological imperfections in their icon. Blinded to her blemishes, they have forgotten the timeless adage, beauty is as beauty does.
Kevin McCullough, conservative author and blogger, made a striking observation regarding the impact of Conservatism’s premiere spokesman on those within the Conservative Movement. He observed:
“She draws large crowds at both conservative and homosexual political conferences. She speaks openly of her own faith (Christianity), while regularly misinterpreting and/or misleading others as to the meanings of Christ, specifically the most important Christian doctrine – Grace.”
“Too hot to handle” Coulter, considered by some to be a goddess and an idol, is continually portrayed by conservatives as a brainy, blonde bombshell. Townhall magazine’s cover profile of Coulter for her Demonic book tour featured a “Bombshell” centerfold which was well received by Coulter fans who now treat her as “America’s Sweetheart.”
Yes, Coulter herself is obsessed with looks. Per Coulter, “You know, when I tour college campuses, I always find that the prettiest girls in the room are the ones in the College Republicans.”
Coulter believes, “One huge advantage they already have – and I see this from my speeches on college campuses – is that 90% of them are drop-dead gorgeous. So, totally use that to your advantage! That’s how the College Republicans keep growing.”
In an earlier book, Coulter claimed, “Not being a liberal, I don’t particularly care what people look like, but I note that Miss America Pageant winners are almost always from the conservative South.” Despite her assertion of aesthetic apathy, Coulter praised the beauty of conservatives: “Wow, I haven’t seen so many hot women! Conservative women are hands down more beautiful, inside and out!”
In 1999, one of Ann Coulter’s Internet representatives repeatedly referred to his heroine as the “Free Republic goddess.” One of her fans asked him, “I wonder how Ann feels about being the goddess at the center of this weird cult?” The reply: “Last time I talked with her, she didn’t seem to mind it very much.”
Although Coulter is often treated as a goddess by conservatives, is she really a conservative? She has after all been deified as the “goddess of the conservative movement.” Let me share a secret with you: any movement with a goddess is not conservative. If conservatives don’t have goddesses and goddesses aren’t conservative, what does that make Coulter?
Taking a Demonic Turn
Demonic is a superbly written book, reinforcing my initial admiration for Coulter in 1996-97. Its flaws stem from the progressively polemical nature of Coulter’s style, her partisan/puritanical perspective, and the various psychological dysfunctions that have run rampant in her life and that emerge in her commentary. As she routinely does, Coulter condemns all for the failings of a few and dismisses (or lies about) any relevant evidence which disputes any aspect of her paradigm. Coulter highlights far-left personalities and organizations as representative of the whole of liberalism.
When asked, on C-Span’s In Depth, why she began her book with Scripture, Coulter analyzed Mark chapter 8 and asserted, “There you have it – from the Holy Bible – the mob is demonic!” Wrong!
Coulter preceded her claim by saying that her book began with Scripture because it is central to her thesis and spiritually foundational to her book. But neither the words of Jesus nor the gospel she cites make the claim she asserts. The Gospel of Mark tells us a story about a man who was possessed by a “Legion” of demons; it is neither a political treatise nor a psychological evaluation of what happens when a number of people assemble together into a large group.
The quoted Scripture is a descriptive narrative of an event, not a prophetic pronouncement of the future nor a psychological textbook on human nature in isolation or in large groups.
Still, Coulter claims – based on her cited Scripture – “That really is the theme of the whole book: that the mob is demonic and the demons are always a mob.”
Coulter’s definition of “mob” is problematic at best – both intrinsically demonic and uniformly liberal in nature. Coulter’s definition of a mob is uniformly one-dimensional (it is large and unruly) and unipolar (it is always liberal). Indeed, her definition of a mob defines nothing. It is purely circular logic: “the mob is demonic and the demons are always a mob” – the mob is liberal and only liberals are a mob.
Per Coulter, what factors define a mob in Coulter’s view? First and foremost, they are liberal. Second, they are violent. Third, they may be large. Fourth, they use slogans. Fifth, they have revered leaders.
Per Coulter, slogans are evidence of a mob and unique to liberals. Coulter preposterously claimed, “It is striking how many slogans liberals have and how pathetic conservatives are at even coming up with slogans.” Yes, she claims that only the Left uses slogans. This is demonstrably false.
The American revolutionaries, whom Coulter holds in such high esteem, certainly used slogans as political shorthand: 1) No taxation without representation, 2) Don’t tread on me, 3) United we stand, divided we fall, and 4) If we don’t hang together, we’ll all hang separately.
Moreover, today’s Tea Party, of whom Coulter considers herself a member, uses slogans! A multitude of slogans (here’s a flavor of what’s out there): 1) Born free, taxed to death, 2) Cut taxes, not deals, 3) Don’t mortgage the future, 4) Don’t stimulate … liberate, 5) Fair tax or no tax, 6) Foreclose the White House, 7) Give us liberty, not debt, 8) More taxes = less jobs, 9) No more bailouts, 10) TEA – Taxed Enough Already, and 11) Where’s the fence?
Snappy slogans and revered leaders are natural ingredients of any large group of people gathered together with a common purpose.
Being the recipient of hero worship herself (literally!), it is astonishing to hear her assert that only liberals have adoration for their heroes. Isn’t Coulter a Conservative Idol and a Goddess? Still, on Hannity, Coulter claimed, “We don’t worship our leaders. We don’t turn them into idols, probably because we have a real Savior.”
A few days later, she said, “The most striking aspect of liberal behavior that is stunningly a part of mob mentality is their creation of Messiahs and their tendency to demonize all those that disagree with them.”
When asked in 2004 what it was “like to meet a man you admired so much, Ronald Reagan,” Coulter beamed, “It was like an orthodox Jew meeting Moses.” Sounds almost messianic to me.
In 2001, a captivated Coulter “swooned for” Bush 43: “When I began swooning for George W. Bush during the Republican primaries, my friends warned me that I was going to have to eat my words. It’s now a month into his presidency, and I’m even more doe-eyed about Bush than ever.”
Was Christie a messiah figure for Coulter? World Net Daily thought so: “(And somewhere, someplace, a coquettish Ann Coulter lent a helping hand by simpering sexually over her candidate, Gov. Chris Christie.)”
In the end, Coulter returned to her favorite contemporary hero, endorsing Mitt Romney for president. In a recent essay, conservative author Steve Baldwin explained her long-term infatuation with Romney: “You have great answers on everything. … You’re SO wonderful.”
The Beauty of Conservatism
For many conservatives, Coulter is the epitome of Beauty and of Conservatism. Indeed, for them, she is the beauty and the personification of Conservatism. Coulter is the model – beauty, brains, balls – and the penultimate success story of the heroic martyr at the vanguard of warriors fighting the evil forces of our times.
Author and attorney Mark W. Smith has fulsome praise for Coulter, who provided a cover endorsement of his book, Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy (2004). Smith wrote, “Ann Coulter is perhaps the second most famous woman (after Hillary) in American politics today. … [the] conservative diva who sets the standard against which all other conservative commentators should be compared.”
Bewitched by her beauty, mesmerized by her mind, and captivated by her courage, most conservatives fail to see beneath the smoke and mirrors of style to the substance below. They fail to discern the contradictions and conundrums which form the basis of, and flow from, the life and career of Ann Hart Coulter. Hailed as the epitome of conservatism, Coulter is not.
Caught up in the glitz and the glamour, conservatives have all too often failed to look beneath the surface.
As we have seen, there is a lack of completeness, or wholeness, in the person and personality we know as Ann Coulter. All is not well in the world according to Ann Coulter. Indeed, much is wrong in her world. And she ushers those ills – those personal dysfunctions – into the Conservative Movement itself.
Coulter admirers are most frequently enraptured by her beauty, charm and wit. Those three qualities emerge at the top of every laudatory list of attributes attributed to Coulter. But Solomon wrote, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting.”
However, the inner beauty of a godly person, which is so prized by God, is genuine and enduring. Recently, Peter Schweizer, author of Makers and Takers, warned, “Virtue is vital for the moral health of individuals and for the survival of our society.”
Virtue, the substance of the soul, is far more important – indeed, vital – than the fleeting allure of beauty and charm, fame and fortune, or power and success. Who we are (and are becoming) outshines and outlasts what we do (or seek to accomplish). And what we believe is meaningless unless it is lived, given life by the transforming power of truth and love energized in lives devoted to those beliefs and to the One who actualizes those beliefs into action.
In one of her best essays, Coulter observed, “Evil does not advertise with a flashing sign [it’s evil nature] … Evil presents itself like a beautiful banquet.” Her observation is most salient: “People don’t commit acts of great evil or great courage out of thin air. Character is developed out of a lifetime of choices. Almost every decision you make, however small, will be a step closer to God or a step closer to the devil.” Her words of encouragement are equally germane: “But it’s never too late to stop and begin taking steps toward God.”
The character of political and cultural movements, like the character of individuals, “is developed out of a lifetime of choices.” The choices we now make, whether for truth and honor or for expediency and power, will determine our future.
As human beings, we tend to see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe. Many of Coulter’s most ardent fans want to see her as a courageous heroine, they want to believe in her. They often engage in addictive thinking, just as she does. Except, they are projecting their ideals and their aspirations unto her and they are rationalizing her wrong behavior to justify her to others.
X-Files aficionados recognize the famous “I Want to Believe” motto of those who seek proof of extraterrestrial life, UFOs, alien abductions, and the like. They believe – without proof. But more than that, they want to believe – even in their doubts.
So many Coulter apologists defend the indefensible because they want to believe. They have invested so much time, or energy, or enthusiasm, or adoration that they fear disillusionment. They fear being wrong. They fear that the truth will disprove their belief. But the truth is a good thing – it sets us free from wrong beliefs. The truth frees us to live in truth.
For those who are enthralled, an idol is a terrible thing to waste and it is the iconoclasts who must be feared.
Integrity is at the heart of Conservatism and Conservatism’s heart should be of integrity. Indeed, integrity is integral to everything conservative. One’s personal moral realm should be filled with integrity, responsibility and accountability. The integrity of individuals should overflow into local communities and beyond. A healthy integrity founded upon a Judeo-Christian worldview and principles should animate the personal, professional, communal, and civic spheres of our lives.
As a conservative, I am deeply distressed to be part of a movement which calls itself conservative yet so emphatically embraces Ann Coulter as a “conservative” icon when she so clearly is not conservative. That contradiction leads many to question the principles and integrity of the Conservative Movement and the Conservative Movement’s faith in and commitment toward those principles.
 Annys Shin, “Blond Ambition on the Right,” National Journal, 5/31/97.
 Howard Kurtz, “The Blonde Flinging Bombshells at Bill Clinton,” Washington Post, 10/16/98. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/coulter101698.htm.
 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Maher, accessed 4/13/07.
 Charlene Laino, “Power: the greatest aphrodisiac?” MSNBC, 2/3/98.
 Ann Coulter, “Who Nobody Is Really Pro-Choice,” Human Life Review, Spring 1992, pp. 7-20.
 Chuck Swindoll, Insight for Living, WAVA, 6/24/11.
 Ann Coulter, Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America, Crown Forum, 2011, pg. 171.
 Susan Lehman, “conservative pinup battles ‘arm candy’ canard,” Salon, 3/4/99, http://www.salonmagazine.com/media/lehm/1999/03/04lehm.html.
 Mary Murphy, “Look Who’s Talking,” TV Guide, 8/9-15/97, pg. 52.
 Quoted by Karen E. Duda, “Ann Coulter,” Current Biography, September 2003, pg. 20.
 Howard Kurtz, “The Blonde Flinging Bombshells at Clinton,” Washington Post, 10/16/98, pg. D1.
 Aileen Jacobson, “Ann Coulter says she’s baiting liberals to read her book,” Newsday, 8/19/02.
 John Gibson, MSNBC, 6/27/97.
 Susan Estrich, Soulless, Regan Books, 2006, pg. 43.
 Ann Coulter, speech, 6/24/11.
 Ann Coulter, O’Reilly Factor, FNC, 6/28/07, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,287381,00.html.
 Ann Coulter, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America, Crown Forum, 2009, pp. 115, 118, 134.
 John Hawkins, “Interviewing Ann Coulter About Her New Book, ‘Demonic,’” Right Wing News, 6/23/11.
 Ann Coulter, Joy Behar, HLN, 7/27/11.
 Ann Coulter, interview by Jamie Glazov, Front Page Magazine, 1/12/04.
 Ann Coulter, “Fork Replaces Donkey as Democratic Party Symbol,” 1/11/06.
 John McCloud, “Ms. Right,” Time, 4/18/05.
 Coulter’s detractors frequently use disparaging anatomical terms to attack Coulter in puerile and juvenile ways. Conversely, Coulter’s defenders often employ such terms as accolades.
 Linda Vaccariello, “What the (Bleep) Was Jerry Thinking?” Cincinnati Magazine, 9/03, pg. 80.
 Peter Worthington, “The Sky is Not Falling,” Frum Forum, 9/1/11.
 Sean Carpenter, “Summer Reading,” 8/29/11, http://blog.seancarpenter.us/2011/08/summer-reading/.
 One of its ads declares, “our courageous legal correspondent Ann Coulter.” (https://members.humaneventsonline.com/order.php?offer=1594).
 Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes, FNC, 8/24/06. See “Coulter: Bin Laden Is ‘Irrelevant,’ ‘Things Are Going Swimmingly In Afghanistan’,” Think Progress, 8/25/06, http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2006/08/25/7107/coulter-ends-segment/. Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSMgqdSsaBw
 See a video compilation produced by the American Right to Life, http://americanrtl.org/news/ann-coulter-hang-ups.
 See http://www.anncoulterapology.com/.
 See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywvqMAnHZd8.
 Kevin McCullough, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ann Coulter?” Hot Air, 11/17/11.
 Kevin McCullough, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ann Coulter?” Hot Air, 11/17/11.
 Under the linguistic couplet “wrong behavior,” I lump in the various realms: emotional (fears, insecurities, hatreds), intellectual (lies, hate speech, elimination rhetoric), ideological (puritanical partisanship), spiritual (hypocrisy, heresy), etc.
 Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck Show, 10/5/07, http://www.glennbeck.com/news/10052007.shtml.
 “NBC still promoting Coulter’s books, despite Fox & Friends’ claim to the contrary,” Media Matters for America, 10/2/07, http://mediamatters.org/research/200710020015.
 Ann Coulter, Early Show, CBS, 1/6/09.
 Mary Jacoby, “The Pundettes,” Capital Style, December 1997, p 45.
 Not to belabor the point, but it would behoove us not to overlook Coulter’s other characterization of such language as “inherently vicious.”
 Ann Coulter, “What’s Your Beef,” KUSP, 7/12/02.
 Ann Coulter, Al Rantel Show, KABC, 5/5/04.
 Ann Coulter, “Liberals and the Woman Who Hates Them,” Townhall.com, 9/30/07, http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/AnnCoulter/2007/09/30/liberals_and_the_woman_who_hates_them?page=full&comments=true.
 Ann Coulter, Cleary University, 10/1/07.
 Ann Coulter and Brian Kilmeade, Fox & Friends, FNC, 10/2/07.
 Ann Coulter, “The Seduction of Ann Coulter,” George, July 1999.
 Ann Coulter, Newsmax, 10/2/07, http://observanda.blogspot.com/2007/10/newsmax-coulter-interview-laughs-abound.html.
 Ann Coulter, How to Talk to a Liberal (if you must), Crown Forum, 2004, pg. 10.
 Aileen Jacobson, “Coulter brings flair and fire from the right,” Newsday, 8/23/02.
 Ann Coulter, Crown Forum promo, http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307353450.
 See also Michael Nace, “Why Conservative Women Are Hot and Liberal Women Are Not,” Politicular.com, 9/19/10, http://politicular.com/2010/09/why-conservative-women-are-hot-and-liberal-women-are-not/.
 Jason Mattera, CPAC 2010, 2/18/10.
 Ann Coulter, CPAC 2002, 2/2/02.
 Kevin McCullough, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Ann Coulter?” Hot Air, 11/17/11.
 Gregory, letter-to-the-editor, Townhall, August 2011, pg. 14.
 See http://www.tv.com/ann-coulter/person/204502/biography.html, accessed 10/2/07.
 Ann Coulter, Daily Caller, 8/7/11.
 Ann Coulter, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America, Crown Forum, 2009, pg. 228.
 Ann Coulter, CPAC 2010.
 Examples which have since been deleted include: http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3689dd177a8f.htm, 12/30/99; http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a369fd1cf2446.htm, 1/15/99; http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a36b681ce69e1.htm, 2/1/99. “Mojo” was an official representative for Coulter and provided her schedule of appearances for her fans.
 Post # 7, Free Republic Forum, 2/4/00, http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a389aee7e6b8.htm (deleted).
 Post # 8, Free Republic Forum, 2/4/00, http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a389aee7e6b8.htm (deleted).
 Ann Coulter, In Depth, C-Span, 8/7/11.
 Ann Coulter, In Depth, C-Span, 8/7/11.
 See http://www.teapartyslogans.com.
 Ann Coulter, Hannity, FNC, 6/6/11.
 Ann Coulter, Newsmax interview, 6/12/11.
 Ann Coulter, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They’d Be Republicans, Crown Forum, 2007, pg. 236; 2004 interview with the American Enterprise Institute. See also Coulter’s tribute to Reagan at http://reagan2020.us/tributes/coulter.asp.
 Ann Coulter, “How to Talk to a Liberal,” 2/22/01.
 Ilana Mercer, “Media top-dogs kick underdog Ron Paul,” WorldNetDaily, 8/18/11.
 Steve Baldwin, “Ann Coulter and her hero Mitt,” World Net Daily, 11/23/11, http://www.wnd.com/index.php/index.php?pageId=370837.
 Mark W. Smith, The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy, Regnery, 2004, pg. 215.
 Proverbs 31:30 (NIV).
 Peter Schweizer, Makers and Takers: Why Conservatives Work Harder, Feel Happier, Have Closer Families, Take Fewer Drugs, Give More Generously, Value Honesty More, Are Less Materialistic and Envious, Whine Less … and Even Hug Their Children More Than Liberals, Doubleday, 2008, pg. 212.
 Ann Coulter, How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), Crown Forum, 2004, pg. 342.
 Ibid., pg. 343.