Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ann Coulter – Crazy, psycho, lesbian bitch

One of the comedic high points of Ann Coulter’s ‘rebuttal’ on Hannity & Colmes this evening was a statement she made about the 9/11 wives – ‘when that’s your claim to fame…’

I call it comedic, when it’s more ironic – pot calling kettle black, if you will. What, exactly, is Coulter’s ‘claim to fame’? Interjecting herself (unsuccessfully) into the Paula Jones scandal? Her success there was limited to convincing Jones not to settle, and pushing for a trial, which Jones lost on summary judgment. Working as a congressional aid? Not hardly. Working as a lawyer for four years? Nope.

Coulter’s claim to fame is nothing less than her unabashed willingness to make incendiary arguments based on half-truths and misstatements.

Stepping away from the “Jersey Girls” controversy, let’s look at another argument she posits in her book “Godless”: the argument whether the death penalty is a deterrent for crime or not. Coulter claims that before “judges stopped applying the death penalty because of their beliefs”, it worked as a successful deterrent for murder. She uses an example of how she doesn’t kill certain persons she doesn’t like because of the death penalty as her proof. She even goes so far as to include a citation at the end of her comment that the murder rate was lower in the 1940’s and 50’s.

This is a great example of a disingenuous argument. First of all, are we to believe that the only reason Ann doesn’t commit murder is the existence of the death penalty? No moral inhibition? Or, for a woman who complains that liberals don’t believe in God, is she saying that her purportedly religious upbringing didn’t teach her that murder was evil?

Secondly, she claims that murder rates were lower in 1940 than today. This site shows that, while that may technically be true, the difference in murder rates is not statistically significant. And if you look back at 1935, murder rates in the U.S. today are lower than they were then. The saying is lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can always pull out a statistic to support your argument. (It should be noted that the website, a website for an arguably conservative group (they support restoring prayer in schools, among other issues) includes murder statistics on its site which largely mirror the ones cited above).

Coulter, however, doesn’t believe in needing any statistic to support her arguments. She’s got a citation, remember? And if you look at that citation, you’ll see she’s quoting an article which states that crime rates have risen since 1940. Ahh…and there’s the disingenuous part. Not murder rates, crime rates. One is a subset of the other. And she’s attempting to draw a line from one to the other. Crime rates are up; ergo, murder rates are up. But crime rates include things today – such as identity theft – which weren’t even imagined sixty years ago.

Coulter’s worst crime however is in her shrill presentation. She prefers to attack, rather than engage in honest discourse. For example, she dislikes the fact that four women have banded together to bring public attention to their cause. Fine. Everyone’s entitled to his or her opinion. But the woman who attacks Cindy Sheehan for her comments about President Bush, who complains that Sheehan called Bush a Nazi, or compared him to Hitler, follows the exact same tactic by calling the “Jersey Girls” harpies, and making comments like ‘how do we know that their husbands weren’t going to divorce them?’

Coulter posits that Kerry called American soldiers ‘traitors’. I don’t recall him using such words, but even so, there’s a difference between saying ‘American soldiers are traitors’ and “Sgt. Langdon Smith’s platoon is a bunch of traitors’. One is a generic remark; the other a specific attack.

Coulter refused to allow Alan Colmes to make a Terry Schaivo analogy, saying “we were trying to keep a woman alive. There is no comparison. Liberals just don’t understand analogies.” But she’s wrong. Every year, thousands of people are pulled off of respirators, my friend’s grandfather included. But they don’t have a medical professional who happens to be a Senator arguing their case. Schaivo’s case was a clear example of political grandstanding, as claims and statements were made (on all sides) with little or no proof. Schaivo’s family argued that Terry should be kept alive, on the off chance that she might recover, and ignored the fact that the $80,000 per month hospice bill was being paid for by taxpayers. Ultimately, the autopsy showed that she had truly been in a vegetative state for some time. But by then, the election had passed, and Terry Schaivo became nothing more than a footnote in the history books.

Ann Coulter, believe it or not, was an Order of the Coif graduate from the Michigan School of Law. But her shoddy writing, poor research and atrocious arguments make her nothing more than an embarrassment to what is supposedly a prestigious achievement.

Oh, and as for the title – I don’t know if she’s crazy, psycho or a lesbian. But I figured if she can engage in name-calling – calling the “Jersey Girls” harpies, and alleging that they may have been on the brink of divorce – and hide behind First Amendment freedom of speech, well, I can too.

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