By Ann Coulter
Crown Publishers, 256 pp, 2002
Is this book still on the bestseller lists?
I hope not. I have a reputation to uphold - I cannot read any book that is
a bestseller until it's long gone off the list. I'm too cheap to pay full
price for a hardcover book, so I wait until it goes to paperback. The
better it sells, the longer it stays hardcover. So I wait.
Unless, of course, I walk into a library
and there it is on display with other bestsellers. That's what happened
almost a week ago. So I checked the hardbound copy out for free. On that
same trip, I also checked out Mona Charen's Useful Idiots, which I
think is a current bestseller. That will be the next book review, and it
will be quick, because the books are due May 9.
Have I said before that I love America?
Anyway, about this book. It's
well-researched, fun, and entertaining, but I don't know if it's a serious
book. I'll explain later.
Coulter begins by stating that American
political debate sucks, and it's all the liberals' fault. Libs call names
and accuse their opponents of being Nazis. Libs have done this for so
long, they've forgotten how to argue ideas. Until the emergence of talk
radio and the Internet, the libs rarely had to argue for their positions,
because the media and intellectual elite did it for them. Few conservative
voices were heard or given equal time.
But wimpy Republicans are also to blame for
this sad state of affairs.
Yet the left's hegemonic control of the
media had one again cowed a nominal Republican into averring to the left's
preposterous demonization of Republicans. It always follows the same
script: First there is the outrageous accusation from the left, then the
abject apology from some pathetic panty-waist on the right, and then -
who's to say Republicans are not racist scum? The cycle of Dumb and Dumber
bickering with each other continues without end in sight.
So there it is. Libs like Democrat
representative Major Owens say of Republicans, "These are people who
are practicing genocide with a smile; they're worse than Hitler,"
Republicans apologize and grovel, and on and on it goes.
If you're not familiar with contemporary
politics, you may be surprised Owens said something so viciously untrue
about his fellow Americans. But that's nothing compared to what they
dished out to Clarence Thomas. Such caring folks branded Thomas a
"colored lawn jockey for conservative white interests,"
"race traitor," "black snake,"
chicken-and-biscuit-eating Uncle Tom," "house Negro," and
"handkerchief head," "Benedict Arnold," and
The New York Times called Thomas the
"youngest, cruelest justice." Syndicated columnist Julianne
Malveaux said she hoped Thomas' wife "feeds him lots of eggs and
butter and he dies early, like many black men do, of heart disease."
Coulter then adds wryly: "And thus were exposed the logical flaws in
Thomas' judicial philosophy! If liberals have a principled argument
against Justice Thomas, they're not telling. But they really don't like
him. Thus they malign Thomas in terms that would constitute a hate crime
if it came from anyone but a liberal."
Republicans may be mean-spirited murderers,
but their women are also ugly. Linda Tripp, Paula Jones, and Katherine
Harris were all vilified because of their looks. Malveaux referred to the
"ugly stick [Tripp's] been beaten with - there's something wrong with
that woman." Tripp was also "ugly and evil," "Howard
Stern in a fright wig," and "Barracudaville" and
"smelling of gunpowder and garlic." Columnist Liz Langley said
Tripp and Jones were neither "attractive nor possessed of human
DNA." They "look like a bloated carcass and whatever's pecking
Bear in mind that many of these
name-callers constantly whine about nasty politics.
Coulter has other beefs with the Left. Libs
and the media are elitist snobs who promote and elevate their own and
ignore or demean everyone else. Anita Hill is a hero, Paula Jones is
trailer-park trash. Ted Koppel's Nightline is a venerable
institution that must always exist no matter far its ratings sink, but
Rush Limbaugh can be ignored. Gloria Steinem is a hero for meager
accomplishments and sleeping with the right man, while conservative
Phyllis Schlafly is ignored or demonized despite greater accomplishments
Coulter also describes what she calls the
Left's hypocrisy with Bob Packwood, the philandering Republican senator.
Feminists knew of his boorish behavior for years but did nothing because
they needed his pro-abortion vote in the Senate. As soon as they no longer
needed his vote, they turned on him and suddenly he was Public Enemy
Her other gripes:
- Several Democrat staffers and officials
end up with plush media jobs, a reward offered to few Republicans.
- Fox News is called conservative because
it strives to be balanced and does not toe the liberal line.
- Fox got grief when a Bush cousin working
for the network correctly called Florida for Bush at two in the
morning on election night, but other networks who called Florida for
Gore before the polls even closed got a free pass.
- The liberal media monopoly hates any
- Conservative books and authors are not
published nearly as often as they should be, even though these books
and authors are often bestsellers. Conservative authors with
bestsellers fight and claw to get published, while liberal authors who
write unsuccessful books receive six-figure advances.
- Conservatives read books and liberals
- Liberals want to censor the Internet
because conservatives are popular on it.
- Liberals always call conservatives dumb,
like Reagan and Dubya.
That's quite a list! Some of her claims are
well-documented and substantiated, others are weak. For example, I think
liberals do read books, and as far as censoring the Internet, she quotes
only an obscure book by an equally obscure professor for support. And
while it's true that libs did call Reagan and Dubya dumb, they did not
call Bob Dole or Dubya's father dumb, or too many other conservative
politicians. And I just don't see the big conservative censorship thing.
Conservative books are published all the time and are constantly on the
bestseller lists. Heck, this book was on prominent display at my local
library. And Coulter should not accuse libs of name-calling, because she
engages in it herself. Katie Couric is an "affable Eva Braun,"
Al Gore is "Fibber McGee," the Clinton Administration was the
"Caligula" Administration, and so on.
And this leads me to my biggest problem
with Ann Coulter and this book. She's a great writer, very funny and
entertaining, but it's impossible to take her seriously. She often says
and writes outrageous things merely for effect, or to produce a reaction.
It's hard to know when she's serious and when she's just kidding around.
Too often, her important and substantive points are overlooked because
everyone responds to her nonsense. It's one of two reasons she's on TV all
the time (the other reason should be obvious - she's a hottie). Any valid
points in this book (and there are countless of them) are obscured by her
rhetoric and name-calling, clever though they are.
So I enjoyed the liberal lampooning, and
she's done a wonderful service for exposing the Left for what it really
is. But I'm glad I didn't pay for the hardcover edition.