Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Richard Cohen tore Coulter a new orifice, and makes a point about the modern conservative movement along the way:

I am happy to report that Ann Coulter has lost her mind. The evidence for this is her most recent book, 'Treason,' a nearly unreadable slog through every silly thing anyone on the left has ever said. Coulter conflates dissent with treason, opposition with treason, being wrong with treason, being right with treason and just about anything she doesn't like with treason. If the book were a Rorschach test, she would be institutionalized.

...It is also good news for liberals. It suggests that the right, at least the hard right, has finally dumbed out. This is the predictable cycle for all movements. They start with a genuine grievance and proceed from there to the totally ridiculous -- or, in some cases, to the downright macabre.

In some ways, the nutso American brand of archconservatism mirrors traditional anti-Semitism. Jew-haters proclaim that Jews control the media, international finance and almost everything else of importance -- but, somehow, Jews have accumulated a 2,000-year history of expulsions, pogroms and, finally, the mass murder of the Holocaust. It is the same with American liberals. They control everything, and yet, somehow, the White House, both houses of Congress and, with the exception of several delis in New York, the entire business community are in the hands of conservatives. It's hard to figure.
I'm not about to read "Treason"- I read enough of Slander to realize it was nonsense, and have better things to do with my time. The very conceit is, of course, libellous as hell, but it's unlikely that an overtly political (and obviously partisan) book like this would get charges brought down on Coulter's head. Besides, it's ultimately unimportant... just another salvo in the ongoing war to present an entire wing of political opinions as actively evil. It's sad, and will ultimately hurt the Union, but it's true for all of that.

Edit: According to Spinsanity, somebody may have a case for suing Coulter for libel: Jimmy Carter:

So desperate is Coulter to call liberals of the contemporary era traitors that she suggests that President Jimmy Carter's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize constitutes treason under the definition in the Constitution. When Carter was given the award, the chairman of the Nobel committee said it "should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current [Bush] administration has taken. It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States." This is Coulter's analysis of Carter's acceptance of the prize:

Carter would travel to Norway to accept the award in December 2002 - two months after Congress had authorized war against Iraq. Article III's definition of treason is narrow. But after Congress's action authorizing war, for any American to accept this award on the ground offered does sound terribly like "adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort." (p. 257)
There are others, too, such as Molly Ivins, but the attacks on them (according to the Spinsanity piece) aren't as clearly and egregiously libellous as this is. This might be intentional: Carter isn't the type to sue. Still, it shows the depths to which the American conservative cabal have sunk- while braying about treason, they betray the ideals of their country.

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