Sunday, October 09, 2005

Ann Coulter only begins to wake up

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter was a guest on Real Time with Bill Maher this week. She voiced her horror at alleged President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, joining the swelling ranks of conservatives who are turning on Bush.

Bill Maher: You [conservative Bush supporters] have to explain to me why you do not trust Harriet Miers to do what you want and overturn Roe v. Wade. She is the church lady. She was a Catholic, like you, but that wasn't enough. She had to get more Christy. She became a twice-born evangelical. She thinks that George Bush is the most brilliant man in the world. What kind of signal do you need? Do we have to put it on the Jumbotron for you?

Ann Coulter: No, I think you're right. I think she probably will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, but unlike liberals, we're principled. There is more to the Supreme Court than overturning Roe v. Wade. The point is she's unqualified, not that she won't vote right. ... It never occurred to us that he'd nominate, as you say, "the cleaning lady"!
The dig at "liberals" aside, I give Ann Coulter props for having the principles to stand up and say, no, we want a qualified person, not someone who passes only the one litmus test.

Bill Maher then turned the subject to Bill Bennett and his infamous "black baby abortion" comment. There Ann Coulter loses all claim to connection with reality. She clearly thinks that the original comment which Bennett was citing, was a serious liberal proposal to abort more black babies in order to reduce the crime rate. It was no more serious a proposal from the liberals than it was from Bill Bennett.
Maher: If there is more black crime, it's because of poverty and because blacks get arrested more, not necessarily because they're more prone to crime. Would you not agree with that?

Coulter: I'm not sure I understand all that. The point is, if you abort more blacks ...

Maher: I'm saying it's not their blackness that causes the crime, it's the poverty that causes the crime.

Coulter: I don't know if poverty causes crime, I mean, unwed mothers ... No, it's not blackness that causes crime.

Maher: I do think that, down deep, the Republicans do have a problem with black people, I really do.

Coulter: You're the one who wants to abort them to cut down crime!

Maher: During the New Orleans problem, they were obsessed with shooting looters. ... While all this death was going on, the thing that really obsessed you guys was, let's shoot the people who are getting something out of Radio Shack.

Coulter: No, I'm glad you mentioned New Orleans, because I think that shows the problem the Democrats have with the blacks. That is, they're constantly willing to take the votes of black folks, but then accuse them of engaging in cannibalism, of raping 2-year-olds, in order to better attack the President. When it serves their political ends, they'll say the most horrible, unbelievable things about blacks, as they did, by the way, in the 2000 election, when they blamed the problem with the butterfly ballot on, "Oh, well, you know, blacks are stupid. They couldn't figure it out." ...

Maher: I didn't know it was the Democrats who were saying those things. I thought it was the stupid media.

Coulter: That's one and the same. [chuckle] Sorry, that's an overlap. [sarcastically] Oh, no, right — the media is Republican.
Why, yes, actually, I would say that the media is far more Republican than Democrat in America today. More to the point, far more than it is left-wing or right-wing or Republican or Democrat, the traditional media is overwhelmingly pro-Establishment.

Maher finally cuts to the issue of corruption, dramatically highlighting the scales that have yet to fall from Ann Coulter's eyes:
Maher: Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove — tell me that if a Democratic administration had this many scandals, that you wouldn't be saying it was the most corrupt administration in the history of the United States.

Coulter: No, there were 17 times more scandals with Clinton, and by the way, it wasn't with, you know, the Comptroller General [ironically, not a Presidential appointee], it was with the President himself. ... [Frist, DeLay, Rove, etc.] An indictment is just an accusation, [etc.] ... We're looking for proof of something, which hopefully you'll get with Karl Rove.

Maher: Let's just remember that they went after Clinton for Travelgate because he gave jobs to his friends in the Travel Office. What's the worst that could happen there? Somebody gets the wrong frequent flyer...

Coulter: What's the worst that could happen there? There were like 17 convictions out of Whitewater, the governor was prosecuted....

Maher: That's when we had a special prosecutor law, remember that? If there was a special prosecutor now, all these people would be in jail by now.
Bill Maher didn't give poor Ann Coulter a chance to respond, but I have no doubt she would have come up short. The point that Maher made that Coulter completely missed is that the scandals in the Clinton administration, particularly Travelgate, were over matters of very little direct consequence to the governance of the country. There are millions of people in this country who are perfectly capable of booking a flight and a hotel and even a rental car, so I really don't see the need to find the most celebrated Nobel-prize-winning travel agent. The scandals in the Bush administration go directly to the heart of the decision-making process at the very highest levels. Fine, maybe Clinton should have appointed his friends to be ambassador to Tuvalu instead of putting them in the Travel Office, but it's not like he appointed an incompetent crony to be head of FEMA or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

The bottom line, Ann Coulter, is pretty much what Andrew Sullivan said in the panel discussion after your exchange with Bill Maher. President Bush has appointed incompetent people to important positions, and he is seeking to evade responsibility for his actions by packing the Supreme Court with people who are personally loyal to him so that they won't dare rule against his unsavory, immoral, and often downright illegal tactics.