Monday, March 12, 2007

Never Saw This Coming

First thing I did when Coulter dropped her F-bomb was to check if she had a new book coming out. On that day, the best I could suss was that "Godless" was going into paperback early this summer. But now it seems, she's got a new title coming this fall:
The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House Inc., plans an October release for her next book, "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans."

"We have a book with her on our fall list and have no plans on altering our current publication plans," Crown publisher and senior vice president Steve Ross told The Associated Press in a recent e-mail. "Every book we have published with Ann has been a major best seller and we expect the same with the upcoming title."

Coulter's books include "Treason," "Slander" and "Godless," in which she harshly criticized a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much," she wrote.
It'll sell, just as well as her previous abominations. I tried reading one of her books, but could only do about a quarter of it before I had to stop. Speaking of Coulter, Gary Kamiya has a pretty good column analyzing the Right Wing Noise Machine over at Salon (subscription or viewing of ad for day pass required):

For this isn't really about Coulter at all. This is about a pact the American right made with the devil, a pact the devil is now coming to collect on. American conservatism sold its soul to the Coulters and Limbaughs of the world to gain power, and now that its ideology has been exposed as empty and its leadership incompetent and corrupt, free-floating hatred is the only thing it has to offer. The problem, for the GOP, is that this isn't a winning political strategy anymore -- but they're stuck with it. They're trapped. They need the bigoted and reactionary base they helped create, but the very fanaticism that made the True Believers such potent shock troops will prevent the Republicans from achieving Karl Rove's dream of long-term GOP domination.

It is a truism that American politics is won in the middle. For a magic moment, helped immeasurably by 9/11, the GOP was able to convince just enough centrist Americans that extremists like Coulter and Limbaugh did in fact share their values. But the spell has worn off, and they have been exposed as the vacuous bottom-feeders that they are.

It will be objected that Coulter, Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage and their ilk are just the lunatic fringe of a respectable movement. But in what passes for conservatism today, the lunatic fringe is respectable. In the surreal parade of Bush administration follies and sins, one singularly telling one has gone almost entirely unremarked: Vice President Dick Cheney has appeared several times on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Think about this: The holder of the second-highest office in the land has repeatedly chummed it up with a factually challenged right-wing hack, a pathetic figure only marginally less creepy than Coulter.


The sorry state of contemporary conservatism shows that there is an innate danger to civil society in letting loose the dogs of "values" -- especially right-wing values. Because conservatives tend to believe more than liberals in good and evil, in a clear-cut, transcendental morality, a values-based politics for them quickly acquires not just an authoritarian cast, but an almost religious one. As we learned on 9/11, and observe every day in Iraq, religious zealotry is not conducive to reasoned discussions. When you have God, right and patriarchal authority on your side, anything goes. The result, among other things, is ugly psychosexual mudslinging like Coulter's. As my Salon colleague Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, the right's strategy is "to feminize ... all male Democratic or liberal political leaders. For multiple reasons, nobody does that more effectively or audaciously than Coulter, which is why they need her so desperately and will never jettison her."

Yet despite their supposed beliefs, a kind of nihilism, an intellectual sterility, emanates from the Coulters and Limbaughs of the world. This is in part due to the fact that they are, at bottom, entertainers, stand-up comedians of resentment. Their riffs are so facile and endless that they devour whatever actual beliefs supposedly stand behind them. Incapable of compromise or nuance, lashing out robotically, never finding common ground or examining their own ideas, they are shills of negativity, forever battling cartoonish monsters in a lurid, increasingly unrecognizable world. And most Americans, even conservative ones who may share some of their putative positions, are tired of their glib, empty paranoia. If these are the messengers, there must be something wrong with the message.


At 12:10 AM, Anonymous denise said...

Ah, hateful as she is wildly inaccurate.

LMAO (h/t Jesus' General)


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