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03-22-09, 06:55 PM #1
Conrad Black: "Ann Coulter is a rational conservative, slightly to the right of Ronald Reagan, and a practicing, middle-of-the-road Christian.
I don't know, and have never heard, left-wing Toronto-based radio host John Moore, who wrote dismissively of Ann Coulter in the National Post on March 11. I am told that he has advised his homeward-bound radio listeners that I verged on -- or actually committed-- crimes for years prior to the persecution I am enduring. He thus goes one better than the Red Queen, who only wanted the sentence and the verdict ahead of the evidence; Mr. Moore prefers them in the absence even of a charge, illustrative of the sort of hypocrisy that conservative author Ann Coulter rightly imputes to a certain strain of liberals.
For now, I will put aside Mr. Moore's comments about me -- having been defamed by many more formidable slanderers in the last six years -- and turn my attention to Ms. Coulter, a cordial sometime neighbour of mine in Palm Beach, a friend in fact.
We disagree on many political subjects, often in hilariously animated exchanges, and she is a delightful and memorable personality. She is a well-educated lawyer, who clerked for a distinguished judge, has kept her university-era and other old friends, and is much preoccupied these days taking care of her unwell mother.
In his March 11 Post article, Mr. Moore wrote of Ms. Coulter with a sanctimony as broad and flat as the Canadian Prairies: "One wondered if even she took herself seriously," in reference to her latest book, Guilty: Liberal Victims and their Assault on America.
I can report that she doesn't, particularly, and never did. She is a rational conservative, slightly to the right of Ronald Reagan, and a practicing, middle-of-the-road Christian. This puts her within, albeit on the right side of, the American mainstream, a position that perhaps corresponds with Mr. Moore's idea of the Middle Ages.
As she is in a highly competitive business (conservative commentary in a generally conservative country), she has developed some successful promotional techniques. She is the ne plus ultra of pulverizing and scandalizing the soft left, implying revisionism about Senator Joseph R. McCarthy and Darwinian evolution, though she believes in due process and is not a creationist. She stakes out a number of positions on other current and philosophical issues, which provoke the holders of the conventional liberal wisdom to react like wounded animals, but she really differs only marginally from standard, respectable conservative views on most subjects.
Through her career as a commentator, she has had pies thrown at her while the invited speaker at public occasions, has had glasses of wine poured over her head at supposedly civilized social gatherings and has endured all manner of boorish outrages from people too obtuse and impenetrably earnest to realize what a grand and successful send-up and put-on much of her career has been.
With her long blonde hair, micro-dresses that may incite the prurient to hope for an occasional fleeting glimpse of her underwear and photographs on her book jackets of her in leather dresses, arms akimbo, like a stern but voluptuous school mistress, she is not, as Mr. Moore wrote, "faux glam." She is eccentric, alluring and slightly outrageous, with a hint of being a bit gamey.
There are teeming masses of outspoken conservative commentators, but Ann Coulter doesn't fade into their ranks. She has more presence than any, an almost Eleanor Roosevelt matrician accent (a pleasant acoustical contrast with blowhards such as Bill O'Reilly), is wittier than almost all and is the Rocky Marciano undefeated champion at causing cuckoo birds to debouch violently from the priggish, belligerent minds of liberal eagle scouts like John Moore.
She lives well, is an international celebrity, a star among her peers; and to judge from his March 11 article, Mr. Moore is a perfect foil for her. He refers to the "spectacular flame-out of the American right" in the last year; former congressman Tom DeLay is "disgraced"; "Web sites and talk shows ... inflicted 14 years of divisive and incompetent rule on America, (if you count House majorities)"; the Republican Party is "lobotomized"; and we have reached the nirvana of what Mr. Moore portentously calls "the new age of Obama."
At his end of the kindergarten teeter-totter, Mr. Moore's purposeful little feet are triumphantly on the ground, and Ann and Rush and George W. are in the air, "flailing their limbs" like Kafka's giant bug.
What planet does Mr. Moore live on? U. S. conservatives didn't perish after the rout of Barry Goldwater (1964), nor the Democratic left after the massacre of George McGovern (1972). Ann Coulter was not an uncritical admirer of George W., and publicly preferred Hillary Clinton to John McCain.
Both sides come to bat; a very few politicians make a real difference, and apart from when great principles are at stake, politics is a game--more important and spectacular, especially the way it is played in the United States, than other sports admittedly, but not the sort of morality play that justifies Mr. Moore's epochal platitudes.
Barack Obama defeated the septuagenarian McCain's blunderbuss campaign by only about 6%, following an unpopular Republican president and in the midst of the worst recession in 70 years. What "new age of Obama" is Mr. Moore thinking of: the hecatomb of the Obama designees for high office who didn't get to the ethical finish line; or the attempted cancellation of union elections by secret ballot; or the reenactment in the AIG bonus fiasco of disturbed children trying to put up a pup tent in the dark? For that matter, did Ann and Rush really win all those elections for the Republicans, and were the last 14 years in the United States really a public-policy desert? And what was the twice-chosen Bill Clinton -- a resident subject of a top-level research project on satyriasis that Ann and Rush thought it would be fun to have in the White House for eight years?
Moreover, why does Mr. Moore conclude that a charge laid by a notoriously partisan Texas prosecutor manages to "disgrace" his target, (Tom DeLay)? I know something about U. S. justice and that is not how it works.
Ann Coulter gets a little carried away at times, but at least she knows how her country functions; she has had to beat off legal persecution as well as liberal food-warriors, and the debauched lurchings of countless zealots of all shadings. She isn't demure, but she has built a good and entertaining business for herself, while selling nearly two million books.
John Moore, to the slight extent I am aware of him, is that stock Canadian figure -- the envious voyeur of real personalities. And what has he ever done that was noteworthy, apart from coming last in a 2006 episode of the television quiz show Jeopardy! (and emerging with negative winnings)? Isn't he the quintessence of what Canada should be outgrowing: a humourless windbag, the head boy of a righteousness school where everything is as it seems, all things and people are good or bad and political changes are the dawn of paradise or the onset of a new dark age?
People should be judged by their peers, but in the media as in courts, they rarely are. Ann Coulter will be scandalizing ponderous oafs, such as Mr. Moore, long after tired, day's-end Toronto motorists have tuned him out.
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