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Hullabaloo


Thursday, June 28, 2007

 
Girls and Boys

by digby

So Pat Buchanan had some very effective talking points yesterday when he said that poor little Ann Coulter was sandbagged by the evil Edwards machine. The AP's Nedra Pickler picked it up and writes a piece that says that the take away from this weeks Hardball episode is not what Coulter said but the Edwards' campaign fundraising.

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Wednesday encouraged his supporters to donate to his campaign in response to "hateful" comments from conservative author Ann Coulter.

Edwards made his first comments to The Associated Press in response to Coulter's suggestion that she wished he would be "killed in a terrorist assassination plot." His campaign cited her remarks in two e-mails and a telephone text message to supporters for donations, with the fundraising deadline on Saturday.

It's not the first time Coulter has given the Edwards campaign a financial boost. In March, she called Edwards a "faggot" and the campaign used video of the comment to help raise $300,000 before the end of the first quarter.

Why, you'd almost think Coulter and Edwards were on the same side from that article. This morning there has been a tons of chatter implyingt that the Edwards's seem to have been asking for it. Whatever.

Edwards actually isn't the point either, at least not all by himself. Ann Coulter is sent out in all her blond glory to carry the message that all Democrats are pussies and bitches. Sorry for the language, but that's the only way to truly convey what they are doing. They have always done this, but the newer style of the past few years has featured an attractive woman taunting a Democratic male about his manhood instead of a beefy, white male screaming "hey, faggot." I suppose we could call that progress...

She also taunts Democratic females about their alleged lack of femininity. Here's perhaps her most famous line to that effect:

My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call "women" at the Democratic National Convention.

This is along the same lines as her remarks about Hillary Clinton's "chubby legs" etc, which Chris Matthews felt the need to repeat over and over again, to gales of laughter in the crowd, while allowing Coulter to pretend she didn't know what he was talking about. You could also see this at work when, at the prompting of one of her psycho-phants, Coulter started calling out Edwards for having his wife do his fighting for him. "Feminizing" male Democrats and "masculinizing" female Democrats is pretty much all she does.

This isn't brain surgery. Faggots, smelly fat women, it's right out of the adolescent lizard brain, and sadly it works on a certain type of voter --- probably more than we would be comfortable knowing about. Coulter is an extreme version of a conservative archetype whose entire worldview is shaped by primitive notions of male dominance. It's interestingly twisted in her case, in which she both extols and embodies what are traditionally thought of as masculine virtues, yet is packaged as a modern, waiflike child-woman. It's very confusing, especially to someone with the issues Chris Matthews has (and it's why she shouldn't be on his show.)

But at the end of the day, this entire debate is really about one thing and one thing only --- making liberals look weak using ancient archetypal notions of leadership. It's the most important thing they do and every politician should remember it when dealing with her and her ilk.

I was hoping against hope that when Edwards went on the show yesterday, he would say that he doesn't care what what Coulter says about him --- it's part of the game and he doesn't expect any better coming from her --- she's shilling her books and god bless her if she has to scrape the bottom of the barrel with childish insults to do that. But while he knows that his wife is a capable adult who can stand up for herself, it still makes him see red when people like Coulter attack members of his family. If she were a man he might want to have a private meeting to "discuss" that with her a little further.

I know it's somewhat stupid, but that's the archetypal leadership response to a lizard brain gender attack like Coulter's. While I think it's great to engage in a dialog about "hate speech" and try to educate the nation about how we should all get along, while we jabber they are out there behaving like miscreant adolescents and pushing powerful primitive buttons against which rational dialog just can't compete.

I guess I just wish he'd let Elizabeth do the arguing about how Coulter's hateful comments are harmful and while he took a straightforward, tough line against assholes attacking his family. It's Marshall's "bitch-slap" effect. People tend to personalize politics and put politicians into roles to which they can relate. When candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate how they handle situations in which ordinary Americans can see themselves, they should take it. It's a way of communicating leadership in a visceral, instantly comprehensible way. I'm not saying that Edwards failed in that. He acquitted himself just fine. But I think he missed an excellent opportunity to push back hard against the GOP's most useful tactic.


Meanwhile, in the wtf department, David Gregory says that underneath Coulter's vile spew is some kind of honest critique. Apparently, it's just impossible that someone of Coulter's caliber (she's on TV! She writes books!) could possibly just be completely full of shit. I honestly don't know how these people can get themselves dressed and in to work every day if they are that muddle headed.

Also, catch Joan Walsh on Scarborough tonight as she does battle against Pat Buchanan's talking points that the Edwards campaign somehow set up poor little Ann, who never saw it coming. It should be good.


Update: Greg Sargeant has footage of Coulter on Scarborough's show earlier today. Seems she getting a bit shrill.

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