She also criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment.
"They're always accusing us of repressing their speech," she said. "I say let's do it. Let's repress them."
She later added, "Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."
So said the hero of Canadian speechies (and a woman we think Ed Kennedy would like to father children with given how he fawns over her) Ann Coulter during a speech in Gainesville, Florida in 2005. This quote, as well as others even more detestable, have been repeated ad nauseum during the last couple of days as Coulter engages in her speaking tour of Canadian universities.
As we write this article, Ms. Coulter is about to take the stage at the University of Calgary. Well, not the university itself. She's now speaking off-campus for security reasons based on claims that she felt threatened in Ottawa, resulting in the cancellation of her speech there; this cancellation has sent the speechies into an apoplectic rage as they demand heads roll.
We know we should care about Ms. Coulter. She writes and says things that are vile, hate-filled and disturb every sense of civil discourse. We should be frothing at the mouth in rage that "Coultergeist" has even been let into Canada.
But...... we're not.
Not even a little bit.
Now don't get us wrong. We believe that what Coulter writes and says is everything that people say it is and people have a right to exercise their freedom of speech to denounce and oppose her and her rhetoric.
Problem is, we're not entirely sure Coulter believes what she writes or says either.
We remember when Coulter was just one of a number of political talking heads making the rounds on t.v. news and talk shows in the late 1990s. We were first introduced to Coulter as a semi-regular on the Bill Mahr program, "Politically Incorrect." At the time, there was really little to distinguish Coulter from any of the other political talking heads on both the left and the right. She was, in retrospect, extraordinary by how absolutely ordinary she was. She was a generic conservative, often picked to "debate" a generic liberal. She acted the way other conservative pundits acted. Spoke from the same script. Really, the only time she actually stood out to any of us is when she was rocking the eye patch for a while.
Being a political pundit in the United States is a bit dog eat dog. If you want to have any staying power, you have to find some sort of gimmick (Tucker Carlson's bow tie as a somewhat nerdy case in point). Once you have your gimmick and you achieve a certain level of notoriety with the base you're appealing to, then that's when you get your own talk show on FOX (if you're a conservative) or MSNBC (if you're a liberal). Or, if you're aren't consistently capable of hosting a full hour of television, you write books. But these are relatively rare considering the number of talking heads that are out in the media trying to get their big break. Most end up back working as junior partners at small law firms, a fate that Coulter could easily have fallen into herself.
So, what is a generic conservative pundit to do if he or she doesn't want to start punching a regular clock? In Coulter's case, things didn't look very promising. He grasp of policy was (and still is) weak. She was moderately attractive, though not as much as she'd like to think, but there were a lot of other more attractive pundits so that gimmick wasn't exactly unique. But Coulter did come up with one that has turned out to be a gravy train that just won't stop.
Ms. Coulter decided the best way to gain a significant fan base was to write and say the most outrageous, shocking, intolerant, ignorant, insulting rhetoric she could think of. And it has worked, and continues to work, beautifully.
Coulter has been wildly successful by appealing to the ugliest parts of her fan base's intellect and emotion. This approach has made her an embarrassment to mainstream conservatives (she's been fired as a columnist for a number of conservative publications), but her admirers eat it up. She's made millions on books with simple titles (simple titles for simple minds perhaps): Treason. Godless. Slander. Guilty. All in an effort to manipulate the base emotions of her mostly male readers (right down to the slinky, formfitting dresses she models on the covers) who already are inclined to believe that Democrats, liberals and progressives are not people with whom they have they fundamentally disagree with on a variety of issues, but as a cancer in the body politic that needs to be destroyed with extreme prejudice. She's helped contribute to a polarized political environment in her own country in which civil discourse is not only rejected, but stomped into the mud.
And she's laughing all the way to the bank because she's managed to fool the rubes who really think she believes what she writes and says.
Take the current controversy that has the speechies frothing at the mouth. Ms. Coulter cancelled her speech at the University of Ottawa because of the threat posed by protesters. As Kady O'Malley, Scott Tribe, and Dr. Dawg have pointed out, it seems just a bit contrived. Sort of like something a controversial speaker and writer would do to drum up controversy. And has it worked! As an example, by our last count, there was something like 15 threads on Free Dominion concerning the cancellation of the speech in Ottawa. And boy are they pissed! Hell, this beats the 7 threads they had created last month attacking us for a postering campaign started by a completely different group.
Add to this that Ms. Coulter plans to file a human rights complaint against François Houle who had the temerity to ask Ms. Coulter to please be respectful and show restraint. Only people who love Ann could view that mild mannered email as a hate crime, but such is the power of Coultergeist.
Anyone want to bet if she sells out her speaking engagement in Calgary given the free publicity she's getting?
Now in Calgary, Ms. Coulter isn't above continuing to use the cancellation of the event in Ottawa to create controversy and, thus, more publicity to put bums in the seats and people buying her books. Now she's clumsily attempts to use regional tensions to further her efforts:
"It's quite a country you have here," Coulter told Evan Solomon, host of Power & Politics, on CBC News Network on Thursday. "I'm more determined than ever to turn pretty much from Calgary through the west into the 51st state now. We got to save the good Canadians."
"Save us from what, Ann?" Solomon asked.
"From the crazy liberals. From the crybabies," Coulter answered, sporting sunglasses. "How did Canada go from being the country that sends us all our best comedians to a bunch of whining, crying babies that can't take a joke?"
And though most people, including conservatives, will reject this view, it will have it's support in the Canadian branch of the Coulter fan club.
Coulter went on to say this about freedom of speech in Canada:
"I have discovered that Canada's approach to free speech, and that is speech they like," Coulter said Thursday. "It's not free speech if they are going to say, 'Yes, you can have free speech as long as you don't say X, Y, Z.'"
When asked what her message to Canadians was, Coulter answered: "It's a lovely little country. I do recommend that you get free speech. It's a lot of fun."
From the sound of things, you're going to be in luck Ms. Coulter. It appears that there will be a number of people who will be exercising their freedoms as they protest your presence in Calgary. And we don't expect you or Ezra or Mark or the FreeDom crowd to complain because, well, it's just not free speech if you only allow the speech that you agree with. Right?
However, as far as we know, no one in the ARC Collective will be participating in the Calgary protests. We do support those who will peacefully voice their displeasure with Ms. Coulter and her views, but we think we'll sit this one out.
Instead, most of us are going to stay home and do what poor Ann and her empty, dusty womb will not be able to do tonight.
We're spending time with our wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends and children. With people we love, and who on good days love us (and on bad days must love us more for putting up with our shit).
And with that, so ends our contribution to the plethora of blogs, forums and news sites that have managed to find themselves involved in the Coulter hysteria. And it does end because we've got better things to do.