It's an amazing thing, the neverending trash talk that comes out of Ann Coulter's mouth when it comes to things associated with liberals and/or the Democratic Party. So it most likely came as a shock to just about everyone when she went after former Alaska governor Sarah Palin like she did last week, not to mention her words of praise for the Democratic Party for not falling prey to the celebrity status game that bestows influence through that same status.
What? Really? Ann Coulter? Certainly it must have been someone other than the controversial conservative firebrand that baits Democrats on Fox News Channel and writes books with titles like Godless: The Church of Liberalism and Demonic: How The Liberal Mob Is Endangering America. Yet, it was, and reported by conservative blog The Daily Caller, no less.
Coulter made her surprising comments at the Indian River County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner in Vero Beach, Fla. She told the gathering that the current movement by many in the Republican Party to get to Tampa in August and force a brokered convention (where no candidate has a clear win on the first nominating ballot, allowing for deals to be made and other candidates to be nominated, even those that did not participate in the primary process) was detrimental to the party. And she took particular exception at those within the party that were taking advantage of their star status to promote not only a brokered convention but also themselves as possible presidential candidates.
Like Sarah Palin. Palin told CNN on Alaska's primary day that she would be open to a nomination at the Republican National Convention. Anything to help America, she said.
Coulter thinks it does the primary process and those who participated -- both candidates and voters -- a disservice. She said it circumvented the weeding out process that eliminated the weaker candidates over the primary season.
A primary season, it should be noted, that Palin remained aloof and undecided about until polls kept appearing that showed that even a large majority of Republicans did not support her running for president.
“One of the ones promoting that [a brokered convention] is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice,” Coulter said. "I think as long as it’s between us girls — I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for. As I wrote in a column a few weeks back, who is this dream candidate we’re hoping to get from the convention, because Rick Perry used to be the dream candidate. Can we see them in a debate first?”
She added that the Republican Party had a "particular problem" with "con men and charlatans" that the Democratic Party had somehow seemed to avoid. She noted how "incentives seem to be set to allow" celebrities to prosper, gain fanatical followings, within conservative ranks, while "Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that."
Was she ill? Had Ann Coulter taken ill that she would say something actually positive about Democrats?
She noted that Democrats were quick to cut loose those who embarrassed the party, naming controversial party characters like Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Coulter then proposed a pledge for Republicans to sign (given their propensity to sign limiting pledges) that would curb their ability to exploit their celebrity status. Taking another swipe at Sarah Palin, she said, "I want them to sign a pledge saying, ‘If I lose the nomination I pledge I will not take a gig with Fox News or write a book.’”
For those who have followed Coulter's career, those words might seem strangely at odds with what she generally has to say about fellow conservatives, not to mention what she says about Democrats. And it would be shocking, if not taken in context.
Coulter has backed Mitt Romney for the presidency for some time, noting on several occasions that although she didn't agree with all of his policies, he's the strongest candidate overall and stands the best chance of defeating Obama in the national election in November. Not only did Sarah Palin suggest herself for a presidential nomination should the convention in Tampa be brokered, she voted for Newt Gingrich in Alaska's primary.
So Coulter wasn't ill after all. She was merely strengthening her chosen candidate's position by undermining the credibility of the system that allowed someone like Palin to have so much influence. By extension, she also took away the endorsement of the vote for Gingrich (because Palin has as yet not publicly endorsed a presidential candidate, although her husband, Todd, endorsed Gingrich and she spent weeks on radio shows, Fox News, and in posts on Facebook defending the former Speaker against his rivals).
But does the political angle discredit Coulter's position? Not in the least. Palin's current status is more celebrity than political, her power only in the fanatics willing to back her unquestioningly. But due to her star power and influence, it is possible that she could circumvent the democratic process of the primary season by suggesting herself as a viable candidate, manipulating matters at the RNC to either find her way onto a 2012 ticket or push delegates toward nominating and voting for a candidate more to her own liking.
It is just that kind of influence that Coulter finds disagreeable.
And it was kind of nice of Coulter to elevate the Democrats for a change -- even if it was just for an instance -- and point out that, like the guy she voted for, Palin's own grandiosity is incredibly presumptuous, not to mention ill-conceived.
(photo credit: Alex Erde, Creative Commons)