- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

The following are excerpts from a recent speech given by lecturer, writer and TV pundit Ann Coulter to the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute, which promotes school choice and prepares young women for conservative leadership. Her most recent book, "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right," is currently on the New York Times best-seller list.

I [have] referred to [Massachusetts Democrat Rep.] Barney Frank as the only honest Democrat. I'm against everything Barney Frank stands for, but at least in the comments I've seen him give, it has kind of struck me that he does honestly characterize the other side's position, and then attack it. And I think he's the only Democrat who does that.
Consequently, it does occur to me that you find yourself warmly admiring liberals for not calling you a fascist, political discourse has sunk pretty low.
Liberals are comfortable with their historical hatreds, and the small matter of them having so little to defend anymore is an irrelevant technicality. The impossibility of having any sort of serious debate with liberals has become an immovable reality. Of necessity, almost all serious political debate takes place among conservatives.
For about 20 years now, all new interesting public-policy ideas have emerged from the right wing. It's amazing how productive debate can be when one isn't constantly being called a "stupid racist." A few of the new public-policy ideas to emerge from the right wing are welfare reform, the flat tax, vouchers, quality-of-life crimes, privatizing Social Security, the strategic defense initiative, trading pollution tax credits, enterprise zones, winning the Cold War all these new ideas were once ridiculed by liberals.
What was the last new idea to come out of the Left? Call George Bush stupid? Raise taxes again? Demagogue Social Security? Whenever some fresh-faced or wildly hubristic citizen steps on the plate with a truly new idea, without fail, liberals launch their personal, vicious, savage attacks. Once you finally figure out what has propelled these proponents of tolerance and compassion into frenzies of demonic rage, you realize that it's invariably some position held by many ordinary, good-hearted Americans. Which is part of the part of the reason liberals prefer invective to arguments. They'd lose in any real competition of ideas.
We are also accused, interestingly enough, of being haters. There may be the slightest element of projection in all of this. It's as if Bull Connor were accusing blacks of racial discrimination. Conservatives are also "stupid white trash." Very powerful stupid white trash, evidently. Dangerously beguiling stupid white trash.
Writing in The Washington Post, Richard Cohen made one of his typically incisive points, explaining that the Republican Party is "dumb as a post." In case the nuance of his analogy was unclear, he continued, "But just as the Republican Party of old was no joke, neither is today's. If anything, it is defined by a hostility towards minorities, all sorts of minorities, and by a craven cowardice on the part of more moderate members. The truth of the matter is that the party is having a crack-up. If it were a person, it would be medicated."
Try to write like that as a conservative columnist and get a job writing for any newspaper.
Note that, after viciously attacking Republicans, one of the first defenses is, "Oh well, both sides do it, both sides do it." Well, no, both sides don't do it. I've just written a book with hundreds of quotes and 35 pages of footnotes showing that they do it. Let's see their book.
The left-wing zealots I describe are United States senators, New York Times reporters and editors, news anchors, TV personalities, Katie Couric. They control all major means of dissemination in America, and they are completely out of their minds. The left has grown vastly more nasty and crazed, and partly because they are increasingly irrelevant. Where there were once great causes, there are now lost causes, bad causes, morally ambivalent causes, or no causes at all. Bereft of winning issues or any real ideas, the one issue that really unites liberals is hate.
Liberal Republicans are even more hateful than Democrats. They're nothing more than pawns for the Left, useful idiots in the creation of a liberal illusion that conservatism and traditional values are hateful ideas, dragging the Republican Party down.
The lure of being hailed a courageous gadfly maverick, flinty intellectual, is apparently irresistible to many Republicans. At the Republican national convention in 1988, then-Vice President George Bush, the party's candidate for president, promised to usher in a "kinder and gentler nation."
Once in office, George Bush made clear that he had learned absolutely nothing from [Ronald] Reagan, raised taxes, and was instantly thrown out of office the next opportunity the American people got. It was people who hated Reagan and who hated Republicans and would soon be calling Newt Gingrich and George W. Bush "dumb and hateful," who had portrayed Reagan as a vicious hatemonger bristling under resentments. Those were the people Bush was playing to when pledging to preside over a "kindler and gentler" nation.
Even the current president, [George W.] Bush, began his campaign by making "compassionate conservatism" the hallmark of his campaign. I don't know; a lot of us think conservatism is compassionate. We're certainly more compassionate than the Democrats are to unborn babies, poor blacks in failing inner-city schools and the beleaguered, long-suffering taxpayer. For the first few months of his campaign, Bush continued to insult the party from which he was seeking the presidential nomination. Once again, a Republican was validating the apocryphal bogeyman of the liberal imaginations.
For about two decades, name-calling has been the principal policy position of liberals. If [Republicans] oppose the National Endowment for the Arts, we're said to hate art. If we oppose the Department of Education, we hate teachers. If we oppose the Environmental Protection Agency, we hate the environment.
It's futile to try to have a serious public-policy discussion on the basis of such preposterous, do-you-still-beat-your-wife characterizations. But instead of saying that, and getting on to the business of government, Republican candidates for president announce that they themselves do not beat their wives and that they believe there are many other Republicans willing to rise to the challenge and not beat their wives, either.
Instead of promising to slay the ghosts of liberal imaginations, our own candidates for president might want to think about forthrightly saying, "Liberals are liars, there are no ghosts and let's stop debating."


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