When conservative pundit Ann Coulter live-tweeted her displeasure with the CNN-sponsored GOP debate on Wednesday night, she couldn’t have anticipated the firestorm that would ensue.
Or could she? Coulter, like the Republican candidate she supports, is no stranger to controversy. On the contrary, what she and presidential hopeful Donald Trump have in common is their constant hunger for it.
Indeed, it is the utter lack of “political correctness,” bordering on bad manners, that has gained each of them as many fans as it has enemies. In a culture addicted to a genre of TV that caters to the basest part of human nature (the very highway voyeurism that causes drivers to slow down at the scene of an accident to get a glimpse of a mangled body) – figures like Coulter and Trump are necessarily popular as people who one loves or loves to hate.
If nothing else, each can be counted on to say something inappropriate or outrageous on cue.
Sick to death of the language of the Left and its imposition of slow-drip re-education, causing us to get tongue-tied when trying to get a sentence out of our mouths deemed socially acceptable, we are relieved when someone comes along who refuses to succumb. The success of the Archie Bunker character in the 1970s hit sitcom All in the Family was due in large measure to the delight viewers experienced at being given permission to laugh at extreme racism, sexism and anti-liberalism, rather than be offended by them.
Trump shares some of Archie Bunker’s clownlike qualities, and arouses a similar gut reaction.
So, though nobody actually appreciated it when he implied that the moderator of a previous GOP debate, Fox’s Megyn Kelly, must have been menstruating when she challenged him with tough questions – or when he took issue with candidate Carly Fiorina’s looks – the utter anti-feminist chutzpah was sickeningly entertaining. Like a horror movie. You may cover your eyes when it gets too gruesome, but you peek through your fingers so as not to miss a single gouged-out eyeball.
Coulter, by now, is an old pro at eliciting the same type of titillation. And she ought to be, as this is the shtick that has made her rich and famous.
Which brings us to her latest infamous tweet: “How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?” The context of the anti-Semitic outburst was the pro-Israel stance of the Republican candidates at the podia. Following the massive angry response she received – as well as support from a large number of #IStandWithAnn Twitter-users – Coulter doubled down.
We wouldn’t expect her to do otherwise.
As she told The Daily Beast on Thursday, “My point was this whole culture of virtue-signaling where debates are about nothing. Look, Republicans all agree 100% that we are pro-Israel, pro- Life, pro-gun. So why do we spend so much time on these issues? It’s just pandering, so who are they pandering to?” According to Coulter, it is not the f---ing Jews she was attacking, but rather the Republican candidates who think Jews are all powerful.
Asked whether she could understand why her words could be construed as offensive, Coulter replied, “No. I don’t think it was my language.
I think it was ripped out of context and lied about…. Anyone following any of the debate in America knew exactly what I was talking about… My tweet was about Republicans and the pandering. It wasn’t about Israel, it wasn’t about Jews. It’s what Republicans are thinking in their little pea brains. I could say the same thing about Evangelicals. Who are you pandering to? A lot of it is to Sheldon Adelson and the Evangelicals…. This kind of suck-uppery is humiliating.”
Enough has been said about whether Coulter is an anti-Semite. A sufficient amount of ink has been spilled on the fact that anti-Semites, both on the Right and on the Left came out of the woodwork to put in their two cents.
What I would like to know is how any intelligent person in America can imagine that championing Israel in general, and in the face of the Obama administration’s abominable nuclear deal with Iran in particular, constitutes “pandering” or “sucking up” to Jews.
As Coulter well knows, Jews overwhelmingly voted for Obama, not once but twice. She is also aware that the vast majority of Iran-deal opponents is Republican. Sheldon Adelson, whom she made a point of mentioning in her Daily Beast interview, is an exception, not the rule – one reason I myself have been known to refer to the f---ing Jews on more than one occasion.
As for the Evangelicals she brought up in the same breath: Well, the US has a lot of those.
And it is the job of a candidate in an American campaign to persuade the electorate to vote for him. If that is “pandering,” so be it.
It is no wonder that Coulter feels an affinity for Trump, who never admits he’s wrong and does not apologize for overstepping the bounds of bad taste.
There is a reason they get away with behavior for which the rest of us mere mortals would be penalized, not rewarded; it is related to the advantage of the sex of each.
Trump is a billionaire. Rich men are exempt from the constraints of polite society. Females fawn over them; males revere them. All hope to benefit in some way from their presence.
Coulter is a tall, slim blonde who can wear any outfit as though it were custom-made for her.
The embodiment of a common male fantasy, she causes men to drool and women to hate their own reflections in the mirror.
If Trump were penniless and Coulter frumpy, they would lack the protective shield that provides them the bravado and brazenness they flaunt so fecklessly. This last debate, however, seems to have put some chinks in their armor. And if it cracks, we will all be watching, popcorn in hand.
The writer is the web editor of Voice of Israel talk radio (voiceofisrael.com) and a columnist at Israel Hayom.