Ann Coulter: Voice of Reason?

Every once in a while, something happens that is so shocking, so completely in opposition to everything you know about the world, that it’s quite unsettling. That’s how I feel after reading Ann Coulter’s latest column, in which she actually makes sense. If you can ignore her usual juvenile insults, she’s actually right when she argues against the claim that the Republicans lost because Romney just wasn’t conservative enough.

The idea that Romney failed to present a clear contrast with Obama or was too “nice” is also nonsense. If Republicans continue to tell themselves comforting myths about our candidate being the problem, they better get used to losing a lot more elections.

The only Republican to defeat a sitting president in the last century was Ronald Reagan in 1980, when he beat Jimmy Carter, the second-worst president in U.S. history (pending the final results of Obama’s second term). Because of that, and also because he is in the top two best American presidents, Reagan’s example is worth studying.

In Reagan’s one debate with Carter in 1980, he presented “two viewpoints and directions for the country” by vowing to save Medicare and not to cut taxes too much. Loud and clear, Reagan said: “My tax cut does not come close to eliminating (Carter’s) $86 billion increase. I’m only reducing the amount of the increase.”

There’s your bold contrasting vision!

Reagan picked a pro-choice, anti-supply side Republican as his running mate. He lavishly praised FDR in his acceptance speech at the national convention, leading The New York Times to title an editorial about him “Franklin Delano Reagan.”

Meanwhile, Romney promised to institute major reforms to Medicare, repeal Obamacare and impose a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut. He said he’d issue a 50-state waiver to Obamacare on his first day in office.

Rationality? From Ann Coulter? I’m pretty sure that’s one of the seven seals being opened. We may see the sky turn to blood next.

28 comments on this post.
  1. iknklast:

    Of course, if she’d gone all the way toward reason, she would have pointed out that his tax cut turned out to be a disaster, and he ended up presiding over not one, but several, tax increases. This is the part the Republicans totally ignore in their race to beatify Reagan and rush him toward sainthood.

  2. Bronze Dog:

    Mind: Blown
    World: Upside-down
    Speech method: Omega Supreme.

  3. jamessweet:

    I felt similarly about when, on the night before the election, Lindsey Graham (a man whom I normally disagree with about virtually everything) managed to produce pretty much the best sound bite about the reason for the GOP’s struggles that I’ve heard from either side of the aisle:

    “If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts. We’re not losing 95% of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”

    Love that quote.

  4. jamessweet:

    Of course, if she’d gone all the way toward reason, she would have pointed out that his tax cut turned out to be a disaster, and he ended up presiding over not one, but several, tax increases. This is the part the Republicans totally ignore in their race to beatify Reagan and rush him toward sainthood.

    Ah, but these are two separate problems: Why the Republicans are wrong, and why they are losing elections. Coulter will never grasp the former. But more and more conservatives — even some of the wingnuttiest ones — are starting to get a handle on the latter.

  5. Didaktylos:

    Cue “Positively Fourth Street”?

  6. dingojack:

    Ed- with his usual temporal and spatial accuracy, god acted exactly as you predicted: yesterday on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
    Dingo

  7. Raging Bee:

    You call that “reasonable?” Seriously? All Coulter did was pretend, in the tradition of Newt Gingrich, to be the mature sensible critic of a problem she’s still a willing part of (without, of course, offering any specific alternative course of action). She only sounds “reasonable” relative to the rest of what she’s said during her “career.” That’s part of the PoG scam: get their insane bigoted shit mainstreamed as “moderate” and “reasonable” relative to something else even more ignorant and insane.

    Ann Coulter is no more “reasonable” than the early Tea Partiers who pretended to be critical of the PoG extremism they’d happily supported for the last eight years — and continue to support after pretending to maturely criticize it.

  8. Michael Heath:

    Ann Coulter’s a toughie figuring out when it comes to her level of delusion vs. knowing cynicism. I tend to lean towards delusion in spite of her being articulate; analogous to a Frank Gaffney, Mitt Romney, or Dick Cheney post-9/11. What started as great potential was worn down by continually drinking the conservative Kool-Aid.

    In this case I don’t think it’s possible to make a compelling case on how Ms. Coulter ranks either Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan, both claims are absurd. Perhaps she purposefully and cynically uses such delusional idiocy in order to get her readers to read the reasonable content attendant to these two absurd claims.

  9. TGAP Dad:

    It’s a mixed bag. It takes some serious tunnel vision to refer to Jimmy Carter as the second worst president with the country still reeling from the Nixon years. For my money, Grant ranks at the top of the naughty list, with W Bush 4th or 5th. Carter brought the world the Camp David accord, and became an elder statesman extraordinaire in his retirement.

    I read this as Ann Coulter coming to grips with electoral pragmatism, and not necessarily embracing sanity in any large measure. She has sold a ton of books and made a big pile of money by being the inflammatory firebrand appealing to the basest of the republican base. Had Romney won the election, we’d be seeing the old, familiar Ann instead of this one still trying to soothe the sting.

  10. Michael Heath:

    iknklast writes:

    Of course, if she’d gone all the way toward reason, she would have pointed out that his tax cut turned out to be a disaster, and he ended up presiding over not one, but several, tax increases.

    I’ve yet to encounter a credible economist who would claim the initial Reagan tax cuts were a disaster. Instead most argue they were part of an effective stimulus plan that had to be atypical. Atypical was the need prescription because we were simultaneously suffering, paradoxically, from economic contraction and inflation. Where inflation was increasing the costs of goods and services faster than wages. That effect reduced demand two ways, where a reduction in demand is the exact opposite of what you want in a recession. The first was that people had less money to spend on goods and services because they’re pay wasn’t keeping up, and the second was they were creeping into higher tax brackets and therefore seeing more of their paycheck go towards taxes.

    Most economists I read think the monetary and fiscal policies were something between very good to near-optimal. From a political perspective the argument Reagan was merely lucky, that what the economy needed regarding fiscal policy luckily coincided with Reagan’s ideology, is not only compelling, but if we’re to believe the historians which I do, convincing.

  11. cjtotalbro:

    “credible economist” HA HA HA

    There is no reason to think such a thing exists.

  12. machintelligence:

    Harry Truman famously asked to be sent a one-armed economist, having tired of exponents of the dismal science proclaiming “On the one hand, this” and “On the other hand, that”.

  13. HumanisticJones:

    Ann Coulter… reasonable?

  14. Trebuchet:

    Off topic, but is there a way to link to a You-Tube video on FTB without embedding it?

  15. dingojack:

    Trebuchet – Like this?
    Dingo

  16. Ed Brayton:

    Trebuchet:

    Yes. Type the URL but add a v to it, as in “httpv://”. It will automatically size it right.

  17. democommie:

    Grant the worst president in U.S. history? on what basis?

    My own admittedly biased list ranking from worst to less bad.

    1.) Bush the relgiobot
    2.) Bush the ex-CIA boss.
    3.) Reagan
    4.) Hoover
    5.) Nixon
    6.) Coolidge/Wilson (tie)
    8.) Buchanan
    9.) Pierce
    10.) Fillmore
    11.) Taylor

    I know that Mr. Michael Heath and I will disagree on my placing Ronnie Raygunz on the list, in any position, but I think a lot of the current GOP’s machinations origins can be traced to his administration (some others to Nixons). The last four on the list are the idiots that allowed the South to push the U.S. into a civil war. I’m sure you’re milage will vary. Hey, I admit it’s subjective.

  18. baal:

    Dingo, I assume you used the a href= tagging? I don’t have a problem (when i get the syntax right) getting normal links to work but haven’t tried to do youtube. (I see ed put the httpv think for a direct paste.)

  19. brandthardin:

    Ann is just one of the talking heads guarding the inhabitants of Bullsh*t Mountain from rejoining the world of the sane. Fox News is a propaganda machine which dumbs down America by the day through disinformation and their slanted agendas. See their anchors spewing forth feces from their mouths in my visual homage to the network on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-fox-news-scylla-guardian-of-bullsht.html

  20. jakc:

    Don’t know that Bush the CIA boss deserves to be number 2, and maybe you’re a little harsh on Taylor/Filmore, but a good list Democommie.

  21. Francisco Bacopa:

    No way was Carter second worst. Not only was there the Camp David accord but carter appointed one of the best Secretaries of Defense ever, Harold Brown, he not only turned around our low-morale post Vietnam army, he laid the groundwork for our all volunteer armed forces to become the killing machine they are today. Brown also mapped out the upgrades to our strategic forces that Reagan is credited for. Most of our improvements in strategic forces that are credited to Reagan were started by Brown and Carter. Reagan just added a few stupid ones.

  22. democommie:

    Jake:

    I put Poppie Bush second because as the joke goes:

    “Re: Iraq in 1991; George H.W. Bush pulled out too soon. Re: Barbara Bush ca. September, 1945; he pulled out too late.”.

  23. Michael Heath:

    Francisco Bacopa writes:

    No way was Carter second worst. Not only was there the Camp David accord but carter appointed one of the best Secretaries of Defense ever, Harold Brown

    As I already noted, no way was President Carter “second worst”. My reading of history is that his perceived performance will continue to rise as time goes on. While he obviously failed while in office, he played a long-game where many of his policies continue to have provide benefit and will in the future. I certainly don’t consider his presidency to be a failure. I’ve also repeatedly noted in this forum in the past that the opposite will happen with President Reagan, that his being considered in the third tier of successful presidents will decline over time. That’s for two reasons:

    a) President Reagan’s abandonment of Carter’s energy policy prescriptions combined to his denial of AGW. That position will loom ever-larger as people being to realize the self-inflicted harm we’ll be increasingly suffering from not limiting greenhouse gasses and becoming more energy independent with non-fossil fuel energy sources and,

    b) his leadership in popularizing a non-Burkean form of conservatism, equivalent to democommie’s criticism above. (Though in fairness to Reagan, he governed more closely to Obama than he did to the wingnuts and plutocrats who now run the GOP and serve in the states.)

    Now on to what I blockquote above. Francisco, is Harold Brown responsible for the nomination of the military chiefs President Reagan inherited with the office? The reason I ask was that a primary factor, among only a mere handful of factors, which motivated President Reagan to develop his so-called star wars program, was the chiefs he inherited not only advocating for such. They were also the primary resource of expert counsel claiming this would work.[1]

    Where the context under which Reagan promoted “Star Wars” was for liberal outcomes and had him using a liberal approach to developing his policies on nuclear weapons and reducing the changes of a nuclear war. President Reagan was one of the first powerful people inside the beltway to reject “Mutually Assured Destruction” as an insane policy and seek to eradicate nuclear weapons rather than learn to live with them. “Star Wars” was his perceived avenue to doing so where he didn’t rely merely on rhetoric as Republicans currently do, but was getting counsel from the Chiefs and their experts “Star Wars” was a viable way to eradicate the demand for airborne nuclear weapons.

    1] The Dead Hand, the latest book on the history of the end of the Cold War. I have the book at home so I can quote pages this evening if requested.

  24. democommie:

    Michael Heath:

    This link (http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/reference/jcs.html) provides information about Reagan’s Joint Chiefs. It appears that USAF General David Jones (the USAFE head honcho the last year or so that I was in the command) might have been the only holdover from the Carter administration. It’s interesting that Reagan would keep on the guy who was the lightning rod for the criticism of Carter’s failed rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages.

    It does not say so in a brief USAF bio about Jones (http://www.af.mil/information/heritage/person.asp?dec=&pid=123006486), but I wouldn’t doubt that he was a big fan of “Star Wars”*.

    * I always liked “The Return of the Jedi”, myself.

  25. Michael Heath:

    Me earlier:

    Francisco, is Harold Brown responsible for the nomination of the military chiefs President Reagan inherited with the office? The reason I ask was that a primary factor, among only a mere handful of factors, which motivated President Reagan to develop his so-called star wars program, was the chiefs he inherited not only advocating for such. They were also the primary resource of expert counsel claiming this would work.[1]
    [...]
    1]1] The Dead Hand, the latest book on the history of the end of the Cold War. I have the book at home so I can quote pages this evening if requested.

    Democommie falsifies my extemporaneous assertion:

    This link (http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/reference/jcs.html) provides information about Reagan’s Joint Chiefs. It appears that USAF General David Jones (the USAFE head honcho the last year or so that I was in the command) might have been the only holdover from the Carter administration.

    Another lesson to not cite that which is not available, especially if you didn’t recently read your cite. Tonight I read all the Dead Hand’s indexed references to the SDI program, missile defense, and MAD. Here is what was reported relevant to my question to Fransisco:

    Page 162 refers to the Homing Overlay Experiment, which started in the 1970s. It was a rocket interceptor program. Their initial tests failed. In 1984 our military did a test where they “succeeded” in taking out a missile with dummy warhead, but only by cheating. They cheated by heating up the warhead and turning the missile sideways to make for an easier target. The Pentagon announced success which rattled the Soviets.

    Page 232-233 is reporting on the talks between Gorbachev and Reagan. The pages preceding is Gorbachev stridently arguing against ‘star wars’ and Reagan stridently defending it; on this page though Reagan reveals to Gorbachev, for the first time, his motivation is to eradicate all nuclear weapons. This is an interesting dialogue preceding it because Gorbachev’s skepticism about SDI is absolutely warranted though his perceptions of Reagan’s motivations were wildly off until then. Gorbachev saw Reagan as a typical conservative plutocratic hawk when instead Reagan’s motivations were liberal and naive (on the future of space weapons where Gorbachev’s predictions are far more compelling).

    While Gorbachev had the better argument that SDI was stimulus for U.S. defense contractors and in the long run, the countries would never be able to limit such hardware for defense purposes only, he was wrong that this was Reagan’s motivation. Reagan was instead a ‘true believer’ who really believed SDI could be defensive only and key to eradicating nuclear arms.

    Page 49 notes early influences on Reagan regarding missile defense, namely retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel O. Graham, who was Director of the Defense Intelligence agency between 1974 to 1976. Meetings with the theoretical physicist Edward Teller, who founded the Lawrence Livermore Lab, also advocated for its viability. An LBJ project titled Sentinel was a precursor, which evolved into Nixon’s Safeguard, which was made obsolete in 1976 when the USSR started carrying MIRVs.

    Page 51 reports a 2/11/83 meeting, where Caspar Weinberger was skeptical missile defense was a viable project, but Reagan’s military chiefs were enthusiastic about such a project. (I got this right though I was wrong this set of military chiefs were also Carter’s, as democommie pointed out above.)

    Page 52 reports one of the key motivations attracting the chiefs and Reagan to missile defense, which was to protect the U.S. if missiles were launched. That was very much not like MAD – where if we were fired upon, that would could very well have the U.S. letting loose our own nuclear weapons to avenge a USSR launch. And of course, vice versa.

    A primary theme of the book was that President Reagan couldn’t perceive himself launching nuclear weapons as an offensive measure, but was sure someone in the future would; where the MAD policy only required one defective outcome to devastate much of the planet. In fact one page read tonight (forget which) noted his distate the presidency even had the power to participate in the launch of such weapons.

    While I got Reagan’s motivations, premises, and approach correct, including the fact he was supported by expert advise, my point that Reagan inherited the leaders who sold him on SDI from Carter was not found in what I researched tonight. I now doubt such content in this book exists. So I retract the Carter-related assertion and apologize for muddying the water on this topic.

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