This was published today at The Daily Caller.
I love Ann Coulter.
I love Ann Coulter.
Lately I've been descending into the smoking, stalling, short-circuiting Hades of the D.C. Metro holding as a protective relic her latest In Tump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome (Sentinel, 2016). (She'd excommunicate me - I'm interfaith, so I was also wearing a Johnson-Weld tee shirt.) It's now 3rd on the best seller list.
It's actually the first Coulter book I've read, though I've read many of her columns and seen her media appearances. I was once sort of accused of reading a pre-publication copy of one of her earlier books - my immediate next door neighbor, like Coulter a former Congressional staffer when both were freshly minted law school grads, is one of the half dozen people who reads her drafts and makes suggestions, and is duly thanked in the prefatory acknowledgements. That year's preview draft was lost and everyone was anxious to find it and slightly terrified it might have been mis-delivered to someone like me. Who might post excerpts or discuss it in advance.
My neighbor, who like me is more libertarian than is Ms. Coulter, tells me he always tells her about half a dozen things so outrageous she must remove them, and much as if she was following Coco Chanel's fashion advice, she looks in her mirror and removes just one accessory before she goes out to the publisher.
Reading Trump I feel about Ms. Coulter and my neighbor the way I did when I started listening to Rush Limbaugh. Everyone had always told me Rush was a sexist-racist-homophobe-bigot.
I had a job where I drove around a lot with the radio on, and I preferred talk, any talk, Howard Stern, Scott Simon, Terri Gross, Rachel Maddow, to music. When poor gay GOP Congressman Mark Foley had the bad judgement to send purple prose mash notes to Congressional pages (who are all over the age of consent in Washington, D.C.) I was listening to the minor comic Stephanie Miller on Air America radio. Stephanie, a "liberal," was coming pretty close to making jokes about lynching the pedophile gays - jokes that are even more gruesome given what it going on in the Middle East in the aftermath of the policies of Ms. Miller's heroes, President Obama and Secretary Clinton.
So I wondered, if Air America was calling for lynching the gays (around the time Sidney Blumenthal was inventing birtherism), what would that neanderthal Rush Limbaugh be doing? I switched him on. He was discussing the machinations of Congress and the two establishment parties as they scheme to enrich themselves and hold onto power. It was like a case study of public choice theory. Albeit delivered with humor by someone who was an American male from an earlier generation.
It wasn't what I had been told I would be hearing.
And this is what Coulter's book on Trump is like.
The Donald Trump she presents is not the Trump we've been told about. Lots of Ann's fun is trading on the hypocrisy and ignorance of her subjects, politicians, the media, and the consultant class.
She quotes them saying Trump won't succeed in the primaries, and then shows them eating their words a few weeks later.
They say Trump has no policies, and she digests his many policy proposals and papers that they refused to cover. His central policy, taxing the remittances that foreigners, especially illegal immigrants, working in the U.S. send out of the country, and using the money to build a wall on the southern border and otherwise vet immigrants and beef up border security may be a good or a bad idea. But it does seem to be a policy, and a straightforward one that attempts to make people benefiting from cross border work and trade pay for an externality they are imposing on others, that is the cost of making sure violent criminals or terrorists are not crossing the border with them. How is that much different from Gary Johnson's temporary flirtation with a carbon fee that would "internalize" the cost of carbon?
They say Trump should have been disqualified for denigrating Senator John McCain, a war hero. Coulter reproduces the entire quote and the context of Trump's statement, where he was retaliating against McCain for saying that Trump was crazy, and more importantly smearing 15,000 Arizonan Trump fans who had gone to a rally - McCain's own constituents - as "crazies."
They say Trump was making fun of a disabled reporter, Serge Kovaleski of the Washington Post. Coulter makes a compelling case that Trump didn't know Kovaleski was disabled, and was making fun of him for being wishy washy, as Kovaleski had written one of the original reports on American Muslims who chose to celebrate the 9/11 attack the day it happened, but then tried to claim he had not written such an article when the liberal media smeared Trump for allegedly inventing this calumny on Islam.
And on and on. Coulter targets the political class, the consultant class, and the media spinners who make a good living in the wealthy counties around Washington, D.C., in Manhattan, and a few other enclaves, by delivering failed policies - or kneecapped, failed campaigns to change those policies - that always only benefit themselves. And she presents Trump, as a heroic figure who alone is willing to be rude and politically incorrect in bashing these people, calling them out, and disregarding their increasingly hysterical attempts to take him down with their usual smears.
Coulter's romance of Trump is not so much akin to an Ayn Rand story about an industrial titan, the easy parallel the facile might make. It's far more street.
A few years ago media critic Bernard Goldberg took Coulter to task for being a shock jock. He was correct (much like Jamie Kirchick may be in this year's conservative Jew vs right-wing blond contretemps with the gay Coulter, Milo Yiannopolous). (Full disclosure: I'm a little jealous of Milo's becoming the gay Ann Coulter before I could, though I am not as willing to add to the other "big" blogs at Breitbart - Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood - by creating and editing Big Black Cock.)
Ann Coulter is a kind of shock jock, a Jacqueline the Ripper as Jane Austen. And so it's apropos that her admission of Trump is more akin to Howard Stern associate Robin Quivers' admiration for Muhammad Ali. Coulter sees Donald Trump as the prize fighter for the Deplorables, the new negroes in the establishment's new version of Jim Crow America. And she thinks the election is going to be a knockout.