-- by Sara
I don't know whether to laugh out loud or mourn the ending of an era. I do know that I'd been looking forward to the CPAC convention, which starts next Thursday, for months now -- but the conference's organizers have cruelly yanked away the single biggest reason a liberal should care.
That reason, of course, is Ann Coulter, for whom CPAC has been the annual shining moment for nearly a decade. As I pointed out shortly after last year's convention -- that's the one where where she called John Edwards a faggot -- Ann seemed to save up her most over-the-top, gobstopping, new-lows-in-bad-taste-setting remarks each year especially for this appearance, as a summary of her CPAC performances over the years amply demonstrates:
CPAC 2007 -- "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I — so kind of an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards.”As I wrote last spring, there's a lot of synergy between CPAC and Coulter: over the years, each has leveraged its fame on the platform of the other. That synergy was driven by the cozy fact that Ann's publicist, Lisa de Pasquale, is also the executive director of CPAC. (Pasquale and her boyfriend, Floyd Resnick, also co-own New York Close Protection Services, which provides bodyguard services to conservative blowhards, and were also credited as research help for Michelle Malkin's book, "Unhinged.") That cozy little connection pretty much explains why Ann always saves her biggest steamers for CPAC events.
CPAC 2006 -- "I think our motto should be post-9-11, 'raghead talks tough, raghead faces consequences.'"
CPAC 2005 -- “Liberals like to scream and howl about McCarthyism, I say let’s give them some. They’ve have intellectual terror on campus for years....it’s time for a new McCarthyism.”
“Since they’re always acting like they’re oppressed…I say let’s do it, let’s oppress them.”
“In addition to racist and Nazi, how about adding traitor to the list of things that professors can’t be? And yes, I realize I just proposed firing the entire Harvard faculty.”
CPAC 2004 -- "You can never be too scandalous in talking about liberals. These people are animals; they want to destroy the country and they support the Taliban and al-Qaida the way they supported Stalin in McCarthy's day." (She also characterized the Democratic Party as being run by "breathtakingly stupid women").
CPAC 2003 -- “Why not go to war just for oil? We need oil."
CPAC 2002 -- "In contemplating college liberals, you really regret, once again, that John Walker is not getting the death penalty. We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals by making them realize that they could be killed, too. Otherwise they will turn out into outright traitors."
(In this same talk, Coulter also accused U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta of being consumed with hatred for America, belittled his experiences in Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, and appeared to imply that she would celebrate if he were killed.)
CPAC 2001 -- Ann Coulter told the crowd that George W. Bush had done a spectacular job during his first month in office, and speculated that perhaps he is far more clever than people had believed. In less than a month, Coulter stated, Bush has managed to totally disarm the Democrat's most cliched criticism: that Republicans are mean. Coulter suggested that Bush has apparently figured out that "all you have to do is go around calling yourself nice," making it surprisingly "easy to hornswoggle liberals." Bush has managed to control the agenda, and will continue to do so, said Coulter, as long as he continues to "treat liberals like small children having nightmares." According to Coulter, it seems as if "the mistake Republicans have been making for years was to treat liberals like adults."
CPAC 2000 -- Coulter received CPAC's annual journalism award.
And that's why I was getting all excited. I mean, what on earth could she possibly say that would top that parade of Greatest Hits? Enquiring bloggers were squirming in their chairs, they were so eager to know.
And now it turns out that, whatever it is, she won't have the chance to say it on CPAC's rostrum this year. Ann's invitation to address the 2008 wingnut extravaganza seems to have gotten lost in the backdraft. For the first time since the late 90s, spring will come and go without a fresh Coulter outrage for liberals to bitch about. One wonders what we'll find to do with ourselves.
The Young Americans for Freedom, one of CPAC's three main sponsors, has invited her to speak at a separate YAF event that will take place at the conference. So she will have her moment to spew -- but she won't be having it on the main stage, in front of the national TV cameras. In fact, off in that corner, she'll be delightfully easy to ignore.
What we should not ignore is the victory this represents for both progressives -- who decided some time back that it was time to cut off Coulter's oxygen supply -- and for principled conservatives, who in the past year also began agitating for CPAC to shut her out, saying that her moment was over and her continued presence was actually hurting the party. Apparently, the pressure built to the point where De Pasquale, who also counted herself as a close personal friend of Ann's, finally had to pull the plug.
Don Imus is gone (though crawling back through the side alleys). Melanie Morgan's numbers are in the sewer. Chris Matthews was forced to apologize on air. Michael Savage lost four of his major sponsors. And now this.
Wear them like feathers in your cap whenever someone tries to tell you that progressives don't have the power to change the discourse. We are getting better by the day at changing the messengers; and if we keep at it, we'll continue to reclaim our share of the media as well.