Crazy Talk, Take Two

(AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
I didn't want to talk about it again, really I didn't. I don't want to give her any more publicity, don't want to help her sell one more book. That's Ann Coulter's whole purpose, you see, to say things that will get her attention, have people talk about her, sell more copies and charge more speaking fees. I didn't want to, but I just had to go through this one more time because I'm afraid there really are those who still aren't in on the joke.

Check out this post if you need a refresher on the whole Coulter flap this week, but here's a brief synopsis of what she said in her new book: That a group of 9/11 widows who have been critical of the Bush administration are "self obsessed women" who "believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony." These widows, in Coulter's view, "are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by grief-arazzis." And Coulter says she has "never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." There's more, including her assertion that you never know if their husbands were ready to divorce them.

I know we live in a culture that requires a certain amount of "shock value" to gain attention. How else do you explain Paris Hilton? But is there no line left at all? Apparently not. While Coulter's remarks drew rebukes, there were supporters as well – of her sentiments if not her choice of verbiage. Longtime GOP strategist Mary Matalin told radio host Don Imus this morning that she agreed with Coulter's "larger point" that Democrats and liberals like to present "messengers that it's politically incorrect to argue with." Republican strategist Jack Burkman appeared on MSNBC's "Scarborough Report" where he supported Coulter's comments as the "truth."

Some of the commenters right here on PE supported Coulter. One commenter, going by the name "centralcal" had this to say:

I think the media's response to Ms. Coulter is a hoot! Nothing like proving her premise (left wing media/left wing Jersey Girls) exactly right!

They have certainly been "enjoying" their celebrity. Where are the other widows of 9/11 in comparison to the lovely ladies of Jersey? They want the celebrity -- and, as all celebrities everywhere will tell you, celebrity has its price.

Another, "mailpro56" weighed in with a response to me, stating:
Being asked for autographs, being named Ms. Magazine Women of the Year ... making commercials for Kerry ... getting your face on TV every 2 seconds ... would they trade it in for getting their husbands back ... most likely. Did they get a kick out of all that attention ... most likely.
Not all on the right were supportive of Coulter. Here's what Fox News' Bill O'Reilly had to say about it on his show:
Now many conservatives have joined liberals in condemning Coulter's words, but not all. On "The Radio Factor," some callers supported Ann. Talking Points believes most Americans reject that kind of vitriol because it is mean and counterproductive.
You think? Bill O'Reilly stars as The Voice Of Reason, good on him. Now, for all those who find some merit with Coulter's "larger point" about the use of victims for political gain, let's review a smidgen of recent history, shall we?

For example, we know the phrase "let's roll" as the final words attributed to Todd Beamer, one of the heroic passengers on the United flight 93 that hurtled into a Pennsylvania field rather than the White House or Congress on 9/11. We know his widow, Lisa Beamer. She has written an inspirational book titled, "Let's Roll." She was one of the invited guests at President Bush's address to a joint session of Congress just days after 9/11, where she was singled out and received a standing ovation.

We remember Ashley Faulkner, the young girl who lost her mother in the 9/11 attacks. We remember that poignant moment at an Ohio campaign rally when the president, seeking re-election, embraced Ashley and comforted her. And we remember the ad in which Ashley said of the president, "he's the most powerful man in the world, and all he wants to do is make sure I'm safe." We remember that ad because a conservative group supporting the Bush campaign ran it almost 30,000 times during the 2004 election.

And, we recall Debra Burlingame, an outspoken supporter of President Bush and defender of his decision to invade Iraq who lost a brother on 9/11. She was also one of three women – alongside 9/11 widows Deena Burnett and Tara Stackpole – to speak at the Republican National Convention in 2004.

I wonder if Coulter considers Lisa Beamer to be a "self-obsessed" woman seeking to cash in on tragedy? Was Ashley Faulkner "lionized" for political purposes? Are any of them "enjoying" the deaths of their loved ones? Of course not, but these women are immune from Coulter's acid pen for the simple reason they're on her side of the issues. Or perhaps more accurately, they have been leveraged by her side. Wouldn't it be just as "politically incorrect" to criticize these individuals? It would certainly be just as repugnant to personally attack them.