Barely a week ago, political pundit Ann Coulter barely registered a blip on the internet. Over the past week, she has had the blogosphere all in a tizzy, simply for her use of one word last Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. But the criticism of Coulter by Presidential Candidates on the right and the left rings hollow when you look at the facts.
If you have not seen the clip or read the news, here is what has gotten all of us hot and heavy for Ann this week. Here are her exact words: “I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”
Coulter was making a reference to the case of Isaiah Washington, the Grey’s Anatomy star who was sent to rehab after an angry tirade against a co-worker then used the term at the Golden Globes before checking himself into rehab.
Others have pointed out that Coulter did not call Edwards a “faggot” as implied in media accounts and that she does not realize how offensive the term can be when describing people, not cigarettes.
The general consensus, however, was that the term was inappropriate, and following Coulter’s 2006 “raghead” remarks on the very same dais, it got conservatives wondering if Coulter was the best ambassador for the cause. From bloggers to Presidential candidates, there has been outrage and condemnation.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who was seen on video chumming up with Ann before her speech responded saying through spokesman Kevin Madden, “[i]t was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect.”
John Edwards’ campaign responded, saying, “”Ann Coulter’s use of an anti-gay slur yesterday was un-American and indefensible. In America, we strive for equality and embrace diversity. The kind of hateful language she used has no place in political debate or our society at large. I believe it is our moral responsibility to speak out against that kind of bigotry and prejudice every time we encounter it.” Then they launched a fundraising effort on their website based on the incident.
What’s funny, however is how wildly inconsistent these statements are with the candidates actual policies. As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney’s idea of “dignity and respect,” was to try to strip away legally-granted rights from gay and lesbian couples, thereby denying them equal protection under the law.
Senator Edwards idea of embracing “equality and diversity” when he ran for Vice President in 2004 was to take a position on gay rights that was to the right of the man many liberals compare to Attila the Hun—his Republican opponent, Dick Cheney.
If the “F-word” is going to now have equal status as the “N-word” in the American lexicon, shouldn’t F’s be granted all the same equal rights as N’s? Candidates and others can give lip service to tolerance, but when their policy positions don’t back them up, someone needs to point it out.