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Ann Coulter's 'Faggot' Remark Smears Mitt Romney Too

But Coulter is unlikely to go away because "she provides an outlet ... for the twisted psychological impulses and truly hateful face that drives the entire pro-Bush, right-wing spectacle."
The right-wing "slime bowl," the attacks by conservative media and surrogates to attempt to bang up Democratic politicians, had another big event Friday, at the meeting in Washington of the Conservative Political Action Conference. And this time the smell of Ann Coulter's hate speech is all over 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, an emerging darling of the Republican party.

Coulter, who spoke after Romney and was warmly acknowledged by him, essentially endorsed the former Governor of Massachusetts for president in her speech. But that's something he's probably already regretting because of her bigotry that concluded her talk:

"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," Coulter said.

Shortly after the faggot remark, when responding to questions, Coulter said said that "Romney is the best candidate we have." She said Rudy Giuliani is too liberal -- "when both candidates for president support abortion I think we can hang it up as a country." After dumping on McCain, and saluting Gingrich as a brilliant guy who's time has passed she embraced Romney: "He tricked liberals into voting for him. I like a guy who hoodwinks the voters so easily."

McCain and others attacked Coulter's hate speech, and thus far, according to the New York Times, Romney has distanced himself from the remark, but not the hate spewer herself. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told the press, "It was an offensive remark. Governor Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect." One might expect that Romney would go further and help put the venemous Coulter out to pasture.

But in reality, this is all part of a dance and charade in which conservatives gleefully participate. As Glen Greenwald wrote on his blog on Salon:
... [T]he single most prestigious political event for conservatives of the year is a place where conservatives go to hear Democrats called faggots, Arabs called ragheads, and Supreme Court justices labeled as deserving of murder -- not by anonymous, unidentifiable blog commenters, but by one of their most popular featured speakers.
Greenwald was talking about Coulter, of course, and also wrote:
Everyone knows what a rancid hate-monger she is, yet (or rather: "therefore") she continues to be invited to the highest-level "conservative" events, be drooled on with admiration by presidential candidates like Mitt Romney, and have little right-wing warriors wait in line around the corner to get her signature on their copies of the books she wrote.
... The more delicate ones will claim to repudiate her comments in the most limited terms, but their actions speak far louder than their cursory and reluctant words. Anyone who went to this event -- and that includes Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, and Dick Cheney -- knew exactly what they would be getting. Coulter's face was prominently plastered on the promotional material. The right-wing political candidates who accepted the invitations to speak there knew exactly the type of people would be there -- namely, the type who continously cheer on Ann Coulter's bigoted and nakedly hateful screeds. Anyone who makes themselves a part of that event is purposely associating themselves with those sentiments. That is what this Conference is for.
Frequently there is discussion among progressive and liberal journalists about how to reduce the impact of Ann Coulter. Some suggest ignoring her, including this author, but others are addicted to the attention that comes from attacking Coulter, and insist on her being responded to, talked to, etc. Frequently in covering Coulter, everyone gets more attention; everyone gets a piece of the action. This writer even penned a satire asking that journalists never mention her name again, and here I am breaking my own rule.

On the Democratic side, the John Edwards campaign responded quickly to the Coulter attack:

"John was singled out for a personal attack because the Republican establishment knows he poses the greatest threat to their power," said his campaign manager, David Bonior. "Since they have nothing real to use against him, Coulter's resorting to the classic right-wing strategy of riling up hate to smear a progressive champion."

But unfortunately the Edwards campaign launched an ill-advised attempt to raise money from the debacle. Mr. Bonior sent an e-mail to supporters last night urging them to make contributions to the Edwards campaign.

"If we can raise $100,000 in 'Coulter Cash' this week, we can show that bigotry will only backfire on those who use it," Mr. Bonior wrote. "John is not the first progressive leader to face this kind of slime, but together, we can make sure he is one of the last."

But it is highly unlikely that Coulter is going to go away given the role she plays. As Greenwald warns:
"The people feigning upset over those matters are either active participants in, or passive aiders and abetters of, a political movement that, at its very core -- not at its fringes -- knowingly and continuously embraces the most wretched and obvious bigotry and bloodthirsty authoritarianism. They love Ann Coulter -- and therefore continue to make her a venerated part of their political events -- because she provides an outlet, a venting ground, for the twisted psychological impulses and truly hateful face that drives the entire pro-Bush, right-wing spectacle.
None of this is news, really. This is a movement propelled by an insatiable hunger for more slaughter and more wars. It is centrally dependent upon hatred of an Enemy, foreign or domestic -- the Terrorist, the Immigrant, the Faggot, the Raghead, and most of all, the Liberal. As John Dean brilliantly documented, that is the only real feature that binds the "conservative" movement at this point, the only attribute that gives it identity and purpose. It does not have any affirmative ideas, only a sense of that which it hates and wants to destroy. So to watch as the crowd wildly cheers an unapologetic hate-monger is perfectly natural and not at all surprising.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.
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