Ann Coulter's Insane Blather Is Hilariously Owned by Sally Kohn and Others
In an absurd piece of political (and comedic) theater at the Comedy Cellar Underground Debate Series in New York City, right-wing blowhard Ann Coulter, armed with her predictably inflammatory one-liners and signature gesticulations, sat alongside Vanderbilt University professor Carol Swain as the pair tried in vain to make the case that American conservatism is better for women than its ideological counterpart.
What started as a discussion about women’s issues quickly derailed into an hours-long exchange on everything from immigration to political correctness to whether or not Hillary Clinton hates America. On the side of logic and reason sat CNN contributor Sally Kohn and Emmy Award-winning journalist Janus Adams, who spent the majority of the debate defending basic freedom of choice and historical facts.
For those uninitiated (lucky you), Coulter touts her own personal brand of ideological absurdity at pretty much any opportunity and sells a lot of books as a result. This evening was no different; at one point, the Adios America author caused an uproar among the panelists and alcohol-fueled audience members when she equated Black Lives Matter with the Ku Klux Klan, arguing that Republican nominee Donald Trump should not have had to disavow KKK Grand Wizard and supporter David Duke if rival Hillary Clinton doesn't have to disavow Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“You have Hillary Clinton actively endorsing Black Lives Matter and seeking the endorsement of Al Sharpton,” Coulter said. “As far as I know, David Duke has never given a speech where people end up getting stabbed in Crown Heights. And yet Hillary Clinton is not asked to disavow Al Sharpton.”
Speaking with Business Insider after the debate, Coulter refused to back down from her Duke/Sharpton comparison. "When Al Sharpton gives a rally you have people die, get mugged, have their cameras smashed, be robbed,” Coulter said. “That never happens at a David Duke event or I’d promise you, I’d know about it. I think I’m being very clear. David Duke gives a speech. Al Sharpton gives a speech, people die. That’s what I’m saying. Those are facts.”
If facts were suddenly important to Coulter after the debate, they had definitely fled the building during it. She blamed young people's propensity to vote for Democrats on "years of Chinese brainwashing” in public schools; praised Trump for his racially charged smearing of the Central Park Five (“they were guilty,” Coulter proclaimed about the exonerated defendants); insisted single women are predominantly liberal and in the absence of a husband, they, “need someone to support them,” and that someone is the U.S. government.
But her biggest untruth marked a cornerstone of Coulter’s abrasive flavor of conservatism. Explaining to the audience why she loves Trump so much, Coulter argued that the Republican nominee “does not play identity politics.”
“He does not speak to blacks as blacks or Mexicans as Mexicans,” Coulter said as the crowd laughed, later adding “he makes fun of identity politics.”
For Kohn, Coulter’s characterization of Trump as someone who doesn’t play identity politics was “a mischaracterization that borders on a smear, or even a downright lie.” Kohn, whose credentials include landing the number 35 spot on the Advocate’s list of the most influential LGBT people in the media, argued that Trump does indeed play identity politics, “vis-a-vis white men.”
“If you don’t think Donald Trump is explicitly building his campaign on white male identity politics, you haven’t been paying attention,” Kohn said.
“There's a mistake in this country when we think that identity politics are only about women, people of color, or immigrants. Identity politics are also about citizens, and white people, and men,” Kohn said in an interview with AlterNet. “And the Republican Party has practiced identity politics in favor of white citizen men since Nixon.”
But Swain, Coulter’s ideological complement at the table, is not a white citizen man. She’s a black woman and a former Democrat, who supports Trump because she believes, as a true Christian, that he’s the only one for the job. If possible, she’s even more of a right-wing extremist than Coulter: At one point the Vanderbilt University professor told the room, “I would not have aborted my baby if I had had informed consent—if I’d actually known government can’t be trusted to make good decisions for people.”
If that kind of headscratching proclamation seems delusional coming from a woman who has become an avid supporter of “the party of personal responsibility” (so avid she’s willing to align herself with a notorious polemicist like Coulter), Kohn wants you to know that trying to rationalize this rising brand of conservatism is probably a waste of your time.
“Republicans are for smaller government,” Kohn told AlterNet. “Well, except for in the case of reproductive rights, where they want government all up in our business.” They’re the party of Lincoln and the civil rights movement, except they refuse to support Black Lives Matter. They’re the party of the Bill of Rights. But really only the Second Amendment.
And therein lies the paradox, so expertly demonstrated by Coulter and Swain as they vollied back-and-forth sentiments that are, for many of us, hard to rationally process. As the conversation came to a close, a telling moment blindsided the commentators, audience and this reporter.
“Do you think Hillary Clinton doesn’t love America?” Kohn asked Swain as the latter waxed lyrical about Trump’s affinity for this country.
“I think she hates America,” Swain said before launching into a speech about “what President Obama has done” to the country.
Swain’s comments hit at the crux of what drives so many diehard Trump supporters—and really the vast majority of the right-wing blowhards who hijacked the GOP: Hatred for Barack Obama, America’s first black president, and anyone who seeks to promote his policies beyond this administration.
To Kohn, Swain’s suggestion that Obama is somehow out to destroy America speaks to a larger problem within the Republican Party.
“The pattern of suggesting that Barack Obama hates America, that he is in fact un-American, that he has a colonial loyalty, that he may not be Christian, that he may in fact be a Muslim, which is to say 'other,' that he may not be born in the United States—all of these things that these leaders on the right, including Donald Trump, have actively fostered and festered are a way of saying, ‘He is less American than you are, working-class white folks,’” Kohn said.
Trump is the president of people like Coulter and Swain. People who equate the KKK with Black Lives Matter. People who believe the Central Park Five are guilty, no matter what the criminal justice system says. People who think Obama hates America. People who think women who obtain abortions should be punished, or, at least, should punish themselves. And while the panel may not have come to an agreement about whether conservatism is hostile to women (it is), one thing is certain: They’ve earned their candidate.