While there were those on the left as well as the right who disagreed with my previous post about Ms. Coulter's antics dismaying many Republicans and conservatives, the latter are finally starting to go on the record. "Ann Coulter does not speak for me," writes B. Jay Cooper, former deputy press secretary to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and communications director of the Republican National Committee under four chairmen, in an op-ed that is making the rounds of editorial pages in "red state" markets.
To me, Ann Coulter's exercise of her right to free speech is the political equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. She crosses the line of decency. To me, individuals who engage in name-calling and hate speech to get attention, sell books, increase speaking fees and feather their own nests, are speaking for themselves, not any political party.
My problem is the popular presumption that she represents the Republican Party. We all get painted with her tainted brush. As a result, the popular perception holds Republicans are against almost everything from abortion to homosexuals. And nasty about it to boot. I feel safe in saying that the vast majority -- I would guess all but one -- of Republicans is not against grieving widows created by the worst crime ever committed against America. .... I have talked to a lot of Republicans, including some very young ones and many -- a vast majority of those I spoke with, in a non-scientific way -- are pro-choice. They aren't anti any group or way of life. I know plenty who believe government can be a solution -- as long as it solves something, and gets out of the way once the solution takes hold. We have been, though, outshouted and, yes, outworked by the most right wing among us.
I also wrote earlier that Ms. Coulter hadn't lost any customers for her column lately, but Mr. Cooper's opinion, among others, may help to change that, too. The Shreveport Times in Louisiana is considering replacing Ms. Coulter's syndicated column with another conservative voice, writes the editorial page's editor, Craig Durrett.
Coulter doesn't offend me for her ideology but for her tactics and what I consider her motives. My opinion: She is more about entertainment and self-promotion, understanding that shock and outrage translate into publicity that feeds into her quest for media airtime and column space. Her comments about several women who were made widows on Sept. 11, 2001, is a prime example.
The Times picks up a variety of syndicated columns, and on any given day may skip one or more because of problems with space, obscureness of topic, or matter of taste. "But she more than all others pushes the bounds of taste, though we provide a very generous envelope in that regard," Durrett writes. "We understand what would be offensive to me, might not be offensive to you."
The paper is currently asking its readers for input "on whether [Coulter's column] brings anything constructive to the table regarding ideas and issues," or should be dropped. And I'm not posting the relevant email address since it really should be the folks of Shreveport who decide on the voices they want to hear. But it will be interesting to see if any other of her clients follow suit.
Thanks to Editor & Publisher for following the story.