During Ann Coulter's question and answer session at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, one young attendee asked the brash author the question on most political observer's minds: was her impetuous style really helping the Republican cause?
It was a slightly awkward moment for the audience, which drowned out the second half of the question with shouts of "yes" (as in, yes she helps the GOP). And Coulter quickly and coldly dismissed the questioner, a conservative himself, by telling him to, essentially, stop talking.
QUESTIONER: A couple weeks ago you made an appearance on... TV's The View. You compared Barbara Walters reading your book 'Guilty' to a [inaudible] reading of Mein Kampf. I just want to ask that your style of self-expression is advantageous to the Republican cause? And if not... because it is no secret to anybody that you definitely know how to stir a deep pot with a long spoon.
COULTER: Okay, I got the question. The answer is yes. I mean that is a perfect example of this insane phenomenon that I describe in my book: people playing victims to achieve some advantage. What, you're not allowed to cite Mein Kampf? Is that the new rule? Because someone better tell the New York Times book review.
QUESTIONER: I just thought because there is another side to that...
COULTER: No, no. We got the question. Step away from the mic.
In the halls of CPAC, of course, Coulter is queen; the line to get into her speech has only been matched by the crowd that rushed to hear Mitt Romney. So the temerity to question her utility to the GOP falls somewhere just short of sedition. But not everyone in the audience was a devout Coulter apostle.
"She is excellent for rallying support among the college generation," said Eric Allen, an Ohio Republican in college himself. "It's similar with Rush Limbaugh. I don't agree with everything they have to say. Mainly Rush. Some of his over-the-top remarks are counterproductive in that they give the other side ammunition."