All About Ann

By Susan Estrich

March 8, 2007 5 min read

The girl has the knack. Hats off to Ann Coulter for playing us like a piccolo. Yes, she's done it again. Fools r we.

A week ago, she was almost invisible, lying low since taking on the 9/11 widows. The only news about her seemed to be related to that pesky problem she had in Florida figuring out where to vote. You know how it is in Florida. Haven't you noticed? They're out to get tall, thin blondes.

But that was before she compared former Democratic Senator and current presidential candidate John Edwards to a you-know-what. The nastiest word you can think of to describe a gay person. Imagine people thinking she didn't like gays just because she used an ugly epithet to embarrass a presidential candidate. Obviously, one thing has nothing to do with the other. No doubt, some of her best friends are gay.

In the days following her scene-stealing show at the CPAC convention, the divine Ms. C made headlines everywhere. The name-calling worked. She got what she craves. Attention. It was all about Ann.

A number of the Republican presidential candidates whose scenes she had stolen denounced the popular "pundette." For her part, Ann accused her critics of lacking a sense of humor — unlike her. She laughs all the way to the bank every time one of these episodes makes her even more famous.

The issue is not Ann Coulter. She is who she is. Calling her worse names than she calls everyone else only gets her more attention. She exists for us.

The question is why people pay attention to her.

What makes her slurs newsworthy?

There's certainly nothing "new" about them. Last year, when people started to stop paying attention to her after her attack on the 9/11 widows, she worked precisely the same number on Al Gore as she did on John Edwards. Nothing against gays, of course, but if throwing around the most derogatory word worked once, then why not try it again? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Shame on all of us.

CPAC already had all the Republican candidates for president coming, except McCain. Did they really need comic relief? Or more entertainment?

Coulter is a hater for hire. The burden should be on those who hire her to justify their choice and on those who appear with her to explain their association. Mitt Romney actually shared the stage with her at CPAC. Why give her such legitimacy?

There should be a burden of explanation on her sponsors, but there isn't. Even the candidates who condemned Coulter's comments were careful. None of them denounced the organization that invited her. None of them took on her supporters. A few liberals announced that, henceforth, she would not be welcome on their programs — as if they needed a new reason to shun her — but they weren't her regular shows, where she is treated as an oracle, not an embarrassment. If you dream of being a famous pundit when you grow up, you couldn't be blamed for taking the message that the best preparation is no food and plenty of gay bashing.

Everybody tells gay jokes. "That's so gay" is a line you hear all the time. If being gay didn't subject you to discrimination in virtually every area of life, it might be funny. But it does, and it isn't, particularly when coming from those who oppose prohibitions on discrimination.

The Republican Party has a gay problem. Maybe the party isn't really as intolerant as its platform, but performances like Ann's suggest otherwise. I don't know how self-respecting gays and lesbians can vote Republican, no matter how they feel about the economy or the war or taxes. Not when you have folks like Ann abusing them for laughs. Decent people need to address the problem, not embrace one of its sources. We'll know we're headed in the right direction when Ann tells a gay joke — and no one hears about it. Last week, we all heard.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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