Sackcloth and Ashes

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My wife and I and the other real conservatives at Washington University in St. Louis just went through a very painful experience. Ann Coulter gave a speech to a standing room only audience at our largest hall for speaker events (holds 1,000+). It is difficult to express how terrible this was for us. We are filled with grief and anger. For the last several years we have carefully been trying to shift the terms of debate on the campus with our conservative paper and by bringing in such thoughtful conservative and libertarian speakers as Hoppe, Block, Gottfried, Cantor, DiLorenzo, Higgs, Don Livingston, Roderick Long and Justin Raimondo.

As Kevin Vallier said during her talk, every second she spoke was undoing months of our efforts. I can see why she is popular as a conservative icon in the media. She is a caricature, a cartoon version of what liberals think conservatives are. She is bloodthirsty, speaking of “draining the swamps” of the Middle East repeatedly as if Arabs are mosquitoes. She is non-intellectual. My wife pointed out that she began the talk arguing that liberals had no ideas and just call names… She then proceeded to spend her entire speech slinging mud. She is imperialistic, regularly saying things like, “well, then we’ll just have to invade them”.

The immodesty of her rhetoric is matched by the immodesty of her trademark miniskirt. Kevin, my wife and I all found ourselves unable to look at her during her talk… There was something so shameful about her. I’ve been reading on LRC and elsewhere about the neocons and, intellectually, I knew they were bad news. But experiencing Ann Coulter in person brought it home emotionally. I just want to grieve for the American “conservative” movement… After I take a cleansing shower. The only thing I could do was make sure to get in on the Q&A time afterwards. I identified myself as a conservative, brought up Buckley’s “garrison state for the duration” and asked her when we would get to shut down the empire and get our republic back. One gathered from her confused response that it wouldn’t be anytime soon.

2:06 pm on March 3, 2004