Saturday, March 3

Broken gaydar

Ann Coulter needs to go into rehab.

She says so herself. Friday, in a speech at the right wing's big annual bash, the conference for the American Conservative Union's PAC, she called John Edwards a faggot.

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, " Coulter said, "but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so …" she paused as the audience's collective gasp turned into laughter and applause, then she continued: "so I'm kind of at an impasse."

Ann has anger issues as well as sexual identity issues.

I won't psychoanalyze her weird fixation on sexuality. Her fellow conservatives, many of whom are obsessed with the sexuality of others, might be a better choice for explaining Coulter's homophobia and her malfunctioning gaydar. (John Edwards? I mean, I can see someone calling out Lindsey Graham. But Edwards?)

As far as Ann's anger, we liberal bloggers bear some responsibility for it. Who among us has not called her Mann Coulter? Which of us has not noted that she has a horse face? Raise your hand if you have not commented, online or in person, upon Coulter's own dubious sexuality? Called her Coultergeist? Remarked upon her prominent Adam's apple?

We've been mean to her, folks, and so she struck at the best-looking presidential candidate she could find. Maybe she has a man-crush on Edwards. Hard to tell what's going on in Ann's mind. She makes her patented outrageous statements with so little conviction that it makes you wonder who the joke is on -- her supposed targets, or her conservative audience.

By the way, she endorsed Mitt Romney.

I find it odd that this hasn't gotten much coverage by the mainstream press. Atrios notes that "there's nothing a conservative can say which would cause the 'liberal media' to decide that she wasn't an appropriate person to promote." Over at Tapped, Ben Adler notes: "Charming. When the right lets out its hate-mongering id, it's a really pretty sight."

I met Ann Coulter last summer in a greenroom, when I was waiting to do a brief interview on Fox News out of a dingy studio in West Palm Beach. She walked in, doffed her chiffon cape and threw it on a couch, and made a beeline for the makeup chair. She told the makeup artist, Christine, that she had awakened with a red eye. Christine had Visine. I was relieved that Ann apparently didn't notice me, because I felt like the manly, Queequegish thing to do would be to say something nasty to her. But since I didn't exist in her world, I didn't have to discharge my responsibility.

I thought, what the heck, I'm not going to be an asshole unless she's an asshole to me.

After my interview, I walked out of the studio and into the greenroom. Ann was sitting on the couch, waiting for her time before the camera. She was wearing blue jeans (it was 90 degrees outside and humid) with a big hole ripped in the right knee. I smiled wimpily and mumbled hello as I lifted her chiffon cape to see if I had left anything on the couch.

Her car was parked next to mine. Empty. Engine running, air conditioning turned on full blast.

I asked myself if I had done the moral thing by not saying something belittling to her. My friends, I admit that I was afraid of confrontation. I sense that she's muy smart and she could have eviscerated me with a nasty comeback.

But perhaps the best she could have done would have been to call me a faggot.