This blog features information about the political campaign nationally and in the state of Pennsylvania. it will discuss congressional races western PA, but it won't restrict comments to those jurisdictions. On many occasions, it will feature humor, but its main purpose is to "cut the legs off" political jihad. This is a site for political grown-ups of all ages.

Location: Ambridge, Pennsylvania, United States

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (English and American Literature). I taught for 10 years at various educational institutions (Univ. of Rochester, my alma mater, College of William and Mary, and University of Georgia, where I was also Asst. Ed. of the Georgia Review. Later, I worked as a speechwriter and "thinker" at various large companies, including Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, Aetna, Merck (consultant), and Eli Lilly (consultant), among many others. I'm a full-time writer and political commentator/analyst. Favorite company: AudioTech Business Books. Favorite female: my wife, Patricia Ann Maloney. Favorite politcal candidate: Diana Lynn Irey (PA's 12th congressional district)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Jack Kelly and Ann Coulter's Use of the "F-Word"

If there are any journalists that I respect more than the Post-Gazette's (and Toledo Blade's) Jack Kelly, I forget who they are. However, in his fired-up criticism of Ann Coulter ("Coulter and the F Word, P-G, March 14, 2007, H-3), Kelly is wrong.

His column's sub-head, which he probably didn't writer, says: "Moonbat conservatives confuse profanity with courage." Of course, the word at issue -- "faggot" -- is not profane in the sense of being sacrilegious. It may be an offense against man, but it's not an one against God.

Yes, I wish she'd used another word (do I ever!). No, I'm not anti-gay, and I don't believe she is either. She indicated (to the New York Times) that she had a great deal more sympathy for gays than she did for John Edwards, against whom she directed the "faggot" comment.

Kelly says Coulter's "incendiary remarks can be used to taint all conservatives." He accuses her of "substitut[ing] invective for argument." He cites John Edwards' campaign manager (!) as saying, "Republican mouthpiece Ann Coulter brought hate speech politics to a new low." Finally, Kelly suggests Coulter's fiery rhetoric is just one more way for to her make money, something she's very good at. Samuel Johnson once stated that people are rarely more "harmlessly engaged" than in making money.

Of course, Ann Coulter -- as I mentioned in an earlier column -- is no newcomer to controversy. At one point, she accused a few "9/11 widows" of exploiting their husbands' deaths in their rabid support of Hillary Clinton, whose record in fighting terrorism was less than exemplary. Coulter's "underlying message," as Mary Matalin called it -- her view that the "widows" were wildly out of line -- was accurate.

After the two-day controversy about the New Jersey women died down, something miraculous happened. The widows shut up, disappearing (blessedly) from the news. Had anyone else in public life criticized them? No, they had not, apparently because deceased relatives of 9/11 victims were seen as immune from criticism. Score one for Ann Coulter.

What I think Jack Kelly is ignoring is that tough times demand tough language. Otherwise, the words get ignored. Aggressive journalism, and no one practices it better than Coulter, doesn't take its model from C-Span or even "Meet the Press." Some conservatives, I'm one and often Jack Kelly is also, recognize that reasoned responses to liberal outrages get tuned out. That is, they get ignored. They're like the trees that fall -- unheard -- in the forest.

Like all good opinion journalists, Jack Kelly himself wants to be heard. In one of his recent columns, he wrote in praise of global warming. He didn't criticize the warnings of the Al Gores of the world. Rather, he said that global warming -- and cooling -- were natural occurrences. He further indicated that global warming would be a net positive for the inhabitants of planet Earth.

That column generated the usual blizzard of angry letters and calls. The respondents weren't presenting evidence that Kelly was wrong. Instead, they were saying the P-G should fire him. His offense was that he'd said what Jonathan Swift once described (ironically) as "the thing that is not." In fact, liberals believe that it's okay for conservativees to be seen (occasionally) but not to be heard.

At times, Kelly -- unlike Coulter -- doesn't go far enough. For example, in another column he suggested that it was necessary to give the President's surge plan "a chance to work." In fact, the people who oppose Bush won't even consider such an approach. All evidence indicates that the John Murthas and Nancy Pelosis of the world don't want the plan to work. Apparently, they want it to fail. They want America to lose this war, with all the terrible implications that would have for the Global War on Terrorism.

In Coulteresque fashion, perhaps, I've written that the Iraq War "is the Democrats' best friend." As long as the War goes badly -- and as long as the insurgents as "full of passionate intensity" -- the anti-war Party, the Democrats, do very well. One imagines that if the War didn't exist, they'd have to invent one (as LBJ did with his ad suggesting Barry Goldwater would nuke the world's children).

What all outspoken conservatives need to recognize is that, because of the actions of the Murthas and Edwards of the world, we're losing things of great value. Of most importance, we're losing the lives and limbs of men and women in the military.

People like Murtha and Edwards do embolden the enemy, who are excellent in manipulating American public opinion, especially among Democrats. The terrorists believe that if they murder enough people, they eventually will win.

In such a context, using a word like "faggot" seems like a rather minor outrage. In matters of life-and-death, strong words are not necessarily out of line.

As for John Edwards, Coulter believes -- as I do -- that he's a sissified pretty boy, one of those Southerners that William Faulkner portrayed as the Snopses. He's a multimillionaire who masquerades as an advocate for the poor. He's an original supporter of the War in Iraq who withdrew his backing when it became politic to do so. He's a self-described "Southern Baptist," who shows no signs of sharing the views held by that denomination.

Yes, Coulter called him a name, and she may have some second-thoughts about choosing the one she did. But name-calling, although not the highest form of speech, can be an effective way to bring out issues in a way that gets attention. The worst thing that can happen with public comments is for them to be ignored.

I admire Ann Counter greatly for her courage. She believes passionately in her country, America, and in her religious faith, Christianity. She supports American soldiers in word and deed. She abhors the rise of political cynics like Edwards.

Coulter certainly lives up to the dictum that "politics ain't beanbag."


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