June 27, 2007

I <3 Elizabeth Edwards

So. Everyone hates Ann Coulter. Too bad most of her critics aren't as classy or resolute as Elizabeth Edwards,1 who called in to Hardball to "ask her politely to stop the personal attacks," which thus far have consisted of calling John Edwards a faggot, wishing "he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot," and claiming (in a column!) that he drove around with a bumper sticker that said "Ask me about my son's death in a horrific car accident." Seeing Coulter's response to Elizabeth Edwards asking her repeatedly and politely to stop saying horrible things about her family blew my mind. Coulter's responses were basically 100% lies, irrelevant, or ad hominem attacks: "I didn’t say anything about him," "I don't have enough money" to hang out with the same people as the Edwards family, "Why isn't John Edwards making this call?", "The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking."

I mean seriously, why is she getting invited on Hardball? Or anything? She's famous for being mean, and I know a lot of funnier, smarter, more interesting mean people I could recommend if Chris Matthews is fresh out of ideas.

Elizabeth Edwards's response was something you recognize if you're from the Midwest, or apparently the South: the polite, mild-mannered lady who will not let you walk all over her and will hold her line no matter what.2 Edwards just kept saying that Coulter's nasty personal attacks "are not legitimate political dialogue," "debases political dialogue," etc. She's a force to be reckoned with, even if she's being resolutely polite. There are a number of people like that among my parents' friends, but I don't think I've ever seen it done that well. Coulter's response was all spluttering and vitriol, and the contrast could not have been more clear.

Unfortunately, the people who commented on that Think Progress video and transcript were neither so restrained nor so effective. There's plenty to hate about Ann Coulter, but insinuating that she's transgender or talking about her "deteriorated face" or calling her a coke whore - these are ad hominem attacks that mimic the worst of Coulter's own rhetoric, not to mention being horrifyingly anti-feminist. I feel like I need to take a shower just reading the thread. Remember, the problem isn't what she looks like, it's what she says and how she says it. The way to fight her is to pull an Elizabeth Edwards: pointedly courteous, consistent, honest, clear, letting Ann Coulter make herself look foolish.

1. The more I learn about John Edwards as a candidate, the more I like him. There was that NYT magazine profile about his focus on poverty, which was fairly satisfying. I also read and dissected his health care proposal with Abramorous. It's really good. If he could get it passed, it would totally work: cover everyone, reduce costs, take some of the burden off businesses. I feel conflicted about how much I like Edwards, though, because I kind of want to be supporting Obama. Yes, because he's black, but also because he does a kind of policy-oriented politics that I like, because he's not tainted by previous elections, because he's different from the political mainstream in a way I like. Hrrumph.
2. Another courageous Elizabeth Edwards moment: she (1) attended a San Francisco Pride kick-off breakfast for the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and (2) remarked off-handedly that she supports same-sex marriage. Word.

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