HOW NOT TO WIN AN ARGUMENT

Ann Coulter seems happy to continue to fill the kook niche. How’s this for a column intro?

THE FIRST killing of an abortion doctor by an anti-abortion activist happened in 1993. Since then, six more people have been killed in attacks on abortion clinics, which is fewer people who ended up dead by being in the vicinity of recently released Weatherman Kathy Boudin. Most of the abortionists were shot or, depending upon your point of view, had a procedure performed on them with a rifle. This brings the total to: seven abortion providers to 30 million fetuses dead, which is also a pretty good estimate of how the political battle is going.

I guess stuff like this sells books to fanatics. But one wonders how many fence-straddlers on the abortion issue are going to climb over to Coulter’s side after reading that?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Dodd says:

    This is a perfect example of my problem with Coulter. There’s a really good point hiding in there (i.e., that abortion clinic violence is actually quite rare, not the epidemic the pro-choice activists so persistently make it out to be). But instead of just making that point, she has to turn it up six notches and say it in such an offensive fashion that we can be sure no one will be convinced.

  2. Steven says:

    She may have become the Ted Rall of the right.

  3. harm d. says:

    She may have become the Ted Rall of the right.

    no; she has been the ted rall of the so-called right for a long time. i’m reasonably sure that most of the people who purchase her book(s) are folks who believe politics amount to no more than a circus.

  4. Jeremiah says:

    Oy. This is no way to win over people on the abortion issue. Dodd, I think that her point is not to use the valid data to make a reasoned and even unbiased argument, but to stir up people who already agree with her. What’s up with that “had a procedure performed on them” crap? That’s as heartless as the thing she’s attacking.

  5. Jeremiah says:

    Not to mention it pisses off people who might otherwise agree with her.

  6. Dodd says:

    Ted Rall is a class unto himself (a low one). I prefer to think of her as the Michael Moore of the right. I doubt either truly believes the stuff they’re purveying but it plays well to the more extreme elements and, consequently, rakes in the dough. They’re running successful gimmicks, Rall is just a lunatic.

  7. Josh McClain says:

    Dodd hit it on the head with his first post.

    She usually has some smidge of being right hidden deep in her post, but where as a surgical knife would do the trick, she chooses a chainsaw.

    That’s her schtick now, great over exaggeration to get attention.

    I’ll never take her even as close as serious as before for giving the white glove treatment to McCarthy in her last book while calling out Truman as a traitor simply for his party affiliation.

    She’s been reduced to a bobblehead now, which is sad really. Someone with as large a pulpit as she had has been tattered away.

  8. Gabe Posey says:

    Well, I think she, like Moore and Rall, is a lightning rod. She is out there, as Dodd pointed out, to stir and polemicize the people that agree with her already. She isn’t a Republican evangilist. No one will join the right based on her speaking. On the other hand, filtering her writing allows for some amazing discoveries therein. She has a mind, she just needs a softer mouth to go with it.

  9. Gabe Posey says:

    You want real crazy?

    Check here.

  10. janice ladik says:

    I love carolontheweb. The is the sharpest pen on the internet. And her politics are positively all over the place. She hates everybody. Loves everybody.

    And her arguments are sound, if testy.

  11. janiceladik says:

    the link for carolontheweb is

    http://www.carolontheweb.com

    read Better Living With Misanthrope – she rocks.

    and her slice and dice of Barbra Streisand is the best bit of writing I’ve seen on the web. I also dislike BS so I’m prejudiced.

  12. Hm. I actually liked “had a procedure performed on them with a rifle.” And I’m pro-choice.

    I’m afraid I’ve also written Coulter off as “the Michael Moore of the right.” She preaches strictly to the choir. I think her very extremism is what appeals to them. They find her refreshing after long days of–from their point of view–listening to people pussy-foot around the issues.

    Sometimes I’m just in awe of the amount of research she does on a given subject. Then, of course, I’m distinctly under-whelmed when she squanders all that intellectual capital by exaggerating grotesquely to make a point.

  13. hatless in hattiesburg says:

    L.M.A.: I’d prefer “exaggerating grotesquely to make a point” to the everyday liberal tactic of “lying obscenely to force a point down your throat” (particularly those typical loony Bush-worse-than-Hitler-type statements)

  14. Dugger says:

    Well, I like Coulter. She’s dramatizing the dismissive way the anti-abortion majority sugar coats the “prodecure”. She’s occasionally outrageous and wrong, but sometimes she captures thoughts and expresses them in a clever, entertaining way that no one else on the “go along, get along” right side of the spectrum can equal. Having said that, I am pretty much against changing the current abortion laws, but, I understand that many honest people see abortion as the taking of an innocent life and that’s no little thing. Think back to Nuremburg. We ruled “good” Germans who went along with the prevailing wisdom on (murdering) Jews war criminals. Depending on when you think life begins, is there that much of a difference between the anti-Nazis, who fought against this prevailing wisdom, and anti-abortionists, who swim upstream against today’s prevailing abortion wisdom. It gets back to when life begins; its complex as hell and it can’t papered over by calling it a procedure. Coulter is closer to the truth than most. Again, leave the current laws alone, but at least recognize the gut wrenching complexity.

    Sorry for the long windedness.

  15. Doubtful says:

    I guess if you base your political party affiliation and your choice of leaders on a single, extremely emotional issue, then Ann Coulter will appeal to you. Just search through her book to find the subject you like, forget about the rest of the mostly hate-filled rhetoric she’s pushing, and through your rose-colored glasses you’ll see a good Republican. Take off those glasses though, and you might just see her as the ranting demagogue that she truly is.

  16. PoliBlog says:

    The Ted Rall of the Right?
    James of OTB excerpts a recent Ann Coulter column leading me to ask is she hasn’t become the Ted Rall of the right….

  17. Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64)
    Proliferation, adaptation, and a strange beauty that takes some time to appreciate. That serves as well to describe the blogosphere as it does to describe the insects, which are among the most successful groups of animals that ever lived. So…

  18. Insect Menagerie (Carnival 64)
    Proliferation, adaptation, and a strange beauty that takes some time to appreciate. That serves as well to describe the blogosphere as it does to describe the insects, which are among the most successful groups of animals that ever lived. So…