As I used to say before June 26, “One of these days Ann Coulter is going to go too far.” That was the date Coulter said she wished Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards had been killed by terrorists! She came damned close to going too far in June of last year, when she described the widows of 9/11 as being self-obsessed and enjoying their husbands’ deaths.

What on earth has come over Ann? (the answer to that in a moment). She has become the equivalent of radio’s “shock jocks,” many of whom have been banned to satellite broadcasting where FCC rules don’t apply. But the basic rules of civility and good taste apply everywhere, and Coulter seems not to comprehend where those boundaries are. Her recent diatribes have gone beyond being simply crude and tumultuous invective.

Ann Coulter is not a dummy. All this “adverse publicity” in reality makes her a bigger star and catapults her book sales to new heights. These dust-ups over her vituperations are now what she does for a living. Former CBS correspondent Bernard Goldberg hit the nail on the head when he said the huffing and puffing media simply increase her audience size, and thus bump up book sales and TV appearances.

Coulter has a law degree from the University of Michigan. The school is rated way up there in the same rarified atmosphere as Harvard and Stanford law. She has a resume that would perk the interest of any high-level employer. In fact, she has been fired from more important jobs – MSNBC, National Review, USA Today – than most applicants attain in a lifetime.

Right now she is enjoying the wealth and notoriety that comes from a couple of best-selling books, abundant speaker’s fees, and AFTRA scale (at least) for appearing on a number of broadcast talk shows. So the more the money is flowing in, the more outrageous and disrespectful she becomes. She knows what she is doing. There is the answer to my question in my second paragraph. What has become of Ann is that she is intoxicated (make that dependent upon), fame and fortune, no matter how much she has to uglify herself.

A word or two on her uglification. Take a look at Coulter’s supplied photo on her web page ( She is a babe. She is gorgeous. Especially with that shock of blond flowing hair that covers her right eye, Lauren Bacall-style (“The Look”). Compared to her present appearance, that photo must have been taken during her best college years. Now, despite her protestations that she is not bolimic, she appears a tad too thin, a wee bit haggard (like Susan Hayward in some of those gaunt scenes in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow”), and, in general showing those telltale signs of self-inflicted scars. She may be laughing all the way to the bank, but she is deteriorating physically and professionally like a 1965 Mercedes that was never rust-proofed.

One must use canine comparisons with care and caution, if at all. If Ann Coulter is today’s pit bull, snapping viciously and repetitively at Democrats and progressives, she used to be a Gordon Setter, a resplendent and somewhat scarce breed known for its beauty and brains. Gordon Setters are loyal to a fault, tireless, headstrong but tractable, excellent at what they were bred to do, and fortuitously imported into the United States 165 years ago by Dartmouth’s favorite son, Daniel Webster.

Most political tacticians agree that Elizabeth Edwards was wrong to come to the defense of her husband last Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” on which Coulter was a guest. Mrs. Edwards called in to the program to say she felt Coulter’s remarks were “hateful and ugly” and that it was time for the personal attacks to stop. In a speech before a conservation political action group last March, Coulter referred to John Edwards as a “faggot.” In one of her newspaper columns, Coulter also ridiculed him for talking too much about his son’s death in a 1966 car accident. The implication being that Edwards was shamelessly playing the sympathy card to further his political ambitions.

It is said that the front-running Republican presidential candidates now maintain 24/7 “Ann Coulter Damage Control Departments,” so virulent and malicious have her comments become. Earlier examples pale by comparison: To a disabled Vietnam veteran: “People like you caused us to lose that war.” In a Coulter column: “The backbone of the Democratic Party is a typical fat, implacable welfare recipient.” On Princess Diana’s death: “Diana is ordinary and pathetic and confessional. I’ve never had bulimia. I’ve never had an affair. I’ve never had a divorce. So I don’t think Diana is better than I am.” Oddly enough, Coulter said in a recent Washington Post interview that “everyone’s comments are being taken out of context and wildly misinterpreted.”

Even conservative writer William F. Buckley had his famed public TV confrontation with arch rival and provocateur Gore Vidal, calling him a “faggot” after Vidal labeled Buckley as a “crypto-nazi.” Both gentlemen’s bodies of literary works and bloodlines far outweigh this momentary lapse of civility, and thus the incident is merely a footnote, if that, in their biographies.

But Coulter’s negatives are piling up in disproportion to her achievements. While she may be comfortable appearing in print and on the radio and TV talk shows with her increasingly irreverent barbs and the revenue they produce for now, in the long run her career will suffer significantly. Whatever happened to that picture-perfect law school grad with nothing but a bright future before her? Ann, we hardly knew ye.


Be Sociable, Share!