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The Ann Coulter remarks from Friday have created quite a to-do and resulted in some unfortunate confusion which I herewith intend to clear up.

Here is the exact quote from Ms. Coulter's address at CPAC:


I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' So I'm kind of at an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards, so I think I'll just conclude here and take your questions.

First, some initial points that need to be made:

Let me state for the record that I do not recommend anyone use the word "faggot" under any circumstances. It upsets people such as the folks at Equality Loudoun, who became quite agitated and unwittingly added to the confusion by making a number of misinformed claims - such as that this was Ms. Coulter's biggest applause line of the afternoon, when in reality it was about 5th. Furthermore, "faggot" is inarguably a pointed epithet which can evoke strong negative emotions from listeners and, as a general rule, for the sake of one's well-being, it is prudent to avoid doing this in the course of everyday life. It is also goes without saying it is a VERY rude thing to say in reference to gay people, in the same class as the n-word, although as will be noted I think such usage is about as common as the n-word nowadays.

Also, it is important to note that Ms. Coulter did not call John Edwards a faggot. The sentence structure is a combination of the pluperfect and future subjunctive forms and yields a hypothetical statement regarding both Mr. Edwards and the term in question. There is no reason to assume she did not choose her words carefully, because regardless of whatever else one might say about Ann Coulter few accuse her of being a poor writer. Her actual statement concerned what happens if you use a particular word. Considering that the public response to her statement has precisely confirmed what she said, there is a simple factual accuracy to the remark. In addition, as John Hawkins observes in the course of denouncing the remark, she was without doubt referencing an incident several weeks ago in which an actor went into rehab after publicly using the word 'faggot'. Ms. Coulter simply took a joke that was already half-made and plugged herself and Mr. Edwards into it.

Finally, before the false idea that Ms. Coulter's remark was representative of the outlook of "conservatives" in any degree goes any further, it must be noted that the universal "conservative" reaction has been negative. As noted in both the New York Times and Washington Post, the major Republican candidates have denounced it. In addition to Hawkins, every major right-of-center blogger I've found to have commented on the remark has denounced it: See Michelle Malkin, Ace, Captain's Quarters, American Mind, Right Wing Nuthouse, American Spectator, The Corner. I spoke with several bloggers at the conference and to a person they also denounced it.

The contention of this essay is that Ms. Coulter's remark is undeserving of the degree of opprobrium that has been heaped upon it and that conservatives, such as they are, do not need to be sprinting away from Ms. Coulter with such knee-jerk haste. In order to prove this point, we will focus on the word in question, Mr. Edwards, Ms. Coulter, and the context in which the word was used.

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A great turnout by the Tancredo supporters!

First, a quick roundup of the presidential candidates so far.

I just got informed that, as the Sean Hannity session broke about 5 minutes ago, with literally hundreds of people streaming out of the ballroom like an ebb tide through a narrow isthmus, a man and woman stood outside the doors holding clipboards and buttons, vainly attempting to stop someone, anyone. The message? "Students for McCain ... students for McCain..."

This was John McCain's footprint at CPAC.

Tancredo's impromptu appearance before the college kids Thursday night was as good a speech as any of the candidates so far. (Web site here).

Duncan Hunter hit a home run. (Web site here).

Mike Huckabee seems like a decent guy, as does Sam Brownback, but I don't think either of them gives a rat's patoutie about immigration enforcement. Brownback devoted exactly 5 seconds of his half-hour speech to border security. About as long as it takes to verbalize "secure borders."

Huckabee gave the topic about 5 minutes, drawing a parallel between his experience as governor having to jump through all the security hoops at the airport, and the requirements would-be immigrants should be expected to meet in order to be allowed into America. But a person very informed on the issue told me that, with regard to addressing illegal immigration, Huckabee is "slime." Because I am the trusting sort, slime he shall ever be.

Furthermore, like the very nice gentleman Jim Demint (not running for president, just speaking), who spoke Thursday morning, Huckabee and Brownback are talking about the need to revitalize conservatism, to return to core principles, extolling the greatness of all that is virtuous and good, and how it is good, in the end, to be good. Blah blah blah.

I think this is all rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic until the borders are secured and immigration enforcement is in place. If the latter are not accomplished soon, the only virtuous America that will be left to extol will be a wistful reminiscence. If you need your memory jogged on this matter, watch Roy Beck's video.

Rudy Giuliani I missed on the basis of life being too short. He's pro-gun control, pro-abortion, totally untrustworthy on immigration enforcement.

Mitt Romney will get a separate post later on, and we will post the audio of his speech. For now, as the paper of record notes, we can just say it was very well-delivered. Of 27 minutes he devoted 75 seconds to immigration enforcement, but because he does give the appearance of being "flexible," maybe there is hope if that's what it comes down to.

Now, on to Tom.

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Everyone knows Tom's main issue. For him, immigration enforcement and border security is not simply an "issue" but a central principle of governance. As you will hear from his address to the full CPAC audience, immigration is not his sole focus but part of a larger concept of culture which might best be summarized as "America is unique and worth preserving." Additionally, as he states at the outset, Tom does stand firmly within the "conservative" movement and he calls into question whether certain others do ... Lot of others, actually.

There was a PHENOMENAL turnout of "Team Tancredo" folks in the audience - a bunch who came over from Virginia just for this event, along with a lot of college students. Sign-and-noise wise, Tancredo had as big a showing as any except Romney, which is pretty amazing since the entire organization is tiny. As in: this one guy, and a couple others of us who helped him carry his boxes in. (By contrast, Brownback appears to have conscripted a small army of students with t-shirts and all varieties of flair.)

Here's Tom.

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There turned out to be no chance of getting into position to sneak a photo of myself with Ann Coulter because it turns out Ann Coulter is guarded better than all the gold in Fort Knox.

As she certainly should be.

I could have gotten in line behind like 400 other people to get the book signed and perhaps a perfunctory few words from her, but after seeing her absorb one EXTREMELY rude a-hole's remarks to her during the audience Q and A, and then the unbelievably long line of fans - and poor Ann gamely keeping the smile and soldiering through the ritual - I just wanted her to be able to get out of there and have a scotch on the rocks.

My feelings for her are that pure.

Anyway, here she is. Later in the week I may have video but I think you will enjoy this. Turn the volume up.

CPAC 2007, Day 2: Duncan Hunter wow's 'em

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Duncan Hunter is on the 2008 map. He woke up the Day 2 CPAC audience with a machine-gun like 20 minute address focused largely on the issues of our misbegotten trade policies, the war and illegal immigration. Did not try to do too much, and he did it very well.

Listen to Hunter's address here.

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The result was numerous standing ovations and a huge scrum outside the ballroom with press and audience members seeking additional time with the congressman.

Mike Huckabee, who spoke about an hour later, was by contrast too cerebral and tried to cover too much, and consequently received a more subdued response. (Huckabee was not bad though. That coverage will come tonight).

CPAC 2007, Day 1: Tom Tancredo!

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March 1, 2007. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo addresses crowd of young folks at an evening which was not on the agenda and appeared to be hosted by the Leadership Institute.

After having heard Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush in person during recent weeks, I will suggest that anyone saying Tancredo is "not presidential" either has not listened to Tancredo or has not listened to the other people often spoken of as having the right stuff.

Listen here:

Here's an excerpt:


This is so much more important than the argument over jobs, the argument over the costs of education, of helath care - all the rest of it. All those things are true and real problems we have with massive illegal immigration in the country. But beyond that, I'm telling you, there's something much more dangerous that we have to deal with, and it is an assault on the culture itself.

And it has nothing to do with race, ethnicity - that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an assault on the idea of America. We are losing connection to that. And we are doing so for a lot of reasons. There is this cult of multiculturalism for one thing, that permeates our society.

It pushes us in directions that I think are dangerous. It separates us. It does nothing but continually draw us apart and divide us into camps and hyphenated Americans, and camps that are ethnically or linguistically separated - and we say, yeah that's good. We'll teach you in a language other than English. Yes, absolutely, keep your connections, your philosphical, your ethnic, your linguistic, your cultural - keep all your connections to the places you came from. Do not connect with America, after all what good is it to connect with America? Why would you want to do that? What do we offer you

This is the problem; this is the cult of multiculturalism, and that's what's happening here. It's not driven necessarily by immigration: It's exacerbated by it. It's exacerbated by millions of people coming here who do not want to be Americans. They come for the purpose of a variety of things, and certainly the economic opportunities that America affords them, and that is wonderful. That's why my grandparents came; that's what most people's parents or grandparents or great grandparents came for. Most of them came for that economic opportunity.

I do not fault them for that. But is it too much to ask, that along with that economic opportunity that this country affords you, that you accept something else: And that is the idea of being an American. That's it: American.

This is the battle we're fighting. As I said, it's more important than some of the other peripheral issues that we seem to get involved with and get in arguments about when we talk about immigration.

These are big issues; they are controversial. They're worthy, however, of your involvement; they're worthy of your commitment; because the country is worthy of it. What we're trying to say is worthy of it. It is western civilization that is at stake.

We are not simply a lot of people who happen to reside on the North American continent - which is what a lot of people want us to think of when we think about ourselves: It's just one big happy family that extends from Canada to Teira del Fuego.

No, it's not. Sandwiched in there is this place called America. And it's not the continent I'm talking about. It's the country. And there's something good, and unique, and different, and admirable, and worthy of saving. And it takes more than just the force of arms to do it. It takes the force of ideas.


By the way, there is a group of people coming over from Virginia for Tom's address this afternoon at 1:00 pm. IIf you are in the area, drop by the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

CPAC 2007, Day 1: Campaign flair

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One thing you can enjoy about presidential campaigning 21 months before the election is the early positioning each candidate maneuvers into; after carefully scanning the issues and the opposition, cagily eying the lay of the land, relying on top people for advice and insight - it's like watching the early moves in a great chess match in which the stakes are nothing less than the future of our world.

It can be mind boggling to try and comprehend the innumerable factors that make or break the early strategic game. What you can take to the bank, however, is the rock-solid evidence of who is pounding whom with the first tactical artillery rounds of campaign flair. And there is no better place to observe these early salvos of soul-searing cheeriness than at CPAC.

We hope to continue this survey throughout the conference, because in my experience it gets more and more competitive until by Saturday morning the opposing flair companies will be smacking each other across the face with their penny loafers.

For now, all is so cheery it's a bit hard to take early in the am. The early winner is certainly Brownback, but I sense a Romney surge on the way.


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(This above is for Jim Gilmore. Great looking kids; need to work on their flair visibility.)


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At this moment, nary a sign that either Rudy Giuliani or John McCain still walk the Earth.

UPDATE: The flair wars heat up!


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UPDATE II: Oh, yeah: Probably worth mentioning why the early positioning here.


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Sort of a de facto early primary, until everyone goes on vacation this summer and forgets all about who won the 2007 CPAC straw poll. But a bump is a bump ...

CPAC 2007, Day 1: A bracing start

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Whew. This is going to be amazing. Right off the bat I've made a major - and I mean MAJOR - networking coup here, as one of the fellow bloggers at Bloggers Row is the one and only Captain Ed of the now-legendary Captain's Quarters blog.

You'll be interested to know that the Captain is, despite the lofty status, quite approachable, especially if you sneak up while he is on the phone and get someone to snap a photo real quick before Ed knows what's happening. Works like a charm.

I am 100% confident that before these three days are up, I will exchange words with Captain Ed. That will be cool.

Needless to say, this stealth photo technique will be fine-tuned in the hours to come, in preparation for the "Coulter project."

CPAC 2007, Day 0: McCain will be in the house!

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As a ham-handed conservative power broker whose local reputation can best be described as "radioactive," I am pleased to announce and strongly recommend a late addition to the Conservative Political Action Conference agenda:

Blogger and co-author of the outstanding Donkey Cons, R.S. McCain, will be at CPAC signing copies of Donkey Cons, on Thursday, March 1, at 1:00 pm (sponsored by Young America's Foundation).

See you there!

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