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Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2001 / 29 Shevat, 5761

Ann Coulter

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Consumer Reports

How to talk to a liberal -- WHEN I began swooning for George W. Bush during the Republican primaries, my friends warned me that I was going to have to eat my words. It's now a month into his presidency, and I'm even more doe-eyed about Bush than ever. Among other feats, Bush has figured out how to talk to liberals. This has solved one of life's eternal mysteries, like "How high is up?"

The liberal's highly complex and intellectual argument against principled conservatism is this: Republicans are mean. Republicans always figured that since they weren't mean, that should be enough. But the facts were irrelevant. These were devil words muttered by a political cult, not reasoned arguments.

One of the most arresting examples of the sophisticated Republicans Are Mean argument occurred in reference to Pat Buchanan. If you ever actually tuned in to CNN's "Crossfire" when Buchanan was on, he'd be smiling, laughing, telling jokes -- generally while sitting next to a scowling, bitter Bill Press. (In the interest of not only honesty but also irony, I should rush to add that off-air, Bill Press is one of the nicest people on TV.)

But for reasons that only the faithful can understand, it simply became a part of the liberal orthodoxy that Buchanan was an "angry white man." In case any of the cult members missed the memo on Pat being angry, William Schneider used the word "angry" four times to describe either Pat or his supporters in one single short column in the National Journal.

So we knew liberals would not believe their own eyes if what they saw conflicted with their political orthodoxy. Since actual evidence wouldn't suffice, and arguments citing facts and evidence were even more useless, it was difficult for Republicans to know where to begin with these liberals.

This put conservatives at a distinct disadvantage. For the last couple of decades now, name-calling has been the principal argument liberals have deployed against conservative arguments.

If Republicans opposed the National Endowment for the Arts, they were said to hate art. If Republicans opposed the Department of Education, they were said to hate teachers. If Republicans opposed the Environmental Protection Agency, they were said to hate the environment. Opposition to the government spending money on anything was invariably attacked as hatred for the thing money was to be spent on.

What it took George Bush to figure out was that to counter the left's intricate Republicans Are Mean argument, all you had to do was to go around calling yourself nice.

I could have thought about that for 50 years and still have been stumped. Not only does George Bush's strategy have the virtue of simplicity, but it is also a distinct improvement over the typical Republican method of wooing Democrats, which is to give away the store. To the contrary, President Bush has been like a runaway train pushing through his campaign promises to support tax cuts, a missile defense system and faith-based social service programs. When one of his conservative Cabinet nominees came under attack and was forced to withdraw, Bush found yet another minority female for the post -- even more conservative than the last.

As a New York Times reporter described Bush's approach to political opponents: "Mr. Bush is a bipartisan love machine." At the same time, his tax cut proposal "does not bow even a millimeter to many Democrats' concerns," and it is not clear "whether all his smooth, sweet talk truly signals any inclination toward ideological flexibility" -- a.k.a., giving away the store.

Admittedly, when Bush first began with the "compassionate conservatism" theme, many of us took umbrage. In a typical soliloquy on "compassionate conservatism," Bush said: "I know this approach has been criticized. But why? Is compassion beneath us? Is mercy below us? Should our party be led by someone who boasts of a hard heart?"

If you didn't happen to be a Democrat, you were likely to sit back scratching your head wondering what the heck Bush was talking about. Who criticizes compassion? Who exactly boasts of having a hard heart? Which Republican candidate maintains compassion is beneath us? Of whom, pray tell, was he speaking?

The answer, of course, was: no one. No real corporeal being, that is. He was referring to Republican ghosts haunting liberal imaginations. Bush treats liberals like small children having their first nightmare: Don't worry, honey, I'll just wave a magic wand and make all the ghosts go away. I'm a compassionate conservative. And darn if it didn't work. As evidence that it did work, observe that liberals still use their second favorite principled epithet against Republicans: They call Bush dumb -- just like Dwight Eisenhower and that old bumbling guy who won the Cold War. But they don't call Bush mean.

It was always so simple. The mistake Republicans have been making was to treat liberals like adults. It took George Bush to treat them in an age-appropriate manner and start arguing with liberals at their own level.

JWR contributor Ann Coulter is the author of High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton. You may visit the Ann Coulter Fan Club by clicking here.


02/15/01: Bill Clinton does the Harlem shuffle
02/08/01: Eight more Clarence Thomases
02/01/01: This just in: Price controls cause shortages
01/25/01: People United for Swindles and Hucksterism
01/18/01: Ashcroft and the blowhard discuss desegregation
01/04/01: Liberal pimps for Clintonism
01/02/01: Kwanzaa: Holiday from the FBI
12/28/00: If Americans support abortion, let's vote
12/26/00: Gore, him and her
12/21/00: Channeling Jackie O
12/14/00: My Court is bigger than your Court
12/11/00: HANG IN THERE, AL!
12/07/00: National Lampoon's Florida Supreme Court Vacation
12/04/00: It's past time for GOPers to quit being good at losing
11/30/00: Things only a Dem will say with a straight face
11/27/00: Certify the electors, then the judges
11/23/00: Kangaroo coup
11/20/00: This is what the Electoral College is supposed to prevent
11/16/00: The liar next time
11/09/00: JUST GO!
11/06/00: Hail Mary past
11/02/00: As the nose grows: The scripture according to Gore
10/30/00: Clinton sure can pick 'em
10/26/00: Gore's 'Nam flashbacks
10/23/00: Courting George Orwell
10/20/00: The three faces of Al
10/17/00: Must Christian conservatives be fascists?
10/13/00: Oil good; Dems bad
10/10/00: Al Gore: Serial fibber
10/06/00: Sigh of the crook
10/03/00: So who's the 'dumb guy' now?
09/29/00: Don't do drug legalization
09/26/00: I'd burn down my neighbor's house
09/22/00: Democrats worship the money shot
09/19/00: Other film footage we'd like to see
09/15/00: Bush can name the **^%*
09/12/00: The Supreme Court ratchet
09/08/00: Our mistake -- keep polluting
09/05/00: Bubba protects and serves
09/01/00: AlGore's 'going out of business!' tax plan
08/29/00: Bush's compassionate conservatism
08/25/00: Space alien tells funny jokes in bathtub
08/22/00: Dems view world only in black and white, not in color
08/18/00: Another Damascus Road conversion
08/15/00: The viagra cotillion
08/11/00: The hand-wringing Hamlet from Hartford
08/07/00: The Democratic party's white face
08/04/00: Hillary's potty mouth
08/01/00: The hole in the story
07/28/00: Cheney's detractors can't get their story straight
07/25/00: AlGore: Elmer Blandry
07/21/00: The tyranny of non-objectivity
07/18/00: The state's religion
07/14/00: Reform it back
07/11/00: Keating for veep
07/07/00: Gore invented 'Clueless'
07/04/00: The stupidity litmus test
06/30/00: O.J. was 'proved innocent' too
06/27/00: The last guys 'proved innocent'
06/23/00: Serious Republican candidates don't get serious press
06/19/00: They weren't overzealous this time
06/16/00: Evolution of the strumpet
06/13/00: Actual journalistic malpractice
06/09/00: I did not have sexual
relations with that ... man!
06/06/00: IRS turns Bubba's screw
05/30/00: Too corrupt to be an Arkansas lawyer
05/26/00: Choose liberalism
05/24/00: Violence against coherence
05/22/00: Developmentally disabled Republicans
05/16/00: For womb the bell tolls
05/12/00: Asylum from Georgetown
05/10/00: The truth is out there, even for the clueless
05/08/00: Barbie is a liberal Democrat
05/02/00: Moving the goalpost
04/28/00: The bastardization of justice
04/25/00: How Monica Lewinsky saved the constitution
04/24/00: It's sunny today, so we need gun control
04/19/00: No shadow of a doubt -- liberal women are worthless
04/14/00: It takes a Communist dictator to raise a child
04/11/00: The verdict is in on Hillary
04/07/00: Vast Concoctions III
04/04/00: 'Horrifying' free speech in New York
03/31/00: Check-Off Box For Pimp Suits
03/28/00: All the news that fits -- we print!
03/24/00: Net losses all around
03/20/00: To protect, serve --- and be spat on
03/16/00: Thank Heaven for the consigliere
03/13/00: Vast concoctions II
03/09/00: The bluebloods voted against you
03/07/00: The Tower of Babble
03/03/00: Vast concoction
03/02/00: Hillary's sartorial lies
02/28/00: You have to break a few eggs to make a joke
02/22/00: I've seen enough killing to support abortion
02/18/00: A liberal lynching
02/15/00: McCain and the flag
02/11/00: The Shakedown Express
02/08/00: To mock a mockingbird
02/05/00: Summing up Campaign 2000: 'Oh, puh-leeze!'
02/01/00: A Confederacy of Dunces
01/28/00: Dollar Bill's racist smear
01/24/00: How high is your freedom quotient?
01/21/00: Numismadness
01/18/00: How dare you attack my wife!
01/14/00: The Gore Buggernaut
01/10/00: The paradox of discrimination law

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