The big, deep unreported truth about Ann Coulter’s comments at CPAC is this: conservatives agree with her. They do believe that “faggot” is an acceptable term, both for gays and political opponents. They believe, as she said last year, that Arabs are “ragheads”. When Rush Limbaugh called the torture at Abu Ghraib harmless pranks, they agreed. Sean Hannity issued a call to arms before the 2006 election that stopping Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker was a cause worth dying for, and this is part of their core value system.
There is a reason why conservatives rarely condemn their allies in the media, and when they do its in the most tepid terms: they agree with them. Conservative talk radio hosts, pundits and other entertainers are simply saying what cons speak about behind closed doors. As a society we’ve banished these insane beliefs to the basement, but among conservatives they are mainstream. Whether that involves the subservience of women, the inferiority of blacks or Hispanics, or the superiority of conservative Christianity over all other religions – it is what they actually believe.
So in a strange way, Coulter is to be thanked. Republicans have tried for years to act as if their movement is a mainstream one, and not radical. They hide it under words like “compassionate conservative” or sloganeering like “support the troops”, but as the speech of Ann Coulter and the conditions at Walter Reed can testify to – this is nothing more than a facade, a fake.
The continued long-term success of the Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, Fox News quadrant of political commentary and opinion is a testament to the popularity of the ideas and slurs of these figures (and others, like Michael Savage) among the modern conservative movement. They are their gods, their id, their ego, their unrestrained voice. When they speak, there are thousands of heads nodding in agreement from coast to coast. They say what extremists believe and in a perverse way I’m grateful for it because it’s great to know what the enemy is really thinking.