Perhaps one of the most hated Republicans in the country, Ann Coulter is a best selling writer, columnist and political pundit. "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans" is her sixth book, a compilation of quotes from her columns, other books and interviews. If you ever wondered what the fuss over Ann Coulter is about, this book is a good place to start.
Coulter, who writes a weekly column for Universal Press Syndicate, which can be read online at her website, is opinionated, Christian, conservative, and very witty. It is the last trait that probably gets liberals so upset with her. As she notes in her introduction to the book, for the last decade liberals have been foaming at the mouth about her comments.
No democrat is safe from her comments; Nancy Pelosi "a look of perpetual surprise," Hillary Clinton "had firsthand experience in one of [the worst presidential administrations of all time]," and Obama "[is the perfect democratic presidential candidate,] he's black and white and has a Muslim, atheist, and Christian background," have all been victims of her barbs. This is probably why they dislike her so much.
Another reason for so much of the vitriol aimed at her is that some people can not tell when she is joking. While she is not in the same legion as the 18th century French philosopher and political satirist Voltaire (who was in danger of losing his head for his comments), I suspect that no one who misunderstands his jokes will get hers either.
Republicans are not safe from her either: John McCain "Weakness: About half of his policy positions," Mitt Romney "Weakness: Belongs to a peculiar quasi-Christian church, the Masons." Her general opinion of Republicans in politics seems to be that they spend more time being afraid of liberals than actually doing their job.
She points fun at herself too. "I am the illegal alien of commentary. I will do the jokes that no one else will do," she noted on the O'Reilly Factor.
And it is not just individuals that feel the bite of her tongue. Whole classes of people have been the subject of her comments. Her comments about airline security can be viewed harsh and an insult against Muslims; but considering the fact that I foresee the day that we all have to travel naked, I can not say that she is absolutely wrong. The problem with her humor is that it is designed to make you think, something that causes the brain to ache. Yes, noting that Muslims have been responsible for airline terrorism upsets people, but Coulter has the truth on her side; it is just too bad that a few bad apples have spoilt the entire bushel, a point that she seems to completely ignore.
After reading this book, I understand the loathing that many feel towards her. But I also have to admire her wit and reasoning. I can not say that she is completely wrong. Nor can I say that she is just a hack; I found myself admiring her vocabulary and use of language.
I recommend this book for those who do not have time to wade though all her writing looking for gems. It is a good overview of the menace that she can be if you are a liberal, and thought provoking if you are a conservative.
Ann Coulter, "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans." New York: Crown Forum (2007).
[This review originally appeared on Associated Content (Yahoo Voices) on 1/3/2008. The copy used was brought and paid for by me.]