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Caveat lector

Coulter’s dissembling starts on page one, with the very first claim in her book.


WRONG FROM THE START: Unsurprisingly, Ann Coulter’s bald-faced dissembling starts on page one, with the very first claim in her book. She complains about the way “the left” calls Tom DeLay naughty names like “the Hammer.” (The Washington Times archive is full of examples of conservatives calling DeLay “The Hammer.” The Washington Post article which Coulter cites quotes Christian conservative Marshall Wittman calling DeLay “Dirty Harry.”) But Coulter’s quintessential, trademark dissembling is found in her follow-up claim. How badly does “the left” treat DeLay? Just because he believes in God, they even compare him to Hitler:

COULTER (page 1): For his evident belief in a higher being, DeLay is compared to savage murderers and genocidal lunatics on the pages of the New York Times. (“History teaches that when religion is injected into politics—the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo—disaster follows.”)
As usual, Coulter is baldly deceiving her readers. Because we’re familiar with the lady’s bad problem, we looked up that quote from the New York Times. It comes from a column by Maureen Dowd, “The God Squad,” written on June 20, 1999.

In fairness, Dowd does spend five paragraphs on DeLay. She slams him for killing gun control legislation after the Columbine shootings. She criticizes him for statements he made at a rally of ministers. “This is the season of cheap virtue,” Dowd writes. “Politicians are rushing to take God’s name in vain.”

But that’s the end of the day for DeLay. Guess which “politicians” she’s directly discussing by the time she gets to that turrible quote? She isn’t discussing DeLay any more. She’s discussing George Bush—and Al Gore:

DOWD: The season of sanctimony isn’t confined to the legislative branch. According to Time, George W. Bush decided to run for President at a private prayer service with his family last January: “Pastor Mark Craig started preaching about duty, about how Moses tried to resist God’s call, and the sacrifice that leadership requires. And as they sat there, Barbara Bush leaned over to the son who has always been most like her and said, ‘He’s talking to you, George.’”

You’d think W. would be aware of the perils of religiosity after he had to spend all that time clarifying his 1993 comment that people who do not accept Jesus Christ as a personal Saviour cannot go to Heaven.

In his announcement speech in Carthage, Al Gore joined the God Squad, intoning that “most Americans are hungry for a deeper connection between politics and moral values; many would say ‘spiritual values.’ Without values of conscience, our political life degenerates.”

Faith is an intensely personal matter. It should not be treated as a credential or reduced to a sound bite. History teaches that when religion is injected into politics—the Crusades, Henry VIII, Salem, Father Coughlin, Hitler, Kosovo—disaster follows.

Was “the Times” comparing DeLay to Hitler? More directly, it was comparing Al Gore.

But so it goes on every page, all through Coulter’s pathological book. Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus thinks this is just fine. We have a strange question: Why is that?

A REAL PAGE-TURNER: Coulter keeps it up on page two. To cite just one example of several, she starts in on favorite mark Katie Couric:

COULTER (page two): Americans wake up to “America’s Sweetheart,” Katie Couric, berating Arlen Specter about Anita Hill ten years after the hearings.
The implication is clear; Couric won’t stop flogging Anita Hill. And she won’t stop “berating” Republicans. And so we looked up Coulter’s reference, a Specter appearance on the March 6, 2001 Today. The solon was there to promote a new book. “Nice to have you,” Couric said. “What motivated you to write this book?” And you guessed it; Specter cited his desire to discuss the Anita Hill matter:
SPECTER: Because I wanted to tell what is happening behind the scenes. I have been criticized for more than three decades for my work as one of the young staff lawyers on the Warren Commission where I came up with the single bullet theory, and I thought it was important to write it all down just exactly why I came to that conclusion and why the commission accepted it. I go into some of the background on the Professor Anita Hill/Justice Clarence Thomas controversy, take up some questions which never got to the public, such as why we never called Angela Wright, who was a young woman who had a story very similar to Anita Hill’s. I go into the background of what happened on Judge Bork’s confirmation hearing and one of the big concerns that I had about Judge Bork on his technical approach and lack of humanitarianism, when he upheld the decision which said that women who worked for a lead company either had to consent to be sterilized or to lose their jobs, which I thought was exactly wrong.
After one question on the Warren Commission and two more questions about the Bork hearings, Couric asked exactly one question about the Anita Hill case.

As we’ll see, this gong-show dissembling litters this book. Why does Mickey Kaus seem to like it?

IN SIMPLE ENGLISH, THEY DID CLEAR BUSH: Some pundits are insisting that the SEC never cleared Bush of insider trading. Sorry, that’s just Kafkaesque. It is true that, in 1993, the SEC told the Bush campaign that it shouldn’t say that Bush was “exonerated” by its probe. But seven years later, the SEC’s internal documents emerged. Reviewing those documents, it is perfectly clear that, if we’re still speaking English, the agency’s gumshoes did clear Bush. (You can review the docs yourself. Go to

Why was Bush investigated? According to the charge, Bush sold his Harken stock in June 1990 because he had insider knowledge that Harken was going to report unexpectedly large second-quarter losses. Unambiguously, the SEC found that Bush had no such knowledge at the time of his sale. In fact, the agency’s gumshoes found that no one at Harken knew, at that time, about the size of the impending losses. “[B]y June 22 (the date when Bush sold), no actual revenue or loss information was available for the second two months of the quarter ended June 30,” one of the SEC summaries noted. “The staff’s investigation indicates that, at most, Bush was aware that Harken was forecasted to lose approximately $4.2 million in the second quarter.” The actual loss turned out to be $23.2 million. The SEC docs assert, again and again, that neither Bush nor anyone else at Harken knew about these impending losses at the time of his sale.

So let’s see. Bush is accused of selling due to insider info. The SEC finds that he didn’t have that info. Go ahead and say they were wrong if you like. But we’re living in a Kafkaesque world if that means that they “didn’t clear” Bush. (For the record, none of this has a thing to do with that 1989 Aloha transaction.)

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Al Hunt lowers the bar for accusers. “Whether [Bush] violated the spirit of the securities law in his 1990 Harken Energy transaction obscures a larger point,” Hunt writes (emphasis added). So let’s see. If you’re accused of trading due to insider info, and it turns out that you didn’t have that info, you haven’t violated the letter of the law, but somehow you’ve trampled its spirit. The last time we saw scribes playing this game, it involved a small spot known as Whitewater.

TOMORROW: More on Ann Coulter’s bad problem.