Just when I thought no one was going to stick up for Ann Coulter, Dafydd ab Hugh did. He writes:
“You’re all missing the point of Coulter’s book Treason. Of course she’s over the top, some of her arguments are indefensible, and we need a sober, objective analysis of those areas where McCarthy was right.
“But we also need beyond-the-pale ‘bomb-throwing,’ as Horowitz calls it; such propagandistic manifestos and reasoned analyses are not mutually exclusive.
“We need books like Treason because the mass of readers will never pick up Radosh, Klehr, or Haynes. They will never read about the Venona cables. They will never learn how much of McCarthy’s central thesis has been proven true, that the Democratic Party (then in complete control of the federal government) was riddled with Soviet spies answering directly to Josef Stalin… hardly anybody will ever hear about any of this from the rational reexamination of the historical record, for the simple reason that most people think of history as a junior-high subject they’re glad to have left behind them.
“But ultimately, millions will read Treason. And even if it gives them a distorted picture of the Democratic Party, it is at least distorted in the direction of somewhat more truth — as a party, the Democrats have danced for decades at the deeps of disloyalty — and not, as is usual with popular accounts of McCarthy and his enemies, twisted into a hagiography of the saintly souls who resisted, even though ‘totally innocent’ of being members of an organization ‘devoted to the overthrow of the United States government by force and violence.’
“For heaven’s sake, isn’t it about time to put the liberal left on the defensive, to make them rush to defend the anti-Communist chops of the Scoop Jackson Democrats? It’s a welcome change to the typical sight of brilliant jurists like Thomas desperately arguing that they’re not Uncle Toms and of intellectual giants like Bill Buckley being forced to deny that they’re really ‘crypto-Nazis.'”
I offered to buy Dafydd a six-pack for every Democrat who offers Scoop Jackson as evidence that not all Democrats are traitors. But he raises a legitimate question: why aren’t “propagandistic manifestos” a valuable tool on the right, even if they are over-simplified and not entirely accurate, as they surely have been on the left? Is the fear that Ann Coulter will discredit conservatism? Has Michael Moore discredited liberalism? (Not, I hasten to add, that I consider Coulter’s sins remotely comparable to Moore’s.)
Other readers have taken the opposite view. James Phillips writes that Ann has “undermined her (and our) position greatly by her blanket condemnation of all Democrats.
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