Adam Graham
Coulter: Congratulations, unlearned fool, you're the conservative of the year
By Adam Graham
December 23, 2008

In what amounts to one of the most bizarre columns I've read by Ann Coulter (and with Coulter, that says something), Coulter hands out Human Events' Conservative of the Year Awardto Sarah Palin. Generally, these columns are written full of adulation for that lucky conservative who fought hardest and best for conservative values. But Palin-bashers, never fear, Coulter came not just to praise Palin, but to bury her.

Coulter opts to dedicate most of her column to bashing the media for their double standard in going tougher on Palin than Barack Obama. Fair points, Ann, but who is this column about, anyway? Ann gets to that eventually, writing:

Palin was a kick in the pants, she energized conservatives, and she made liberal heads explode. Other than his brave military service, introducing Sarah Palin to Americans is the greatest thing John McCain ever did for his country.

But unless Palin is going to be the perpetual running mate of "moderate" Republicans who need conservative bona fides, she will need to become wiser and better read. Even Reagan didn't run for President in his 40s. (True Obama is in his 40s, but we are not Democrats.)

Perhaps Palin's year is 2012, but I would recommend that she take a little more time to become older and wiser. She ought to spend the next decade being a good governor, tending to her children so none of them turn out like Ron Reagan Jr., and reading everything Phyllis Schlafly, Thomas Sowell, Ronald Reagan and "Publius" have ever written. (She also might keep in mind that HUMAN EVENTS was Ronald Reagan's favorite newspaper!)

Yes, in a truly bizarre twist, Ann Coulter not only spends most of a column that's supposed to be praising Palin, bashing Obama and the press, she uses the column honoring Palin to try and torpedo a Palin 2012 run.

Where does one begin to refute Coulter's Palin nonsense?

1) The age factor. First of all, it seems somewhat of a technicality. "Whoever, we nominate has to be 50 or over, and Palin will be 48. She fails to pass our extra-constitutional age requirement." You're right, we're not Democrats. You can tell that because the Democrats have eighty more Congressmen and at least seventeen more Senators. Maybe the Founders knew what they were talking about when they set the requirement at 35.

I hate to point this out, but Ronald Reagan didn't run a serious campaign for President until 1976 (1968 was a favorite son candidacy) at the age of 65. I guess it's time to print up the Palin 2024 bumper stickers.

And using Reagan as a standard of the right age to run for the Presidency is idiotic. Reagan was the oldest man ever elected to a first term. The "do everything exactly like Reagan" obsession is the most asinine thing I've ever heard. Sarah Palin does not need to be the next Ronald Reagan. She needs to be the best Sarah Palin she can be. No great leader becomes great by trying to be a copy of someone else.

2. To paraphrase Hamlet, Coulter says, "Get thee to a library." Of course, Coulter doesn't really know what Sarah Palin has read. Coulter assumes Palin hasn't read the Federalist Papers, hasn't read Sowell, hasn't read Schlafly, hasn't read Reagan, and doesn't read Human Events. This is a lot of assuming.

Where does Coulter believe Palin got her conservatism? Under a caribou? Palin's views have no doubt been influenced by these conservative thinkers or by people who were influenced by these thinkers.

Plus, just like you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, it's stupid to judge a political leader by their bookshelf. Remember that Arnold Schwarzenegger read Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." Tell me what type of fiscal conservative has Arnold been?

In addition, Ann's bookshelf judgment seems to be a bit one-sided. She viscerally attacked Mike Huckabee despite the fact that Huckabee grew up reading Schlafly, and in his 20s listened to countless Paul Weyrich lectures on tape.

3. Do politicians really get wiser with more time in office? The reality that this is not the case leads many conservatives to support term limits.

4. Finally, Coulter argues that Sarah Palin should spend the next decade as Governor of Alaska (never mind that come 2014, Sarah Palin has to leave the Governorship, and thus can only remain six years) and that she needs to wait until she's finished raising her kids. Isn't this the same argument heard from liberals earlier in the year? Indeed, Coulter skewers the argument earlier in the piece.

And it should be noted, that no one's writing open letters to Bobby Jindal suggesting he needs to stay in Louisiana and raise his children. Whatever arguments are raised against the Bobby Jindal bloomlet, his kids aren't one of them.

Certainly, Sarah Palin should take her family into consideration (as should every candidate or potential candidate) but the idea that you have a National Columnist bossing Sarah Palin around on this is more than a little bit unseemly.

Ann Coulter was a Romney woman in the 2008 primaries. If she wants to push that point of view, that's her right. However, in a piece that was to honor Sarah Palin as the conservative of the year, Coulter in short order trashed her as an unlearned fool unready to lead her party or the nation. With honors like this who needs hit pieces?

If Coulter feels this way, she should have left the honors to someone who would actually honor Sarah Palin. Instead Coulter decided to show herself classless by using the editorial to minimize Palin and to try to knock down Palin's 2012 Presidential hopes. In my view, Coulter's incoherent piece undermined Coulter more than it did anyone else.

© Adam Graham


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Adam Graham

Adam Graham was Montana State Coordinator for the Alan Keyes campaign in 2000, and in 2004 was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the Idaho State House... (more)

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