The big night has come and gone, here’s how it played out.
First off, the title of the event was, “Liberalism and Terrorism: Two Stages of the Same Disease.”
The night started off peaceably enough, the room was an even mix of liberals and conservatives. The hawks applauded when she said we should bomb Iraq and take their oil. They cheered when she said American life was in fact more precious than other life, because she was an American. And they gave a standing ovation when she called Clinton, “the pot smoking, philanderer.” Alright that last point was valid.
She wasn’t the most polished speaker. She was reciting a prewritten speech word for word, poorly. She blandly spluttered out her hate-filled litany of the evils of liberalism, and as the night progressed heckles started emanating from the crowd. By the time she wrapped up the audience was engaged in a battle of applaud and boos. Then the question and answer period arrived.
The first questions were from the liberal quarter, someone asked if she was worried about Pakistan’s radical Islamists gaining more power due to Bush’s hard line, especially since they had nukes, which worked. Others asked why she failed to mention North Korea. As predicted here, each question was answered flippantly, derided the author whenever possible, and concluded with a transparent retreat to the comfort zone of her unending scapegoating of liberals.
The conservatives kissed her ass and repeated her call for war. She ate it up and applauded their patriotism. But, then the mic got to me, I’m proud to say I had a doozy all lined up and managed to get it out with a reasonable amount of composure. I asked (as best I can recall it):
“You said tonight that Thomas Friedman, who you apparently feel is the archetypical liberal, believes that the US’s decision to not sign the Kyoto treaty is one of the major reasons for international terrorism and that liberals are obsessed with the meaningless question of ‘why they hate us.’ [She actually said all that] To the contrary, I think most liberals here would agree that the rise of anti-American terrorism is a response to US foreign policy in the past 50 years, including our support for men like the Shah in Iran, Saddam in Iraq, and bin Laden in Afghanistan, and the suppression of populist movements that interfered with our political and economic goals worldwide. My first question is, what do you attribute the rise of terrorism to?”
“Second, you’ve also said that the solution to this war is overwhelming, demoralizing force of the variety that eventually defeated the Nazis. How do you explain the failure of overwhelming force to change the ideology of a resistant culture in Viet Nam?"
Her response was first to stare blankly, like a deer in the headlights while the applause died down, then to stammer out the words, “We didn’t use overwhelming force in Viet Nam.” The rest of her statement, which was something like liberal’s always want to know why they hate us, isn’t that adorable, was drowned out by boos and heckles.
It was glorious. It was all downhill for her from there, less and less repubs spoke up, and more and more people put her on the spot. To say she took a lashing would be an understatement.
I think it’s safe to say Ann Coulter won’t be coming back to Syracuse University anytime soon.