I have been going back and forth on the Elizabeth Edwards Vs. Ann Coulter “fight” on Hardball from yesterday. (Video link, Transcript link… thanks to CJ for both) I discussed Ann’s original comments against John Edwards here, and I still stand by what I said about Ann the first time I wrote about her; Ann Coulter is an internet troll.
And therein lies the problem. While I understand Ms. Edwards outrage against the woman, she handled it incorrectly, and played in to her hands. Ann now has fodder for a hundred articles and just as many speeches. While Coulter was visibly shaken by the confrontation (way to stumble all over your own words, Ann), Edwards came off as, well, a bit pathetic. Her thoughts weren’t organized, she meandered, and quite frankly, she sounded more like a mother protecting her cub, than a wife. Not a good public image for a man running for the highest office in the land. “Lizzy! The Russians are being mean to me! Could you call and give them a stern talking to?”
Elizabeth Edwards is correct in that the political dialogue needs to be raised, but you relay this message to the masses by calling into a talking heads pseudo-political show and scold the woman who said unkind things about your husband? Way to raise the bar there. You sank to her level of maturity, true, you used better language and didn’t fall to the level of school yard taunts, but simply by acknowledging her, you fed her ego, and gave her fodder for months to come. “Well, obviously I am relevant to the political process if the wife of a Presidential candidate calls me to tell me to change my style. I am obviously keeping them on the ropes.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Ann. I can’t stand the woman and would like nothing better than to see her fade into obscurity, which, it almost seemed like she was doing. Sadly, Elizabeth Edwards little “chat” did nothing but propel the snake-creature back in to the limelight. Heck, it got me to break my political neutrality again. (Honestly, I am neutral, I pretty much hate anyone involved with politics… I don’t trust any of them at the end of the day)
One extremely odd thing I wanted to point out from the whole debacle was this: Ann doesn’t pay attention. If she does, then she just makes things up. (Text from the above linked transcript)
Elizabeth Edwards: It did not start with that you had a column a number of years ago
Ann Coulter: OK, great the wife of a presidential candidate is calling in asking me to stop speaking
Chris Matthews: Let her finish the point…
AC: You’re asking me to stop speaking stop writing your columns, stop writing your books.
CM: OK, Ann. Please.
EE: You wrote a column a couple years ago which made fun of the moment of Charlie Dean’s death, and suggested that my husband had a bumper sticker on the back of his car that said ask me about my dead son. This is not legitimate political dialogue.
AC: That’s now three years ago
EE: It debases political dialogue. It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about issues if you’re using this kind of language.
(Audience member yells something.)
AC: Yeah why isn’t John Edwards making this call?
CM: Well do you want to respond and we’ll end this conversation?
EE: I haven’t talked to John about his call.
AC: This is just another attempt for â€“
EE: I’m making this call as a mother. I’m the mother of that boy who died. My children participate — these young people behind you are the age of my children. You’re asking them to participate in a dialogue that’s based on hatefulness and ugliness instead of on the issues and I don’t think that’s serving them or this country very well.
CM: Thank you very much
Elizabeth Edwards. Do you want to — you have all the time in the world to respond.
AC: I think we heard all we need to hear. The wife of a presidential candidate is asking me to stop speaking. No.
Did I miss something? Did Edwards at any time ask Coulter “to stop speaking”? No. She asked her to stop personal attacks. This leads one to one of the following conclusions:
A) Ann has no comprehension of what is being said to her.
B) Ann finds it impossible to write without personally attacking someone.
C) Ann just makes crap up to make herself sound like a martyr.
You be the judge, but personally, I think this whole exchange, as distasteful as it was, shows Ann can’t handle being put on the spot. Just as Edwards was obviously not all together, neither was Coulter. For such a “respected” political commentator, she couldn’t think on her feet. That says a lot to me about how this woman really is just nothing more than a “shock jock” and not a true political pundit.
I said it before, and I’ll say it again… please don’t feed the Coulter troll.