First of all, Malkin noted a certain double standard:
"Here's the difference between the left and the right. Far more conservatives have condemned Ann Coulter's poor judgment than liberals have condemned not just Bill Maher,¹ but many people who engage in assassination chic, and people like John Edwards who hired those godbag-spewing bloggers. At the time, not a single liberal [protested]."But there is no rational standard by which using the word "faggot," even in malice, is worse than the Edwards bloggers.
Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?... which is simply vulgar anti-Catholic hate speech. Yet I can't think of an important liberal who didn't for a time (even Edwards himself) try to change the subject to Bill Donohue of the Catholic League or "the right-wing noise machine" or the "fascist Godbag Patriarchy." In other words, the right is populated with adults, the left by adolescents. Even when we think bad thoughts, we still recognize the p's and q's. It's one thing to say the kind of things Coulter says at the bar over beer with friends, but we have manners for the public. Still, as Dale Price rewrote it (thanks for linking today, BTW), Edwards provided a perfect form of apology:
A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.
One thing I vow here and now–you motherfuckers who want to ban birth control will never sleep. I will fuck without making children day in and out and you will know it and you won’t be able to stop it. Toss and turn, you mean, jealous motherfuckers. I’m not going to be “punished” with babies. Which makes all your efforts a failure. Some non-procreating women escaped. So give up now. You’ll never catch all of us. Give up now.
The tone and the sentiment of some of Ann Coulter's comments personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Ann; she has assured me that it was never her intention to malign anyone's sexuality, and I take her at her word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.The criticism keeps flowing in. Most in St. Blogs who said anything -- Rod Dreher (more here), Mark Shea, Dale, and most everybody in their comboxes, was critical (the strongest defense was to say more-or-less what Malkin did about double standards). Albert Mohler and Marvin Olasky said Coulter had gone too far. A slew of conservative bloggers, including Ace of Spades, Instapundit and Captain's Quarters put up an open letter saying "the Age of Ann has passed," and the host (Sean Hackbarth at the American Mind) said that he had so "underestimated the response" that he probably wouldn't be able to meet his original promise to link to everyone who signed it.
But more importantly, in the matter of homosexual persons, was a clip from earlier in the speech (played by Sean Hannity; go to this page; I can't link direct to the segment clip) in which Coulter says the following:
I'm not antigay. We're against gay marriage. I don't want gays to be discriminated against. We have the progay position, which is anticrime and for tax cuts.Now you can dismiss this argument as ridiculous or whatever (I don't really buy what she's saying about tax cuts being pro-gay, e.g., though "tough on crime," sure). But what the clip from CPAC proves is that when she said Republicans oppose discriminating against homosexual persons, that the reaction was applause. Not boos or laughter, but applause.
It proves again what I've said it many times before. Conservatives, both religious and political, simply do not look down on or detest homosexual persons, contrary to the self-serving fantasies of the liberal gay establishment or the psychotic leftist nutroots. I have had years of experience as a conservative and a Catholic. We just don't -- too many of us have colleagues or friends whom we know aren't demons but also know or "know" are either like myself or even practice the gay lifestyle. If the question is one of "tolerance" and "social freedom" for homosexual persons rather than "approval" or "social preference" for homosexuality, that battle is over. There is no "other side" any more.
¹ In the context of the Taliban's assassination attempt on Cheney, Maher undisapprovingly cited others regretting its failure and said Cheney's death would be good.