On Stating the Obvious (Part Two)

In Part One, I addressed Professor Michael Levitt’s reasonable objections to government lockdowns as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, noting that although he states the obvious lying along the periphery (though nothing I haven’t been saying here in Limbo since February), he completely avoids the heart of the issue, namely tyranny. Today, we turn to the lunatic fringe of obviousness, Ann Coulter.

Coulter, one of those establishment spokesmen and GOP old boys club bootlickers who pretends to be a rebellious, principled conservative for profit, was one of Donald Trump’s most vociferous “new media” defenders during the 2016 primaries and the early days of his first term. More recently, however, she has turned against him full-throttle, mainly, it seems, over the immigration issue, where she finally discovered that Trump, crowd-pleasing campaign slogans aside, never had any intention of building “The Wall” along the southern border. (Gee, who could have guessed?)

Now, in defense of former Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions, who is running to regain a seat in the U.S. Senate, Coulter has gone off the rails in an invective-laden rant against her old hero, about whom she once wrote a “book” with the provocatively blasphemous title, “In Trump We Trust.”

A few highlights from her Twitter oration:

The most disloyal actual retard that has ever set foot in the Oval Office is trying to lose AND take the Senate with him.  Another Roy Moore fiasco so he can blame someone else for his own mess.

Trump didn’t build the wall and never had any intention of doing so.  The ONE PERSON in the Trump administration who did anything about immigration was Jeff Session.  And this lout attacks him.

The media is salivating over the former football coach, Tommy Tuberville (choice of the most disloyal human God ever created, DJT).

GREAT WORK IN THE LAST ALABAMA SENATE RACE, MR. PRESIDENT!  Keep it up and we’ll have zero Republican senators. The next Republican president will be elected in the year 4820.

Sessions HAD to recuse himself, you complete blithering idiot.  YOU did not have to go on Lester Holt’s show and announce you fired Comey over the Russian investigation.  That’s what got you a Special Prosecutor.

As with Levitt’s sober comments about the bad reasoning that led to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders over a virus outbreak that has caused far less real damage than the government responses to that outbreak have caused, there is really nothing in Coulter’s remarks that can be described as false, as far as it goes. Leaving aside her screaming teenager tone, she, like Levitt, is stating the obvious. 

And yet at the same time, she, like Levitt, is also skirting around the issue that lies at the core of those obvious truths she declares. This is why I am discussing them as a pair, albeit an unlikely pair. They both manifest a common psychological pattern in modern political thought: an instinct for blunt, contrarian truth-telling tempered by an equally pronounced instinct to willful blindness about the aspects of their truths that would disturb their own cherished illusions or threaten their sources of personal comfort. In Levitt’s case, as we saw in Part One, the willful blindness is related to the reasons why Western leaders pursued their lockdown strategies, and then maintained these policies indefinitely in spite of the obvious “overreaction” they represented. His comfortable position as a Stanford professor, a Nobel laureate, and a respected scientific expert, depends on not challenging tyrannical assertions of state authority too directly, so he conveniently protects himself behind a mask of innocent perplexity as to what might be motivating such unjust and illiberal policies.

And what about Coulter’s case? Consider this tweet, from the same rant:

I will never apologize for supporting the issues that candidate Trump advocated, but I am deeply sorry for thinking that this shallow and broken man would show even some remote fealty to the promises that got him elected.

She will “never apologize for supporting the issues” that Trump claimed to represent at his rallies, but she is “deeply sorry for thinking that this shallow and broken man” would actually stand for those issues once in office. That’s too self-deprecating by half. 

Are we to accept that she really believed, as she claims in her cagey apology, that Trump would “show some remote fealty to the promises that got him elected”? Really?

Trump was sixty-nine years old during the 2016 Republican primaries. By that time, he had already been one of the most recognizable and outspoken public figures in the world for decades. Every adult who was even remotely politically engaged during all or most of those decades had ample and overwhelming evidence of Trump’s shallowness and brokenness, along with his artificiality, duplicity, hypocrisy, willingness to say anything to anyone, long years of association with the Democratic Party, with progressive politics and morality, and with Washington establishmentarian in general. Anyone politically sentient during the past twenty years knew perfectly well in 2016 that Trump was a fake, a liar, a fraud, a two-bit showman, a sociopath, a megalomaniac, a crybaby, a man-child willing to sell out or buy off any “friend” or “ally” without a moment’s hesitation in order to save face or score some personal gain for his primary interest and cause, which was always his petty vanity, his reputation, some reinforcement for his fragile ego, and some fulfillment of his desperate, immature lust for praise.

And yet Coulter claims, with crocodile tears, that she believed in him, and that’s why she supported him in 2016, although he has since let her down.

Gee, that’s swell of her. In the meantime, her little lapse in judgment — erring on the side of being too trusting, don’t you know — helped to prop up and legitimize this most illegitimate candidate. Coulter’s open and vociferous support for Trump, the same kind she dished out for Mitt Romney in 2012, along with her fellow Romney-apologists-turned-Trump-apologists Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge, gave mainstream conservative credibility to the Trump cult and its moron idol. And let’s not forget the role played by the late arrivals to the juggernaut, who played footsie with the cult on alternate days, while trying to maintain some semblance of integrity by not overtly leaping onto the bandwagon too quickly — I speak of Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Ben Shapiro, and the like. Frauds and pretenders all, wee men (and woman) eagerly doing the bidding of their establishment handlers while portraying themselves as intellectual rebels for the cause of constitutional conservatism. 

Coulter gives the game away with one tweet, quoted above:

GREAT WORK IN THE LAST ALABAMA SENATE RACE, MR. PRESIDENT! Keep it up and we’ll have zero Republican senators. The next Republican president will be elected in the year 4820.

All the tough rebel stances, all the anti-establishment posturing, is exposed for the joke it always was, in those three sentences. The overriding concern, the issue (apart from personal greed and lust for fame) that actually drives Ann Coulter — like her fellow anti-establishment poseurs Levin, Limbaugh, Shapiro, and the rest — is, as always, electing Republicans. Pure, unprincipled tribalism. Selling their voices and their minds to Mitch McConnell’s establishment. They have tied their souls, by tying their career ambitions, to the GOP’s fate. They cannot buck the party, and they know it; and therefore they never have and they never will. Trump was not the outsider’s choice, and they knew it. Trump was the establishment’s choice, the old boys club ruse to snooker the grassroots, to draw them in yet again, against their better judgment.

What, then, are we to make of Coulter’s cries of innocent good faith regarding her wildly hyperbolic support for Trump’s candidacy, on the basis of “the issues that candidate Trump advocated” — and that candidate Cruz (truly hated by the establishment at the time) also advocated, without any effect on Coulter’s sympathies? If we are honest, we know exactly what to make of her claims, along with those of the rest of her phony “conservative media” stars.

At the moment when the cause of American liberty could least afford a stupid mistake, these frauds urged their millions of mentally and morally dependent followers — and “followers” is precisely the word — to dive headlong into the most monumental mistake in American electoral history, arguably the most suicidal unforced political error in the modern era. They knew what they were looking at, and whose will they were serving by propping up this atrocity of a human being, this “shallow and broken man,” as though he were some kind of grassroots leader or American hero. They legitimized and rationalized the catastrophic folly of following the Republican Party establishment right off the final cliff, into the freefall of unprincipled, vulgar, amoral, cynical “winning” — winning without a victory

So remind me again, Ann: Who is the “actual retard” here?

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