There are more than a few articulate conservative commentators the Conservative Political Action Conference could have associated itself with during its annual gathering in the nation’s capital last week. Thankfully, for those who want a Democratic victory in 2008, the CPAC instead chose Ann Coulter.
The same could be said of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s choice of association, but it’s obvious from watching the video of his presentation that he’s a Coulter fan. “I am happy to hear that, after you hear from me, you will hear from Ann Coulter. That is a good thing. Oh, yeah!” Romney told an adoring crowd.
Speaking after Romney’s spiel, in which he promised to repeal the McCain-Feingold legislation prohibiting certain forms of torture, the right-wing pundit didn’t disappoint.
“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word â€˜faggot’,” she told the crowd.
The audience cowered for a second under the ruthless nature of her remark, but then cheered in approval. Reportedly, Romney himself was out of the room when Coulter unleashed her rhetorical diamond. What we do know, however, is that Romney has professed “respect and tolerance” for gays and lesbians, even if he wants to make them second-class citizens where the Constitution’s concerned.
Yeah, I know Romney’s campaign has now officially distanced itself from the Coultergeist. “It was an offensive remark,” said Romney spokesperson Kevin Madden.
Not to sound uncharitable, but Madden’s excuse limps in the extreme. Romney’s an astute, intelligent man. Doubtless he knew that Coulter joked about Al Gore being a “total fag” and accused Bill Clinton of “latent homosexuality” long before she dug into Edwards. Doubtless he knew before cheering her introduction to the CPAC that Coulter jabbed White House reporter Helen Thomas as “that old Arab.” And doubtless he also knew that Coulter “joked” about poisoning Supreme Court Justice Stevens. Either Romney approved of Coulter’s base “humor” well in advance of her calling Edwards a “faggotâ€'this wouldn’t be at all inconsistent with his call for the repeal of McCain-Feingold legislation'or he should fire his entire campaign staff and hire people who’ll keep him up-to-date. At the very least, we know that Romney and his wife thought nothing of chumming it up with Coulter herself. It’s documented in photos on WDCPix.com. Yes sir, that feisty Ann Coulter, as Romney told the adoring CPAC crowd, is “a good thing.” The feeling’s mutual. Coulter loves, no adores, Romney. “He’s my favorite,” she said last October on Fox News.
Will Romney now spurn Coulter’s love?
If you remember the 2004 presidential election at all, you no doubt recall the hell John Kerry caught for his “flip-flops.” It’s with schadenfreude, then, that we watch as Romney dismisses his flip-flops on many contentious issues not as flip-flops per se, but as instances where he has “evolved and deepened.”
Well, Romney’s views have deepened to such an extent some wonder when this man will dig himself straight into a pit. Sharing a pit with Coulter is pretty low indeed. Here’s but a brief synopsis of Romney’s “evolved” views: Speaking at a Brandeis University bioethics forum, Romney said he would “work and fight” for stem-cell research. Then, in 2005, Romney “evolved” to call such research “harsh logic” that would lead to the demeaning of life.
Courting the liberal and moderate voters of Massachusetts in 1994 and 2002, Romney said he respected a woman’s right to choose. No one need guess how his view has since “evolved” since declaring his presidential aspirations to the religious right.
His views on public sex education versus abstinence programs and women’s access to emergency contraception have also “evolved,” but those are just side notes, really, in a political party that still hasn’t abandoned its aversion to anything homosexual. Perhaps 12 years is time enough for anyone’s views regarding equality for gay men and lesbian women to “evolve” all the way down to obsolescence, but Romney sure was gung-ho on outdoing Sen. Edward Kennedy way back then, when he promised “more effective leadership” in working toward legal and civil equality for gays and lesbians. Today, Romney would alter the Constitution to codify forever discrimination against gay men and lesbian women. What more can a “faggot” expect?
No wonder Massachusetts voters have reacted in disgust upon viewing their former governor’s blatant political opportunism. Romney courted them as a moderate before becoming governor of the Commonwealth. When you’re courting the most powerful political seat in the world, a person will apparently say anything. Such is the allure of power over principle.
And such is the allure of a popular right-wing pundit with whom he can associate for political gain, even if, in the pages of her recent best-seller Godless, Coulter demonstrates little patience for anything revolving around “evolved” principles, never mind Charles Darwin or the scientific theory of evolution, which she likens to “raccoon flatulence.”
Romney has absolutely no worries when it comes to the loyalty of Utah voters come next Feb. 5, the date of Utah’s all-but useless Republican primary. Utah voters may well vote for him no matter what embarrassing surprises or gaffes the future holds in store.
As for the rest of the nation, not to mention “faggots” nationwide, Romney’s campaign managers shouldn’t be so sure.