Carol Platt Liebau: Ann - Please, Please, Please <I>Don't</I>!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Ann - Please, Please, Please Don't!

I have always enjoyed hearing from and reading Ann Coulter. She is smart, she's beautiful, and she is certainly funny.

But she is making a big, gigantic, horrendous mistake in attacking John Roberts for being insufficiently conservative. And she should stop it -- now.

Conservatives in America have to let go of David Souter. He was a mistake . . . and a big one. But not every candidate is Souter -- and not every candidate has to be an outspoken, feisty, peppery conservative (as much as I appreciate them) like Judge Luttig or Judge Jones in order to be a wonderful pick for the Court.

Unlike Souter, Roberts has worked with a lot of solid conservative Republicans (like Hugh Hewitt) in conservative administrations -- and in private practice (a friend from law school, a virtual "Scalia mini-me," has worked with him at Hogan & Hartson). With regard to his conservative bona fides, we're not relying on the word of one man (like John Sunnunu). We're relying on the assurances of people who have known Roberts since he graduated from law school -- and before. One cannot be a clerk to Justice Rehnquist, an assistant to Reagan's attorney general, a member of the Reagan White House Counsel's office, a principal deputy solicitor general in the first Bush Administration, a D.C. Circuit judge, and have worked with some rock-ribbed conservatives at Hogan & Hartson -- all to high praise from very conservative people -- and still be a stealth liberal.

Souter, in contrast, served his whole career away from DC -- as Warren Rudman's assistant attorney general, as state attorney general, and then as a judge. No one "inside the beltway" knew him. And that was the point. In contrast, everyone inside the beltway knows Roberts -- and no one who's worked with him has anything but the highest accolades, both on personal and jurisprudential topics. That counts for a lot, in my book.

Moreover, as a strategic matter, it's a real mistake to attack Roberts from the right. What's the point -- to force the Administration to hand out conservative red meat, which may satisfy Ann Coulter, but at the same time hands Kennedy/Leahy/Durbin more targets to hone in on?

And even if Roberts were a mistake (and I don't believe he is) -- what's Ann's end game? To force Bush to withdraw the nomination? If that happened, theoretically, does she think the President's hand would be strengthened in a confirmation fight for a "real" (in her view) conservative? Not likely.

Finally, Ann faults Judge Roberts for having "gone through 50 years on this planet without ever saying anything controversial. That’s just unnatural."

And I understand where's she's coming from. Outspoken people are sometimes suspicious of prudent ones -- believe me. But his discretion doesn't make Roberts a sneak, and his civility doesn't make him a wimp. More than anything, it's unfortunate that those who have performed brilliantly, worked hard, and been kind to others -- without flamboyance -- are somehow deemed suspect.

A right wing attack on Roberts can do nothing but marginalize conservatives and create trouble for themselves, for the Bush Administration, for the conservative cause generally, and for a good and decent man. I do hope Ann Coulter will think twice, and stop the attack. There are so many better uses for her prodigious talents.


Blogger Bachbone said...

Months ago, I heard Bill O'Reilly tell a caller, who had complained about his shtick, that were he not controversial, he would have his job about a week.

Ann Coulter is, I agree, bright, funny and pretty. But I'm convinced that her shtick is what keeps her in the public eye, and making money. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. She certainly has made her own way in shark infested waters. And I love her ability to throw back, with gusto, whatever the liberals toss into her face.

But Laura Ingraham (as was the late Barbara Olson) is equally bright, funny, pretty and able to give back as good as she gets tossed at her, but does so with less controversial words and style.

Finally, I am not thoroughly convinced that Coulter believes everything she writes. One of her columns warned us not to trust a liberal, ever. Yet I heard her say, on national TV, that Bill Maher was one of her best buddies.

Which Ann Coulter wrote the anti-Roberts column?

1:48 PM  
Blogger Joshua Chamberlain said...

Why is the GOP so afraid of the Democrats? They have 55 seats in the Senate. Coulter is right that the Frist et al. completely screwed up on the filibuster. We're the stupid party.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Carol, have you considered the idea that by taking the position on Roberts that she has, Ann Coulter is actually helping him? This is the "brilliant head fake" take on the situation, as proposed by Bridget Johnson:

I suspect her concern is genuine, and that she's widely enough read to use her column as a platform from which to issue a friendly warning to Judge Roberts.

I don't think Roberts is another Souter-- his bonafides are better. But there's an argument to be made for "warning shots" from those whose Constitutional views are originalist.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Patrick O'Hannigan said...

Postscript: you said you wished Ann would stop the attack. It's a legitimate wish, but I don't think "friendly fire" in this instance will prove lethal.

As one TV or movie critic said of actress Jennifer Garner, "she's beautiful when she fights."

Similarly, Ann's got a fighting rep-- she can't stop now.

4:19 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Ann is attractive. You, Carol, are beautiful!

I'm not sure how much it means for Ann Coulter to say someone is not conservative enough. I think the only way someone could be conservative enough for Ann Coulter is for that someone to be ...

... Ann Coulter.

7:05 AM  

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