On the Right Track As we prepare for the 2004 presidential election, the Conservative Movement is beset by a self-identity crisis. Neocons and paleocons war against one another while liberty lovers fight cultural conservatives. These conflicts are the proverbial icebergs tip. Of far greater import than policy positions and talking points is the very nature and character of the Conservative Movement. Before the Conservative Movement can adequately address where it is headed it must first rediscover its self-identity. Otherwise its present paralysis will lead to its demise. The Third Rail Extremism The unspoken third rail of Conservatism is the mainstreaming of extremism within the movement. Right-wing hatred erupted during the Clinton era and a new generation of conservatives now finds it fashionable to hate. This trend threatens Conservatism and the extent of that threat is self-evident in the glorification of firebrand Ann Coulter as a conservative icon. All of Ann Coulters books have received star treatment and massive promotion. High Crimes and Misdemeanors (1988) established Coulter as a prominent player in D.C. even as it accurately reflected huge segments of mainstream American mores. However, her subsequent books Slander (2002) and Treason (2003) are seriously flawed and deliberately play to the extremist elements of the political spectrum, though they have received widespread praise from conservative leaders and have secured Coulters celebrity status. Coulters ever-increasing popularity has recently gained her a $3 million book deal, despite the acknowledged inanity (or insanity) of her worldview. Orwellian Conundrum The conundrum of Conservatism is that in seeking to promote its principles in outreach to grow the movement it exalts as its standard-bearer a conservative celebrity whose worldview is markedly anti-conservative. Coulters radicalism is contrary to Conservatisms most revered principles and ideals yet, today, many conservative leaders and institutions exalt that very radicalism. Treason and the entirety of Ann Coulters post-impeachment work is predicated upon a worldview encapsulated by two equations: liberalism = terrorism = treason and conservatism = McCarthyism = patriotism. No subtleties or ambiguities. No nuances. No sense. Coulters Orwellian construct emulates Big Brothers insistence that two plus two equals five. Two critiques of Treason typify the thinking of her more discerning fans and provide insight into both why Ann Coulter is so adored by her followers and why Ann Coulter poses such a danger to Conservatism (and to America). David Horowitz The final reason for making these distinctions is that this charge that no Democrat, apparently including Jack Kennedy, can root for America is obviously absurd, and if conservatives do not recognize that it is absurd, nobody is going to listen to us. The problem with Coulters book is that she is not willing to concede that McCarthy was, in fact, demagogic in any sense at all, or that that his recklessness injured the anti-Communist cause. David Horowitz, The Trouble with Treason William F. Buckley, Jr. But all of that is by the way in an inquiry into the Coulter thinking machine, which is my mission. But even as Ms. Coulter clearly intends to shock, why shouldnt her reader register that shock? By wondering whether she is out of her mind, or has simply lost her grip on language. What except that prompts her to come up with (or the Post to publicize) her syllogism? The man who heads the paper that employs an editorial writer who dangles the proposition that a thought given to moral equivalency is appropriate and humbling on September 11, 2003 is a traitor? That end-of-the-road word, bear always in mind, is hers. Coulter is a law school graduate and isnt using the T-word loosely. The opening sentences of her article reject any such explanation. She means to charge that Sulzberger is engaged in traitorous activity. That, after all, is what traitors engage in. The thought-process used here is everywhere in evidence in her best-selling book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. The books central contention is that liberals critically situated on the American scene arent fatuous assesthats baby talk. They are enemies of the United States and of American freedom. But as one reads along, one gets used to exaggerationsnot McCarthys, but Coulters. She is carried away. William F. Buckley, Jr., Tailgunner Ann Yes, but Horowitz and Buckley both denounce the foundation of Ann Coulters worldview, yet they praise her for specific details in her work. This is comparable to calling a painting ugly but saying some of the brushstrokes are lovely, and, therefore the painter is a master craftsman. If Ann Coulter is wrong on the big issues, if she is wrong on her foundational beliefs, then why should we believe any of the details or the particulars of her claims? And, remember, she is oh so very wrong. Essentially, both Horowitz and Buckley wrote that Ann Coulter is wrong, but How can there be buts when the foundation is a sandbox of sophistry. Rather, we should build on a foundation of truth and sagacity. This is reminiscent of the Wall Street Journal which defended Coulters infamous Timothy McVeigh remark by noting that other pundits have been fired for making even one such remark. Coulters entire career was built upon a multitude of bomb-thrower remarks. Conservatives need to recognize that Ann Coulters paradigm is an elaborate sandcastle which will be washed away by the tide of truth. Coulters worldview is destined for the dustbin of history. Those who endorse, embrace and emulate her worldview will share in its demise. Mainstreaming Extremism Would we, today, endorse David Duke as an exemplar of Conservatism because we agree with a few of his social or economic policies? Should Democrats elevate Louis Farrakhan to political leadership because of his positions on family values, personal responsibility and community involvement? Or do the inherent evils of their extremism, racism and hate-mongering outweigh the good that they espouse? Ann Coulter is no less a racist, extremist and hate-monger than either of those two gentlemen, yet conservatives laud her as an exemplar of the conservative movement (Claire Boothe Luce Policy Institute) and matriarch of Crown Forum (Random Houses conservative imprint). Despite espousing a worldview which is obviously absurd (Horowitz) and which suggests she is out of her mind (Buckley), conservatives either laud her as the Joan of Arc of Conservatism (Newsmax) or they tiptoe around the extremist edges and look for something good to praise. Some courageous conservatives and libertarians such as Dorothy Rabinowitz, Jim Pinkerton, Arnold Beichman, Paul Greenberg and John Leo are openly critical of Coulter, yet Coulters warped views continue to spread and her power continues to grow. Ann Coulter is, indeed, mainstreaming extremism within the Conservative Movement. Borchers Bio A lifelong conservative, Daniel Borchers is the Founder and Editor of BrotherWatch, a newsletter which examines political, social, cultural and religious issues from a Christian conservative perspective. Mr. Borchers has published articles in a wide variety of venues and has appeared on numerous radio talk shows. Disenchanted by the hypocrisy and corruption which have invaded the Conservative Movement, Mr. Borchers founded Citizens for Principled Conservatism in the fall of 2001. In his role as Founder and President of CPC, Mr. Borchers seeks to reinvigorate principles and ideals within the Conservative Movement and he views the extremist elements within that Movement as both dangerous and self-destructive. CoulterWatch was created with the express purpose of exposing that corruption within the Conservative Movement which is exemplified by Ann Coulter and those who embolden, embrace and emulate her. For media inquiries and interview requests, Mr. Borchers can be reached via email, or by telephone at 240-476-9690. Mr. Borchers can also be contacted for public speaking engagements My fellow conservatives, I implore you to follow the lead of John Leo, et. al. and renounce the extremist views of Ann Coulter. Evil thrives when good men do nothing. Far too many good men are silent today I find Mr. Borcher's (a staunch conservative) views on Ms. Coulter's works refreshing and revitalize my belief that Americans, whether liberal or conservative, are really good people.