Posted by: Barry Bickmore | March 15, 2012

Ann Coulter: GOP Has Problem with “Con Men and Charlatans”

Conservative commentator and provocateur, Ann Coulter, recently gave a talk at the Lincoln Day dinner for the the Indian River County, FL Republican Party.  (See the video below.)  When an audience member asked about the prospect of a brokered convention, she first took a dig at Sarah Palin.

Yes, and one of the ones promoting that is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice.  I think as long as it’s between us girls — I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for. I mean, as I wrote in a column a few weeks back, who is this dream candidate we’re hoping to get from the convention, because Rick Perry used to be the dream candidate. Could we see them in a debate first?

Then Coulter went on to say what she thought the larger problem in the GOP is.

And just a more corporate problem is I think our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party….  The incentives seem to be set up to allow people…as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money….  The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that.  I mean, Dennis Kucinich is a nut, he has millions of fanatical followers–he doesn’t get a show on MSNBC….   No, no, no, no, no.  You embarrass us, and drag this thing out–you are finished in the Democratic Party.

This is nowhere more evident than in the climate policy debate.  The Republican Party is beset by “con men and charlatans” whose specialty is to convince people that there is no climate change problem.  And why do we believe them?  Because for people who think we should try to solve problems with as little government regulation as possible, it’s always easier to deny there is a problem at all.  Figuring out non-invasive strategies for tackling society’s problems is difficult, after all, and it’s even more difficult to sell them to a public that wants the government to “do something” when a problem pops up.  And so we desperately want to believe that big problems are overblown or nonexistent.  Whenever a group of people “desperately wants to believe” something, there will always be someone willing to tell them what they want to hear, whether the opportunists are charlatans or simply nutjobs.

When conservatives fall for this, however, we are breaking one of our own cardinal rules–the Law of Unintended Consequences.   That is, one of the standard conservative arguments against the growth of government regulation is that purposeful actions always have unintended consequences.  For instance, if we intend to set up a universal health care system, there may well be unintended consequences for the national debt and the economic health of small business.  But couldn’t we anticipate the same thing if we elect conspiracy theorist nutjobs?

Related Post:  Republican Scientist:  I. WILL. NEVER. VOTE. SANTORUM.

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Responses

  1. Interesting that at the same time Singer and Spencer and Watts are rallying against the nuttiest climate deniers, Coulter is rallying against the nuttiest right-wingers. I guess they finally decided that the nuts were doing their groups more harm than good. Maybe this is a signal that the Overton window will start to shift back towards reality and sanity a bit.

  2. Maybe. But is the reverse (or obverse, whatever it is :)) true? I’m guessing that Ms. Coulter remains firmly united with the climate denial camp, which is riddled with charlatans and con people. Somehow it is very difficult for me to see her as a uniter rather than a divider. A few choice quotes here: http://users.rcn.com/skutsch/anticoulter/quotes.html

    • I know. It sort of shocked me that she would say something reasonable that wasn’t sandwiched between crazy. Maybe if I could see the rest of her talk….

      • Maybe it was just an off night. ;)

      • Someone can be wrong 99% of the time. It doesn’t mean they’re always wrong.

        And when someone is right 1% of the time, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be right 100% of the time either.

        She’s still as nutty a fruit-loop as she always was, but someone will, even if for the “wrong reason(ing)” get it right. You just accept when they get it right and correct them (or ignore them) when they get it wrong.

        The knowledge of how often they get it wrong is only a filter to help you deal with information overload.

        But I never find it surprising when someone who “always” gets it wrong gets something right. It will occasionally happen.

        And so, on this, I have no problems agreeing with her, even though I disagree with everything else I’ve ever heard her say.

        • Well, yeah, but it still makes you (me) wonder. But I’m thankful for small favors. Will we look back someday and say, that was it, that was the high-water mark of crazy in America?

          • Heh. I don’t even go (unless I’m trying to slag someone off) “Well you got *something* right at last”. I just go “Aye, you’re right”. I’m not going to then agree with anything said just because they got something right (or at least I agree with, which is obviously the same…).

  3. [...] Anti Climate Change Extremism in Utah Conservative commentator and provocateur, Ann Coulter, recently gave a talk at the Lincoln Day dinner for the the Indian River County, FL Republican Party.  (See the video below.)  When an audience member asked about the prospect of a brokered convention, she first took a dig at Sarah Palin. Yes, and one of the ones promoting that is Sarah Palin, who has suggested herself as the choice.  I think as long as it’s between us girls — I’ve been observing something about her. I don’t think it’s likely to happen. I don’t know what these people are cheering for. I mean, as I wrote in a column a few weeks back, who is this dream candidate we’re hoping to get from the convention, because Rick Perry used to be the dream candidate. Could we see them in a debate first? [...]

  4. Another similar development today: http://climatecrocks.com/2012/03/15/conservative-magazine-calls-out-gingrichs-despicable-gasoline-promise/

  5. And a third. Seems like more than coincidence: http://www.skepticalscience.com/singer-criticises-deniers.html

  6. Perhaps the strangest entry yet in this series: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2012/03/27/451932/fox-news-debunks-right-wing-lies-about-chevy-volt-anti-terrorist-weapon-safest-car-on-the-road/

  7. “This is nowhere more evident than in the climate policy debate. The Republican Party is beset by “con men and charlatans” whose specialty is to convince people that there is no climate change problem.”

    [sarcasm]Yes, there is a whole specialist cabal of charlatans who attempt to convince the public it’s all a hoax. And THAT is the whole reason why AGW doesn’t sell well, especially to republicans. People can’t actually have an intelligently formed different opinion. Oh noes! That’s impossible!
    [/sarcasm]

    I tend to agree we are beset by “con men and charlatans”, but who they are and what they do is not, IMHO, as you state. I disagree [with ann] that the democrats don’t suffer as much from the issue. Most all aspects of society have gone the way of the charlatan. Men, in general, are growing more dishonest. [my opinion]

    “And why do we believe them? Because for people who think we should try to solve problems with as little government regulation as possible, it’s always easier to deny there is a problem at all. Figuring out non-invasive strategies for tackling society’s problems is difficult”

    You don’t seem to make a good principled small government type. Which I suppose makes you a fine republican :-P

    Big government, over regulation, etc, is often, a problem in and of itself. In “tackling society’s problems” we can and often create more problems, bigger in scope than what we “solved”. Sure, you can get away with this for a while, claim “success”, shout booya and woop it up at your grand “success”. Some of us recognize this pattern and vote it down at every opportunity, regardless of the perceived “benefits” proffered. There are a very few items that do make sense to vote for, it is non-zero, but by today’s everything goes ideals if you simply voted no for everything it would be a huge improvement. It’s a pattern, easy to point out in the annals of history and a bad one to repeat. You explained it yourself! Maybe you’re just bad at applying it to reality. It’s bad government and it’s the road to sorrow.

    Republicans think they like small government, but they don’t. “I believe in small government, except when it comes to my own pork, project, or cause!” I’ve heard it so many times at conventions… Sigh.

    I mean, honestly look at the individual risk of a true small government vs our government + climate change.

    My risk with small government + assume AGW is real: Small tax rates. Possible economic displacement and hardship.
    My risk with our government + climate change: 50% of income lost to all manner of “solutions”. Possibly much higher depending on specifics of new regulations. 100% chance of continuing in unending economic hardship due to massive lost income.

    I choose the former, if I can, thanks :-P Better to be punished or rewarded by God Almighty than by my fellow man who already thinks my labor is his to spend as he pleases.

    “after all, and it’s even more difficult to sell them to a public that wants the government to “do something” when a problem pops up. And so we desperately want to believe that big problems are overblown or nonexistent. Whenever a group of people “desperately wants to believe” something, there will always be someone willing to tell them what they want to hear, whether the opportunists are charlatans or simply nutjobs.”

    Ahh, so if someone disagrees with you then that someone must be desperate. Ohh, ohh, and ad-homs for positions we don’t like are great too! Nutjobs! Its essentially the same as shouting “Cause you’re a stupid stupid head!”

    • Hi None,

      I have no problem with it if you honestly look at the evidence/risks regarding climate change, and decide we’re better off doing nothing about it. What to do about it is exactly the debate we should be having. The pseudo-debate about the science is mostly dishonest on the part of the contrarians, in my opinion.

      • The catch is the “honestly look…” To most this means the other guy must see things as they see them. I believe there is a true baseline, but few actually look for it, let alone find it.

        95%+ of the population is trained in a multitude of fallacious reasoning and most all interaction is a posturing match. The rules change from group to group but the general pattern is the same – scientists included. I feel the same way about the pro-AWG people. Most climate advocates do not want to admit we face many problems that are more important and unaddressed, but with their myopic world view they can’t see past their pet issue.

  8. [...] Bickmore’s quote from Ann Coulter: GOP Has Problem with “Con Men and Charlatans”, a post on the blog Anti-Climate Change Extremism in [...]


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