Question:  When is a six-time New York Times best-selling author, and one of the biggest selling non-fiction political authors of the past 15 years and one of the most successful columnists on the continent and a perpetual guest on all national television networks and one of the most influential conservatives around, a person who is best described as the “conservatism’s lunatic fringe”?

Answer:  When pigs fly, or you enter Nutville; Or when you’re simply trying to marginalize conservatives as pariahs.  But the ever-so mainstream and knowledgeable Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner would have you believe it’s when he deems it to be so

image The real answer is that he’s confused (at best).  My opening question begs the question.  Being an influential pundit and a multiple best-selling author and popular columnist and a ubiquitous talking head on all national networks and the constant subject of newsmagazines (etc…) makes you, by definition, not “fringe” at all, but rather mainstream.  By definition. 

But nice try at marginalizing Ann Coulter and real conservatism, Mr. Gardner.  My wife and I and our neighbors many other Canadians happily join Miss Coulter over there on “conservatism’s lunatic fringe” as you inform Canadians to think of her—and our— ilk, in your mainstream newspaper. 

Personally, in what I think would be an editorial decision-making move worthy of mainstream newspapers, I would call on my columnists to reserve the urge to call plain old real, true conservatives who really rather like, say, Ann Coulter’s take on things (like me and my wife), “lunatics” or “fringe lunatics”.  I would save it for overt political advocacy blogs (like this one only opposite), or to clearly identified left-wing rags like the Marxist Daily.  I’m quite sure the Ottawa Citizen isn’t supposed to be one of those.  Mind you I have seen lots of evidence that they and most of the liberal-left media have given up all pretense. 

One of the reasons I say that is because it strikes me that one of the most often-repeated caterwauls of the left with regard to the hated Ann Coulter is that “this time she’s gone too far!…”,  which invariably refers to something fairly innocuous and/or which they’ve purposely taken totally out of context, and/or which they heard or read without their wearing their happy faces (they ignore the glaring twinkle in Ann Coulter’s eye).  In fact it’s so often repeated by the media that she wrote a book about it, which includes all of the the supposedly “gone too far” things she’s written or said over the years.  It’s really funny.  Because that’s how she takes things.

But note that calling real, mainline conservatives “lunatics” —is well within the limits. 

In a little bit of psychological projection, Gardner declares that the rise of (what we know is) the moderate Republican John McCain, has brought (what we know is) the conservative base of the Republican Party to the state of “spittle-spraying apoplexy”.  Nice li’l fantasy, Mr. Gardner.  The day anyone, or anything, brings Ann Coulter, of all people, to the state of anything other than a hearty chuckle, will be the day (it may coincide with national pigs flying day).  Even most of your liberal-leftist Ann Coulter haters and detractor friends, which are legion, would testify to the fact that the one thing about Ann Coulter that really bugs them is that no matter how hard they try, and God knows they do, exactly nothing fazes her, least of all a moderate Republican.  (I know a little something about being a conservative in a land of shouting liberals and leftists, and almost like Miss Coulter, I’ve learned how to deal with that).

And if you’re one of the millions who have enjoyed her books, you would recognize Dan Gardner’s re-crafted use of her own turn of phrase—that being from her New York Times best-seller How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter—in which she instructs us in her third rule regarding talking to liberals:  “You must outrage the enemy.  If the liberal you’re arguing with doesn’t become speechless with sputtering, impotent rage, you’re not doing it right.”

But hey maybe I’m wrong about Ann Coulter—a columnist I’ve engaged here at PTBC as a columnist for the past 4-plus years owing to her amazing popularity here in Canada.  Maybe Dan Gardner would know Ann Coulter and folks like me and my wife better than I do.  After all, he’s read Ann’s books, and he’s a mainstream liberal who only used the word “neo-con” 17 times in this one column.  Had he used it 18 times, he’d be a lunatic.

GODLESS is among her best books.  Here’s another convenient link:

Please watch for her weekly column here at PTBC tonight and every Wednesday night.

Joel Johannesen
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