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Coulter takes aim at liberals in 'Treason'

| Sunday, Aug. 10, 2003

Only the toughest liberals will be able to stand more than four pages of "Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism" without sputtering in rage and calling for capital punishment for all thin, leggy conservative blondes named Ann Coulter.

On second thought, few liberals will even get past "Treason's" sucker-punch of a first sentence: "Liberals have a preternatural gift for striking a position on the side of treason."

It's all downhill from there for liberals, leftists, Democrats and their liberal-leftist-Democrat friends in the media, as Coulter, armed with the cruel sarcasm of a stand-up comedian and the rhetorical skills of an angry right-wing presidential speechwriter, indicts all of them with being wrong, naive, stupid, gutless or traitorous on every U.S. foreign policy issue, war or military intervention of the past 60 years.

Coulter, for those of you without TVs, is a best-selling author ("Slander"), syndicated writer and cable talk-show pundette whose rabbit-punching, politically incorrect column runs in the Trib each Friday.

Coulter's enemies are most accurate when they accuse her of cranking out unfair generalizations about traitorous liberals and gutless Democrats like this typical one:

"Whether they are defending the Soviet Union or bleating for Saddam Hussein, liberals are always against America. They are either traitors or idiots, and on the matter of America's self-preservation, the difference is irrelevant. Fifty years of treason hasn't slowed them down."

Coulter has faults. She hyperbolizes, makes unfair comparisons and laughs at the idea of fair and balanced reporting. She makes no effort to point out the many foreign policy sins and shortcomings of conservatives or Republicans, even especially deserving bums such as Richard Nixon.

But why should she• She knows that her readers get the other side from mainstream media all the time. Except for a few token slaps at the stuffy patriotic Republican WASPs who used to run our blundering foreign policy, it's open season on every liberal and Democrat you've ever heard of, from FDR through Carter and Clinton.

Coulter pummels all the right enemies -- FDR, Commies, Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs, the New York Times, the liberal media establishment, war resistors and the politicians and journalists of the early Cold War years who knew there were Communist spies in high government and military places but basically didn't care.

People not already familiar with conservatism and its Hall of Heroes and Villains will be shocked by Coulter's version of history, especially the McCarthy Era, which she concentrates on.

Not everyone will accept her claim that "The myth of 'McCarthyism' is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times," or that "Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie." Nor will they agree with her that Sen. Joseph McCarthy himself was the primary victim of McCarthyism.

But most readers will be amazed by how little they really know about those crazy, fascinating times and what its namesake and his enemies did and did not do.

Coulter is more than just a well-tuned rightwing joke machine. Her crack that "Vietnam is the left's favorite war because America lost" is so cruelly true it breaks bones, even if you think the war in Southeast Asia was a horrible example of the folly of America's interventionist foreign policy.

"Treason" will be despised by its liberal victims and dissed for its excesses by what she would call "girly-boy" conservatives who wish she weren't so blunt, mean and unladylike.

But it's no accident it's already No. 4 on the New York Times best-seller list and she reportedly has landed a new $3 million publishing deal with Crown Forum. Coulter knows her audience and knows how to please it.

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