Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Politics of Personal Insult

CNN is reporting this morning that conservative columnist and commentator (how alliterative for this early in the morning, eh?) Ann Coulter is under attack for referring to Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards as a "faggot" in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

As readers of this blog know, I have long been dismayed at the lack of common courtesy (not to mention common sense) in much of our current political discourse, and this latest incident just proves the point. Especially as we enter the early stages of a presidential campaign, in which we hope to gather enough information to evaluate potential candidates and make an informed choice on the one we want to hold the highest office in the nation, we don't need to hear ad hominem attacks...we need to hear clear and unambiguous information on the issues of the day. If Ms Coulter had had some point to make about Mr Edwards' stand on a particular issue, it would have been worth listening to. Instead, she chose the language of personal insult, leaving us knowing nothing about how Ms Coulter evaluated Mr Edwards position on the facts at hand. We know more about Anne Coulter's lack of civility than about John Edwards' qualifications to be president.

Once again, I recommend you read Deborah Tannen's fine book, The Argument Culture, for some insight into where we are and where we need to go in public discourse.

In the meantime, I'm sorry Anne Coulter isn't running for President, so that I could have the pleasure of voting for someone else.

And that's my cheap shot for the day.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


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