Coulter Causes Controversy
Coulter, who arrived 45 minutes late to the lecture, opened her talk with a quote from former President Ronald Reagan: “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; It’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
Coulter drew from that quote to pepper the entirety of her speech with satirical jibes at the political left to a divided crowd. She claimed that liberals were always wondering why the conservatives hated them and were trying to bring them to the leftist perspective.
“I’m tired of them thinking from their point of view,” Coulter said. “Why don’t they think from my point of view?”
Initially, Coulter focused on the presidential candidates, specifically the ones representing the Democratic Party.
“Hillary [Clinton] seems to have reached a line. Democrats seem to be [supporting] B. Hussein Obama,” Coulter said, in regards to recent speculation that Obama will win the Democratic nomination in this year’s general election campaign due to his recent successes in the presidential primaries. However, she accused Obama of getting by too easily during his campaign. “B. Hussein Obama has been coasting a bit since his first major accomplishment of being born half-black … the only thing that could stop him now would be an endorsement from Al Gore.”
Coulter also criticized Obama for advocating direct dialogue with the Iranian regime, and speculated that Iran would not be a country with which negotiation comes easily. She claimed that it was useless speaking to such countries unless they were surrendering to the United States. “So if we’re going to nuke Iran and then chit-chat, I’m all for it,” Coulter said. This statement drew an outcry from some of the members of the audience.
Clinton was also not spared from criticism. Although Coulter claimed she would endorse Clinton over Republican Senator John McCain in a television interview earlier this year on “Hannity and Colmes,” she mocked Clinton for “completely plummet[ing]” in the primaries following Coulter’s endorsement. She also referred to Clinton as “my plucky little Hillary,” even though Coulter believes that Obama has a higher chance of winning the Democratic nomination.
Even McCain was scrutinized by Coulter. According to her interview with Sean Hannity, she stated that “He has led the fight against – well, as you say, interrogations, I say torture – at Guantanamo.” In Newsradio’s “The Jon Caldara Show,” Coulter said that she supported the torture tactic of waterboarding.
During the Q-and-A portion, Coulter said that she would “vote against Obama. I voted for Bob Dole; it’s not a vivid memory, but I did it.”
Coulter was also questioned by several members of the audience regarding her harsh words against left-wing ideologies, especially in regards to the history of the United States’ foreign policy. In response, Coulter stated, “You crush the enemy, you don’t care if they like you, you don’t want them to like you; you want them to fear you. Two well-placed nukes … will shut them down.”
Despite Coulter’s views, College Republicans president and fourth-year international studies major Cameron Galbraith stated that the group decided to bring her to campus to stimulate debate.
“Whereas some campuses could safely be called ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ (referring to the student body), Irvine is mostly apathetic,” Galbraith said. “A nationally known speaker and author, like Ann Coulter, attracts a lot of attention and gets people talking about important issues, whether they love her or hate her. That’s especially important in this historic election year.”
In response to the posters of Coulter that were vandalized with swastikas, and one with a moustache drawn on Coulter’s face resembling that of Adolf Hitler, Galbraith said, “It’s kind of pathetic. But it demonstrates the hypocrisy of many on the far left. Apparently, to them, free speech is great, so long as it doesn’t extend to things they disagree with. We’d much rather have our ideas compete with the opposition, rather than resort to childish games.”
Several members of the Young Democrats club were also in attendance at the event. Second-year political science major Caroline Murre expressed her dissatisfaction with the lecture.
“She had absolutely no point whatsoever. It was a bunch of rambling that lasted less than 30 minutes. Most people waited in line longer than she talked,” Murre said.
First-year political science major Jennifer Ani expressed similar sentiments, “Seeing as how I am a liberal, [the event] seems kind of ridiculous. But I came partly for extra credit for a class and secondly, I came just to laugh.”
Nevertheless, several students who had come out to see Coulter did not leave displeased.
“This is my first encounter with Ann,” said Alexander Ng, third-year political science major. “From what I have been hearing, I was kind of expecting hate … but based on what she said, she didn’t really seem as an extremist.”
Brittany Baguio and Davidson Xie contributed to this report.