I’ve been so busy with post-debate commentary that it’s taken me this long to get around to Ann Coulter and the “f—ing Jews.”
In case you missed it, apparently tired of hearing candidates pander to Israel, the conservative commentator fired off an interesting tweet during the last Republican debate:
This could, in and of itself, be dismissed as another example of “Ann being Ann” (she liked Trump’s immigration proposal so much she said she wouldn’t care if he “personally performed abortions in the White House”!) but the problem is the context.
Coulter is a Donald Trump supporter, and it’s hard not to notice his rise has coincided with an uptick in this sort of rhetoric. We saw it with the “cuckservative” slur, and now we’re seeing it continue — not with the rantings of some obscure figure — but by an incredibly famous and “mainstream” conservative pundit.
(In case you suspect I’m making too much out of this, consider that, as the New Yorker noted, “twelve days after Trump’s announcement, the Daily Stormer, America’s most popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him for President…”)
Not everyone who thinks American foreign policy is too pro-Israel (though Ann doesn’t, to be clear) is anti-semitic any more than everyone who thinks we need to deport illegal immigrants is a racist. But there seems to be a trend of late, whereby some on the Right are increasingly comfortable making racially-charged statements that betray a hostility that hearkens back to the Old Right. And just as conservatives had to decide whether to go in the direction of William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan — or the direction of Ayn Rand and the John Birch Society — this feels like another time for choosing.
And the choice, as Ben Domenech has framed it, is this: “Are Republicans for freedom or white identity politics?” It’s unclear what the answer will be, but as Domenech notes, the potential consequences are huge:
The normal grievance-based white identity politics platform that promises protectionism, tariffs, infrastructure, subsidies, entitlements, and always blames the presence of immigrants for the creative destruction of the global marketplace, has consistently performed best in the GOP prior to any actual Republicans voting. But should his ideas prevail and win – or if, in the most extreme scenario, Trump were to sustain his path and take the Republican nomination – it would set America’s political path on a direction along the lines of what we have seen in democracies in Europe.
My forthcoming book, Too Dumb to Fail, will make the case for rejecting this brand of identity politics. Of course, I’m not as famous as Ann Coulter, but I think it’s incumbent upon all of us who believe in conservatism to go on record as rejecting this trend.
Remaining silent is not an option. “It is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes.
He was right — about that, at least.