Gary Livacari: Coulter on Campus: Why Ann Coulter?

Conservative columnist Ann Coulter visited GW’s campus Feb. 10.
Gary Livacari defends the decision to bring her to campus. Tim Kaldas explores what it means for the College Republicans to stand behind Coulter’s remarks.

The anger has settled and the hysterics have faded. The Ann Coulter event of Feb. 10 is now a permanent chapter in GW history. For the College Republicans, it was the pinnacle of an already outstanding year. Ms. Coulter’s address reminded the student body that conservative activism continues to prosper – in full force – at this ostensibly “progressive” university.

Despite dire warnings from campus feminist and leftist organizations, protests, antics and crude behavior were noticeably absent on Friday night. Instead, hundreds of GW students and guests flooded the Marvin Center and participated in a substantive, civil and entertaining exchange of ideas. Ann Coulter was in command and deftly deflected with cutting humor the meager attempts to undermine her convincing message.

Our organization is charged with defending and promoting the conservative principles of the Republican Party. In accomplishing this important objective, we have no better ally than Ann Coulter. She is smart, articulate and resolute: an exemplary leader of conservative activism who deserved, and received, a fair hearing on the George Washington campus.

As we saw on Friday night, she has a penchant for bold, even outrageous, repartee. Yet she is more than just a “sensationalist.” At the national level, she embodies the modern-day conservative movement. Recently, on the floor of the Senate, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) highlighted her steady support for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito as a compelling reason to oppose the judge’s confirmation. Conversely, her criticism of Harriet Miers caused many on the right to question the nominee’s conservative credentials. These episodes illustrate Coulter’s power to confer legitimacy on Republican political figures. It is clear that she has far surpassed her role as a celebrity commentator and has now become a dominant political force whose opinions demand the attention of a national audience. That’s why we invited her.

Coulter uses parody and hyperbole to reveal larger, unpleasant truths about the Democratic Party and the American left. For all the liberal fussing about Coulter’s biting witticisms and merciless humor, it is her sharp intellect and unmatched political insight that has earned her legions of loyal followers. From her widely publicized, satirical attacks on Bill Clinton’s escapades “with the help” to calling Ted Kennedy an “inflatable dirigible,” Coulter refuses to adhere to the norms of political correctness. Let me be clear: she is aggressive, unforgiving and at times downright mean, but she gives as good as she receives. One need only attend a liberal rally or listen to a Howard Dean or Dennis Kucinich speech to hear conservatives and President Bush routinely derided as fascists, terrorists and intellectual lightweights.

Coulter is the last line of defense against a liberal establishment that has resorted to new and disgraceful lows in defaming the Republican Party. We need her on the front line of the political battlefield.

Ann Coulter is the complete package. She shatters the traditional stereotypes commonly associated with conservatives: namely that they are all fat, cold, disagreeable, balding white guys (think Dick Cheney). Those days are over. In the Continental Ballroom we saw the new generation of young women and men who have gravitated to the Republican Party, following in the groundbreaking footsteps of Ann Coulter. In the language of pop culture, she has made conservatism “cool.”

The term “young conservative” used to be an oxymoron, but largely because of Coulter’s influence, many Generation Xers have become committed conservative activists. This has had devastating consequences for the modern left. Their monopoly on university campuses and tight grip on America’s college youth is rapidly weakening. As we see on the George Washington campus, conservatives now have a commanding voice and the simultaneous power to profoundly shape the university’s intellectual climate. Thank you, Ann Coulter.

On Feb. 10, the College Republicans reminded the nation why we are truly the College Republican National Committee’s best chapter of the year and why Ann Coulter is our movement’s best – and fiercest – leader.

-The writer, a junior majoring in political communication and economics, is the director of political affairs for the GW College Republicans.

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