Dissecting the political left
Geoff Metcalf interviews constitutional attorney Ann Coulter

Editor's Note: last month. During her recent interview with Geoff Metcalf, Ann Coulter discusses the political left -- from leftists' recent demonstration of patriotism in the wake of Sept. 11, to their immigration policies and attitude toward the military. Author of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors: the Case Against Bill Clinton," Coulter is currently working on a book about liberal philosophy in American politics.

By Geoff Metcalf

Q: I had a dream about Ann Coulter. No, it wasn't that kind of dream. In the dream, there was a phone call from Vince McMann at the Worldwide Wrestling Federation, and he wanted to put together a steel-cage match with Allen Dershowitz and Alan Colmes versus Peggy Noonan and Ann Coulter. I'm curious if you have received a phone call like that yet?

A: No, not yet. And I really can't understand that ...

Q: The ratings would kick butt!

A: Yes, and I'm sure Peggy and I would be ready to go.

Q: First off, congratulations and welcome aboard to WorldNetDaily.com.

A: Thank you. I'm thrilled.

Q: Joe Farah has been jazzed about this. Your column appears, what, Wednesday or Thursday?

A: Wednesday afternoon. The second I finish with my editor, I send it straight to Joe. About 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, which is before others get it.

Q: In a recent column of your, "Mothers against box cutters," you bring a couple of things out. You have been conducting your jihad, of sorts, against the liberal left.

A: Yes. It's a fathwa.

Q: Is that what it is?

A: Yes. It's my own fathwa, yes.

Q: You can spit that out anytime now. I have been complaining for ages that there are consequences to the things we do in life -- good things, bad things; individuals, municipalities, governments -- there are consequences. It appears that right now, the country is having this epiphany about the consequences of all the stuff we have suffered through as a result of political correctness.

A: Right. And by the way, your first indisputable point -- that there are consequences to things -- that's breaking news for liberals. I just thought I'd mention that. You already lost the entire liberal audience with that statement.

Q: Maybe not. The mayor of Berkeley is having a wake-up call, big time. She's shocked and amazed that they are going to be losing business and tax revenue because of a political position they have taken.

A: Yes, and the New York City school board just recently voted to require the students to say the Pledge of Allegiance every day in class. New York City!

Q: Hoorah!

A: One of the strange things, odd things about the terrorists is they really don't seem to have that precise an understanding of America, and they are knocking out all the strongholds of anti-American sentiment.

Q: Ann, you know what it is? They saw that map from the elections in November and they figured they'd hit the blue areas first. And then if they had time and resources, they'd get to the red areas.

A: Evidently. It really has been kind of heart warming how the rest of the country takes an attack on Manhattan as an attack on America. I happen to be in Manhattan, and I can assure you if it had been the Sears Towers, this feeling would not have been reciprocated. I mean, Manhattan has been referred to as "an island off the coast of America." And now, Brokaw, Dan Rather, Tom Dashle ... what next? Are they going to nuke Berkeley?

Q: I don't want to be unkind to my neighbor to the west.

A: I don't think they are really blending. That's part of the terrorist manual. They're supposed to come and learn the customs -- fit in, cut their hair, remember to bathe and wear cologne.

Q: Come on. Why should they when our State Department hasn't for 50 years recognized the cultural distinctions between us and anyone else we're talking to, huh?

A: Why should they blend?

Q: I know why they should blend. But one of the classic problems we have always had is an inability to recognize those cultural differences.

A: Yes, that's right.

Q: I was being facetious. Pay attention, there will be a test later.

A: As was said famously -- and in a way, calculated to annoy liberals, but I think it is in some way really indisputable -- Pat Buchanan's famous point about if we have to assimilate a million new Americans here, do you think it would be easier to assimilate a million British or a million Zulus?

Q: Yes, it is clear. But the fascinating point is the liberal mindset on this. We had something like a 48-hour respite where there was a reluctance on their part to be critical, and then they just had to do a Barbara Lee knee-jerk thing. The sycophants must have felt like they just had to say something -- anything. But they really couldn't, because gosh, oh gee, all the guys that normally support us are now on the other side of the fence waving flags.

A: Yes.

Q: I don't know if it's going to happen through attrition, but frankly, I hope I'm not just hoping for what I would like to see happen, but I don't think this peacenik thing from the kumbaya crowd is going to strike a chord of resonance that they realized in the '60s. I just don't think it's going to happen this time.

A: I disagree. I think you are guessing what will happen is what you would like to happen. I think that, to the extent liberals are behaving like Americans right now, it is just protective coloration, and as soon as the first body bags start to come home, they'll turn chicken and run.

Q: But it cuts both ways, Ann. There will be that natural aversion ...

A: ... to fighting back!

Q: Yeah, but what I'm saying is, just as we're starting to say, "We can't let any more of our kids die over there," we could have more people dying in the continental United States, if, God forbid, they introduce something like smallpox or Ebola.

A: That's true. Yes, if there's a smallpox or plague attack, just as the first body bags come home. But I do think the natural instinct of these people is nearly genetic. It is so programmed.

Q: You're right. It's in their DNA.

A: And it reminds me of when the Monica Lewinsky scandal first broke. It was as if someone had dropped LSD into your coffee. You read the New York Times and the Washington Post and there were incredibly harsh editorials and op-ed pieces with everyone saying, "If these charges are true, he's got to go. He's lied to the country. We need an investigation." And then when it all turned out to be true, immediately they turned on a dime. Then, "Of course, this isn't impeachable." ... What is with this peculiar liberal cult is what inspired my next book. Although it isn't about Clinton -- it's about liberals. I think I've cracked them. I think it was pure protective coloration. I mean, they might as well go around citing the Communist Manifesto as not talk like patriots right now. Give it time. Just give it time. They will be fully up to their old tricks in another few months.

Q: One of the neatest things in your last book -- at least in my opinion -- is your examination of exactly what the Framers actually intended. Most people don't ever get around to reading those things, and in "High Crimes and Misdemeanors," you spent a lot of time on Monica, but you also focus on what the actual intent was of the Framers.

A: Yes. As in a recent column I wrote, I was astonished to read -- although I suppose my capacity for being astonished at anything the New York Times puts in an editorial is diminishing with age. They are repeatedly arguing now for a big federal government because, gee, isn't this interesting, the conservatives are supporting the military.

Q: You mention the New York Times and what they are going through in the wake of the epic tragedy.

A: They make this insane point, and they make it explicitly in an editorial. Now it keeps coming up as if [conservatives] are the ones who have always been arguing for the National Endowment for the Arts and submerging crucifixes in urine and having the taxpayers pay for it. And they are the ones who have required taxpayers to pay for photos of bullwhips up men's anuses, and now look: It's conservatives who are supporting military action to secure the country. This is really their thought process. I mean, if anyone supports the Marines, you have to support pictures of men with bullwhips hanging out their butts funded by the taxpayers. Forgive my language, but I'm not the one requiring you to pay for it. This is always the liberals' trick. They engage in all these completely abominable acts from abortion to what Bill Clinton was doing to what they have the NEA funding with our tax dollars. And if you simply describe it, then you are the vulgar one. OK, stop using our tax money to fund it then.

Q: You are younger than I am, so you have been in college more recently. Is there a class now on defending the indefensible?

A: It does come up through the grapevine. That is the impulse. It's funny how it is taken as a mark of honor, a sign of a high intellect, if you take counterintuitive positions. There's just an overwhelming sense that bright people take counterintuitive positions and defend them.

Q: There are people in California actually defending Barbara Lee.

A: Oh, I'm sure. And I'm sure they are very proud of themselves and wear that as a badge of honor that they are defending the indefensible. Professionally, you mainly see this instinct in lawyers. It is really ingrained in you in law school. Whoa, not so fast on punishing the guilty! There's a counter argument to punishing the guilty.

Q: Yeah, and there are billable hours attached to that, too.

A: That's right! My point is that national defense is explicitly, exclusively, solely the responsibility of the federal government. This has always been the conservative position. And it is somewhat of a leap of logic to go from supporting the federal government's defending of the nation's borders to saying that it should be running Head Start programs. Much less this insane idea that we need the department of motor vehicles doing the metal-detector checks at airports. In what universe are these people living? If you need an efficient work force that really gets the job done, takes the job seriously -- I mean, does anyone think, "Oh no, we've got to go to the federal bureaucrats for that. We don't want a private enterprise coming in and messing it all up."

Q: They want national security to run with the efficiency of the DMV.

A: National security -- that's different. War and Army is one thing. Checking the magnetometers at the airport is not war. War we do need the federal government for, but not for 8 billion other things.

Q: You alluded to one of the more egregious lawyerly sins in a recent column. They had an opportunity to take out the No. 2 guy over in Afghanistan, and they blew it because some lawyer thought it was inappropriate.

A: Yes. Lawyers have already been providing vital services for the nation in this time of need. The first night, they had Mullah Omar in their sights, and a lawyer told them, "No, no, no. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with this. Don't shoot!"

Q: I'm waiting for someone -- anyone -- to fire his butt in a New York second and then, whatever so-called commander had the brain flatulence to actually not take out a significant target of opportunity because some lawyer had a hair across his nose should have his tail fired, too, and cut the buttons off his blouse.

A: I agree. And that's what everyone I've talked to in the military has said to me. I have not done a Lexis-Nexis search, but I do wonder what has or will happen to Gen. Tommy Franks. According to the reports, and thank God -- and I mean that literally -- we do have men at the top running this war. And according to the reports, heartwarmingly, Rumsfeld was "kicking glass."

Q: I heard he was throwing stuff. They've tried to play that down a bit, but what have you heard?

A: Exactly that. That he was "kicking glass," That he was "not happy" about it. And that is the reaction he ought to have. Lawyers serving their country ... once again.

Q: I'm hoping the Bush administration won't take this cautious, political approach they have on other things, and that there will be some genuine search for real leadership demonstrated and just relieve the guy. You're not doing the job. You did not perform to standard. You're fired! Next guy in line -- get over here.

A: Absolutely. And if I can leap to another point that is not at the top of the national agenda right now -- in normal times I think it is, or ought to be --on this lawyer point. Remember this lawyer from the Army when they start appointing judges. One of the problems with judges and the ABA [American Bar Association] is that they tend to choose them from the circle of lawyers. If only we could get our judges from engineers or soldiers, we'd have a lot more common sense on the federal bench.

Q: OK, I don't want to pump your already significant ego here, but I received an e-mail from someone suggesting that Bush should add your name to the short list for Supreme Court justices.

A: Oh, that is very flattering, but I don't think ... Scalia pushes the envelope. I don't think I could write with my signature style from the Supreme Court. I think I'm having more fun what I'm doing just commenting on what they do, but I am honored by the sentiment.

Q: You can thank a Greg from wherever-he-was-writing-from. I'd just like to see what your robe would look like.

A: It would be very short.

Q: I'm sure it would be.

A: And God bless you, Greg, out there.

Q: I'd like to talk briefly, and I do mean briefly, about the flap you had with National Review. I actually offered National Review an opportunity to come on the air, but it took a pass.

A: Yeah, so am I. OK, that's brief.

Q: Your specialty was actually constitutional law, right?

A: Right.

Q: Maybe you can answer a question for me. I am not a lawyer, but this has bugged me for a couple of decades now. It's pretty simple. Basically we have these people that we elect and they take an oath to "preserve and protect the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic." If immediately subsequent to that they set about to write law, lobby, support and vote for things that are specifically designed to undermine, mitigate or abrogate the very document to which they have sworn an oath, what is that? Is that fraud?

A: I think you don't need a lawyer for that. You need a psychiatrist. This is way out of my area of specialty.

Q: Isn't it a constitutional question? They have taken an oath to the constitution and violated that oath.

A: No, you're talking about insanity. It's really not a constitutional question. It really is a psychological compulsion. I mean, yes, they can be impeached. But you can read all about the procedures for impeachment in my last book. That's the recourse that can be taken. No, they can't be sued for fraud. But really, you're talking about insanity. I was just editing a chapter in my next book ...

Q: While you are talking to me? Thanks a lot!

A: No, no -- before you called. And I briefly mention the stellar New Jersey Supreme Court created by Christie Todd Whitman, beloved at the New York Times, and she is beloved for a reason. One of their decisions was to find that consent is not a defense to rape. Don't tell me that's a legal issue. They are insane!

Q: I started off talking about consequences to actions. I took about nine yards of equine excrement from liberal listeners over suggesting that Bill Clinton was responsible in large measure for the Sept. 11 tragedies because of the humongous intelligence failures. Tell us about Ron Dellums.

A: Yes, whose seat Barbara Lee has taken, by the way. After Watergate, for some reason liberals associated Watergate with CIA and our intelligence-gathering services.

Q: Those guys weren't that good.

A: That's right. The famous Archie Bunker line was, "If only they had used Japanese instead of Cubans to break into the Watergate, this would have never happened." I disagree with that, by the way. I think Cubans are our finest Americans, as Janet Reno is about to find out. But it is not just Dellums. I just happened to use a quote from Dellums in my column. This was a big liberal-Democrat theme: that we need to destroy the intelligence agencies in America. And Ron Dellums swore that he would dismantle the intelligence agencies in America "brick by brick." He was then made chairman of the House Armed Services Committee by Democrats in the House by a 198 to 10 vote. The New York Times has fawned over Dellums, citing praise from all quarters. "His savvy political skills" -- exactly the same things they say about any liberal Democrat.

Q: The only time I ever got my butt chewed working for ABC in San Francisco was when I made a harshly negative comment about Ron Dellums. After my boss's boss leaned on him, I was counseled not to direct my criticism so specifically, particularly at Dellums.

A: Particularly? I would think it would be just the opposite. I'd agree as a general matter that it's better to attack groups instead of individuals, but that doesn't go for someone that is representing us. I mean, this is consent of the governed. Particularly in the case of someone who dedicated his life to stripping the nation of adequate intelligence capabilities. I think he should be hanging his head in shame, as should whoever reprimanded you for that.

Q: I had occasion to go deep-sea fishing with former Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Bob Daniels. When Dellums got that gig, Bob was not a happy camper.

A: As should have all Americans, had they realized what was being done to their intelligence capability.

Q: In the wake of the epic tragedy of Sept. 11, I observed our intelligence community totally soil the sheets. One defense expert gave me a hard time and said, "You shouldn't say these fine people in the intelligence community were at fault." And I am not faulting the grunts in the field trying to do the job, but the policy makers who denied them the necessary resources -- especially the human-intelligence resources that Dellums conducted his jihad to get rid of nail-by-nail, brick-by-brick and Bill Clinton expedited.

A: Right. I mean, they are on record. For all I know, we can blame the grunts. Who's to say? I just don't know. But we do know with Ron Dellums this was his passion in life -- ensuring that America would not be prepared for an attack like this. Because who's to say who's better -- the Soviet Union, us, Cuba, Nicaragua? We're as bad as they are if we gather intelligence.

Q: Not hardly.

A: I'm saying that's what their logic is.

Q: Ah-ha. Now you are introducing facts not in evidence, because you have the presumption to call it "logic."

A: That's right.

Q: See, I think that's a stretch. You made a passing reference to the work on your next book. What is that about?

A: Liberals. It's a long book.

Q: I was going to say it's either a very, very long book or a one-pager.

A: In fact, I have already started engaging in triage and taking some of the chapters and saving them for the next book. There's just too much. My editor has told me, "Don't think you can say it all in one book. Think of this as the first in a series."

Q: I've just finished a book of assorted interviews I have done: Dave Schippers, Ted Nugent, Dave Hackworth, et al. It roughs to 616 pages, and my editor wants about 350.

A: Yes, 616 is pretty long. Nobody is going to read that. Cut it down.

Q: A Canadian reader who lives here now noted they have suffered similar liberal, socialist, incrementalist assaults in Canada.

A: Yes, but they can be a little prouder than we can at the moment. I was reading the story of one of the conspirators with the hijackers who has been arrested since the attack. The full story included how he got into the country, blah, blah, blah. He was stopped at the Canadian border. The Canadians refused him, so instead, he came to the United States.

Q: And we don't refuse anybody!

A: He was then convicted of a felony. If you are a guest in this country and are convicted of a crime, you are supposed to go back to your home country. His home country wouldn't take him. So where does he end up? In the United States. You know, the people who know him best refuse him. So consequently, he's free in America. Somehow it's always our problem. We end up with the criminals and the refuse of the world. Well, you know if the criminals and the refuse of the world are coming here to get a new start, that's fine. But no, they're coming here and committing crimes, and we still can't get rid of them. This is really insane. I mean, isn't this a buyer's market? We could have whomever we want. Everybody wants to come here!

Q: We've got some 250,000 people the INS has already ordered out of the county, but the INS can't find them!

A: Right.

Q: People have been itching and moaning about our borders for ages. It appeared a few months ago that George Bush and his buddy Vicente Fox were going to get together and all of the sudden, borders were going to get erased. Is one of the unintended consequences of Sept. 11 going to be a locking down of the borders?

A: It ought to be.

Q: OK, we both know it ought to be. And?

A: People make fun of Pat Buchanan saying we ought to build a wall -- I mean, the main crossing area between Mexico and the United States is only like 50 miles. This says nothing about how great or small immigration is. I'm all for immigration, although I do think we ought to go a little bit more for people who are seeking freedom and not people who are seeking handouts. We are a buyer's market, and it just seems to me we ought to have control. But that is not an anti-immigrant statement.

Q: I have supported something very unpopular among some conservatives. I think this idea of some kind of work-permit program makes sense. At least then you have some kind of method of keeping track of them.

A: Oh sure. I have no problem with that. You are talking about the sort of people who are coming here to work, to get jobs -- the sort of thing we want people here for. I have no problem with that. I'm just saying at whatever level the immigration level is set at is unrelated to whether or not we should enforce what that level is. This really is a typical liberal approach to something, where there are no adults in charge. There are just randomly open borders and amnesty for anyone who has broken the law and comes across. It's just something you ought to have control over. This is the nature of the country. This is the character of the people who are voting and are going to form this country for the rest of its existence. That is what is so great about this country, and I am a fan of bringing immigrants in. I just want the ones who are here looking for freedom and not a handout or an easy murder to commit.

Q: The inimitable frustration right now is -- and you can't pin down the number because they are here illegally -- they are undocumented. Is it 3 million? Is it 8 million? Is it 11 million? It is too many, however many it is. At least with a worker-permit program, although you won't get them all, you are going to get another bunch that at least you can track and kinda-sorta know where they are.

A: Yes. I don't think that is the typical illegal immigrant.

Q: Did you see what some of these "coyotes" (the guys that smuggle illegals into the country) are getting for schlepping in these terrorists?

A: No.

Q: Thirty-six grand a pop. So if they have a decision of whether to take a van full of migrant workers or a handful of these guys ... guess what they’ll do?

A: Right. And as a general matter, people who are on a suicide mission funded by millions of dollars of oil money from terrorists -- they have the money to spend and it's going to be hard to stop them at all. But the idea that we have absolutely no control over our borders is abominable.