Thursday, November 20, 2008

How the mighty do fall

-- by Dave

I'm sure a lot of you were wondering what happened to Ann Coulter this election season. The right has trotted her out to wage culture wars reliably ever since 1998. But she hardly was visible at all this year.

Well, if you happen to be one of those lost souls who belongs to the Conservative Book Club, then you received one of these e-mails in your Inbox this week from Coulter.


[Click here to see the full letter.]

As you can see, it's a letter that starts out by teeing off the emerging right-wing meme attempting to blame Barack Obama for the current economic meltdown, mostly by noting that Wall Street firms donated more heavily to Obama's campaign than to John McCain's:

If you've been wondering why the financial industry is in meltdown -- and taking your 401(k) or investment portfolio down with it -- now you know.

Let's face it: The former frat boys who populate Wall Street today understand economics as well as the pinko professors whose courses they snored through.

Now, it's true that Democrats were heavily preferred by Wall Street campaign donors this year, but that has far more to do with their historic preference for lining up behind the perceived likely winners of a given election season. And even a blind pig -- or a right-wing pundit -- could sense before the season even started that the Republican brand was giving off the distinct odor of fetid slop.

But if those same Wall Street pinko-educated frat boys are as ignorant of economics this year as Coulter claims, then wouldn't they have been equally so in 2000 and 2004, when they gave heavily instead to Coulter's then-preferred candidate, George W. Bush? Something doesn't exactly add up here.

That's all just throat-clearing, though, for Coulter's main pitch: She's selling you a financial newsletter written by a fellow named Mark Skousen, whose PhD in economics seems to impress Coulter mightily (if only she gave as much credence to people who actually won the Nobel Prize in economics).

Three years ago, Skousen was selling the same scam through the Heritage Foundation, promising super-hot stock tips if only you subscribed to his pricey investment newsletter. No word on how that hot tech stock actually did -- but I'd wager it performed about as well the return on assisting former Nigerian prime ministers.

Skousen, however, is not just your average "conservative economist." He actually is an adherent of the same far-right school of "libertarian" economics as Ron Paul: he advocates a return to the gold standard, the dismantling of the IRS and the Federal Reserve, and most of the other conspiratorial nonsense that accompanies these theories. Like Paul, he's a devotee of the Ludwig Van Mises Institute, which promotes much of this malarkey, and he's likewise actually a Bircherite in libertarian clothing. Indeed, Paul was one of the headliners at Skousen's "FreedomFest" earlier this year in Las Vegas.

Like most of the Bircher wing of the libertarian movement, Skousen consistently takes a far-right political position on labor issues, too. He wrote a piece denouncing "card check" union organizing just last month.

Skousen is the nephew of the late noted John Birch/Mormon figure W. Cleon Skousen; his brother, Joel Skousen, is famous for promoting Patriot-style "New World Order" conspiracy theories. All three of them promote the far-right version of "constitutionalism," which is all about the belief that secret elites manipulate the economy and the political process, wield the IRS and Federal Reserve as political weapons along with a huge federal bureaucracy, all of which violates the original unamended (or "organic") Constitution.

So this is what Ann Coulter is reduced to these days: Shilling for Patriot-style right-wing moneymaking scams.

But then, I guess it isn't surprising that Coulter is heading down this same path. During the past campaign, she actually came out in support of Ron Paul.

Well, fools and their money are soon parted. And anyone foolish enough to take their investment advice from Ann Coulter will get everything they deserve.

But I'm wondering when we'll see Coulter turn up in late-night infomercials for gold Liberty Dollars with her own image stamped on them. Because that's the road -- the one leading to ignominious obscurity and irrelevance -- she's headed down.

And I can't think of a more deserved fate.

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