Ann Coulter exploded back on the scene last week with her despicable comments about anti-war 9/11 widows. She said, amongst other awful things, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."
I'm sure you'll be shocked and amazed to learn than this line comes from her brand new book, Godless, which accuses liberals of being, well, godless, and which currently sits atop the Amazon.com bestsellers list. The above link is to a Howard Kurtz column in the Washington Post in which he argues that perhaps the media ought to stop feeding this ravenous publicity beast. She might just go away.
Kurtz is entirely correct to point out, however, that there is a tiny nugget of a valid point secreted beneath all those layers of Coulterian boilerplate. Here's how he puts it: "...once widows turn themselves into political activists, their personal tragedies should not shield them from rebuttal..."
As Matt Lauer rightly noted on the Today show, Coulter disproves her own argument by attacking the widows, as many a right-winger has done to Cindy Sheehan as well. The animus directed at Coulter in this case comes not from her temerity in challenging the widows' political views, but from the inhuman callousness of her attack.
Every American has the right to enter the political debate — for any reason. The 9/11 widows and Cindy Sheehan — not to mention Terri Schiavo's parents — have as much right as anyone else to their political views. But, and this is crucial, they have no special right to influence public policy. Their stories may be compelling, even tragic. That might give them a bigger soapbox or a louder megaphone, but it should never give them an extra vote.