Friday, August 11, 2006

How not to debate Ann Coulter

It's hard to believe that Dave Sirota is a professional political consultant ... except that he's a Democrat, and they're pretty hard up for help lately.

Suppose you're a Democrat asked to go up against Ann Coulter on CNBC, a network that nobody ever watches. (More people will see the Sirota-Coulter "debate" on YouTube than saw it on CNBC.)

  • The subject: War, terrorism and politics.
  • The host: Larry Kudlow, a crappy interviewer who takes up way too much air time making his own points.
You've got 10 minutes of TV time and Kudlow (who reminds me of the late, great Phil Hartman) is going to chew up a good 3 or 4 minutes of that. He starts the segment with a minute-long softball pitch to Ann and lets her filibuster for a full minute.

At the 2-minute mark of the segment, Kudlow says, "David Sirota, I want to get your response to that ...." and then takes 24 seconds to formulate an argument about "terrorism on the front page" that ends with, "Dave, that can't be good for the Dems, can it?"

Your 10-minute segment is already 25% gone, so how do you respond?

If you are David Sirota, you ignore the question and go totally ad hominem: Ann is "like Osama bin Ladin," she's "Ayatollah-esque," she said mean things about the New York Times, she said mean things about Justice Stevens and Congressman Murtha!

Genius move, asshole! You've just wasted about a minute of your air time badmouthing Ann Coulter who (I hate to have to point this out) is not going to be on the ballot in November.

When are Democrats going to learn that ad hominem attacks on Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News are not going to win them any elections? If somebody likes Ann Coulter, nothing David Sirota says is going to change their minds. And saying nasty things about Fox News -- while perhaps gratifying to liberals -- doesn't do anything to elect Democrats. So you just keep wasting your time attacking the messenger, Dave, and Republicans will keep winning elections.

But the greatest thing about Sirota's ad hominem Coulter-as-Osama rant was that it gave Coulter (who knows a thing or two about ad hominem attacks) a perfect opening to fire back with her tradmark wit:
Right. The Democrats' response to worldwide Islamic fascism is to attack Ann Coulter.
And then she's right back to her talking points.

In 5 seconds, Dave, she not only rebuffed your entire stemwinding rant, but she turned it into a funny soundbite about Democrats' misplaced priorities in the War on Terror.

Game, set, match to Ann Coulter.

Sirota, too stupid even to know when he's been defeated, then goes onto The Huffington Post and beats his chest about how "for one of the GOP's top icons, she was truly unimpressive ... frankly, if this is the best the Republicans have, Democrats are going to really carry election day come November. We are watching the very public implosion of the GOP - and boy is it fun to watch."

The commenter "Summerfield" at Huffington Post nails Sirota:

She took you down without lifting a finger. Why did you attack her? ...

You have a great privilege being on these shows and you should use it for those of us that agree with you. The very fact you show the video and gloat is indicative of how much you missed the mark.

Two pieces of advice, David:
  • 1. Next time you get your ass kicked on one of those zero-Nielsen cable shows, don't brag about it on the blogosphere so that every wingnut with a modem gets the opportunity to make fun of what a lame wussy you are.
  • 2. I know you're straight, but you sure sound like a flaming queen. That whole "metrosexual" thing is great. Stick with it.


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