Ann Coulter, a Fox News commentator and author of eight New York Times bestselling polemics, spoke to the Yale Political Union Tuesday about President Barack Obama’s campaign to “wreck the economy and drive up the unemployment rate.”
The conservative pundit spoke to an overflowing crowd in Sudler Hall about her opinions on the dangers of American liberalism. The topic of the debate was “Resolved: The Left is Destroying America,” and Coulter recapitulated many of the points from her books in her defense of the proposal. Most audience members interviewed said they went to see Coulter assail liberalism in person, but some added that they were disappointed by her repetitive material.
“Liberals love mobs because they see them as their path to power,” she said, explaining her belief that the Occupy Wall Street protests were only the latest incarnation of a liberal political machine designed to inflame an ill-informed populace.
Mobs, however, were not Coulter’s only target. Other critiques, each delivered with a joke on the side, targeted the Obama’s economic, foreign and health care policies. One of Coulter’s more pointed remarks targeted his attempts to raise taxes as the opposite of President Ronald Reagan’s approach.
“It’s like [Obama] took everything Reagan did right and did exactly the opposite,” she said.
Beyond Obama, Coulter mocked U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) for accusing Republicans of trying to “criminalize” illegal immigration. Coulter, pretending shock, asked why Schultz would object to “criminalizing crime.”
Two students interviewed said that they were surprised by the lack of hard statistics in Coulter’s speech. One of her speech’s only figures came as she referred to Obama’s “trillion-dollar stimulus” — the bill actually authorized $787 billion in spending. Although there were few numbers, Coulter did refer to her personal experience with American business owners, claiming not to have encountered a single job creator who favored the president’s health care policy. As for Obama’s proposed tax on salaries over $1 million, notably supported by billionaire Warren Buffett, Coulter did not mince words.
“If you make over a million dollars and ask for my taxes to be raised I think we should have an ‘open-your-yap tax’,” she said. “We tax your income 100 percent, and there’s also a 100-percent wealth tax. We take all your money!”
After Coulter’s speech, one student asked her why the Republicans were unable to win every election if the Democrats were as incompetent as she claimed.
“When Republicans and Americans are both paying attention to elections, we can always win.” Coulter responded, adding that she predicted that Obama will lose in the 2012 election, to cheers from the YPU’s conservative parties.
When the question-and-answer session concluded, Coulter quickly left for dinner with members of the Young America’s Foundation — the conservative national organization that funds the annual Irving Brown Lecture series which paid for Coulter’s appearance — and other YPU speakers took the floor to continue the debate.
Dominick Lawton, Coulter’s first opponent, argued that conservative principles embodied in corporate outsourcing policies had devastated America’s small towns. Liberals and conservatives traded talking points until Cody Pomeranz ’15 of the Independent Party presented a middle ground: “Conflict is necessary. Disagreement is essential … If Ms. Coulter really wants to help America, she should oppose extremists on both sides.”
After the debate, students interviewed told the News they were underwhelmed by Coulter’s performance.
“There was a lack of substance,” said Ella Wood ’15, a member of the Independent Party. “But there were some excellent speeches, particularly on the merits of dialogue.”
Harry Graver ’14, the YPU’s floor leader of the right, took a practical view of Coulter’s rhetoric, saying “she knows how to work a room.”
But not everyone was able to see Coulter in person: as many as 50 people were turned away from Sudler Hall and directed to a spare room in Dunham Laboratory where it was telecast.
Coulter’s latest book, titled “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob Is Endangering America,” was released in June.
Correction: October 12
An earlier version of this article referred to Harry Graver ’14 as the chairman of the Conservative Party. Graver actually is the Yale Political Union’s floor leader of the right.