How much does it cost to get Ann Coulter to talk to a liberal?*

I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess it’s somewhere in the five figure range. Whatever the amount, Vanderbilt’s IMPACT Symposium is paying it this year to stage a debate between Ann Coulter and Al Sharpton. Why don’t they just host a mud wrestling event instead? They would save a lot of money and the level of intellectual discourse would be just as high.

Now that I think about it, perhaps IMPACT should put a mud pit on stage between them and see what happens? With a bucket or two of falafel added in they could probably even get Bill O’Reilly to referee at no extra charge; Hire James Carville to announce the play-by-play and we’re talking about the political debate of the century.

On a more serious note, IMPACT selected well with its choice of Howard Dean for the primary speaking spot. As with Condoleeza Rice’s Senior Day speech last May, they pulled off the trick of arranging a speaker far in advance who would happen to be big in the news at the time of the event. As an innovative campaigner and newly elected DNC Chair, Dean is exactly the kind of speaker IMPACT should be looking for: someone who’s both provocative and relevant.

Coulter and Sharpton will speak and/or thrash about wildly on March 21st. Dean speaks the next evening. Tickets are $10 for the public.

*Correction: I noticed after writing this entry that Coulter and Sharpton won’t actually be debating. Disappointingly, they will just be giving separate monologues on the same evening. Perhaps even Vanderbilt’s considerable resources were not enough to get Ann to talk to a liberal.

Comments

  1. Ben Stark says:

    Oh dear God. Coulter and Sharpton?! I think Vanderbilt’s money would have been more efficiently spent buying a giant vaccuum that sucks out the brain matter of students watching them speak. Or at least a metaphysical vaccuum to suck up the time that will be wasted on them.

    Bad metaphors aside, I have NO respect for those two.

    It reminds me of when James Carville and Mary Matelin (sp?) spoke at Vandy a few years back. I cannot remember ever seeing speakers who had so little to say! But they could say it in so many words!

    On the other hand, I would be quite interested in seeing Howard Dean speak….especially at Vanderbilt of all places! I guess this is what he means by not giving up on the Reddest of Red States.

  2. Ben Stark says:

    The Tennessean quotes Jonathan freakin’ Justl! Jonathan “I hate satire” Justl!

    My mind is blown.

  3. Jeff says:

    Yeah, I think Dean’s a good pick – I’d like to see him. Not that I’ll be anywhere near Vandy during IMPACT. I disagree with Ben – I have more respect for Sharpton now than I used to. He may be a demagogue, but he has the ability to resonate with people and get people fired up over relevant issues. He’s not afraid to point out the iniquities in the system, and I like that. The Dems need more fire – Dean can provide some of it, but they need people like Sharpton around to help.

  4. Michael says:

    Cost of Ann Coulter and Al Sharpton squaring off in a battle of wits? – $9,000, plus ammenities.

    Possibility of Ann Coulter’s shirt coming off because of a mud wrestling match? – Priceless.

  5. Joel Fagin says:

    Jacob I would agree with everyone of those characterizations except O’Reilly. You have him all wrong.

  6. Sarah says:

    Ann Coulter?!! Ann “women shouldn’t be allowed to vote” Coulter?! Was Satan unavailable? Vanderbilt, this is why I will never give you any alum donations. I might however come back from France just to throw some Simone de Beauvoir or Margarite Yourcenar books at her from the audience. Grrrr.

  7. Ben Stark says:

    Joel.

    It’s not Bill O’Reilly’s politics that make me despise him. I adamantly disagree with his politics, but hey I adamantly disagree with my own father’s politics. It takes a little more than that to rile me up.

    What is wrong with O’Reilly is the way he treats people he disagrees with. He cuts them off. He interrupts them. He shouts them down. O’Reilly is part of a breed of pundits that seek entertainment value over enlightenment and throws basic respect overboard.

    Certainly there are people like that on the liberal side. Michael Moore comes to mind. But I cannot respect Bill O’Reilly.

    Did Ann Coulter actually say women shouldn’t be allowed to vote?

  8. Jacob says:

    As Ben suggests, it’s O’Reilly’s reputation for bullying and interrupting his guests that caused me to include him in this group. I admit it was reputation only though — I’ve never actually watched The Factor.

    The Coulter reference apparently comes from a 2001 appearance on Politically Incorrect in which she said, “I think [women] should be armed but should not vote…women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it…it’s always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care.”

    The quote is on this wiki, which may or may not be reliable.

  9. Joel Fagin says:

    “What is wrong with O’Reilly is the way he treats people he disagrees with. He cuts them off. He interrupts them. He shouts them down. O’Reilly is part of a breed of pundits that seek entertainment value over enlightenment and throws basic respect overboard.”

    I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that assesment, although the format requires him to interrupt a guest if they are rambling. If his audience feels he is shouting them down or treating them unfairly they will tune out. There are plenty of talking heads on TV who do the same thing with nowhere near the viewership.

    He attracts viewers for several reasons. One is that the investigative journalism done on that show is second-to-none on television.

    Second is his ability to call the powerful to account for their actions. He more than any other investigative journalist is willing to stick his neck out for a cause and he invites anyone to appear on his show that criticizes him publicly.

    The example that sticks out in my mind were his segments on the Florida child protection system. O’Reilly and his team found case after case of children being neglected in that state and called them to account. Other examples include the mishandled 9/11 charites and the nefarious activities of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push coalition. All great examples of journalism and truth-seeking affecting real change. I love the idea that the powerful can be held to account for thier misdeeds, and I think that is a huge part of his appeal.

    Yes he is smug and often belligerent, but that persistance contributes to his ability to influence. I don’t necessarily like his personallity but I can recognize the effectiveness of his methods.

  10. Bob says:

    They both spoke separately and took audience questions together. Not surprising that though both had fans in the house, only Coulter had to deal with rude students. Not surprising – but they were good examples of many of Coulters’ anti-liberal points.

  11. pat says:

    it is laughable that in a discussion involving ann coulter,(cornell and u. of michigan grad), and al sharpton the crowd trusts sharpton blindly. anyone who has read ann coulter knows she uses biting sarcasm to engage and infuriate her opponents. young college students are so vulnerable to this because they take themselves soooo seriously. of course, some are just too daft to get it. i doubt miss coulter felt very challenged by the level of questions and her speaking partner. do you really believe she doesn’t think women should vote? WOW!!! that is why liberals are such easy pickings, vain and humorless with a pie-eyed misunderstanding of the world around them. just ignore those free women in iraq who just voted. also, ignore the women in afghanistan who now do not fear the taliban. “where’s osama” is the best you can do? absolutely stunning.

  12. larry says:

    idiots have no shame, i.e. having an opinion of Bill O’Reilly yet “I’ve never actually watched The Factor.”

  13. pat m says:

    i am sure that any vanderbilt republicans are heartened to see that liberal democrats think having dean and sharpton hawking for them is a good thing. let me see… the governator is a joke but sharpton is a profound thinker. always consistant liberal confusion. this is too easy.

  14. pat says:

    “i’ve never actually watched the factor” unfortunately it is a schedule conflict with the john stewart show, a real journalist!, or bill maher. the “red state” voters are mindless christian republican sheep but the michael moore, maher, sycophants are worldly and ponderous. simple-minded sloganeers of “blood for oil” “he lied they died” or as the great o-g peace-nik puff daddy puts it “vote or die”. this would all be very amusing if it weren’t for the vacant dolts that stumble out of abercrombie and fitch and start sputtering these incoherent catch phrases that somehow show up repeatedly in the new york times.

  15. pat says:

    hey sarah, when you throw your books at ann coulter make sure you take the cosmo-girl mags out first! no sense in throwing the reading material that you can actually comprehend!!!! gosh, you are so perfectly obtuse.

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