IN DEFENSE OF COULTER BASHING. I want one of our own youngsters to explain to me (again) how The New Republic should be taken seriously any more by anyone with the intellect of a hamster. (Hey, Ezra tried! Cool.) At the top, we have Crazy Marty and, down below, an assortment of earnest young enablers who have difficulty finding their way to both common sense and the recruiting office. The latest eruption comes from someone named Elspeth Reeve, who has decided that my gal, Annie Coulter, is the rebellious, gun-totin' queen of the Counter-Establishment. The piece already has been picked apart by both Lance Mannion and the redoubtable Bob Somerby. To the surprise of exactly nobody, of course, Mickey Kaus reads the piece, sighs deeply, lights a cigarette, and reaches for a moist towel. As Mannion, Somerby, and anyone who can read will testify, this passage is the crescendo of the stupidity:

"It is a little absurd to hold up a person as an expert judge of the 9/11 Commission Report, for example, just because she lost a loved one."

Does anyone not drawing a check from the Singer Sewing Machine Legacy Project believe that Ann Coulter knows more about the 9-11 Commission Report than, say, Kristin Breitweiser? Is it even necessary to make the argument? Reeve's piece is another one of those smug little TNR exercises in faux-contrarianism that gave us Betsy McCaughey on health care, The Bell Curve on the cover of the magazine, and all those exercises in Krauthammerian Projection throughout the 1980's. Except that this one is profoundly dumber. I swear, Stephen Glass used to make up better stuff than this.

--Charles P. Pierce