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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Ann Coulter Speaks at Stony Brook

    Ann Coulter visited Stony Brook University Monday to speak to students in a lecture titled, “Liberals Are Wrong About Everything.” Coulter — a highly controversial political commentator — focused on educating the audience about conservative views, while ridiculing liberal beliefs.

    The event, held in the Student Activity Center auditorium, was divided into three sections: a 45-minute speech, a 45-minute Q’A session, and a public book signing.

    President of Stony Brook’s College Republicans, Kevin McKeon, introduced Coulter. “It’s not particularly popular to be a conservative on campus,” he said. “We’d like to change that.”

    This sentiment was the underlying theme for the rest of the evening — to detail and debate current conservative ideology for a younger generation of voters.

    During her speech, Coulter concentrated on presenting conservative views and poking fun at liberal ideology.

    Coulter is a best-selling author, and has written several books describing her politics. The factual accuracy of her books has been questioned several times by critiques, however. Emmy Award-winning author, comedian, and political commentator Alan S. Franken (Al Franken) is one of many to question the factual accuracy of her books. Mr. Franken accuses Coulter of citing passages out of context in his book, “Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them)”.

    Coulter has been allegedly accused of abusing other religious beliefs. On Oct. 8 2007 in an interview with Donny Deutsch in his CNBC program, “The Big Idea”, Coulter stated that Christians are “perfected Jews”, which was found offensive by Mr. Deutsch as being a practicing Jewish.

    Coulter has also been accused of defaming Islamic religion as she has said, “…all terrorists are Muslims.”

    Coulter is known for her fervent opposition of liberal views, which has made her a controversial figure on the public stage.

    One of the major topics Coulter discussed was the conflicting opinion between political parties on the fight against terrorism.

    Coulter blamed liberals for taking a soft stance on terrorism. She also blamed Democrats for not dealing harshly enough with prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. “Gitmo sounds like a freshman dorm at a state university?where terrorists wait for a Democratic president,” she said. For that comment, the audience laughed and applauded her.

    In reference to the current political race, Coulter said that she was planning on voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, even though Clinton was not a conservative.

    She mentioned that John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, “is a fragile vessel for important ideas.” She referred to the entire field of candidates for the 2008 election, however, as a “poverty of leadership” in U.S. politics. She said that the younger generation had to “rise up” in order to restore true conservative principles to the political arena.

    After her speech, the Q’A session was held, which lasted for the majority of the event. Coulter took direct questions from the audience, most of which were about current political election events.

    A recurring point she made dealt with campaign finance reform, particularly during this year’s election.

    According to Coulter, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001, which regulates the financing of political campaigns, ensures that “only fat nerds and self-made billionaires” are able to run for president, which limits the playing field. Donation caps, Coulter said, cause successful campaigns to be based on the ability to raise funds instead of on the candidate’s political platform.

    Coulter, however, was not only asked about current events.

    Alexander Chamessian, a junior, asked, “What are the means to build the conservative movement?” Coulter responded, “It has to come from the youth. [They need] to understand and promote?[because] traditional leadership is dead.”

    She also suggested that young conservatives should be entering the show business in order to reach people emotionally, saying that it would have more of an impact than traditional media talk shows. “We [conservatives] haven’t fought the cultural war” she said.

    Not all people, though, felt their questions received a sufficient answer.

    One student, who did not wish to be named, said that the way Coulter describes Muslim-Americans was similar to the way Japanese-Americans were described during World War II. “She completely avoided my question,” the student said. “[I] was actually leaning towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict,” but he was cut off by Coulter before being able to complete his thought. “It was like punching a guy knowing that he can’t hit back,” he said.

    Coulter didn’t seem to mind getting “grilled” for her views, and she said during the session, “When you get attacked, that’s when you know you’re onto something.”

    “I find her opinions disputable. She just cracked jokes on things that do not even make sense. I find her repulsive to my political viewpoints,” said Ross Barkan, a freshman.

    Other students such as Steve Ola, senior, biology major, shared similar viewpoints as freshman Barkan, “I thought it would be a political talk, but it turned out to be more like a stand-up comedy [show]. It is incomprehensible how worse she can be, and how much she can go down. She is completely politically incorrect.”

    Some students found Coulter’s visit disputable as Kayvan Zarrasi, senior, biochemistry major said, “I think it was a waste of time. She was just trying to be funny for specific audience. It makes me sad how people can go down, and laugh on such things that do not make sense. I am an atheist, but I do have respect for other religions…”

    Kelly Reeve, a junior, said she was glad that Coulter was going to speak. “I was actually excited that Ann Coulter would be on campus, and I think more students should have showed up,” she said.

    Junior Keith Tilley said, “I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. [It was full of] historical inaccuracies, cheap jokes and attacks, not facts.”

    Tino Evangelou, a graduate student, agreed with the presence of historical inaccuracies in Coulter’s speech. Evangelou said Coulter made “broad generalizations” and “attacks on [Democratic candidate] Barack Obama’s heritage by referring to him as B. Hussein Obama.”

    Evangelou was also disappointed that Coulter’s speech was not very long. The event started 20 minutes late, at 8:20 p.m., and Coulter only spoke for about 25 minutes of her allotted 45-minute speech.

    221 of the 595 tickets available for the speech were sold, according to the Faculty Student Association. The tickets cost $5 for students, and $10 for general admittance.

    Hosting Coulter also cost $20,000 plus private expenses, her going rate for college campus talks, according to the Young America Foundation.

    “She has a lot of style, but no substance,” Evangelou continued. “And she’s managed to make a career out of it.”

    Bradley Donaldson and Zeeshan Mughal contributed reporting.

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