Ann Coulter’s new book, “Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama,” hits the bookstores at a serendipitous time. No sooner does it appear than Coulter’s thesis – that Barack Obama has revived the demagogue’s art – is fully confirmed by a newly discovered video.
In the video, which was recorded in June 2007 at a meeting of black pastors in Virginia and unearthed by the Daily Caller, candidate Obama speaks in a voice that most Americans have not heard.
In fact, few people have a heard a voice anything like it since white actors Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll hung up the headsets on their popular radio show, “Amos ‘n’ Andy.”
To be fair to Obama, however, he does a much better job mimicking African-American speech than the comically awful Hillary Clinton did when speaking in Selma in 2007. Apparently, Obama learned at least something useful from “mah pastor,” the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “a friend and a great leader.”
Coulter’s “Mugged” makes the perfect companion guide to understanding why Obama spoke the way he did, why the media suppressed the story in 2007 and why they will now try to use its exposure not against Obama, but Romney.
Coulter is a warrior. She goes places where no man – at least no man at the National Review – would dare venture. In any other hands, the material Coulter amasses and assesses would be too depressing to read.
Coulter makes it almost fun, but not quite. As she understands, the left’s adept play of the race card over the last half-century has been too disastrous, especially for black America, to be anything but darkly amusing.
As the son of a Newark, N.J., detective, I could barely bring myself to read Coulter’s accounts of the many innocent cops who have been accused of brutality or even murder because it suited the agenda of a liberal politician – including, in one case, Hillary Clinton – or, more routinely, the template of the liberal media.
I have been following this phenomenon closely since I was a kid. The summer I was 19, a riot broke out in Newark. Although my father had died a few years earlier, my uncle had been in the thick of it from the initial assault on the precinct where he worked. He would work 72 hours straight before it was over.
While I worried about the fate of my uncle and my father’s friends – policemen and firemen and rescue workers – I found the media fretting about the rioters and my new progressive pals trashing “the pigs.”
This was the first time I had heard that slur within striking distance, and it very nearly came to that. By the time the smoke had cleared, so had my illusions about being a hip, young Democrat. I knew what I was not.
Within months of the riot, Tom Hayden and Vintage Books had elevated the event into “Rebellion in Newark,” a book that perfectly captures what Coulter sees as the self-destructive absurdity of the left’s exploitation of black America.
Hayden imagined Newark a police state and decided this was the rare police state he did not admire. The Newark police, he writes, were the real purveyors of “intimidation, harassment, and violence.”
The 250 black officers – nearly 20 percent of the force – were mere “tokens.” That all the police, black and white, struggled and suffered and sometimes fell to preserve their own community mattered to Hayden not a whit.
“Few whites were killed,” Hayden assures the reader. These included “only one policeman and one fireman,” as if the word “only” offered some balm to the wives or children or friends of the dead. He scolds the reader for thinking the riot “a form of lawless, mob behavior.” No, he says, “A riot represents people making history.”
Hayden’s glib history cost 26 lives, 24 of them black, and more than 1,000 businesses, some 167 of them food stores, most of them never to return. From the left’s perspective, people making history was far more interesting than people buying groceries.
Coulter does a dazzling job of holding the Haydens of the world accountable for the havoc they have wrought on America, black and white. There was a moment, however, when America very nearly shucked off the guilt Hayden and others like him had been peddling.
As Coulter tells it, that moment came when white America saw black America celebrating the “not guilty” verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial. Many white Americans hoped to make the era of diminished guilt that followed the O.J. verdict permanent by voting for Obama.
They were not paying attention. As Coulter points out in her inimitable style, the president has used race to immunize himself and his cronies from media criticism.
“The post-racial president,” she writes, “who was supposed to allow the country to move past race, mau-maued white America from day one of his campaign.” Four years later, scarcely a day goes by in the campaign that one of his proxies is not doing the same.
A couple centuries from now, while picking through the remains of what was once America, some anthropologist will pick up “Mugged” and wonder how it was that no one but a skinny WASP chick from Connecticut would dare tell the story of America’s undoing.
And every now and then, despite himself, he will laugh out loud.