Jay Kimbrough: Columnist matchup off balance

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I'll tell you right off the bat: you're not going to care for this letter. But like all medicine, it's good for you, so take the bitter dose and try not to complain too vehemently. In return, I'll keep the personal attacks to a bare minimum.

You stated in "From the Editor" that you're pairing Ann Coulter with Maureen Dowd, a "left-leaning columnist." As you put it, "that should give readers some different perspectives each week." What you left out is that Coulter isn't right-leaning. She's fanatically right. And sure, there are different perspectives there, as you stated. But it's nowhere near balanced. It's almost like a written version of the Hannity and Colmes show. I read through both columns and counted the number of barbs each one aimed at the other's political party.

Dowd had five: Her description of the civil liberties trangressions, a reference to Cheney's sanity, a portrayal of the hunt for leakers, the gibe about changing our clocks to military time, and the comparison of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" to Bush's foreign policy.

And now, let's look at Coulter's vitriolic spiel. There were two attacks on Ted Kennedy, two claims of attempted prosecutions because of politics, an accusation of a Democrat trying to frame outspoken Republican Rush Limbaugh, a charge of tit-for-tat being "the only argument that ever works with Democrats," falsely accusing Clinton of being a felon, alleging Democratic about-facing in regards to the independant counsel statute, calling criminal charges against Republicans "trumped-up," postulating the existence of a declaration of war against Republicans by Democrats, insinuating that Republicans will be imprisoned in Guantanamo if Hillary is elected President, and calling liberals "domestic enemies" and "dangerous psychotics." She evidently believes imbecilic rabble-rousing is a valid form of political discourse, saying, "What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?" She also asserted that when "people like ... me show up to give a speech in defense of America," it requires "bomb-sniffing dogs and a lecture hall lined with armed police" to quell violent protests. People who disagree with her are "howling, violent liberals," and in regard to conservatives' alleged passivity, "liberals already have invalidated your 'Let's all just get along' policy."

At least Dowd had the decency to limit her comments to the administration and its policies. Coulter just cast aspersion on all Democrats, high and low alike. Broad generalizations and unfocused denunciation abound in her take on the liberal masses. It seems to me, these perspectives are a bit skewed in comparison to one another, especially in light of the focus of the columns. Dowd's column was about the fall lineup at ABC. Coulter's, like everything she's ever written, was about the wickedness of the Democrats and how the Republicans need to get together and trounce them soundly.

My point to all this is that if you're going to have a sensationalistic, bitterly hostile columnist like Coulter in the ViewPoints section, it would be fair to have an especially telling excerpt or two from, say, an Al Franken book to counter her.

On the bright side, here's a spoonful of sugar to help all that go down. I have noticed that in the past, the Steamboat Today has been fairly consistent in remaining neutral in tone and articles. Let's keep that tradition going, shall we?

Jay Kimbrough

Steamboat Springs

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