Chris Matthews Interviews The Insane Ann Coulter
6-30-03 -- First, we begin with Ann Coulter and her new book ďTreason, Liberal Treachery To The Cold War To The War On TerrorismĒ. I said off the air, you are a great writer. We can disagree on a couple of points, but you are a hell of a writer and one brilliant propagandist. So let me ask you about some tough questions in the news. I know youíve been on book tour, but Senator Frist, the Republican leader of the Senate, has called for a ban in the constitution-to change the constitution-to make sure that no states allow gay marriages. Where do you stand?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR OF ďTREASONĒ: I prefer if the Supreme Court would just do its job and interpret the constitution we have.
MATTHEWS: Now, Senator Frist has called...
COULTER: I know...
MATTHEWS: ... for a constitutional amendment.
COULTER: Right, this is in response to the Supreme Court decision, which I think is not...
MATTHEWS: The one on sodomy.
COULTER: Right. And you can flip through your constitution, thereís nothing about sodomy in it, that the Supreme Court has decided they want to be our philosopher kings. If they would interpret the constitution, we wouldnít need to keep doing these things.
MATTHEWS: ... downside in the Republicans being very literal and saying what they believe. In other words, gay marriage. Whatís wrong with the Republicans simply saying, letís make it clear here like Republicans want to do with regard abortion. Letís make it clear here, you donít have the right to an abortion. Whatís the difference in this case?
COULTER: Well, no. Theyíre actually identical. There is not...
MATTHEWS: You donít think either member should carry?
COULTER: Well, I donít know what difference it makes. The Supreme Court will interpret it any way they want to. They have no right to issue the ruling that they already have.
MATTHEWS: No, if the court says itís legal to have an abortion, or itís not legal to have an abortion, then itís a fact. I mean, if the constitution is written clearly...
COULTER: I donít think it would help. The constitution is clear it has nothing to do...
MATTHEWS: So you donít want to take a position on an amendment?
COULTER: Hell, Iím saying that the problem is with the Supreme Court justices.
MATTHEWS: Do you personally support a ban on gay marriages?
COULTER: If it were-yes.
MATTHEWS: OK. I like that. Let me ask you about North Korea. Far more serious question, and that is that we have got new information that the Koreans have, in fact, a nuclear capability. Hereís what former U.S. negotiator told the Japanese newspaper about North Koreaís nuclear capabilities. Right now, their weapons: ďNorth Koreaís nuclear program is moving ahead very quickly. North Korea now has enough plutonium to make six to 10 nuclear weapons.Ē What should be our policy over there?
COULTER: Itís a big problem. Iím glad weíre not reading this about Saddam Hussein.
MATTHEWS: What should be our policy in North Korea.
COULTER: Iíll trust Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on this, but I think theyíve gone in the right direction, which is to say, I would not assume that an attack from the United States is off the table. I think trying to crush them economically is part of the way to go, to work with the Chinese, but itís a big problem.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the United States should consider a second Korean war? We went over there in 1950 to stop them, should we do it again?
COULTER: I would not take it off the table. MATTHEWS: Do you think the American people would support a war against North Korea? Call it 1950.
COULTER: That would be-thatís kind of far in advance.
MATTHEWS: No, Iím just asking, how militant should our policy be? Weíve invaded and occupied Iraq. Itís not off the range of possibilities that we might do it.
COULTER: No, but I mean, as of a year from now, after we try crushing them economically, after we talk with the Chinese. I mean, there are a lot of things you can do before a groundwar-leap right into the ground war. And North Korea is different from Iraq. That isnít-the 9/11 terrorists didnít come out of that region.
MATTHEWS: That region. But they came out of Iraq.
COULTER: No, they came out of the Middle East.
MATTHEWS: And therefore we should have attacked Iraq?
COULTER: Thatís part of the reason. We have to clean out the whole swamp.
MATTHEWS: Letís go on to that question. Let me ask you about the occupation of Iraq? How do you see it going? Are you happy with the way weíve handled the Iraq situation since weíve taken over the country?
COULTER: I think itís going about as well as can be expected, and I am actually-this will sound odd, but Iím glad it isnít a snap. I mean, it-we knew it wasnít going to be over in two weeks. And I think it would be a little bit dangerous if we were capable of creating democracy in countries that are so far away from it, that within two weeks we could go around creating democracies anyplace. We might start invading a lot of countries to create democracy...
MATTHEWS: Napoleon tried to do that...
COULTER: ... and I donít think we should do that.
MATTHEWS: Remember that? Napoleon tried to do it. Let me ask you this. Are you confident that we can do it even if we stay there, say, five or ten years? Is it possible?
COULTER: Oh, absolutely. It is going to be a long...
MATTHEWS: We can turn the country into sort of a Republic?
COULTER: Yes, itís going to be long. It is going to be hard, and I think the American people are completely ready for that.
MATTHEWS: For a long haul. Do you think we have enough troops there now - 125, 135, something like that-is that enough on the ground?
COULTER: That I am not qualified to speak to. But, again, I say I trust Donald Rumsfeld.
MATTHEWS: OK. Let me ask you about George Will. Of course, he is a well-known conservative columnist, and he says itís very important that do we find weapons of mass destruction in that country. Hereís his quote from his column. ďSome say the war was justified even if WMDs are not found nor their destruction explained, because the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. Of course, it is better off. But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny-on to Burma? - it is unacceptable to argue that Husseinís mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for preemptive war. Americans seem sanguine about the failure-so far-to validate the warís premise about the threat posed by Husseinís weapons of mass destruction, but long-term failure would unravel much of this presidentís policy and rhetoric.Ē
Strong words from a very bright conservative, to say the least. Iím humbled to even say bright conservative because he obviously is one. George Will says we got to find these to justify the war from the outset?
Is that true?
COULTER: I agree with his premise. I disagree with his conclusion. That is to say I donít think we should be going around to countries cleaning them up just because there are atrocities being committed, that would make us the worldís policemen. But we know Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He used weapons of mass destruction. He used them against the Kurds...
MATTHEWS: But were they poised against us?
COULTER: He used them against the Iranians.
MATTHEWS: Were they ready to be used against us?
COULTER: That I donít care about. That is a different question. He had weapons of mass destruction. He had the U.N. continuing to find them. He certainly had the potential, the means, the motive. I would like to know where they are because I would like to find out before they land in New York. They could be in the hands of al Qaeda.
MATTHEWS: But the argument for preemptive war was to replace the clear and present danger from a man armed with weapons and ready to use them. Is that still a case that still has to be made and continue to be made?
COULTER: I think that was not the argument that was made. That was the argument that liberals kept saying had not been made. He is not an eminent threat. Heís not an eminent threat. And...
MATTHEWS: Just to refresh our memories, what was the case for war?
COULTER: He has the potential, he has the means, motive and desire to create weapons of mass destruction. Heís a mad man. Itís the same swamp that the 9/11 terrorists came from. Weíre going to take him out. And the American people were fine with that before and theyíre fine with that now.
MATTHEWS: Letís talk about the question of your book ďTreasonĒ. What do you mean by treason? Talk about the word treason? I mean, Iíve looked it up in the dictionary the other night, it has a couple of meanings. One is, treason. I mean, you turned over of the documents to the enemy. You are Alger Hiss, someone like that. Thatís treason.
MATTHEWS: What do you mean by-in terms of this cover of this book?
COULTER: What I mean is that the Democratic Party, as an entity, has become functionally treasonable, including what youíre talking about, turning over documents to the enemy...
MATTHEWS: Well, should they be prosecuted? Should anybody in the party be prosecuted either today, or should have been prosecuted in the past? I mean, itís a criminal charge of treason. Should anybody be charged with it?
COULTER: I wish it were that easy a problem, but that trivializes the point...
MATTHEWS: No, itís a crime.
COULTER: ... of my book, which is not that there are just a few dozen traitors out there. It is that the entire party cannot root for a America.
MATTHEWS: Well, letís talk about the leaders of the Democratic Party over the years. It-was Jack Kennedy a traitor, was he guilty of treason?
COULTER: He was not as strong a president...
MATTHEWS: But was he guilty of treason. That is what you are saying about him. I read the book.
COULTER: ... as a Republican would have been. But Iím referring, as I say again, Iím referring to a party that is functionality treasonable.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me get to the bottom line here...
COULTER: No, he shouldnít have been tried.
MATTHEWS: I just want to know who you mean, because I think it is a very well written book, but I find it hard for you to step back from the strength of this book on television. Was Jack Kennedy a traitor?
COULTER: No, he was not a traitor.
MATTHEWS: Was he guilty of treason?
COULTER: His heart was in the right place but he was surrounded by bad policymakers...
MATTHEWS: Was he guilty of treason...
COULTER: ... and he harms the country and its national security. No. Iíve said he is not guilty of treason. I am speaking of a party. If there were just a few...
MATTHEWS: OK. I am just going to go through the leaders of the Democratic Party, because you are talking about a party. So I am trying to be fair with you. Was Harry Truman a traitor?
COULTER: He promoted a known soviet spy, Harry Dexter White, after the FBI told him that. After Winston Churchill gave his iron curtain speech, he invited Stalin to come give a rebuttal speech. Truman and Kennedy were far better than todayís Democrats were, but this is a party that has been creeping toward a refusal to defend America.
MATTHEWS: Has Harry Truman...
COULTER: Iím not talking about individuals.
MATTHEWS: ... Republicans, I am going to keep doing this. I am trying to nail down so that people can decide whether to read a book or not. Was Harry Truman guilty of treason?
COULTER: I think itís a more important indictment and you can keep asking me to say this is an entire party that cannot be trusted.
MATTHEWS: You say the Democratic Party is guilty of treason. I just want you to tell me which of the top Democrats, not go into details-I agree with you by the way about Harry Dexter White. I agree with you about Alger Hiss. There is a lot of these people guilty of treason,...
COULTER: But you are asking me...
MATTHEWS: ... but which Democratic Party official-which official of the Democratic Party, or its leadership...
COULTER: Iíll give you my thesis again. My thesis is, that the entire Democratic Party cannot be trusted with the defense of the nation.
MATTHEWS: Start with a name, please.
COULTER: It is not to start trying a few individuals. I wouldnít...
MATTHEWS: OK. Weíre not getting anywhere here because you donít want to give me any names.
COULTER: That is because I am talking about the Democratic Party. That is the name I am trying to give you.
MATTHEWS: OK. Half the American people, roughly, in most elections averaged over the last 50 years have voted Democrat, letís face it, for president. Those people who vote for Democratic candidates for president after hearing their case with regard to foreign policy, why would they vote for someone who you say is a traitor?
COULTER: Because this story has not been told, because I have what has been systemically excluded from history books in high school and college, and that is why I wrote this book, to prove to Democrats, as Joe McCarthy said...
MATTHEWS: But half the people in the U.S. Army are probably Democrats. You say they vote for Democrats out of treasonable reasons?
COULTER: I am saying, as Joe McCarthy said, the loyal Democrats of this party no longer-or of this country no longer have a party. This is a party that cannot defend America, that loses wars, that loses continents to communism-that nay say Ronald Reaganís response to the Soviet Union, and then they keep turning around and say, oh, it was inevitable. No one lost China. Anyone would have lost Vietnam. It was...
MATTHEWS: Do you think if you oppose the war, youíre a treasonist for opposing the war?
COULTER: No, but thatís why I have 50 years. At some point itís not a mistake. It is not an error of judgment...
MATTHEWS: For example, was it wrong for Pat Buchanan to oppose this war in Iraq? Was he treasonous for doing it?
COULTER: I think Iíve answered that. No. A single - Look, Pat Buchanan has shown his bona fides in a million other areas.
MATTHEWS: Then Jack Kemp is not a traitor for opposing the war...
COULTER: These are patriotic Americans. They do not oppose the Strategic Defense Initiative. They did not oppose Ronald Reagan...
MATTHEWS: But they opposed-but all these top conservatives who opposed the war, were they wrong? Were they treasonist to do so? But with liberals oppose the war, they are treasonists. I am just trying to figure out what the difference is.
COULTER: Iím just trying to answer. No, with someone like-are you Ē can I finish?
COULTER: No. When someone like Pat Buchanan or Robert Novak say theyíre against the war in Iraq, no, that gives someone like me pause, and thinks, I just disagree with them on this issue. But as I say, they do not scream that the country is in the middle of a civil liberties crisis every time Ashcroft talks to a Muslim. They do not ...
MATTHEWS: Yes, but the problem I have is that a lot of Republicans...
COULTER: They do not oppose...
MATTHEWS: ... in fact, most Republicans in the country opposed the Second World War...
COULTER: Let met finish...
MATTHEWS: No. I want to make a point in response to that, because I think a lot of Republicans have opposed a lot of wars over time, and you havenít called them traitors. Why do you call Democrats traitors when they oppose a war?
COULTER: To get back to this point. Once you have an entire series of incidents-why is it that the Democratic Party keeps consistently taking the position that is most contrary to this countryís national interest? When you have someone like Pat Buchanan or Novak, you say, well, we disagree on this issue. The Democrats fight unwinable wars. They lose continents to communism. Theyíve consistently been on the wrong side of every issue.
MATTHEWS: Was World War II a Democrat war?
COULTER: Thatís why itís 50 years and not 60.
MATTHEWS: Were the Republicans willing to oppose World War II before Pearl Harbor right? And they vigorously opposed getting involved in the war in Europe.
COULTER: As I describe in my book, they were wrong and I have to describe this...
MATTHEWS: The Republicans were wrong?
COULTER: Yes, they were.
MATTHEWS: Were they traitors?
COULTER: No. They came around...
MATTHEWS: But when liberals oppose wars, they are treasonists. Weíll be right back with Ann Coulter. Iím trying to get these definitions down and being nice to this brilliant writer.
COULTER: Then next time let me answer.
MATTHEWS: Back with more to talk about-plenty of opportunity to answer. You wouldnít believe how much time I give you. Anyway, thank you. We are going to be back and talk with Ann about her opponent on the bookshelves, Hillary Clinton, when we return. And by the way, ďDecision 2004Ē is coming up, and Howard Dean, by the way, is raising more money than the moderates. We are going to talk about that when we come back-with Howard Fineman.
MATTHEWS: Weíre back with Ann Coulter, having an interesting discussion about what constitutes treason. I just think-I think that the constitution-respond to this statement, I want to ask you a question. The constitution left the issue of peace and war basically in the hands of Congress in the terms of big decisions about declarations of war, and in this case, we had a debate about going to war with Iraq and the president won his case. But I think the right of an American to argue whether we go to war or not is basic, and you, I think, argue that when someone opposes a war action, they are somehow is treasonist. I think thatís a broad brush, and I think it makes a lot of very good people, including me, feel very angry.
COULTER: No. I...
MATTHEWS: Because I disagree in Americaís interest with a lot of these wars. I donít think thereís good for us.
COULTER: Yes. From what I hear, dissenting from the nationís war aims is the more patriotic act, but the one thing youíre not allowed to say is to call someone unpatriotic. You can say itís unpatriotic to stop us from protesting, but you canít say burning a flag is unpatriotic.
MATTHEWS: No. I just think people should be free to express their views on a matter so important as war, and if a person...
COULTER: They clearly are.
MATTHEWS: ... opposes a war, they shouldnít be called a traitor because they disagree with the current war policy.
COULTER: Well, donít worry. Iím the only one doing it.
MATTHEWS: Youíre doing it here.
COULTER: Thatís right.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clintonís book, how is it doing compared to yours?
COULTER: Well, she has many advantages over me.
MATTHEWS: You said she weighed more than you the other day. Was that the case?
COULTER: She had a 3 to 1 pound advantage. Her book is also three times as large as mine.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about this book. This book is very interesting, and I am not going to comment. I am going to let you comment on it. The principal difference between fifth columnists and the cold war versus the war on terrorism is that you could sit next to a communist in a subway without asphyxiating. What does that mean? I just want to know. What does that mean? I want to know.
COULTER: It means what it says. The second difference is, that in far more time the enemy that weíre up against now has killed far fewer people.
MATTHEWS: So, but the enemy smells. Is that your knock against Arabs? I mean, thatís your point here. You sit next to them and you are asphyxiated while sitting next to them.
COULTER: Iím just drawing the differences between the old war and the currents war.
MATTHEWS: Is that a way to win friends in the Arab and Islamic world by saying they stink.
COULTER: I think it is a way to get people...
MATTHEWS: Is that deep?
COULTER: ... to read my book, so I thank you.
MATTHEWS: Well, I tell you. If you want it at that level, you got it right here. Anyway, sheís a great writer. I donít agree with her, but sheís a hell of a writer. And thank you very much for coming on. Sheís a real charmer. Ann Coulter. The last book was called ďSlander.Ē Maybe this one should have been called that too.