Conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter delivers remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Marriott Wardman Park February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Opinion: The best thing Ann Coulter can do is shut up

In her latest column, “America Nears El Tipping Pointo,” Ann Coulter unloads on Latinos. She laments the growth of the Hispanic electorate, incorrectly states that most immigrants need public assistance, and implies that Latinos are lazy. According to Coulter, Hispanic immigrants come to the U.S. to have illegitimate children and go on welfare.

Despite Coulter’s reputation as a professional provocateur, it is nonetheless astonishing that she is presenting such blatantly racist opinions. Her column is 1,067 words’ worth of inaccurate assertions and pointless bile. Her bigotry is offensive to Hispanics, and comes at an inopportune time – just as the GOP is considering ways to mend fences with Latinos. If Coulter truly cares about the future of the Republican Party, the best thing she could do is to shut up.

In Coulter’s view, the GOP should not even bother with Latino voters. “No amount of ‘reaching out’ to the Hispanic community,” she writes, “…is going to turn Mexico’s underclass into Republicans.” She apparently sees all Latinos as poor Mexican immigrants, an attitude that is as absurd as it is insulting.

In The Huffington Post, Roque Planas debunks several of Coulter’s claims. Coulter posits that Latinos want government handouts; Planas notes that Latinos are actually less likely to use their fair share of government services. What’s more, polling from Latino Decisions reveals that 92 percent of Hispanics believe that hard work leads to success. And U.S. Census data shows that Latinos opened twice as many businesses as other Americans during the 2000s. But Coulter is too busy ranting to recognize that Latinos are self-reliant, hard-working, and entrepreneurial.

Coulter was raised in an affluent Connecticut suburb and attended prestigious schools, including Cornell and the University of Michigan Law School. How sad that her privileged upbringing and elite education have not provided her with any measure of compassion. “Recent Hispanic immigrants,” she writes…”are the poorest of the world’s poor.” Not only is this incorrect (average income in Mexico far outpaces that of many other nations), Coulter’s tone reflects a callous disregard for the less fortunate.

Perhaps Coulter is taking a swipe at Latinos in a desperate bid to remind people she exists. Lately her following has diminished as she has become increasingly vitriolic. Her column was dropped by USA Today. She was fired twice by MSNBC — the second time for telling a disabled Vietnam veteran “No wonder you guys lost.” The Arizona Daily Star stopped carrying her because, in the words of the editor, “Many readers find her shrill, bombastic and mean-spirited. And those are the words used by readers who identified themselves as conservatives.” Even the conservative National Review has cut their ties with her. 

With “El Tipping Pointo” Coulter hits a new professional low, which is an accomplishment in itself. Consider that Coulter has derided former presidential candidate John Edwards with an anti-gay slur, called Islam a “car-burning cult” and disparaged the 9/11 widows. More recently, she referred to President Obama’s supporters as “stupid, single women,” and the president himself as a “retard.” All this from a woman who, according to her website, won honors as an outstanding law graduate. What a tremendous, pathetic waste of potential and intellect.

Coulter simply cannot accept the changing face of America. Yet by amping up her inflammatory rhetoric, she only succeeds in marginalizing herself. Going forward, the GOP will have less use for her, Rush Limbaugh, and Glenn Beck – and more need for reasonable, legitimate voices.

Coulter’s “El Tipping Pointo” column begins with a faux-apology to young voters. Coulter would be well advised to offer a genuine apology to Latinos. However, this is unlikely to occur. The truth is that Coulter has long passed the tipping point of rationality, relevance, and basic human decency.

Opinion: The best thing Ann Coulter can do is shut up  raulreyescrop politics NBC Latino News

Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and member of the USA Today Board of Contributors.

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