Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Picking On The 'Jersey Girls'

Ann Coulter on the "September 11 Advocates," the four "Jersey Girls" who helped push for the 9/11 Commission, while hyping her 6/6/6 book on NBC's Today show in an interview with Matt Lauer (video and transcript at Think Progress):

LAUER: On the 9-11 widows, an in particular a group that had been critical of the administration: “These self-obsessed women seem genuinely unaware that 9-11 was an attack on our nation and acted like as if the terrorist attack only happened to them. They believe the entire country was required to marinate in their exquisite personal agony. Apparently, denouncing bush was part of the closure process.” And this part is the part I really need to talk to you about: “These broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefparrazies. I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s death so much.” Because they dare to speak out?

COULTER: To speak out using the fact they are widows. This is the left’s doctrine of infallibility. If they have a point to make about the 9-11 commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we are allowed to respond to. No. No. No. We have to respond to someone who had a family member die. Because then if we respond, oh you are questioning their authenticity.


LAUER: So if you lose a husband, you no longer have the right to have a political point of view?

COULTER: No, but don’t use the fact that you lost a husband as the basis for being able to talk about, while preventing people from responding. Let Matt Lauer make the point. Let Bill Clinton make the point. Don’t put up someone I am not allowed to respond to without questioning the authenticity of their grief.

LAUER: Well apparently you are allowed to respond to them.

COULTER: Yeah, I did.

LAUER: So, in other words.

COULTER: That is the point of liberal infallibility. Of putting up Cindy Sheehan, of putting out these widows, of putting out Joe Wilson. No, no, no. You can’t respond. It’s their doctrine of infallibility. Have someone else make the argument then.

LAUER: What I’m saying is I don’t think they have ever told you, you can’t respond.

COULTER: Look, you are getting testy with me.

LAUER: No. I think it’s a dramatic statement. These broads are millionaires stalked by stalked by griefparrazies? I have never seen people enjoying their husband’s deaths so much.

COULTER: Yes, they are all over the news.

Two years ago, Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote a column published in The Wall Street Journal entitled "The 9/11 Widows: Americans are beginning to tire of them." Excerpts:

The venerable status accorded this group of widows comes as no surprise given our times, an age quick to confer both celebrity and authority on those who have suffered. As the experience of the Jersey Girls shows, that authority isn't necessarily limited to matters moral or spiritual. All that the widows have had to say--including wisdom mind-numbingly obvious, or obviously false and irrelevant--on the failures of this or that government agency, on derelictions of duty they charged to the president, the vice president, the national security adviser, Norad and the rest, has been received by most of the media and members of Congress with utmost wonder and admiration. They had become prosecutors and investigators, unearthing clues and connections related to 9/11, with, we're regularly informed, unrivalled dedication and skill.


Little wonder, given all this, that the 9/11 Four blossomed, under a warm media sun and the attention of legislators, into activists increasingly confident of their authority--that, with every passing month, their list of government agencies and agents guilty of dereliction of duty grew apace. So did their assurance that it had been given to them, as victims, to determine the proper standards of taste and respectfulness to be applied in everything related to Sept. 11, including, it turned out, the images of the destroyed World Trade Center in George Bush's first campaign ad, which elicited, from some of them, bitter charges of political exploitation.

Out of their loss and tragedy the widows had forged new lives as investigators of 9/11, analysts of what might have been had every agency of government done as it should. No one would begrudge them this solace.

Nor can anyone miss, by now, the darker side of this spectacle of the widows, awash in their sense of victims' entitlement, as they press ahead with ever more strident claims about the way the government failed them. Or how profoundly different all this is from the way in which citizens in other times and places reacted to national tragedy.

A month later Lloyd Grove at The Daily News reported:

Wall Street Journal pundit Dorothy Rabinowitz - who last month penned an acid assault on the "Jersey Girls," four 9/11 widows who've dared to criticize the Bush administration - received some payback yesterday at the hands of "Jersey Girl" Kristin Breitweiser.

The 33-year-old widow of portfolio manager Ron Breitweiser, who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, gleefully shared with the Daily News Rabinowitz's intemperate and insulting response to Breitweiser's recent op-ed submission to the Journal enumerating "systemic" problems with government efforts to meet the terrorist threat.

In a message meant for Journal deputy editorial page editor Tunku Varadarajan, but was instead accidently E-mailed to Breitweiser on Tuesday, Rabinowitz wrote: "total and complete - not to mention repetitive - nonsense from people given endless media access to repeat the very same stupid charges, suspicions, and the rest...

"but this is just an opportunity for these absurd products of the zeitgeist - women clearly in the grip of the delusion that they know something, have some policy, and wisdom not given to the rest of us to know - to grab the spotlight. again. and repeat, again, the same tripe before a national audience.

"My thoughts - we don't publish nonsensical contentions that offer no news, no insight - solely on the grounds that those who feel attacked get a chance to defend their views. For that we have the letters column."

Isn't it strange how the right frames this argument? Attacking the left for using people who "can't be challenged" to make their arguments?

Yet when they do the same it's okay?

Debra Burlingame, whose brother piloted American Airlines Flight 77, has done her fair share of shilling for President Bush and the right the last four years.

Burlingame on the Patriot Act last January, also published in The Wall Street Journal:

A mere four-and-a-half years after victims were forced to choose between being burned alive and jumping from 90 stories, it is frankly shocking that there is anyone in Washington who would politicize the Patriot Act. It is an insult to those who died to tell the American people that the organization posing the greatest threat to their liberty is not al Qaeda but the FBI. Hearing any member of Congress actually crow about "killing" or "playing chicken" with this critical legislation is as disturbing today as it would have been when Ground Zero was still smoldering. Today we know in far greater detail what not having it cost us.


The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase "connect the dots" will resonate again--but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.

Here's Burlingame defending the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign's usage of September 11 imagery in their ads:

Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the captain on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, said she supported the ads given the current foreign policy climate.

"The ads are very positive," Burlingame, a registered Democrat, told Reuters, adding, "It's a huge issue and to say that President Bush can't talk about it is preposterous. It's not like these images are being used to tear down his opponents, but to point out that this is his top priority."

A registered Democrat, no less.

Here's registered Democrat Burlingame speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City:

Losing Chic on 9/11 was the most difficult thing my family's ever faced. But burden was lessened by the things that ordinary Americans did to help us. I want you to know that we were aware of what you did.

We saw the spontaneous memorials -- the cluster of candles on a front porch, the sign outside the Wal-Mart that said, "Pray for the Families."

We saw the flags on the office buildings, on store fronts and kids' bikes.

We saw the websites.

We read your letters. We received the pictures your children drew.

I'll also never forget the huge flag that was unfurled at the Pentagon, just a few yards away from where the plane went in. I especially remember it lit up against the dark sky in the wee hours of September 12th --

Burlingame didn't specifically endorse President Bush...but her presence at the RNC spoke volumes. And, as shown, she used her words to link the Bush Administration's responses with those of "ordinary Americans" in a Bushspeak sort of way.

After all, "ordinary Americans" weren't responsible for raising the flag at the Pentagon.

More from her speech:

I am deeply honored and grateful for the privilege of standing before you so that I can thank you for these tender gestures and for the endless generosity which helped us carry on.

Burlingame wasn't standing before America. She was standing before the Republican delegates in favor of re-electing President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

My point, of course, isn't that Burlingame doesn't have a right to say what she wants to say. This is America. My point is that it's a fucking monstrosity that anyone on the right would accuse the left of using 9/11 relatives to make their arguments since they've done that themselves.


Via Raw Story, here's a link to a video from the same Today show episode with comic/D-lister/pro-disser Kathy Griffin dissing Coulter in a short bit with Al Roker: link.

Also...I forgot to mention this part of the Coulter-Lauer interview:

COULTER: No, the story is an attack on the nation. That requires a foreign policy response.

LAUER: By the way, they also criticized the Clinton administration.

COULTER: Not the ones I am talking about. No, no, no.

LAUER: Yeah they have.

COULTER: Oh no, no, no, no, no. They were cutting commercials for Kerry. They were using their grief to make a political point while preventing anyone from responding.

But here's "Jersey Girl" Kristin Breitweiser guestblogging last December at Huffington Post about Able Danger:

At what time did the U.S. government have in its possession actionable intelligence regarding the identity of the terrorists who carried out the USS Cole bombing? Was that information gleaned from any alleged Able Danger analysts? When was it shared with the CIA? Was that the information used to justify the alleged "taking out of the cells" in the Able Danger operation between January 01 and May 01? If so, why did certain governmental officials in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations lie to the 9/11 Commission in stating that they did not have in their possession conclusive evidence linking al Qaeda to the bombing of the USS Cole until after the 9/11 attacks?

Hard to not-not-not believe but Coulter's wrong.


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