Coulter's Soccer Rant Says a Lot About Conservatives

The right wing shuns teamwork on the field and in politics.

Ann Coulter speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011.

People working together probably does look like communism to Ann Coulter.

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Friday is the Fourth of July. A few days before our nation’s birthday, Team USA fought valiantly in the World Cup soccer tournament, but was eliminated. The only American who was happy to see Team USA lose to Belgium, presumably, was conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

Life would be dull for progressive bloggers without Coulter. I was worried, because it had been a couple weeks since her last outrageous outburst, but she recently came through big time.

Last week, Coulter warned us that U.S. interest in World Cup soccer is a sign of “moral decay.” I’m worried Coulter’s ravings are a sign of mental decay and a bad case of xenophobia. Coulter’s reasoning (if you can call it that) is that soccer is a team sport that doesn’t recognize the individual achievement that has made America great. (I guess she's never heard about Pele and David Beckham.) What really bothers her, I think, is that soccer is a sport dominated by foreigners.

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The need for teamwork in soccer is why some critics call it "communist kickball." The idea of people working together to reach a common goal probably does look like communism to Coulter. It smacks of Obama's foreign policy, which requires the U.S. to consult with its allies before it invades and destroys other countries. For conservatives, it’s a slippery slope from there to U.S. unilateral disarmament, which would leave us to the tender mercies of our enemies.

Coulter and most conservatives don’t understand the demographic forces that that are completely reshaping American society. House Speaker John Boehner made that clear last week when he informed President Obama that there would not be a vote on immigration reform in the House this year. The GOP is hell-bent on losing the soccer mom vote and the chance to repair relations with the fast-growing populations of Latinos and millennials.

But a few lonely Republicans like GOP strategist Kristen Soltis Anderson understand the demographic changes that threaten her party’s political prospects. She wrote this week in the Daily Beast that “The rise of World Cup soccer in the United States is being driven by two colliding, massive forces that have been in the works for decades: the preferences of the young and of the growing Hispanic population.” She added, "The same forces that have recently reshaped politics, media, and commerce have fed the swell of support for" the U.S. team.

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I’ve never played soccer, but I have spent countless hours watching millennials, including my two kids, play soccer. Young people, like good soccer players, value teamwork, while Coulter and other conservatives cherish the John Wayne myth of American individualism. Due to the millennial desire for teamwork, young Americans see government as a positive force to bring people together to solve the problems facing the nation and the world.

The world is also changing. The U.S. and other countries need to work together to fight global challenges like climate change and terrorism. In the early days of our great republic, states’ rights were inviolate. But the need for strong central government emerged when it became clear that you couldn’t solve one state’s problems without involving the others. In the same way, national power will have to give way to international cooperation to deal with the challenges facing the world.

Like them or not, conservatives will have to accept these changes globally and in the United States to remain a political force. Change is coming and Republicans might go the way of the dinosaurs. The GOP needs to adapt or die.