The Wall Street Bailout and Caylee Anthony—Ann Coulter Sees the Connection but I Don’t

Another trip into the inexplicable mind of Ann Coulter.

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I think some right wingers have moved past Worried. They've arrived at Frantic, on their way to Hysteric.

Why else would Ann Coulter blame Caylee's mom for the nation's economic crisis?

Caylee, of course, is the adorable daughter of Casey Anthony, a young Florida mother who failed to report the toddler's disappearance until 31 days had passed last summer.

The search for the missing 2-year-old and the saga of the troubled Casey and her family have morphed into a kind of national soap opera and cable TV news bonanza.

But the connection with the battered economy is difficult to discern.

Casey was an unmarried teenage mom when she had her baby and was raising her daughter in her parents' home in a middle-class suburb of Orlando.

So why does Coulter cite Anthony as a kind of trashy American—"having a missing child named ‘Caylee' "—whose irresponsible use of high-risk mortgages spurred the current crisis? I don't get the connection.

Besides, aren't the Republicans our new self-anointed champions of the nonelite, g-droppin', teenage mom, Joe Six Pack families of America? Many of whom got suckered by the banking and real estate industries when buying their homes in the last decade? And some of whom have taken, in recent years, to giving their children novel names, like Caylee or, maybe, Willow?

It doesn't take a careful reading of Coulter's column to understand what she wanted to say: that dumb liberals were so eager to help irresponsible blacks buy homes that they dropped lending standards and triggered this massive, worldwide economic dislocation.

It's a pretty divisive thing to argue. And muddle-headed. But quite useful to some conservatives, who want to shift the blame away from the Bush administration and Wall Street and onto two favorite targets: minorities and Democrats.

Tom Edsall has done a good job dissecting the crude politics and falsehoods of this line of attack. And in the Friday New York Times, there was a fine article by Stephen Labaton about the day in 2004 that the SEC freed the big investment banks from regulations that limited the amount of debt they could take on, and so screwed us all.

"Letting the firms police themselves made sense," one Duke University expert on securities law told the Times, adding, "We foolishly believed that the firms had a strong culture of self-preservation and responsibility and would have the discipline not to be excessively borrowing.

"I foolishly thought the market would impose its own self-discipline," said the Duke professor. "We've all learned a terrible lesson."

Thanks, doc. (For this, Duke charges the highest tuition in the western world?)

It is possible, though not especially plausible, that Coulter didn't want to exclusively blame blacks and other minorities for the crash, and tossed in Caylee's name as a kind of white trash example for balance.

Or maybe the busy Coulter had not kept up on the Anthony family saga, and thought Caylee was a name favored by African-Americans, like Tanisha or D'Sean. Or, perhaps she thought we would make that connection.

Who knows? Not for the first time, Coulter's argument leaves me baffled.