A rodeo clown's job is to distract the bull while the dismounted cowboy runs to safety. If Bush is the cowboy he claims to be, then we're the bull, and Ann Coulter is his gaudiest clown. Along with nearly everyone else, I'm pissed at her for using the bad f-word, but it feels like a trap; at least twice a year, Coulter feasts on mass outrage and shits victory. And we never stop feeding her. When she mocks 9/11 widows, threatens Muslims and winds the country up with slurs, it's so easy to scorn her that it might not even count as an act of citizenship. And that's how she draws us in every time: by being no challenge to think about. She jokes about bombing a civilian, torturing an innocent, starving an urchin; we stomp and snort in her direction. Off on the sidelines, Dick Cheney and Alberto Gonzales exhale in relief, then share a wink with the world's most famous clown.