So Ann Coulter called John Edwards a “faggot.” All this proves is that the woman’s gaydar is seriously on the fritz. Last year she diagnosed Bill Clinton as a “latent homosexual” whose “promiscuity” is “reminiscent of a bathhouse.” Then on Hardball she called Al Gore a “total fag.” Meanwhile, Ted Haggard and Mark Foley stage 120 Days of Sodom right under her nose, and all she can say when confronted with the goods is “who knew Congressman Foley was a closeted Democrat?”

Ann Coulter couldn’t find a homosexual at a Barbra Streisand concert, in San Francisco, on gay pride, if Elton John bitch slapped her in the face. I shudder to think what would become of her on Gay, Straight or Taken?

What really has me peeved though is not Coulter’s misfiring gaydar, but the histrionic response from Democrats and gay leaders alike. Here’s HRC head honcho Joe Solmonese:

“To interject this word into American political discourse is a vile and disgusting way to sink the debate to a new, all-time low. Make no doubt about it, these remarks go directly against what our Founding Fathers intended and have no place on the schoolyard, much less our country’s political arena.”

Likewise, DNC chief Howard Dean called Coulter’s remarks “hate-filled and bigoted.” “This kind of vile rhetoric is out of bounds,” said Dean while calling on Republican presidential candidates to denounce Coulter’s remarks.

Howie, Joe, listen, don’t get your panties all in knot over this Coulter-faggot business. What’s so “vile,” “disgusting,” and “low” about being (called) a faggot in the first place?

Let’s ponder the possible meanings behind our village idiot’s latest ramblings. Surely not even Coulter can believe that Edwards is actually gay (unless she’s knows something we don’t — an unlikely scenario). So perhaps she intends to tar Edwards with a patently false but nonetheless toxic slur. This is puerile name-calling to be sure. In Coulter’s twisted little mind, “faggot” is an insult, not necessarily because it’s true, but because “faggot” is so radioactive that even to be called one is damaging.

But this homophobic logic is exactly what Dean and Solmonese recapitulate in their over-zealous response. One can only believe that being called a faggot is “vile,” “digusting” and “low” if one believes, as Coulter might, that being a faggot is vile, disgusting and low. Do Howard Dean and Joe Solmonese believe that?

It’s also clear that Coulter’s hopelessly confused “Democrats” and “Gays.” (Freebie for Ann: Democrats tax and spend; fags just spend!) Why would Coulter cross the two? Because Democrats like Edwards care about poverty, healthcare and inequality? Because they’re not ready to go all Dr. Strangelove on Iran? Because they don’t shoot quails and buddies like manly man Cheney? What’s so “vile,” “disgusting” and “low” about that?

Fags like myself have been trying to rehabilitate faggotry for years, and it’s time we’re joined by our liberal friends. Edwards hasn’t responded to Coulter yet, but when he does, he should step up to the plate. After all, there is something gay-ish about him. He’s pretty. He’s passionate. He spends a lot of time on his hair. And what’s wrong with that? He should toss his Nancy Boy locks back at Coulter and say, “Faggot? I own that word.”

Then maybe one day, as Toni Morrison once honored Bill Clinton by calling him our first black president, I can bestow upon Edwards the title of First Fag.