The word Conservative, in a political sense, has the following history: against the rights of women (including but not limited to suffrage), against the abolition of slavery, against the Civil Rights movement, against child labor laws, against the right to unionize, against gay rights. In short, the conservative mindset in politics is against any sort of social progress. The conservatives by and large stand for the following: the "conservation" and concentration of wealth and power among a small ruling elite.
So it should come as no surprise that Ann Coulter, one of the most undeniably asinine slur-slingers around (remember her, the one who thought we should invade all Arab countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity?) is dishing up her old stock-in-trade to a pandering audience of fellow narrowminded bigots, the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Calling John Edwards a "faggot" is her first mistake. After all, it's a term that in the gay community is akin to the N-word in the Black community -- some insiders use it very specifically, but an outsider's use, especially in a clearly derogatory manner, is entirely unacceptable. Context, as always, is everything. Coulter's second mistake was then to attempt to pass it off as a joke. So the excuse is basically this: "I was telling a joke. So really I'm not racist/homophobic/sexist (take your pick depending on situation) because I was trying to be funny." Ha ha. It worked so well for Michael Richards, too.
Let us not forget that Coulter is the person who defends the McCarthy witch-hunts and believes that critics of the Iraq War are traitors to the country (in fact, I think she believes that being a registered Democrat is evidence to convict one of treason).