John Edwards


|'s War Room blog reports that feminist bloggers Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon) and Melissa McEwen (Shakespeare's Sister) have been turfed out of the John Edwards campaign.

A statement by the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan "anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots," and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times this morning, put extra pressure on the campaign.

Speculation from sources that the two bloggers might be rehired was bolstered by Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, who said in an e-mail that she would "caution [Salon] against reporting that they have been fired. We will have something to say later."

The irony's delicious: Donohue is a deranged clown who keeps in shape by bashing Hollywood Jews with croquet mallets. If Edwards is willing to give him veto power over his hires, he might as well hang it up and open a salon in Appalachia.

But I'm more interested in why bloggers wanted to pile on Marcotte (McEwen got less flak). As Michelle Malkin pointed out in a "dramatic reading" of Marcotte's blog, once assimilated into the Edwards borg she completely neutered her style of blogging and did what the campaign hired her for. Instapundit comments:

Other Presidential candidates would be well advised to spend a bit more time poking through the archives of any bloggers they think about hiring. There's nothing really wrong with cursing or overwrought blogging in itself, but the standards for political operatives are different. And, as the Pat Buchanan/ Larry Pratt business years ago demonstrated, candidates are held responsible for what these people do and say.

But why should bloggers subject each other to the same treatment? I mean, do bloggers really want their future opportunities to be dictated by whether they used their medium to hurl some spur-of-the-moment insults? Blogging reveals more of what its practitioners think than traditional journalism: This is a feature, not a bug. Marcotte (more so than McEwen) makes some mistakes (Glenn notes that she airbrushed controversial posts once conservative bloggers linked them, which is damn sleazy), but the damage from this silly episode will fall on every ambitious blogger who dared not to write like a political hack all the time.

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  1. Hell, That took longer than I thought it would!

  2. No, the damage will only fall on bloggers who have aspirations of working for an organization which has as it’s primary goal the winning of elections. Absent the aspiration of getting paid to assist a specific political candidate obtain 50.1% of the votes in an election, there is minimal risk.

    If the goal is to be popular, “popular” being defined as having the support of a majority, which is the entire point of campaigning, one is going to have to be a sell-out, especially in a polity of this size and complexity.

  3. ….but the damage from this silly episode will fall on every ambitious blogger who dared not to write like a political hack all the time…..

    No, the damage will fall on every ambitious blogger who wants to shill for a hack politician like John Edwards!

  4. If you really want to be a shill and say what you want, why would you want to work for a political campaign? If this woman really hates Catholics and the Church that much, why on earth is she selling out and working for a politician who is wooing the Catholic vote? Blogging is just another form of publishing. I doubt many campaigns are going to hire Michael Moore or Ann Coulter as spokesman anytime soon. But Coulter and Moore made their choice and would rather have their shtick than be a political consultant. Why should bloggers be any different?

  5. Tomorrow, Act 2: John McCain has to fire his blogger.

  6. “Tomorrow, Act 2: John McCain has to fire his blogger.”

    God what a slow newsweek.

  7. Now, John, what could possibly be more important for the MSM to cover than bad things happening to bloggers?

    Why, one of the little rascals might give David Broder the vapors!

  8. What does a blogger for a campaign like Edwards’ do exactly? Pass on press releases? Provide “color” while out on the trail?

    Sounds damn boring to write and read.

  9. I don’t think the threat to bloggers is as great as you say. If she had written her opinions and acted as if they were opinions and not undeniable fact, and if she had written with the remotest amount of respect for her ideological foes, she’d have been fine. Donohue would still have lost his fudge, but Edwards wouldn’t have had to look at her work and think that the loon may have a point.

    I think that if a blogger wants to keep his options open, she need merely write with a modest amount of sensitivity and respect. Marcotte wrote with venomous disdain and disrespect. That’s fine for an independent blogger, not so much for a campaign.

  10. Just because blogs are new (relatively speaking) doesn’t mean the standards of decency have changed. You could never just write whatever you wanted and then expect that it should never affect your future job prospects. It’s just easier to find your mindless, raving, lunatic articles now.

  11. Another element is that Marcotte wrote from her fury about her own attack and failed at every opportunity to differentiate between those that attacked her and those accused of attacking the stripper. It is an understandable flaw for a human, but unforgivable for a political campaigner.

  12. the damage from this silly episode will fall on every ambitious blogger who dared not to write like a political hack all the time.

    Whew! Glenn’s safe, then.

  13. If everyone signs the petition, we might be able to show enough support to keep Amanda on as JE’s blogger.

  14. Why would I care whether Amanda is kept on as JE’s blogger?

  15. from the petition:

    this is America and she’s got the right to free speech and all, right?

    Not that crap again.

  16. I think it depends on whether the blogger systematically and habitually says things that would offend too many people for a campaign to tolerate, or if the statements in question are truly just mistakes, ya know those every-once-in-a-while things that everyone says from time to time.

    If its the former (habitually making publically published bombastic statements) then I think people can rightly assume that the candidate that hired the blogger finds the views acceptable.

  17. wingnutx | February 7, 2007, 5:16pm | #

    Did you read the list of “signers”?

  18. If she had written her opinions and acted as if they were opinions and not undeniable fact, and if she had written with the remotest amount of respect for her ideological foes, she’d have been fine.

    Yeah, but that would have been boring as hell, and no one would have read it, and she wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. There aren’t many interesting blogs, right or left, that have much respect for their ideological foes.

  19. So to make it easier to blog openly and freely, other bloggers should *not* blog openly and freely about Marcotte, so as not to upset the gravy train? Do I have that about right?

  20. Mr. Weigel,

    False dichotomy much? There’s a happy medium between writing like a political hack and the kind of stuff this fool was putting out. For the umpteenth time, freedom of speech != freedom from criticism.

  21. What I cannot understand is why Edwards would care what Donahue thinks. No one who listens to Bill Donahue would vote for Edwards, even if the opposing ticket was Osama bin Laden and Castro. All firing Ms. Marcotte will do is make the base angry, with no possible benefit to the candidate. It will, however, show that Edwards is more of a hack than I thought.

  22. If a pundit were on Cable News Television in a personal capacity, their views would still be fair game if they were hired by a political campagin. Why should a blog be any different?

    So OK, maybe there’s a disintction between what someone does with their private time and how they make their living. But if you work in politics, how can you seriously consider criticism of your public, repeated, and vociferous comments to be out-of-bounds?

    So OK, John McCain hired a wingbat to. Why is that relevant unless all those who are critical of Marcotte’s hire approve of McCain’s hire? OK so maybe someone like Michelle Malkin doesn’t call McCain on it but does call Edwards on it. If that’s the case, then she’s stupid. Now where does that leave us if some still have what they consider to be valid critiques, complaints, and anger over what Marcotte says? And what if they agree that Malkin and Donahue should STFU and that those who criticized Marcotte’s looks are ridiculous? Cuz it seems that Marcotte’s defenders (maybe there are better arguments, but I can’t find them or think of any), just want to point to the lack of consistency on the right and point out the ridiculous posters who made disparaging remarks about Marcotte’s appearance. But there are better arguments against Amanda Marcotte’s words than that all over the blogesphere.

    As far as blogging openly and freely, no one is stopping anyone from doing that. Freedom of speech is aboout an exchange of ideas. Expressing frustration with the hire is also freedom of expression. Ms Marcotte’s comments are so far over the top, and so habitually so, that one has to wonder why her over others. Is she the only blogger capable of running his blog? If not, then why her? Based on the availability of bloggers, and the specific choice of Marcotte, one can reasonably assume that John Edwards (by virtue of the hire) considers her comments to be acceptable and/or appropriate. Unles he gets rid of her.

    Some may just have to accept the fact that if you become lighting rod like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, or Amanda Marcotte, working for a specific political campaign might be problematic. So McCain’s guy is terrible and yet Edwards gets flack for hiring Marcotte? It’s not fair, but so what? McCain would never part with his guy, but maybe Edwards would part with Marcotte. If Edwards follows through with the firing, then so much the better for Edwards, and so much the worse for McCain.

  23. Maybe John Edwards cares about more than just Donohue. Maybe the things Marcotte said really are wrong in Edwards eyes. And if Edwards needs to align himself with folks like Marcotte to get the nomination, he’ll get slaughtered in the genreal elction. So maybe he’s trying not to be short sighted.

    The hiring of Marcotte (seemingly to please the base) made me think Edwards was more of a hack that I thought.

  24. But I’m more interested in why bloggers wanted to pile on Marcotte.

    Dave, just pretend her last name is say, Santorum, and you’ll get a better feel for it.

  25. I think Rimfax and Marcvs hit it exactly right. The problem wasn’t necessarily with Marcotte’s opinions, it was how she expressed them. Just because you’re posting your opinions on a blog does not mean that people won’t find your spittle-flecked ranting offensive – a blog is just speech, and we hold people responsible for their speech every day. Marcotte’s blog postings frequently sounded unhinged and foul – you have to wonder about the bloggers who can’t express themselves without constant recourse to “fuck” – I mean, I use “fuck” as an expletive, but not all the time, and not all the time in political discourse, you know? It’s adolescent. If she were a coworker and expressed herself that way, she’d be the office nutcase. Out of all the lefty bloggers, this is who the Edwards people picked? Did they read the blog? Or do they think that all bloggers sound like that?

    A lot of the lefty blogs are fulminating about Rush and Coulter and Hannity et al and how awful they are. Differences: those three do not use constant profanity (and you know, there are lots of people out there who really don’t like to hear it), and those three have a schtick, a routine, a POV – everyone knows that they say what they say on purpose, and anything that shocks or offends or outrages is calculated to do exactly that. That’s why they are commentators and not campaign representatives. When you hear those three you might think – she’s mean, he’s racist, he’s a Republican toady. When you read Pandagon, you think, “she’s fucking nuts.”

  26. Rarely is the question asked: What role did Hillary play in this hyperbole?

  27. “If Edwards is willing to give him veto power over his hires, he might as well hang it up and open a salon in Appalachia.”

    We should be so lucky.

  28. Edwards is no hack. He (Edwards) is in fact a bigoted, white southern, KKK catholic hating male.

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