So our friends on the left are all atwitter tonight because of the apparent (and as of yet unconfirmed by the Edwards campaign) firing of official bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa, er, I can’t remember her last name.
Over at MyDD this incident has been taken with the seriousness of a nuclear attack:
I have a pretty vicious rant and an important action alert lined up, but I am waiting to hear from the Edwards camp about the fate of Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan before doing anything.
Two things spring to mind. First, if you think having both a “vicious rant” AND an “important action alert” teed up constitute words that should strike fear into a presidential candidate, you either have a very high opinion of yourself or a very low opinion of the candidate. Or both. Second, it’s hilarious. It just is, as written, hilarious. Unintentionally, of course.
Oh, and there’s her name. McEwan. Got it.
Over at Crooks & Liars, John Amato is promising that a Pandora’s Box has been opened. I suppose a line has also been crossed, a martini has been shaken and an i has been dotted. A cliche has certainly been loosed upon an unsuspecting world. And someone’s taking himself and this whole incident waaaay too seriously.
Let’s review the facts. Marcotte and….McEwan, that’s it…have been blogging for umpteen years at a collection of lefty blogs. In those blog years, they have collectively tossed out umpteen billion profanities, f-bombs and assorted insults. They have smeared Catholics, Protestants and pretty much everyone else they disagree with. Marcotte in particular seems to have a deep-seated hatred for all things male and Southern (so she’d probably take a swing at me if we met just on general principle). I wonder if she realizes that John Edwards is both a) male and b) Southern. Anyway. The pair have behaved badly on the internet, which being viewable to lots of people, means they have behaved badly in public. They have, as Terry Moran pointed out, engaged in what amounts to hate speech. Often, repeatedly and with great zest.
I myself am not a fan of labeling stuff “hate speech,” I don’t like hate crime laws or anything else that makes thoughts crimes. It’s dangerous, and usually ends up aimed at people who are a) male b) Southern and c) not liberal. Meaning, people like me. I have enough trouble obeying speed limits; I don’t need a whole new set of crimes that some prosecutor can just decide to tack on for fun based on my demographics. But liberals love the whole hate crime thing though, which makes this whole situation hilariously ironic: Here are two copper plated liberals, getting hoisted on hate speech charges. And a cursory trip through their archives–er, unless they get airbrushed–shows that the charge is valid and will stick.
The Edwards campaign erred in hiring these two. In fact, at this stage for any politician to hire almost any high profile liberal blogger carries a certain risk and baggage. Hire Kos and you get the “screw them” baggage. Hire Jerome Armstrong and you get Vanuatu and his planetarily aligned stock recommendations, or whatever. Most of the big name lefty bloggers drop f-bombs the way most normal people breathe. Josh Marshall doesn’t, but his writing is so full of unjustified whispering and speculation that I sometimes come away from his posts expecting to find Agent Mulder looking over my shoulder. And when the guy doesn’t deliver the goods that he whispers so earnestly about, no one ever calls him on it. But he is at least a very polished writer whose vocabulary goes well past four-letter words.
The notion that most liberal bloggers a) want to feel like they can play in the big leagues with the likes of Edwards and Hillary! but b) actually hiring them is likely to hurt the candidates they support is probably feeding all the rage on their side right now. They’re all looking back at their own virtual paper trails and regretting this wild rant or that uncorked ragefest. Did I really smear every single Southerner who ever lived just to take a shot at BushCo? Why yes, yes I did. Several times last week and at least once a month since starting this blog. Plus, no one likes it when their side looks bad, and their side looks bad right now (though why it looks bad, most of them don’t seem to understand yet). Edwards looks like he made a bad call and can’t make the right call to fix the bad one. He’s got himself in a no-win situation–keep the bloggers and you’re keeping haters around who will lose you your own home state if you get that far; fire them and the netroots will smear you until the day you die.
Before the lefty bloggers get their IMPORTANT ACTION ALERTS and vicious rants all drafted and ready to fire, a little introspection might be in order. Why might keeping Marcotte and…McEwan around be a bad thing? Because they’re likely to write something embarassing at exactly the wrong time. Because they’re likely to smear voters rather than engage them. Because to most people sex isn’t used as a threat and the death of a Supreme Court Justice isn’t an occassion to shout, essentially, IT’S ALL ABOUT ME!!!! at the top of our lungs. Because the gratuitous use of profanity is not, to most people, the sign of a healthy mind. Because they’re just bad for business.
Those bloggers appear to readers and the outside world now getting a small taste of their writings very much like the character Michelle conjured up for the two Vents that are related to this story. If I had thought she was overacting, I would have said so, but after reading the posts I had to say that her portrayal is dead on.
Writing is a revelatory thing. Use of ALL CAPS is a shout; use of profanity to me reflects unseriousness and lack of a vocabulary (or at least a thesaurus) and a lack of manners. Using every single issue to smear and denigrate rather than persuade, enlighten, or heck, just entertain for a second, makes the writer look like a loon. Making every post somehow All About Me and My Proclivities That You Can’t Stop exhibits paranoia. It just does. And that’s why the two bloggers have become a liability.
On this side of the aisle, it’s just a hilarious situation to watch unfold. Everyone over there, threatening Edwards and threatening bloggers on the right and styling themselves as a bunch of internet Napoleons, just look like a collection of clowns falling all over themselves to be the next one to one-up the incandescent rage of the last one. Who can take themselves so seriously? Who can take them seriously anymore?
And in the midst of it, there’s John Edwards sitting in his ginormous house in the America where having a home the size of three football fields is normal, wondering what to do. Over a couple of bloggers, he has shoehorned himself into a no-win situation. Let’s make him Commander-in-Chief!
Update (AP): Be sure to see Ace’s last update here, in which Bowers basically pledges to make Amanda “Hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit” Marcotte’s employment his litmus test for the 2008 Democratic primary. God willing, his idea will catch on and nutroots morons around the ‘sphere will take the pledge themselves, thereby confirming that their passion for politics has less to do with policies than with exerting their own power. I agree with Glenn (and Conn Carroll) too — it’s possible that Edwards’s people brought Marcotte on because she’s so repulsive, because they knew she’d appeal to the cretins he’s trying to woo. In which case, they absolutely should stand by her. Keep her on and let Chris Bowers swear his oath of loyalty to the guy who had the foresight, the vision, to hire one of the nutroots’s Christian-hating finest.
Update (AP): Patterico unloads on discredited sock puppeteer Rick Ellensburg and says he thinks it’s still more likely than not that Edwards will fire Marcotte. I totally disagree. At this point, unless the Catholic League threatens some form of escalation, I’d say it’s a virtual certainty that they’ll keep her. She’s a cause celebre, notwithstanding the fact that her “cause” reeks, and he can’t afford to alienate her supporters unless a bigger group with even more money demands that he do so. Which is a long-winded way of saying that it’s basically up to Bill Donahue now.
Update (AP): Last thing. If you’ve never read Marcotte, this paragraph from Iowahawk’s parody isn’t much of an exaggeration. The only false note is the phrase “totally awesome,” which is more common to male stoners than to gender warriors:
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks for this totally f***ing awesome opportunity to help you take America back from f***ing BushCo and the other f***tard bible-humping extremists that have turned this once great nation into a goddamn rape factory for their snakehandling Jesus Camp hatebots.