ABC’s Terry Moran notes that John Edwards is taking heat for hiring leftyblogger Amanda Marcotte whose expletive-filled rantings are hardly the sort of thing that a reputable political candidate would want to endorse. Moran asks the right questions:
At issue are Marcotte’s comments on her own blog, Pandagon (http://www.pandagon.net/), which has staked out a prominent place in the left-wing blogosphere. It’s pretty strong stuff; her comments about other people’s faiths could well be construed as hate speech.
Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he’s joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards’ association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder–among other things–whom he might appoint to high office if he’s elected? If a Republican candidate teamed up with a right-wing blogger who spewed this kind of venom, how would people react? Is the mere raising of this issue a kind of underhanded censorship, a way of ruling out of bounds some kinds of opinion? Are we all just going to have to get used to a more rough-and-tumble, profane, and even hate-filled public arena in the age of the blogosphere?
I think we’ll see a lot more of that as blogging goes mainstream. Predictably, the left-wing blogosphere has gone nuts over the piece.
Like it or not, Ms. Marcotte may have the right to free speech, and no one is arguing that she should be censored. However, what she says is incindiary, derogatory, and bigoted. Had she treated Islam the way she treats Catholicism, she’d be widely ostracized. Marcotte represents everything that is wrong with the lefty blogosphere — the constant profanity, the invective, the elevation of childish snark above analysis. There are only a few left-wing bloggers who do anything resembling analysis, and while some of them are good (Joshua Micah Marshall comes to mind as an example) most of them seem to carry the attitudes of high school kids who think they’re “sticking it to the Man” by dropping cluster F-bombs. For anyone who doesn’t drink the Kool-Aid already, it’s not only unpersuasive, it’s horrendously off-putting.
I think Dean Barnett is right — the Edwards team seems not to be familiar with the blogger they hired — which is their mistake. Marcotte has every right to spew her invective and play the part of a left-wing Ann Coulter all she wishes — but for a campaign to not do their due diligence and figure out what they were getting into is a rather significant error of judgment.
Like it or not, Presidential campaigns are known by the company they keep, and when they end up hiring a blogger whose singular talent is trying to be as offensive and vitriolic as possible, that sends the message that they haven’t been paying much attention. I doubt this will make much of a ripple outside the media and the blogosphere, but sooner or later this sort of thing will lead to a much wider political scandal. The question is when, and what will the repercussions be?
UPDATE: Left-wing group blog MyDD demonstrates the siege mentality of the left:
The Edwards camp faces a series simple choices right now:
- Are you with the people who work their asses for you, or are you with right-wing extremists who hate you?
- Are you willing to point out the double standards and hypocrisy behind this story, or will you cave to even the mildest pressure from the Republican Noise Machine?
- Do you have any loyalty to the netroots, or was it all just sweet talk, where loyalty actually only flows uphill and shit actually only flows downhill?
Of course, to the left, everything is manipulated by sinister right-wing forces. Never mind that what Ms. Marcotte wrote would likely offend nearly everyone, including the Catholic liberal voters that any Democrat needs to win in key states. It’s all about the “Republican Noise Machine” (which apparently now includes ABC’s Terry Moran) and how they must be stopped at any costs. Everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a “right wing extremist” and compromise is impossible.
This is why, ultimately, the left-wing blogosphere is more of a liability to the Democrats than an asset. The second they start getting more mainstream attention, the more their radicalism comes to light. Ms. Marcotte’s comments are not the sort of thing that persuades anyone, and they reflect poorly on John Edwards and his campaign. And it doesn’t take a “right wing extremist” to see that.