Caving in to the right wing never works
It didn’t take long for the Edwards campaign to get schooled on Swift Boating — by proxy, no less. And the two newly hired bloggers are in the crossfire — depending on where you’re surfing, they have either been fired — or fired and rehired.
The right-wing banshees of the blogosphere hopped on the smear train as soon as they learned that Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister were hired by the former NC Senator and 2008 presidential candidate to work as, respectively, blogmaster and netroots coordinator. The fact that the righty blogs went on the attack is no surprise, as this is what political sport has come to.
All the bloviating on the winger blogs can be taken with a big grain of salt — there are a lot of mouths on both the left and right that shoot off indiscriminately, if passionately, about politics — and that has no bearing on the ability to write well in a professional capacity, which is why the two were hired to begin with. Melissa has written as a journalist for Raw Story, for example. Her work there in no way reflects her writing style on her personal blog. Alas, that doesn’t matter when hardball politics get in the way.
Glenn Greenwald, as always, hits the mark (my emphasis):
I do not know of many bloggers, or citizens generally, who do not have some views that would be offensive to large groups of people and who periodically express those views in less than demure ways, but if that is going to be the standard, we ought to apply it universally to all bloggers who are affiliated with political campaigns.
Let’s begin with Patrick Hynes, the paid consultant for John McCain’s presidential campaign. Hynes continuously blogged about political matters, including ones involving McCain and the GOP field, while concealing that he was on McCain’s paid staff. That was not the first time Hynes has been caught using deceitful tricks to manipulate the blogosphere into writing content on behalf of his undisclosed clients.
…Hynes’ public writing is devoted to pure religious divisiveness — he focuses almost exclusively on the claim that Christianity is superior and that those who attend church live better lives, and specifically to the belief that the Republican Party is the true party of those who believe in God and that Democrats are “anti-Christian.” He wrote a book entitled In Defense of the Religious Right, and in an interview about that book in July, 2006, this is what he said:
Miner: Is it fair to call America a “Christian nation”?
Hynes: Yes. America is a Christian nation. As I write in my book, “Is America a Christian nation? Of course it is. Don’t be ridiculous. What a stupid question.
Does McCain agree with that view, or think it is acceptable to label as “stupid” objections to the notion that “America is a Christian nation.” Is that not as divisive and offensive, at least, as anything Marcotte wrote?
Glenn also talks about more online behavior by Hynes involving insults toward Henry Waxman that would qualify as “vulgar” by any measure.
The big mistake, quite frankly, was for the Edwards campaign to place any legitimacy at the door of arch-hack William Donohue of the Catholic League. For this man to call anyone “trash-talking bigots” is laughable, considering his history of talking head and written chicanery. The Catholic League is a far-right organization, and Donohue is so extreme that he’s taken Bill O’Reilly to the woodshed. Let’s take a look at the wisdom and mainstream ideas of Donohue in his column, “What’s the Matter With White People.” Read after the flip.
First gays wanted tolerance. To tolerate is to put up with, and that’s what homosexuals wanted from heterosexuals – to publicly acknowledge their presence without rancor or discord. Having won that battle (deservedly so), they proceeded to reject tolerance altogether. What they did was to raise the bar: they wanted social affirmation. Nothing less than social approval of who they are — including their lifestyle — would satisfy. Now they want us to say it’s okay for a guy to marry a guy.
Americans are a tolerant people. That’s good, just so long as tolerance doesn’t slide into amorality. For example, it is one thing to put up with immoral behavior, quite another to say we no longer object. Not only is there nothing wrong with registering moral outrage at morally outrageous behavior, there is something immoral about remaining silent. And no segment of society fails this test more than white people; in particular, well-educated white people.
…The Pew Hispanic Center found that 72 percent of Latinos believe homosexual sex between adults is “unacceptable”; 59 percent of whites feel the same way. In New York State, in a poll of Democratic voters taken by Edison Media Research, it was determined that 27 percent of Hispanics thought gays should be able to marry; 47 percent of whites approved. In Florida, a survey by Schroth & Associates found that 20 percent of Hispanics were pro-gay marriage, compared to 29 percent of whites.
The same phenomenon exists worldwide. Virtually every nation in the world where the right of two men to marry is being seriously advanced is white: it is in Canada, the U.S. and Europe where the gay rights movement is flourishing. It is not flourishing in Asia, the Middle East, Africa or Latin America. Just in nations that are predominantly white.
This pattern is evident in the United Nations as well: non-white nations are busy resisting the tide of the gay rights movement that is being foisted upon them by rich white countries.
Case closed (if it’s not yet for you, then take a look at this bit of Donohue). How, pray tell, can this be considered a reasonable man worth coddling?
Whatever opinions Melissa and Amanda hold on a variety of political issues, they are completely their own. The fact is that they have used profanity in their posts, and wrote rants that many disagree with, but their forums are about personal expression and opinion, not journalism or op-eds for a major paper. They were selected by the Edwards campaign to put on a different hat, a professional hat — as if no one else out there does the same thing each and every day if they have a personal blog and work in a venue that is dependent on writing copy or business correspondence. They know the difference, but that’s clearly not the issue at work here. It’s about getting someone in the kill zone, and trying to knock off John Edwards in the process.
The biggest mistake of all is that a campaign with a long way to go to get to the finish line is so easily spooked by elements on the right that aren’t worth the time of day. Team Edwards, the votes you want aren’t going to come from the crowd that reads Malkin or pays attention to Donohue when he shows up foaming at the mouth interrupting other guests with intolerant comments on a chat show.
You can drop a line to the Edwards campaign to let them know what you think. Frankly, dismissing these two women wouldn’t help in any damage control they perceive they need to do. The “scandal” doesn’t deserves the attention it’s been given, particularly when you have the Bush administration wasting billions in Iraq, countless lives have been lost, a health care system that is broken…and, well, that’s the tip of the iceberg.
The Edwards campaign is taking its eye is off the political ball; the right-wing blogosphere smells blood in the water. Team Edwards must be an easy mark if it’s unable to roll with the punches to address a tempest in a teapot.