Election 2008: February 2007 Archives

I don't really have time to blog tonight, but I should at least follow up on this story. A day after Salon reported the campaign of presidential candidate John Edwards had fired the two far-left bloggers he had hired to run his website's blog, Edwards made an announcement:

The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.

(For details of the offensive tone and sentiment, see Dan Riehl's lengthy list of Marcotte quotes.)

Marcotte posted this non-apology apology:

My writings on my personal blog Pandagon on the issue of religion are generally satirical in nature and always intended strictly as a criticism of public policies and politics. My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics. Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.

Of course she meant to offend people for their personal beliefs. She deliberately chose offensive imagery and language to characterize people who don't share her unbelief. Dawn Eden, Marcotte's frequent target, provides a frequently occurring example:

I guess it's nice to know that all those times her blog referred to Our Lord and Saviour as "Jeebus" — in 114 blog entries to date (the most recent last Sunday) — she was only kidding.

A search of Pandagon archives shows that Amanda has yet to devise a similarly ha-ha name for Mohammed. Well, give her time; she's been on the Edwards campaign for only a week and a half.

(I remembered something else Eden and Marcotte have in common -- neither one owns a TV. All together now: "Oh, the harlot and the chaste girl should be friends....")

Somewhere in my blog reading, I saw a Marcotte defender justify that nomenclature: According to this person, "Jeebus" refers to the judgmental, false god worshipped by conservative evangelicals and Catholics (i.e., her view of the Jesus of the Bible). In other words, it doesn't count has mocking the Christian religion, because these people are just using religion as a tool of patriarchal oppression.

Walter Olson of Overlawyered notes that this represents an about-face in the space of four days:

That's how it goes: no regrets as of Feb. 4, "I am sorry" as of Feb. 8.

Regarding Edwards' statement, KC Johnson asks:

This statement begs the question: if "the tone and the sentiment" of some of the duo's posts offended the candidate, and did not meet the standards for his employees, why did Edwards hire the duo in the first place?

Jeff Goldstein says that Edwards' statement implies that Marcotte and McEwan were just posturing all that time:

...Edwards just showed up Marcotte and McEwan as frauds and posturing blowhards, writers who have been pulling the wool over their audiences’ eyes by posting vicious “arguments” they never truly believed. To use the loaded language of establishment feminism—he publicly castrated them—and in so doing, he made fools out of their audiences, to boot.

Further, in doing so, he has shown himself to be nothing more than a calculating political opportunist of the worst sort—one who believes the voting public so daft they might actually buy a statement like the one he just released.

This lefty blogger seems to share that evaluation:

To me, his statement reads : 'I want to fire them but that wouldn't look right, so I'm going to pretend that they didn't actually write those things and require that they be more genteel in the future'. That isn't a fair shake. That's hustling for favor, and precisely what I despise about politics. Michelle [Malkin] and her tiny little litter should have been dismissed with laughter and derision. Instead, the message sent was, 'you're right, of course, but I'm not going to let it look like you're telling me what to do'.

Michelle Malkin has an extensive roundup of reaction, including this pointed evaluation by Paul Mirengoff of Power Line:

If the campaign keeps Marcotte and the other lefty blogger, it will be a clear sign of weakness -- powerful evidence that Edwards needs the unhinged element of his party so desperately in his quest to overcome Hillary Clinton that he can't dump a pair of infantile bloggers who, at a minimum, will constitute a liability in the unlikely event the party nominates him.

The bloggers themselves also seem pretty desperate. Apparently, they need this gig so badly that they don't mind being told to "shut up and sing."

UPDATE: Iowahawk has another Marcotte-related parody, "My Fair Blogger," featuring hit tunes like "I've Grown Accustomed to her Hate" and "We Know the Street Where You Live." (Be warned, the parody is as vulgar and atrocious as fair Amanda is.)

Once More with Feeling contrasts the approaches to this situation taken by Catholic League spokesman Bill Donahue and Dawn Eden, and makes a good point that applies to speaking publicly on any controversial topic:

...[N]othing is worse in the face of a hostile audience than acting outraged in the face of outrageous behavior. You only look like a whiner. And the media will paint you as “angry” unless you’re positively cheerful.

Bit of a tangent: By default, I discredit anyone who says he is "disturbed," "outraged," "horrified," "nauseated," "sickened," or "appalled." Each of those words denotes a visceral reaction, and they have been cheapened to the point of meaninglessness. Someone nauseated should look green around the gills. Someone truly outraged should have a red face. If you're horrified, your hair should look like you just touched a Van der Graaf generator. If you're appalled, you should be as white as a sheet. Instead, most of the time I hear these words uttered in some sort of press conference, the person speaking the words appears to be completely blasé. At best, he's mildly peeved.

UPDATE: Amanda's gone after all, as is Melissa McEwan.

And an old acquaintance of Amanda's speaks out in the comments at Hot Air:

Amanda graduated in the same high school class as my son and in fact was the girl friend of his best friend so I saw I fair amount of her. Three things to me stand out: she was exhibitionistic by nature, she had nothing but contempt for the other students in general although half were Hispanic and most were the “salt of the earth” types she claims she want to promote politically, and although being intelligent, she was not nearly as smart as she thought she was.

At the senior prom, she dressed up as a transvestite witch a la Rocky Horror Picture Show. She failed to get much of a reaction because no one had seen the movie and few would have appreciated the movie if they had. She thereupon lectured to the gathering there (there were 70 graduates total that year) what her costume represented and how important the movie is as a cultural event. When the gathering still “didn’t get it,” she sulked for the remainder of the prom. She attracted enough attention to get a scholarship to St. Edwards, a decent Catholic college in Austin. I’m sure it now regrets this.

As is so common with fairly intelligent people who overestimate their intelligence, she has been attracted to an extremist ideology that neatly explains all of the world’s happenings. Her blog with her “colorful” language and over-the-top opinions has given her the attention she craves. However, she seems to be the classic example of the Peter Principle in being promoted beyond her abilities and the chickens hatched by the conflict between her high ideals and serious personality flaws are coming home to roost.

Amanda Gone

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The latest blogstorm has been over Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' hiring of a couple of left-wing bloggers to serve as "blogmasters" at his official campaign website.

One of them is Amanda Marcotte, who created and was lead blogger for Pandagon.

Readers of The Dawn Patrol will know of Pandagon as the "Anti-Dawn Patrol," a pro-abortion, anti-chastity base used to launch potty-mouthed mockery and insults at Dawn Eden for her support for the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. For a mild example, this entry, which begins:

The year is winding down, so it’s as good a time as any to have some fun mocking our favorite anti-choice nut Dawn Eden.

The funny thing is that, despite being on opposite ends of the spectrum on social and sexual issues, the two have some things in common, like a love of the semi-obscure musical subgenre known as power pop. (It's a shame Marcotte can't acknowledge some common ground and be a friendly antagonist, but what do I know? Here in Oklahoma, we believe that even the farmer and the cowman should be friends.)

Now they have something else in common -- being fired because of controversial blog content -- although in Marcotte's case, it's actually justified.

It's being reported that Marcotte was dropped by the Edwards campaign after several days of bloggers posting some of her more outrageous, obscene, and offensive screeds.

The problem wasn't just her use of language that would make a sailor blush, it was the hatred and vitriol directed against devout Christians and anyone who defends traditional moral standards. Referring to Christians as "godbags," mocking Christian beliefs with vile imagery, referring to pregnancy as "punishment" -- it won't help Edwards in the South, a must-win region for him, and it won't help Democrats as they try to lull evangelicals back into the party.

It doesn't help Edwards to have his blogmistress writing things like this, regarding the Duke lacrosse team rape case:

In her part of the country [the South], both women and black people are seen as subhuman objects to be used and abused by white men.

She replaced the text of the entry and deleted the above comment once the controversy began, but you can still read it here.

It amazes me that whoever in the Edwards campaign made the decision to hire her didn't bother to read back through her blog. Or perhaps someone did read it, but didn't see anything objectionable, which speaks volumes about the decision-maker in question.

Ideology aside, if you're going to give someone the virtual keys to your official campaign website, shouldn't you want someone who can express herself in a civil manner?

If you want specifics on Marcotte's trail of trash-talk, Michelle Malkin has text and links here, here, and here. Those links will also take you to video of Malkin performing a reading and a dramatization of some of Marcotte's blog entries.

UPDATE: James Lileks sums up the Edwards campaign -- and Marcotte:

John Edwards, who demonstrated his managerial skills by hiring as his blogmaster a writer whose ceaseless profanity makes Richard Pryor routines look like a papal encyclical, and showed his concern for "the Other America'' by building a new house large enough to shelter them all.

AND MORE: Iowahawk offers a pitch-perfect parody -- the Pandagon Papers. (Strong content warning, but no worse than Pandagon itself.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from February 2007.

Election 2008: December 2006 is the previous archive.

Election 2008: March 2007 is the next archive.

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