Edwards & His “Blogger Problem”

Barely a week ago, John Edwards hired Amanda Marcotte to be one of the head bloggers on his campaign. As is expected whenever something of this magnitude occurs, people started looking into her past writings. I— and quite a lot of other people— pointed out that she’s a bit unhinged, caustic, and was at best a questionable choice to be the “voice” of your campaign. Well, the pressure ratcheted up, and rumors circulated about Edwards firing Marcotte (and another blogger, Melissa McEwan, who didn’t attract nearly as much vitriol). Edwards chose to retain the two— publicly, at least.

Now Marcotte has resigned. And in typical Marcotte fashion, her own writings have absolutely no impact on her choice, it was all due to a right-wing smear job by the patriarchy!

I was hired by the Edwards campaign for the skills and talents I bring to the table, and my willingness to work hard for what’s right. Unfortunately, Bill Donohue and his calvacade of right wing shills don’t respect that a mere woman like me could be hired for my skills, and pretended that John Edwards had to be held accountable for some of my personal, non-mainstream views on religious influence on politics (I’m anti-theocracy, for those who were keeping track). Bill Donohue—anti-Semite, right wing lackey whose entire job is to create non-controversies in order to derail liberal politics—has been running a scorched earth campaign to get me fired for my personal beliefs and my writings on this blog.

In fact, he’s made no bones about the fact that his intent is to “silence” me, as if he—a perfect stranger—should have a right to curtail my freedom of speech. Why? Because I’m a woman? Because I’m pro-choice? Because I’m not religious? All of the above, it seems.

No, Amanda, we’re not attacking you because you’re a woman, or because you’re pro-choice, or because you’re not religious. It’s because you’re the one running a scorched-earth campaign against anything with which you disagree, spewing venom and ad hominem attacks at anything in your path. It’s because you’re not a very nice person (at least publicly on your blog). While you may have described your religious writings as “satirical”, they miss a crucial trait of satire: they’re not funny.

The attacks against Amanda weren’t lies. It wasn’t a “smear job”, unless she considers pointing out the very things she wrote on your blog to be a “smear job”. The way she writes is offensive. It belittles anyone who disagrees with her, rather than trying to argue against their points. From the way she write, it gives readers the impression that she sees a bogeyman behind every corner, attempting to steal her uterus and shove a baby into it. She’s angry and hysterical, and it’s difficult for me to take her seriously because of that.

Now, I can’t speak for Bill Donohue, because I’ve never heard of him. And I’m not trying to silence anyone. But I’ll gladly engage in a little bit of schadenfreude when John Edwards hires such a loose cannon to run his campaign blog. From a political standpoint, it might have been smarter to let Edwards off the hook, and hope that Marcotte did more damage as a part of the campaign than outside of it. But Edwards may not last that long as it is, so I’ll point and laugh while I’ve got the chance.

One bit, though, stuck out. When the left gets attacked, it’s always “well-financed shills” who are doing the dirty work:

The other good news is that the blogosphere has risen as one and protested, loudly, the influence a handful of well-financed right wing shills have on the public discourse.

I’m assuming the check is in the mail?

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  • http://libertypapers uffdaron

    It would be best if all the bloggers could be disgraced and hidden away before they incinerate any more elections. All they have to offer is hate and borderline false information, no matter which wing they fly with. They have no responsibility, accountability or obligation to truth or manners. They use their verbal assaults, or visual, to inflame and arouse passions that have no tie to facts…only their opinion. They add nothing to public discourse, they should stay with the entertainment field where people welcome any publicity. peace

  • http://sbcglobal.net Earl Foust

    As a first time reader of “The Liberty Papers”, I must say that I “Bookmarked” this site: Excellent coverage of “Edwards and His Blogger Program”.
    Amanda Marcotte writes trash! Not very bright! Her reference to “Bill Donohue” is a perfect example – she probably meant the “No Spin” guy, Bill O’Reilly.
    She doesn’t do her homework very well, showing her ignorance. By the way, Bill O”Reilly covered the Edward’s problem very well.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Adam Selene

    Uffdaron, we are continuing an American legacy of citizen commentators first begun by Thomas Paine. What are you doing with your comments?

    Earl, welcome, glad you like us. Come back and visit, we generally have 5 to 10 posts a day, providing plenty of new content.

  • Russ T.

    I have a perfect Idea for a TV debate…

    Amanda Marcotte in the Liberal corner and
    Ann Coulter in the Conservative corner.

    Both are notorious for spewing hatred for other point of view.

    I despise them both and stand sqarely in the middle. I’m a religious Christian but we must honor that everyone has the right to choose their path. History proves that forcing religion only fosters hatred and corrupts everything to the core.

  • http://libertypapers uffdaron

    I don’t advocate censoring bloggers any more than censoring anyone, but there must some civilized, democratic way that such hatred and juvenile meaness can be willfully eliminated.

    I quess the best hope is for openminded readers.

    Reporters, as contentious as they may be, answer to someone..bloggers are not bound by anything factual or otherwise.

    My comments here are not intended to offend.. I don’t think that was true of the bloggers in discussion.

    peace, uffdaron

  • http://www.seejanemom.com seejanemom

    Was she wearing a yellow suit while screeching about the Vast Right Wing, or am I thinking of some other Lib-bag???

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Adam Selene

    Free speech is a messy process Uffdaron.

  • Lynai

    After reading many of the offensive diatribes these two have shelled out, I cannot honestly see anything that would move any sane-politician into thinking these two would be worthy to work any where near my campaign! What are they smoking over there in Edwards camp? These two are the “best” they could find? Come on, lack of character, obvious ignorance (Renquist being on the side of pro-choice Roe v Wade?? helloooo???, trash talking and absolute lack of reason is very obvious. The hiring of these two for anything other than trash clean up is absurd. Wait, that is an insult to hard-working, respectable janitors everywhere, I apologize, hiring of these two is just plain absurd and shows a real lack of judgement and commonsence.

  • netdrawal

    Eventually people will realize that Blog’s are just another incarnation of public chat rooms, albeit slightly more eloquent – the force behind them is the same – people spewing often ill-informed and biased opinions into space;
    for a politician to latch onto this betrays a flawed understanding of idle conversation. You’d do just as well to put campaign posters in bathroom stalls, or on bar stools.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany

    the force behind them is the same – people spewing often ill-informed and biased opinions into space

    The difference is that blogs have a heck of a lot more force behind them than IRC. While I’ll agree that people are often spewing ill-informed and biased opinions, we recognize our bias and we have comments for people to show us how ill-informed we are.

    The mainstream media is full of people spewing ill-informed and biased opinions, but hiding behind the lie that they’re objective and have their “three layers of fact-checking” that still often results in erroneous information getting printed.

  • http://thelibertypapers ron stratton

    Yes, Adam Selene, free speech is a messy process. Life is a messy process. Both deserve respect and protection. However, as both mature, we can try for some grace and decency. Bottom feeding is always an option at the discression of the player.

    Any politician getting involved with that form of advertising is well advised to do as one who has dinner plans with the devil….take a very long spoon with you.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Adam Selene

    Wow, Ron Stratton, Uffdaron and Netdrawal sound so much alike I almost thought it was the same person until I read their nicknames.

    You know what, I much prefer the anarchy and mess of free speech to the order and calm the three (one?) of you appear to want.

  • netdrawal

    Adam – I’ve never met those people and am not those people. This is my 1st time posting here – and probably last.
    It seems you’ve got either one, or two problems:
    1) Either you don’t understand what you read – or
    2) You don’t comprehend what you read
    “the order and calm the three (one?) of you appear to want.”
    I’ve never said anything against free and open speech – and I don’t know how you’ve construed this from my writing.
    While I’m sure that these blogs are nothing but idle talk – I’ve never said a thing against them.

  • http://www.thevirtualcongress.com Chuck Lanza

    Amanda had her say and has stepped down because other Americans used their Free Speech rights to tell her and her boss how they felt about her comments. What a great country we have where people can express their views and have the opportunity to listen to everyone’s responses even if they’d rather not or insist everyone is out to get them. Goodbye Amanda.

  • http://www.thevirtualcongress.com thevirtualcongress.com

    Hillary Speak. In response to President Bush’s press conference and comments on intervention in Iran, Senator Clinton stated that we cannot afford to enter a conflict based on information we may find later to be inaccurate. Not many of us have all the information we need to make decisions but we base them on the best information available, the level of confidence in those providing the information, and the significance of the threat. In dealing with Iran we do not have a large number of ears on the ground in Iran, although we do in Iraq and can make some good observations from what we see there. I’m not sure if we should be more or less confident in our intelligence agencies based on their past performance and their inability to keep their classified information out of the Washington Post and the New York Times. As for the threat posed by Iran, unless you have your head in the sand or are a dictatorial apologist, who can argue against the fact they speak and act like a belligerent and threatening nation. The time is approaching when we will need to protect the free world by intervening in Iran either with the member nations of the UN or we will need to go it alone. Preserving the world from a nuclear Iran is imperative.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany


    If these blogs are nothing but idle talk, why are so many politicians looking to court the blogosphere when it comes to their campaigns? Why is it that so many of their staffers regularly read blogs to keep an eye on the “pulse” of the blogosphere?

    Blogs aren’t the same thing as newspapers or magazines, and aren’t intended to be. But blogs are far beyond public chat rooms in both their depth of opinion and their relevance. Bloggers aren’t perfect, and there are a heck of a lot of bad ones out there. But that doesn’t mean that blogs are full of “idle chat”.

  • http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com VRB

    It’s the “in” thing for politicians to do. If
    you would do the man on the street type poll; I would bet there are not as many people you would think that read blogs and if they do, they would be about other subjects than politics. I was surprised myself when I mentioned at work I was reading some blogs and got ask “what’s that.” A lot of older people, the ones who are said to vote the most, don’t even own a computer. I do think bloggers over estimate their importance. I get the impression that quite often, bloggers experiences are no outside the realm of their beliefs and many are so geeky that they disdain whatever else is happening in the culture.

    I don’t see how free speech is affected by manners and civility. The 17th and 18th century writers seems so much more literate and civil, even when they were muckraking than those in the 21th century.

  • http://unrepentantindividual.com/ Brad Warbiany


    This is true, blog readers are usually younger, and that’s a matter of the fact that younger people are generally more comfortable on a computer than their elders. Blogs may become more important in the future.

    But I am surprised that you ascribe an air of civility to some of those 17th and 18th century writers. Quite often, they were vicious to each other, with attacks on each others’ “low birth” and countless other insults. I wouldn’t call them civil. I’m sure Alexander Hamilton wouldn’t consider his experiences with Aaron Burr to be “civil”…

    Read a little of Stephen Littau’s post about Thomas Paine, and you’ll see that some of the feuds between him and John Adams, George Washington, etc, nearly cost Paine his head in France.

  • http://libertypapers uffdaron

    Adam Selene is quite correct. Uffda is my Samoyed who enjoys blogs but she can’t type. I realized that I was not comfortable using a pen name in a blog about free speech and manners.

    Netdrawal is not known to me but his/her ideas are.

    good thoughts . ron stratton

  • netdrawal

    Brad question:
    “If these blogs are nothing but idle talk, why are so many politicians looking to court the blogosphere when it comes to their campaigns?”

    My answer is already in my 1st blog post:
    “a flawed understanding of idle conversation” I’ll add – ‘and it’s uses’.
    Blogs are nothing but idle chatter and the way people choose to burn idle time – there’s no great movement or noble causes on blogs that are of any merit beyond the power-cord.
    No politician will get elected because of bloggers – the nature of such communications are inherently fickle and whimsicial – not the stuff of which solid ground support is made.
    It’s a testament to the power of self-delusion that anyone can believe that their blogging is any more meaningful a waste of time than soaking suds in a sports bar while eating pickled eggs.
    Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy reading them in idle moments – they are simple amusements, fancies, a quick game of solitaire or pac-man.

  • Watercloset

    Fortunately, I never read the comments that these two bloggers resigned over. It might be interesting to read them someday, though it’s probably all been said before. But I have also had the ill-fortune to read or listen to Bill O’Reilly’s rather idiotic tirades. But overall, what happened with those two bloggers shows the power of the borderless and stateless community in cyberspace that will have a far greater impact on politics, not to mention life in general, for the next millennium.

  • earlyfrost

    Sometimes we all hear things that we think are unusual. For example: someone on these posts stated that Bill O’Reilly has “idiotic tirades”. Strange that he is probably most known for his “No Spin Zone” which is probably the straightest program on the circuit. He has always been 99.9% correst on everything even though he is VERY egotistic.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Actually, most political conversation today is much more restrained than it was in the 18th century, or even the 19th century. One of the reason many are not happy with blogs is because an older style of political speech is reviving, in two different ways. The first is that the speech itself is much less “civil” than newspapers and television have practiced for the past years. The second is that it’s a lot messier than it used to be.

    The thing, though, is that much more truth comes out in this environment, IF you are willing to wade through the crap.

    Ron, good to know I wasn’t crazy. Those comments seemed so alike in terms of language, style and thought. Netdrawal, you sound very similar. I also think you are way off target.

  • Watercloset

    You are dead on about Bill O’Reilly being very egotistic. I have actually had to deal with the man in person once and he definitely likes to let you know that he is Bill O’Reilly. It set him off, though, when I asked who was Bill O’Reilly. But his rantings are pretty idiotic and it is probably a stretch to think of his being 99% correct on everything considering his slant.