The other shoe has dropped in the John Edwards blogger uproar.
One day after Amanda Marcotte said she was bailing from the Edwards presidential campaign amid criticism that her writings were anti-Catholic, the former senator's other hire from the blogosphere, Melissa McEwan, called it quits last night.
Edwards had decided last week to retain Marcotte and McEwan even while saying he found some of their writing offensive. McEwan, who had called President Bush's conservative Christian supporters his "wingnut Christofascist base," apologized for "letting down my peers" in the liberal online world but said she had been the target of a campaign of "frightening ugliness."
"There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and my inbox with vitriol and veiled threats," McEwan said.
Marcotte, who took more of the incoming fire, may never become a household name, but everyone in the blogosphere seems to be talking about her.
Well, check that. Everyone on the right side of the blogosphere seems to chattering on about the liberal blogger from Pandagon. My sense is that the lefty bloggers don't want to kick Marcotte when she's down, or would prefer to focus on the role of Bill Donohoe, the Catholic League official who went after her and who liberals say has his own long list of inflammatory comments.
(Sample: "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it." Said
Still, some liberal bloggers are privately peeved that Marcotte continued to blog on Catholic subjects, even after signing on with Edwards.
Conservative bloggers with political ambitions have hardly been immune from criticism. Patrick Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits got kicked around for praising John McCain without initially disclosing that he had signed with the McCain camp.
My sense is that candidates want the hipness infusion and netroots support that bloggers offer but would like to finesse being associated with online fire-breathers--in other words, they want it both ways. Edwards, as I've written, paid some bloggers to cover his announcement tour, and hired a TV crew to provide "behind-the-scenes" footage of the candidate. But the Edwards campaign has had almost nothing to say about this flap, often not returning calls or responding to e-mails. The
Marcotte, for her part, runs excerpts of some
"Let's face it -- this story would not have had much more momentum in any case. Democrats were unlikely to anger the netroots by openly using it against Edwards, for two reasons. One, the eventual nominee will need these activists after the primaries, and secondly, Edwards is no threat to either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama anyway. By next week, no one would have bothered following the Edwards' campaign blog to check for signs of a meltdown."
"Why do some women reach for the feminist card when they get in a jam . . . A male blogger who had written some of the things that Marcotte had written, there would have been just as much criticism.
At the Christian Alliance for Progress, the blogger
"Little has been written (at least as far as I have seen), about the need for blogs on the left to demonstrate more respect for the majority of Americans who are religious . . .
"I have no reason to think anyone listened to this perspective. Sadly, there is little about the current flap that suggests that the point has been heard now--despite Sen. Edwards' express statement that such language is offensive. The articles below make it clear that many others on the religious left agree with my perspective. I'd like to see blogs move away from offensive Howard Stern-like comments about religion."
The conservative blogger
"While some on the left have falsely claimed that I was against her being Edwards's blogger, I was actually very much in favor of it, as the record shows. Crazy lefties liked her in that position because of her inflammatory rhetoric; more rational lefties liked her in that position despite it. I agreed with the crazy lefties . . . just for a different reason.
"But -- assuming that Edwards had something to do with this -- I can't say I'm surprised. I do think the hire calls into question Edwards's judgment, and I think he realized that. While the lefties tended to defend her personal blogging as separate from her campaign blogging, the fact is that they were intimately related. Marcotte was hired to be a campaign blogger on the strength of her blog writings -- and then Edwards turned out to be appalled (or so he claims) by her blog writings. It was enough to make you wonder: what's going to happen if this guy is president and gets a Supreme Court nomination?"
What was the final straw?
"The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal, where god is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman, and women are nothing but vessels.
"Tame stuff, by comparison to what she had published before. Problem is, this time she published it while she was on Edwards' payroll. Predictably, that sent Bill Donohue into another tizzy, and this time Marcotte decided to bolt . . .
"The lesson here seems pretty straightforward to me: if a blogger gets hired to work on a political campaign, that blogger should cease personal blogging. Just don't do it. If you're blogging for a candidate, there's nothing you can say on your own blog that is anything but a liability for your candidate, so you're just hurting the person you presumably want to win."
"I've asked the author of the Slate piece, John Dickerson, if he can specify whether the campaign is Democratic or Republican. The common usage of the word 'rival' in a primary means a campaign of the same party, but I think confirmation would be nice.
"I have also emailed most of the campaigns, asking them if they were the ones offering that quote to Slate. I have gotten denials from the Clinton, Dodd, Biden, Vilsack, and Obama campaigns. I'll update this list as I hear back from the others. I don't know anyone at the Gravel or Kucinich camps, so if they're reading, they should drop me a line. So all that's left are Richardson, Clark, Kucinich, and Gravel.
"Of course, a campaign might not know which of its 'top advisors' are talking to the press (that's the stuff of unauthorized leaks). But it's telling that whoever offered that blind quote to Slate was clearly more afraid of the bloggers than the Catholics that his or her campaign would supposedly win over by bashing Edwards.
"Update II: And the Richardson camp has chimed in with a denial as well. And honestly, does Kucinich and Gravel even have 'top advisors' that Dickerson would seek out? So it's either a Republican campaign or a rogue advisor. Either way, my point still stands -- it's hypocritical to attack the Edwards campaign for 'being afraid of bloggers' when this person was obviously too afraid of bloggers to put his or her name on the quote.
"Update III: I have confirmed with Slate's John Dickerson that his source was with a Democratic campaign. Also, Clark's camp has responded with a denial."
Good luck getting someone to fess up.
Bill O'Reilly is now talking about the "demise" of the Edwards campaign. But it remains to be seen how much the incident will hurt him at this early stage of the game.
How is the Mitt Romney candidacy playing?
"As Romney attempts to cast himself as an outsider not beholden to the ways of Washington," says the
"With his 20-minute announcement," says the
"Mr. Romney has spent much of the past two years trying to calm concerns among conservatives about his views on such issues as abortion rights; as a younger man, he supported abortion rights, but now opposes them. Similarly, running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts, he pledged to be an all-out advocate for gay rights; a large part of his appeal to conservatives has been campaigning against gay marriage."
"Though a Bay Stater for most of the past 40 years, Romney paid the Commonwealth little heed during his speech, focusing instead on what his native Michigan has meant to him and his family . . .
"In fact, Romney spent more time talking about his father's record in Michigan than talking about his own in Massachusetts."
That is kinda odd, no?
"Running for president means never having to say you're sorry. Or at least Hillary Clinton thinks so.
"She steadfastly refuses to admit that her vote to authorize the Iraq war was a mistake. She refuses to say she was wrong.
"I will make a prediction: Before we get to the Iowa caucuses, Hillary will say she was wrong. She will admit she made an error. Because if she doesn't, she risks losing."
"A Clinton apology would provide opponents with the opportunity to paint her as a flip-flopper who is capable of being duped. Which is not the ideal image for the first serious female presidential candidate.
"One Democratic strategist, thinking ahead to the '08 general election, tells me that the Hillary camp wants to allay the (unfair) suspicion, especially among some white male voters, that a woman might be reluctant to use military force in a crisis. Hence the desire, during this campaign, to avoid any incident that would allow rivals to paint her as irresolute. Hillary's people would prefer that she head into a general election, presumably against a tough-guy opponent such as John McCain or Rudy Giuliani, with the kind of tough-lady image that worked for Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain and Golda Meir in Israel."
And that's always the trick: winning the nomination without badly damaging yourself for the general.
But neither Maggie nor Golda had to deal with controversial husbands. Which reminds me: Are we back to the days of "buy one, get one free?" The
"For the first time in her bid for the White House, Mrs. Clinton directly laid claim to the legacy and popularity of former President Bill Clinton -- and did so in a crucial primary state where her husband showed his resiliency in 1992, when he finished second despite weeks of troubles . . .
"Her advisers say it would be folly to minimize Mr. Clinton's role in her life: as a potential first gentleman, as her 'full-time political counselor' (as she called him on Saturday) and as a source of emotional support."
Well, she can't exactly run away from him, can she?
Did you catch Obama on "60" last weekend? Power Line's
"At the outset of the 1992 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton introduced herself to the nation on '60 Minutes' with the false claim that her defense of her husband in the face of allegations of his womanizing was not a case of 'stand by your man.' Now, Barack Obama's wife apparently has introduced herself to the American people on the same show with the ludicrous claim that 'as a black man, Barack can get shot going to the gas station.'
"Hillary was lying; Mrs. Obama must just be a fool. The fact is that, but for his race, no one would even consider Barack Obama presidential material in 2008. So it does not behoove his wife to pretend that he is Martin Luther King and the U.S. is Memphis in 1968."
But here's why that is badly out of context. Michelle Obama was responding to the following question from Steve Kroft:
"This is a tough question to ask, but a number of years ago, Colin Powell was thinking about running for president, and his wife Alma really did not want him to run. She was worried about some crazy person with a gun. Is that something that you think about?"
"I don't lose sleep over it, because the realities are that, you know, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station." So it wasn't like she was volunteering this out of the blue.
By the way, the transcript identifies her as Michelle Robinson. Is she not using Obama's name?
The Washington Post story that greatly upset the senator from Arizona--"McCain Taps Cash He Sought to Limit"--had a "misleading" headline, The Post now admits: "As was clear in the story, McCain is seeking contributions for his presidential campaign from donors who once contributed 'soft' money or who contributed to nonprofit political groups known as 527s, not from the groups themselves."
"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Study to see if you can fix any limit to his power in this respect, after having given him so much as you propose. If to-day he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, -- 'I see no probability of the British invading us;' but he will say to you, 'Be silent: I see it, if you don't.''
Such an approach, wrote Abe, "places our President where kings have always stood."