Amanda Marcotte Resigns: Edwards Tries to Eat Cake

Filed under:Blogging,Need a Good Editor?,Politics — posted by Anwyn on February 12, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming a certain level of familiarity with the recent flare-up over Amanda Marcotte’s hiring, considered but not accomplished firing, and subsequent resignation as one of two campaign bloggers for John Edwards.

She’s blaming her resignation on the right-wing blogosphere and Catholic activists who wanted her fired. I, for one, never cared whether she was fired or not, except to the extent that it is positively disgusting that any serious contender for President of the United States would give someone like her an official voice. (No, I won’t link to her blog. Read her nasty at the some of the links above.) Her hiring/non-firing/resignation says almost nothing about Amanda Marcotte that she didn’t say for herself many times on her own blog. But it says worlds about John Edwards.

I supposed early on that he didn’t bother to vet her himsef–which makes me wonder who on the campaign did and what they were thinking. If Edwards did read her stuff beforehand, then it was simply a clear-cut case of trying to have your political cake and eat it too: Get the nutroots on board by hiring one of their own, and we won’t lose any credibility because the blogosphere takes up only a very small portion of voters, and they’re very insular–the rest of America won’t know or care who does the–what was it again?–“blogging” on the ol’ intertubes. If that was what he, or his staff, thought, they grossly miscalculated. Gone are the days when AllahP could justifiably moan that nobody reads the blogs and thus they don’t affect anything. Mainstream media outlets picked up the story, albeit dialing down the grotesque nature of her rhetoric, and Edwards’s camp cottoned to the idea that this wasn’t going to stay hidden away on a web page, tucked nicely into a little compartment labled “Internet” that didn’t really spill out onto voters who don’t read the blogs. So he apparently took an old political route out of the hardship: ask for her resignation. No, nobody’s said that he (or they) asked her to, but it’s not difficult to suppose. It’s such a classic dodge: allows both the person leaving and the persons not doing the firing to save face *coughHarrietMierscough*.

But in this case it could be the fatal blow for the campaign, for one simple reason: Though the blogosphere is making headway into less-internet-savvy America, the nutroots simply do not have a big enough majority even in the blogosphere that not firing her will be a face-saving move for Edwards. Any normal person, left or right, blogger or not, would be horrified at Marcotte’s foam-at-the-mouth denunciations, and any normal person with a bit of political sense should see that Edwards allowing her to resign rather than showing her to the door once he’d been enlightened as to her MO paints him as A) tacitly submitting to the idea that her rhetoric is not horrifying to anybody of decency rather than standing up and indicating that it should be; and B) counting so much on the votes of the hard-left loony bin that he can’t see how many potential mainstream votes he just lost by refusing to jettison the garbage before attempting to lightspeed through the primaries. Michelle Malkin and others are talking about how it shows that if Edwards “couldn’t” stand up to this woman, he won’t be able to stand up to America’s enemies. But I think it’s more like he wouldn’t kick her to the curb because he (or, again, staff who hired her) really believed it wouldn’t cost him anything not to. I can’t speak for Democratic primary voters, but I suspect him to be dead wrong on that score.

Marcotte resigned because “[The attack of right-wing ‘shills’] was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign.” No, Amanda, your coughs are a matter of internet record, and no candidate in his right mind would want you coughing all over his presidential hopes. John Edwards came to his senses a bit too late.

Update: I cannot stop laughing.

Update x2: Abortion addles the brains of a group called “Catholics for a Free Choice:”

“I believe that spirited, provocative criticism of powerful people and organizations, including the Catholic church, is part of democracy,” Kissling said. “I don’t always like what people may say but I really think they have a right to do it. Often the sharpest, most provocative critiques are the most on target.”

Of course Marcotte has a right to say it on her personal blog, though her views are far less “spirited critique” and far more “fume, noise, and spittle.” She even has a right to say it on Edwards’s blog, as long as Edwards gives the OK. But normal people, a group that apparently doesn’t include the president of Catholics for a Free Choice, ought to be appalled that Edwards would give the OK and make their judgments about him accordingly.

“I wanted to send a message to the Edwards campaign that they should not cave to that sort of bullying,” Kissling said about her letter [of support to Marcotte].

If you call it “bullying” to have it called to Edwards’s attention that his blogger could give him the name of hating Christians, a group that includes a hell of a lot of women who have their own opinions about abortion, by the way, a fact that seems lost on Marcotte’s lump-sum “patriarchy” game theory, as well as alienating anybody who happens to be anti-abortion without advancing a Christian rationale for the position (yes, they exist), then I really couldn’t say what you’d call “discussion.”


  1. *coughHarrietMierscough*

    You know, every time you cough, you’re risking the Edwards campaign.

    Comment by Patterico — February 12, 2007 @ 10:51 pm

  2. If I only had the power!

    Comment by Anwyn — February 12, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

  3. A and B are possibilities but there’s also C: Fear of admitting that he had made a mistake. Politicos of all stripes hate bringing to light that they (or their staff) have erred. He couldn’t (I hope) defend Marcotte without drawing attention to the controversy and he couldn’t fire her without doing the same. It was a PR nightmare.

    That said, we’re so very early on in the process, I have to wonder if this incident will make any particular difference by primary time. Fascinating drama though. Well, sort of fascinating. Pro-wrestling fascinating.

    Wake me a month before the general election and I’ll make a long list of why both major parties’ candidates suck. My list won’t contain anything about who hired or fired who.

    Comment by Allen — February 12, 2007 @ 11:09 pm

  4. A and B are possibilities but there’s also C: Fear of admitting that he had made a mistake.

    Yes–and that’s a good way of encapsulating what I’m trying to say: fear of appearing (from perspectives of both hard left and right) to have made a mistake, he wound up … appearing, from both moderate left, middle, moderate and hard right, to have made a huge mistake. Also typical of politicians, I guess.

    Comment by Anwyn — February 12, 2007 @ 11:20 pm

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