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February 7, 2007
Missing The Point Twice Over

The apparent firing of two bloggers by the John Edwards campaign has generated a predictable debate in the blogosphere. Those who find themselves in sympathy with Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, either because or in spite of their inflammatory attacks on Christians in general and Catholics in particular, claim that the Edwards campaign surrendered to right-wing attacks.

Some go further and try to pass off the entire incident through some weird filter of relativism. Alex Koppelman and Rebecca Traister at Salon claim that the "right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps", and try to pass off Marcotte's earlier writings as the equivalent of Michelle Malkin's on the latter's blog -- although neither can apparently come up with an example. Media Matters has leapt to Marcotte's defense by going through the writings of Patrick Hynes, John McCain's new media coordinator, and discovering that he called Chelsea Clinton "ugly". Somehow, the writings of Malkin and Hynes don't appear to be on the order of this Marcotte gem on the virgin birth:

Q: What if Mary had taken Plan B after the Lord filled her with his hot, white, sticky Holy Spirit?

A: You’d have to justify your misogyny with another ancient mythology.

Now Marcotte's sympathizers complain that mean conservatives have tried to silence Marcotte and McEwan and intruded on her right to free speech, which is ludicrous. Neither of them have their hands tied, and I'm sure both can access their blogs. No one has argued that they didn't have a right to publish their rather rancid opinions, and I'd be the first to defend their right to do so. What commentators questioned was the decision by the Edwards campaign to associate themselves with political activists that demonstrated that much hostility to a large sector of the electorate that Edwards supposedly would like to court.

Chris Bowers and a few others make a good point about the initial hiring decision. If the Edwards campaign hired them for their bombast and inflammatory rhetoric, knowing full well of their history of attacking people for their religious beliefs, then the Edwards campaign really did take a cowardly way out of their own stupid decision by firing the two bloggers. However, it seems much more likely that someone in the campaign hired them on the basis of their name recognition without doing much research into their blogs.

The outrage misses two points. Free speech includes the right to criticize religious beliefs, even when the criticism goes from rational debate to mindless hatred. It also includes the right for others to criticize that speech and the politicians that appear to support it, as many on the Left manage to do whenever they get up on their high horse about Pat Robertson, a nutcase who retains a dwindling following among conservatives.

The second point missed is that campaigns exist to get people elected. The Edwards campaign needs to convince as many people as possible to support his populist campaign, and Catholics are a significant bloc. Catholics tend to skew Democratic by a thin margin, mostly for the kinds of social-justice issues that Edwards champions. Absent Marcotte on the payroll, he might expect to attract a large percentage of the Democrats in that bloc for the primaries -- but he can kiss it goodbye while a high-profile member of his staff keeps referring to the Holy Spirit as ejaculate.

Bottom line: if it costs a lot a votes, campaigns get rid of it. Marcotte had the potential to do that, and she should never have been hired in the first place if Edwards wants to attract Catholic voters. If Edwards wanted to promote an anti-religious, anti-Catholic theme and chose her specifically for it, then she shouldn't have gotten the axe today. Based on what the Edwards campaign did, I'd say the former is more true than the latter.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 7, 2007 6:00 PM

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» The sad tale of John Edwards’ (now former) bloggers from Sister Toldjah
As I mentioned briefly in my last post, the mega-watt hot issue the last couple of days in the blogosphere has been the story about two popular left-wing bloggers that the John Edwards campaign hired as his ‘official bloggers.’ Several we... [Read More]

Tracked on February 7, 2007 8:35 PM

» Can't you just picture Amanda Marcotte in Tony Snow's job?
Update and bump: Fired?
from Bill's Bites
... Read the whole thing. Michelle has this covered like dumb on Democrats. ... Edwards Campaign Reconsidering Blogger Hires Ed Morrissey The campaign of John Edwards, hailed for hiring two progressive bloggers for his 2008 Presidential campaign, has n... [Read More]

Tracked on February 7, 2007 10:47 PM

» And then there were no more lady bloggers, troop resolutions, or other acts for the glorification of the insane left from Hang Right Politics
Apparently John Edwards, a.k.a the Breck Girl, has decided to dump his poison pen bloggers before they can do any more damage. I hate to see it happen, there goes tomorrow’s entertainment. Oh well, maybe Real Estate Reid will try to pass anothe... [Read More]

Tracked on February 8, 2007 5:11 AM

» Don’t tell your tempest how small your teapot is… from The Random Yak
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Tracked on February 8, 2007 3:36 PM


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