Patterico's Pontifications

2/7/2007

Marcotte Fired?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:35 pm



Amanda Marcotte has been fired as John Edwards’s blogger [link requires sitting through an annoying ad — Ed.]:

The right-wing blogosphere has gotten its scalps — John Edwards has fired the two controversial bloggers he recently hired to do liberal blogger outreach, Salon has learned.

Or has she? Two paragraphs later, the Salon piece says:

Speculation from sources that the two bloggers might be rehired was bolstered by Jennifer Palmieri, a spokeswoman for the Edwards campaign, who said in an e-mail that she would “caution [Salon] against reporting that they have been fired. We will have something to say later.”

Let’s proceed on the assumption that she has indeed been fired, which I think is more likely. A few observations.

First, I agree with Allah:

I don’t like to see anyone fired, no matter how much they deserve it . . .

I share this attitude in general. The feeling, which Allah and I share, is that blogging has gotten too dangerous. This is one reason that I have said repeatedly that I hope Edwards keeps Marcotte. And if he has fired her, I hope he does rehire her.

The other reason I hope Edwards uses Marcotte is that she is an obvious liability to Edwards. Since I don’t like Edwards, why in the world would I want him to lose a liability?

Now, judging from the reaction from the left blogosphere today, lefties generally disagree with me, and think that Marcotte is not a liability. They believe that her rhetoric is not that unusual. A bit profane, perhaps, but not something that should really offend Americans that much.

This view is, of course, utterly insane, as any rational person even vaguely familiar with Marcotte’s writings is well aware. The proof is in the links three paragraphs up, as well as in various places around the blogosphere. It’s not hard to find. If you’re bad at surfing, just go to her site and browse around. Once again, Allah puts it well:

Marcotte’s been a punchline on Goldstein’s site for years; to see her suddenly materialize as lead blogger for a major presidential candidate is like the cat lady from the Simpsons being hired as White House press secretary. To call her a caricature of a doctrinaire feminist doesn’t even scratch the surface. Imagine a vicious parody of a vicious parody of a doctrinaire feminist and you’re at the appropriate remove of cartoonishness.

Bingo.

I’m not going to argue this point at length. Either you see it or you don’t. Either you realize that most Americans are religious and will bristle at the term “godbags,” or you don’t.

Glenn Greenwald has a post that implies an equivalence between the entirety of Marcotte’s oeuvre and certain examples of alleged bad judgment by McCain blogger Patrick Hynes. Exhibit #1 in Greenwald’s incredibly weak indictment: Hynes’s admittedly juvenile decision to mock an admittedly goofy picture of Henry Waxman.

Now, I have no reason to defend Hynes, since I don’t know him, and I can’t stand John McCain. But this comparison is ridiculous. If you made fun of this guy

hairy-guy.jpg

for being hairy, Glenn Greenwald would tell you that you’re a hypocrite because you have eyebrows, and eyebrows are hairy too!

So while I agree with Greenwald when he says:

I do not know of many bloggers, or citizens generally, who do not have some views that would be offensive to large groups of people and who periodically express those views in less than demure ways . . .

I also do not know of many bloggers, or citizens generally, who are as shrill, strident, and off-putting as Amanda Marcotte. Any argument that tries to point fingers at other campaign bloggers is fatally dishonest if it fails to fully account for the depth and breadth of her lunacy.

It is that quality of Marcotte’s writing that has apparently convinced John Edwards that he doesn’t want to have his campaign distracted by this particular controversy. I think that’s a shame. I’d love to have this particular controversy distract his campaign for weeks and months to come. And so I say: support Marcotte’s reinstatement with all your might. You can sign an online petition supporting her retention (and/or reinstatement) here.

46 Responses to “Marcotte Fired?”

  1. Silky Pony Fires Bloggers…

    After the New York Times story, it was only a matter of when. Now they’re gone.

    Surely, they’ll return to their foul-mouthed tirades, and become legends of the nutroots. They fought the man, and the man won. Maybe The Pantsuit, known for her obsce…

    JammieWearingFool (59ce3a)

  2. I highly recommend reading the signatures at the online petition to keep Amanda Marcotte.

    DRJ (605076)

  3. […] Update (AP): Patterico unloads on discredited sock puppeteer Rick Ellensburg and says he thinks it’s still more likely than not that Edwards will fire Marcotte. I totally disagree. At this point, unless the Catholic League threatens some form of escalation, I’d say it’s a virtual certainty that they’ll keep her. She’s a cause celebre, notwithstanding the fact that her “cause” reeks, and he can’t afford to alienate her supporters unless a bigger group with even more money demands that he do so. It’s basically Bill Donahue’s call. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » IMPORTANT ACTION ALERT: Stop taking yourselves so seriously (d4224a)

  4. I have expressed my views on blogs a few times, those who have the ability to actually think independently have often called me stupid. I have yet to post a comment on a leftist blog, for I have nothing to share with shallow points of view, vitriolic diatribe, nor nonsense. I have been called the most profane names, by those that think I am an idiot, and accepted that. I would never challenge the intellect of our military, nor will I debate in earnest those that hate my opinions, I agree with them, I am an idiot. What we are really dealing with is not an opinion, but a direction this country is going, and it is a cliff before us. Whom we drag over that cliff, is what matters to me, if you choose to follow, I have no problem with that. I do have a problem with those that do not understand what is involved, what the actual consequences of failure are. Many have stated that we are free to express our views, and to start this cause to stop free speech is terrorism of it’s own sort. I can see viewpoints that I do not agree with, but that takes ability to save a nation, not wish to control minds. I read everything with a discerning eye, who uses facts, politics, passion, respect, admiration, actual experience, and I find ONE side consistent. It is not John’s side, they just want power, for they lack principle and effort. I want everyone to have the ability, right, and respect to be the best, not the example of complacent quiescence.

    Rik

    rik (ee9fe2)

  5. My whole problem with this is the assumption that Marcotte, or any private political blogger, is going to behave the same as they did in the past if they get a job for a campaign blog.

    On a private blog you are free to write whatever the hell you want. Working on a campaign blog is a job, you are expected to put your candidate in the best light, run the thing in an upbeat and hopeful manner, and write inspiring, positive things about the candidacy. Just as I expect that people don’t constantly swear or express extreme political positions if they, say, sell cars or install cable, I’d expect any campaign blogger would adjust their behavior as well.

    Maybe Marcotte is so extreme she couldn’t do that, but there’s no way to know that, and I think she deserved a chance. There’s no way she’d be writing things critical of Catholics or the extreme feminist stuff when she’s basically writing ad copy to get Edwards elected, is my guess.

    It’s just kind of sad for everyone who has a political blog that from now on they are going to be judged on what they did in their private time, feeling they had complete freedom to write whatever they wanted. Writing for a campaign blog is a whole different deal, and I would think that a lot of people who wrote potentially offensive or controversial stuff on their own blog could still be very good at writing powerful and upbeat stuff on a campaign blog.

    Aplomb (b1076c)

  6. Iowahawk has obtained certain other documents from the
    Marcotte affair. (Caution: strong content warning.)

    JR (0064f3)

  7. A campaign blog is indeed different. But one of the ways it’s different is that the guy you’re working for will throw you under the bus in the blink of an eye, if he thinks you’re hurting him. As you pointed out, the whole point of a campaign blog is to get the candidate elected. Being the center of a controversy doesn’t help. Welcome to politics. It ain’t beanbag.

    Patterico (a8fa4a)

  8. Can’t you just picture Amanda Marcotte in Tony Snow’s job? Update and bump: Fired?…

    … 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…

    Bill's Bites (72c8fd)

  9. I’m working on a strongly worded letter to the Edwards campaign. Set Mubia free or some such…

    papertiger (92af82)

  10. I dont vote for lawyers ever especialy if their demacratic liberals

    krazy kagu (272de2)

  11. I disagree that she shouldn’t be fired. It’s a little difficult to point fingers at the drive-by media demanding accuracy, fairness, etc., and not requiring the best from bloggers.

    Her Catholic bigotry was more than enough, and I’m not even Catholic.

    91Veteran (0c395c)

  12. I am already tired of the “no blogger will be able to get a job on a campaign” meme. So what? There are worse things in the world, like not being able to get a real job because of your blog. I’ve read that that is happening in some places.

    Bloggers know they are taking certain risks when they use whatever tone they like on a blog. If you are inflammatory, you’ll irritate some people. If you aren’t inflammatory enough, people might not read because they don’t think you are interesting. Either way, you gotta deal with the consequences of your actions.

    I cannot believe for one minute Amanda Marcotte never thought about the vitriolic rhetoric she used on people John Edwards would need to get elected. It is inconceivable to me that whoever hired her couldn’t see what a distraction she would be. I guess for people who agree with her views, she’s entertaining enough. But she exposed enough of her personal views for it to poison any writing she would be doing for Edwards.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  13. I understand the general sensitivity about bloggers getting fired for what they blog, but that’s not the issue. The average blogger should be able to keep his job despite the crap he spews on his blog from time to time. Marcotte wasn’t hired in spite of her blog – she was hired precisely because of it. Big difference.

    Xrlq (79e3c2)

  14. In September 1976, years before many people reading this comment were born, Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz was overheard making a bigoted comment on an airline trip as the election (not re-election) campaign of Gerald Ford was ramping up. According to various reports, he said something akin to this:

    “I’ll tell you what coloreds [that is, blacks] want. It’s three things: A tight p*ssy, loose shoes, and a warm place to sh*t.”

    Now, being an African-American heterosexual male, I can testify that number one is desirable, but only when it’s attached to a woman I love. If it’s not, I will do without it. Number two has always been a mystery to me; news coverage of Butz’s remark was the first time I had heard the expression “loose shoes” and I’ve never gotten a definition since, but that is not troublesome because it never comes up in conversation. Personally, I prefer my shoes to have a snug fit. As for number three, come on — as if old white Earl himself would be delighted to drag his Butz to a drafty outhouse.

    Butz’s government gig didn’t survive the disclosure of his “joke” by former Nixon aide John Dean, who was a witness to the remark on the plane and had just begun working as a reporter for Rolling Stone rag-azine. After protests of President Ford’s retention of him became a distraction during his campaigning, Butz reluctantly resigned in mid-October.

    Marcotte, on the other hand, didn’t get overheard saying something she wouldn’t dare say in public. She wrote for a worldwide medium exactly what she thinks, uncensored and unfiltered, without apology or equivocation. Her obscenities aren’t peripheral to her larger role at an important federal agency, it is her stock and trade. Any more lucrative, prestigious position she is offered was based on her “brand” of vulgar, profane, and deliberately offensive rants. The notion that someone could read Marcotte’s raw sewage and figure that “powerful and upbeat stuff” could emerge from the same source borders on insane. That makes as much sense as hiring a nanny based on her pole-dancing technique.

    Earl Butz, FWIW, is still with us at the age of 97. Hopefully, Marcotte will also become a footnote in history.

    L.N. Smithee (b9c2c4)

  15. That makes as much sense as hiring a nanny based on her pole-dancing technique.

    Smithee–
    I was with you till that.

    Dan Collins (208fbe)

  16. The left would howl like a pack of cats in heat if, say Rudy hired Ann Coulter as his chief campaign blogger.

    rob roy fingerhead (deecb8)

  17. […] Is there no voice of reason amongst the evil-doers? First, I agree with Allah: I don’t like to see anyone fired, no matter how much they deserve it . . . […]

    Candy Slice of Life » Article » Will Edwards stand by his Amanda? Next on “As the Blog Turns” (923bb6)

  18. “The average blogger should be able to keep his job despite the crap he spews on his blog from time to time. Marcotte wasn’t hired in spite of her blog – she was hired precisely because of it. Big difference.”

    -Xrlq

    Bingo. What else does she have to offer?

    Edwards thought that having Marcotte on board would deliver him a bloc of votes. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), he’s didn’t do even rudimentary research. Once he realized that the bloc he gained from Marcotte would come at the price of about 70% of the American public, he dropped her faster than Bill O’Reilly’s parents dropped him.

    Man… I am getting sick of inept politicians. Why the hell would anyone vote for someone as politically stupid as Edwards?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  19. xrlq gets it.
    bloggers will have a limited role in campaigns, because the same outspokenness that makes them interesting to their readers will make them a liability to campaigns. there is a lone-wolf, outsider-looking-in ethos to blogging which doesn’t convert well to a corporate man sounding an organization message. the dearth of plain vanilla, perennially polite, steadfastly moderate bloggers in the farm system will necessitate the creation of new bloggers without a googleable past on an ad hoc basis for campaigns. anybody can blog and anybody can shill, they’re about as easy as breathing.

    assistant devil's advocate (87734f)

  20. And you’re happy about this, LA?

    What message does this convey? “These people have views that I not only disagree with but am offended by, but I’ll keep them for sake of the votes”?

    You’re not supposed to be that honest and that cynical at the same time.

    Edwards is fucked, and he deserves it.

    Leviticus (1daf74)

  21. I am happy about it.

    The entire affair was the product of the wingnutosphere. This sends the message to all you wingnuts that the world really doesn’t care about you and what you think.

    [Ah, but they do care what I think! I recommended that she stay! — P]

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  22. Plenty of coverage on how the nutroots don’t get it. Here’s a couple I haven’t seen yet.

    1) A hypothetical for everyone trying to argue that she’s entitled to her own opinions and if Edwards dumps her he’s a coward – alternatively, her private opinions are no reflection on his public candidacy so there’s nothing to see here.
    Say some GOP candidate hires Justin Raimondo because he somehow sees it in his interest to up his street cred with the paleocon nutroots (the absurdity of that on its face shows the real difference between the parties, but never mind). Conservative blogs would be elbowing the left-wing blogs out of the way to bury that candidate.

    2) Right now the Marcotte defenders are framing this as a right-wing Swiftboating. Fine, it’s being driven by conservative, GOP-leaning blogs. But at what point did we skip the primaries, and when did Edwards lock up the nomination so that this is purely a left Democrat versus right Republican thing? Maybe I missed the Democratic Eleventh Commandment that would prevent Edwards’ rivals and their supporters from exploiting this if it helped to get Edwards out of their way to the nomination.

    Sarge6 (23a266)

  23. Dang, comment window open while LA was providing his happy updates. But that only emphasizes my point in #2. Wingnut blogswarm, nothing to see here, move along. Because there are no Democrats, liberal or moderate, who want to see Edwards stumble. Absolute party unity and common interests before and during the primaries. Rrriight.

    Sarge6 (23a266)

  24. There’s clearly a coordinated anti-Edwards campaign that is driving some of the righty bloggers. Shitting on him because he lives in a big house? Please.

    You guys are such fucking tools.

    [Goodness. You lefties are so *angry* all the time! — P]

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  25. According to the latest news Edwards has “scolded” his femo-blogger but not fired her.It isn’t clear if she will be licking envelopes for a living or not but based on some of her blogs it’s something she has lots of experience at(licking,I mean).

    [That’s uncalled-for. — P]

    Enlightened Coelacanth (c2f7f1)

  26. Shitting on him because he lives in a big house? Please.

    That’s funny coming from you, LA, considering that sticking it to people in big houses has been the core of the Democratic Party platform for the last 80 years or so.

    Phinn (9a5171)

  27. Now, judging from the reaction from the left blogosphere today, lefties generally disagree with me, and think that Marcotte is not a liability. They believe that her rhetoric is not that unusual. A bit profane, perhaps, but not something that should really offend Americans that much.

    Hey, critical thinker, try this on for size.

    Proposition: Since Edwards hired Amanda to write new material for his blog, but did not buy the copyright to her old material for use in the campaign, his figuring is that she can write good stuff for him, stuff that is not the same as the stuff that she’s done in the past.

    Could that possibly fit? Think hard, remember, you’re trying to live up to the label “critical thinker” right now. Maybe… maybe he wants her to write *new material*? Stuff that he wants her to write and is in line with his campaign’s image?

    I know, it’s a crazy concept, and it’s being mentioned by a guy who’s mocking your inability to think of it yourself, but, hey, life is rough sometimes.

    [You *are* very clever! Unfortunately, not clever enough to realize that Marcotte’s writings are relevant because they are the basis on which she was hired. — P]

    Longhairedweirdo (abefb5)

  28. In September 1976, years before many people reading this comment were born, Richard Nixon’s Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz was overheard making a bigoted comment on an airline trip as the election (not re-election) campaign of Gerald Ford was ramping up. According to various reports, he said something akin to this:

    “I’ll tell you what coloreds [that is, blacks] want. It’s three things: A tight p*ssy, loose shoes, and a warm place to sh*t.”

    You really, really must see this video, from the movie “Loose Shoes.” If you’re impatient, the music really gets going at about 2:20. Worth the click, I promise.

    I share Patterico’s sentiment; having them around is going to be great. One day the true colors will come through and we can make popcorn, sit back and watch to see how Mr. Edwards handles it.

    carlitos (b38ae1)

  29. Her rehiring just says that Edwards is …. He remembered that he was running for the Democratic nomination, not the Presidency; that the nutroots are a significant Democratic bloc; and that no one who is disgusted by Amanda Marcotte was ever going to vote for him in the first place because they believe him to be as disgusting as she is.

    (BTW: Did you know that Dick Cheney’s daughter is a lesbian?)

    nk (8214ee)

  30. LA: For the third time. Framing this as a wingnut-only Swiftboat on Edwards is absurd. You know, because this couldn’t suggest something to Catholics who might be on the fence about coming back to the Democratic party, let alone whether they turn to Clinton or Obama. After all, Catholic Democrats are such a marginal political demographic. Their impact on electoral fortunes is utterly inconsequential when compared to the People Power of the Netroots. That New Hampshire primary where Kerry took 47% of Catholics and Dean took 19%? Purely an anomaly. There’s absolutely nothing shortsighted and foolish in this for Edwards.

    Sarge6 (23a266)

  31. P.S. I am not now, nor was I ever, coordinated.

    nk (8214ee)

  32. Sarge wrote:

    That New Hampshire primary where Kerry took 47% of Catholics and Dean took 19%? Purely an anomaly.

    Yeah, that’s the way it turned out. In the general election, George Bush, a Methodist, got 52% of the Catholic vote, while John Kerry, who claimed to be Catholic, got 47%.

    Dana (3e4784)

  33. “There’s clearly a coordinated anti-Edwards campaign that is driving some of the righty bloggers. Shitting on him because he lives in a big house? Please.

    You guys are such fucking tools. ”

    Two Americas, and Edwards knows which of those two he wants to live in. If he is truely concerned about the people in poverty, he’d tell them what they need to do, not how to be dependent on the government.

    G (722480)

  34. I agree with Edwards’ decision. He can’t fire bloggers the week after he hired them solely because of something they posted on a public blog. It looks bad and it makes Edwards’ campaign seem woefully disorganized.

    However, it must have been hard for the bloggers to issue what the Edwards’ campaign characterized as statements of regret. Amanda Marcotte’s statement isn’t very regretful:

    Marcotte’s statement said her writings on religion on her blog, Pandagon, are generally satirical criticisms 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,” Marcotte said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression are central rights, and the sum of my personal writings is a testament to this fact.”

    DRJ (605076)

  35. Any time Michelle Malkin and Dan Riehl are at the forefront of a blogswarm, you know the outrage at hand is utter bullshit. Right-wing blowhards like Riehl and Malkin need to be humbled regularly, lest they start to think they’re actually influential or important.

    The Liberal Avenger (b8c7e2)

  36. Amanda Marcotte’s backpeddling…

    On John Edwards’ campaign blog, Amanda Marcotte wrote the following……

    Huperborea (59ce3a)

  37. 33. This isn’t some broad “How do Catholics vote? Democrat or Republican?” issue. It’s whether Edwards’ political sense is defective. To capture the Democratic nomination which demographic does he need more, and should therefore cultivate more: the F Bomb Brigade of the Fighting Nutroots or traditional Catholic Democrats? The Kerry – Dean comparison answers that game, set, match because we’re talking about self-identified Democratic primary voters. That general election figure isn’t relevant because it includes Republicans who by definition won’t be building a nominee in the Democratic primaries, let alone voting for him in the general election.

    Sarge6 (23a266)

  38. LA,

    Edwards may not have fired his blog-mistresses but it will be interesting to see if he marginalizes them over the coming months, don’t you think?

    DRJ (605076)

  39. Edwards stated that:

    //…they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word.//

    Really? So all the anti-Christian & anti-Catholic in particular ranting, all the bible-bashing invective, all the cursing about the faithful on their blogs, all of that was just them joking around?

    It seems pretty malignant to me. And if Johnny is going to take their word for it, then he might as well pack it up.

    Amanda later stated:

    //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.//

    Oh, I see. It really was all in good fun after all…So how much damage control can she do while blatantly lying about her views & desperately erasing or modifying her past comments? If you really have strong views about something, then don’t try to back-pedal & redress it. For that matter, either shut up or own up to it.

    AlanABQ (4c60a6)

  40. //Right-wing blowhards like Riehl and Malkin need to be humbled regularly, lest they start to think they’re actually influential or important.//

    Yeah, not all humble & informative like yourself.

    AlanABQ (4c60a6)

  41. So she’s been re-hired. Wow. Who was it who said “Never interrupt your opponent when he is making a mistake?”

    RightWingConspirator (b8f40a)

  42. DRJ said to LA:

    Edwards may not have fired his blog-mistresses but it will be interesting to see if he marginalizes them over the coming months, don’t you think?

    They’re already marginalized: they’ve been hired to write Senator Edwards’ opinions, not their own, in language of which he would approve, rather than the interesting styles which won Misses Marcotte and McEwan their audiences.

    Its my opinion that Mr Edwards had a choice between two bad options, and picked a third, even worse one.

    (Isn’t it nice of our esteemed host to let me flog my own site every once in a while? 🙂 )

    Dana (9f37aa)

  43. I don’t understand the “it doesn’t matter” crowd. If I were applying for a job as computer programmer (which I am), I would not expect my potential employers to care about my blog’s style (content, maybe, if I were blogging about computer things, which I don’t). However, if I were applying for a job to write a column in the local paper, I would expect my potential employers to care a great deal about the style (again, content only to the extent that it relates to the content of my future columns).

    Regardless of Ms. Marcotte’s content, her style is vitriolic and offensive. If your existing body of related work is not “resume fodder”, what is?

    There are only four choices:
    1. She was vetted and
    a) the campaign liked the style and content
    b) the campaign liked the style
    c) the campaign liked neither, but hired her to be a blogger for some reason not related to her previous blogging
    2) She was not vetted

    1a, 1b, and 2 show a stunning lack of political sense. 1c shows either a stunning lack of common sense (“leapords changing spots” and all that) or a campaign living in the 20th century (“what’s Google?”).

    At least it will save some donors a lot of wasted money.

    mrsizer (b8f3d1)

  44. Furtive Glances – “BU’s Trophy” Edition…

    You might as well call it the Boston University City Championship Trophy, because BU wins the Beanpot, hockey bragging rights for Boston seemingly every year. They did so again last night, making it 11 of the last 13 years, and…

    Joust The Facts (72c8fd)

  45. Being a blogger and being a publicist for a Presidential campaign are not only different but probably incompatible social functions. One is to provoke and stir up, the other is to please and attract. Edwards’ hiring her in the first place was a weird lapse of judgment.

    Lester Hunt (294154)


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