February 7, 2007
Why’d the Edwards campaign hire them in the first place…
…if they weren’t going to stick by them?
I’ve been following the nastiness that has erupted since Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan secured positions with the John Edwards ’08 campaign. I haven’t commented on it mostly because others closer to action were doing a much better job of it than I could–and also, in my naivete, I thought it would pretty much blow over. Surely the people who hired Amanda and Melissa read through their blogs before hiring them and knew exactly what they were taking on, and would thus stand by their decisions. Surely those same people would have the integrity not to be swayed by a few vengeful wingnuts.
Whatever opinions Melissa and Amanda hold on a variety of political issues, they are completely their own. The fact is that they have used profanity in their posts, and wrote rants that many disagree with, but their forums are about personal expression and opinion, not journalism or op-eds for a major paper. They were selected by the Edwards campaign to put on a different hat, a professional hat — as if no one else out there does the same thing each and every day if they have a personal blog and work in a venue that is dependent on writing copy or business correspondence. They know the difference, but that’s clearly not the issue at work here. It’s about getting someone in the kill zone, and trying to knock off John Edwards in the process.
The biggest mistake of all is that a campaign with a long way to go to get to the finish line is so easily spooked by elements on the right that aren’t worth the time of day. Team Edwards, the votes you want aren’t going to come from the crowd that reads Malkin or pays attention to Donohue when he shows up foaming at the mouth interrupting other guests with intolerant comments on a chat show.
I’ve been a bit wary of Edwards given his less-than-inspiring stance on gay rights. This incident certainly doesn’t help…
UPDATE: They’re staying! Here’s Edwards’s statement:
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte’s and Melissa McEwan’s posts personally offended me. It’s not how I talk to people, and it’s not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it’s intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word. We’re beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can’t let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.
That’s essentially the sort of response I was expecting in the first place. As some of the commenters have mentioned, this isn’t going to stop Malkin and her ilk from harping on this subject, but it should hopefully ease the minds of anyone who might actually vote for a Democrat in the first place.