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February 07, 2007

Comments

Nuance for thee and not for me?

just FYI, Salon is reporting that they've been fired. but not fired yet. maybe fired and rehired. the Edwards campaign won't say. but may say something later.

OT: dumb bet

Publius: glad you're writing about it.

One thing I don't get is that all the reports seem to think that Amanda and Melissa will be fired or hired together. Amanda always struck me as what one might tactfully call a gutsy hire (meaning no disrespect to Amanda; it's just that some of the traits that make her fun to read, as a blogger, might not be the ones a political campaign would be looking for.) Melissa, much less so.

I also think that whatever one makes of the merits of Edwards' moves, the difference in the level of scrutiny faced by his bloggers and those of GOP candidates is interesting.

Well, if Edwards does sack two employees for what they wrote before they were employed by him, then he will lose even if he becomes the Democratic candidate: he doesn't have the guts to fight for his own side when he's in the right, and whoever the Republicans select will SwiftBoat him with ease.

Don't be silly, Jes. If one of the top GOP candidates hired Josh Trevino or Charles Johnson as their official blogger or whatever, wouldn't you expect those on the left to mention it and try and use their extremist positions to tar the candidate?

Now we know why Trevino deletes his blogs.

by my calculations. Edwards loses fewer votes if he lets her go than if he hangs on and lets his opponents bring up her NSFW (not even safe for ObWi) blog postings for the next year.

there are a literally a dozen different angles, some regarding edwards, some regarding marcotte, etc. i do feel bad that melissa is getting roped in b/c, frankly, i've always found her writing more persuasive.

and i'm second to no one in my loathing for michelle malkin, but that masterpiece theater bit was pretty funny. i recognize of course that it could have easily been my posts being read, and my heart goes to marcotte. but there are risks to what we do, just as there are rewards. we put ourselves out there. marcotte, of course, is braver than i am in that she uses her real name. but all that said, it was pretty funny

Hil:fun to read

Seriously? That is some of the most vicious, obscene, unnecessarily foul writing I have seen on these internets. She may be the only one further out there than Hamsher.

the difference in the level of scrutiny faced by his bloggers and those of GOP candidates is interesting.

John McCain announces then hires Misha as his campaigne blogger. What happens next? I forget who made that comparison or I would link them, but it is the most apt comparison I have seen.

yeah, what OCSteve said.

No OC Steve,

The apt comparison is not if McCain hires someone but a comparison to the person he has, in fact, hired --- one Patrick Hynes. Greenwald has the details.

Why did the AP, New York Times and Washington Post miss this tidbit from the other side? Are they simply reciting the rightwing blogospheres' attack without engaging in any objective analysis?

I'll be quite disappointed if Edwards fires McEwan. Probably if they hadn't hired Marcotte it wouldn't have come to this. I sure hope this won't cost Edwards too much support in the mydd crowd.

OCS, I think Hamsher says a lot of annoying and wrong things, but from what I've seen she's a good deal more reasonable than Marcotte. But it's easy to find way more unfortunate stuff out there than Marcotte - check out Orcinus or thepoorman or ...

The episode, if he fires them, says one of two things about Edwards. He doesn't look into his hires very carefully (sounds vaguely like the current president) or he lets other people tell him who can work for him or not - not really presidential timber either way.
I was mildly surprised when Amanda got the gig, because of her unapologetic F*ck You attitude. But if Edwards doesn't stand by her now, it looks like he's caving.
Her attitude is a large part of her appeal; it's not like she's been keeping it secret.

Jes: To me, it's more of a dichotomy than a straight linear argument. Suppose Edwards has, in fact, fired them (which we do not know to be true, but hey, let's pretend.) Then either: (a) he is sacking them for some reason of his own, and not because of the pressure -- e.g., because he read some of the posts in question and thought: yikes! Or (b) he is sacking them because of the pressure.

If (b), what you said: people should fight for their own. The thing is, I don't think one can rule (a) out at all.

"That is some of the most vicious, obscene, unnecessarily foul writing I have seen on these internets."

You've read most of what she's written for the past few years?

I'm impressed.

I don't get Greenwald's attitude at the above link - it seems to be, everybody says stuff offensive to large numbers of people, and anyway the other side is as bad or worse except they know how to defend their own.

If one of the top GOP candidates hired Josh Trevino or Charles Johnson as their official blogger or whatever, wouldn't you expect those on the left to mention it and try and use their extremist positions to tar the candidate?

As Macswain points out: this has already happened. Of course, IOKIYAR, and the media are therefore not tarring McCain because he hired an extremist right-wing blogger who lied about being paid by McCain as he promoted McCain's positions to the blogosphere - any more than the media tarred Bush for the SwiftBoat campaign, despite the direct financial links between Bush/Cheney and the SwiftBoaters.

But, if Charles Johnson were hired by McCain, I would expect McCain (or his staff, rather) to have read LGF and LGFwatch, to know what message hiring Charles Johnson was going to send to the Internets, and to stand by him if he was criticised for what McCain knew he had written before he was hired. Because hiring Johnson and then going into a freak-out because the leftwing blogosphere had concluded that McCain must be Islamophobic if he hired an Islamophobic bigot and firing Johnson, would show that either McCain was too stupid to have someone read LGF/LGFwatch thoroughly before Johnson was hired... or else they were sufficiently Islamophobic themselves not to see anything wrong with it, and the accusations are accurate, and McCain is only bugged at being found out.

Now, the same applies to Amanda Marcotte. Either Edwards/his staff read Pandagon (and particularly, Marcotte's posts) thoroughly before they hired her, or they didn't. If they didn't, that was stupid. If they did, and didn't see anything wrong with the emphatic feminism, queer rights, and anti-racism she's persistently advocated - until tne rightwing blogosphere kicked up a stink and Edwards grew afraid of being found out - then that says Edwards will cave under pressure.

I have to say that while I agree with the 'gutsy hire' assessment of hiring Marcotte, I think firing her because of the flap is idiotic, to the point of moving me away from Edwards if it turns out he has. Anyone paying enough attention to blogs to know to hire her should know what her writing is like -- they hired her in the first place, so she's not too offensive to hire on principle. Firing her is just hanging a sign on the Edwards campaign "Yes, we can be bullied." I don't need that in a candidate.

Or, exactly what Jes said.

"That is some of the most vicious, obscene, unnecessarily foul writing I have seen on these internets."

Gary: "You've read most of what she's written for the past few years?"

How much of her stuff he's read isn't really relevant to the comment in question taken literally, is it?

Greenwald points to some awful stuff by Hynes - it's not that relevant to me how much of Hynes's work he's read.

Hilzoy: (a) he is sacking them for some reason of his own, and not because of the pressure -- e.g., because he read some of the posts in question and thought: yikes!

Maybe (a) is true: maybe Edwards didn't think to have someone go read Pandagon thoroughly and notify him if there was anything he was likely to go "Yikes!" over. But, even if (a) is true, if he is sacking Amanda Marcotte for (a) now, it's still going to look like (b).

Um, yes, and in fact we do not know that either of them are going to be sacked.

I get Greenwald's point. His last line sums it up:

Perhaps the Edwards campaign can learn a lesson from how the McCain campaign defended their blogger.

I'm with lizardbreath.

Also, Greenwald makes THE salient point here.

Equally applied standards please.

McEwan wrote she was joining Edwards's campaign because he's able to say, "I'm wrong". If he can't politically say "I mistakenly hired someone I don't agree with", that's unfortunate. If "a) but looks like b)" sn't he signalling he can be frightened away from doing what he thinks is right?

Eric: "Also, Greenwald makes THE salient point here.

Equally applied standards please."

Greenwald:
'On CNN, Wolf Blitzer just did a story on the entire Edwards "controversy" in which CNN, apparently, asked the McCain campaign about Hynes, and they replied: "We are happy to have him." [...] Perhaps the Edwards campaign can learn a lesson from how the McCain campaign defended their blogger.'

I don't see how the Edwards campaign can stand association with Marcotte's comments on the Duke lacrosse team or Catholicism, and I don't see how to make something reasonable out of Greenwald stance.

I would not have hired Marcotte in the first place but I would think very very poorly of them for firing either of them:

1) If you hire a blogger you have someone read her archives and be prepared to stick with them. Marcotte's tone is quite consistent.

2) You ought to treat your staff decently. You offer people a job, they count on that, they rearrange their lives accordingly. Of course if they don't perform competently that's that but this is based on controversies from before they were hired, not new information.

3) You ought not to be easily intimidated by Michelle "internment camps" Malkin or William "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate God and love anal sex" Donohue.

4) Most importantly, I think it just shows a political tin ear. Democrats constantly act as if "there's 1% chance I will lose votes because of this on election day I have to treat that as a certainty." If he ignores this story--do you think there's going to be continuing press coverage of the fact that right-of-center bloggers and William Donohue don't like John Edwards' bloggers? Please, the press has the attention span of a six year old. Stories and scandals far more interesting and important than this have been forgotten. If he ignores this, and makes clear to them that they should be more diplomatic on the campaign site, it goes away. People aren't going to vote on who Edwards' blogger is in primaries a year from now or a general election that's even further away. The only people who know or care enough for their support to be in play are other liberal bloggers. Edwards, the southerner who voted for the Iraq war, is competing with Obama to be Hillary's major challenger from the left. He thinks firing a liberal blogger because Michelle Malkin and the Catholic League don't like her is the way to go? Not smart, and not smart in *exactly* the same way that drives me crazy about the Democratic party.

Disheartening all around if it's true. I am counting on Elizabeth Edwards being smart enough and blog-savvy enough to talk him out of it....if not, oh well, I suppose it helps Obama in the primary.

Ah, I didn't see that last update. I haven't been checking in with Glenn, and read that story much earlier in the day. Last couple updates actually.

Just to be clear, how many of you here would hire Marcotte for your own campaign? I sure as hell wouldn't hire Hynes. (I'm not sure I'd hire me either, but I'm not fit for politics anyway.)

"How much of her stuff he's read isn't really relevant to the comment in question taken literally, is it?"

It's entirely relevant to the sentence of Hilzoy's he was replying to. She wrote: "...it's just that some of the traits that make her fun to read, as a blogger, might not be the ones a political campaign would be looking for."

Unless you either: a) know which of Amanda's thousands of posts Hilzoy has in mind; or b) have read most of Amanda's thousands of posts, you can't c) be able to judge the posts Hilzoy was referring to.

To conclude that Hilzoy was referring to the posts of Ms. Marcotte's that Malkin and Donahoe and company are going on about would simply be a case of having misread Hilzoy, of course.

OCSteve: it may help that I have a sort of mental screening thing when I read Pandagon -- for instance, I just don't bother with any post about religion in general. It may also be relevant that I stopped reading Pandagon regularly sometime between when Ezra left and when the Feminist Blogs aggregator appeared, which was over a year ago, iirc. So my sense of them is dated.

That said, I think that Pandagon is fun to read. I also think it's fun the way talking to one of your friends, whom you know to be kind of over-the-top and outrageous can be fun. If I were running a campaign, I would not choose such a friend to be my spokesperson.

Melissa, otoh, is a different matter entirely.

I haven't exhaustively read Amanda's stuff (and I'm even less familiar with Shake' sister), but I think there is a fundamental difference between swearing like a sailor and being disrespectful towards others which, while not a bright line, is one that can be discerned. and I think Amanda is on the sailor side and some of the right wing types mentioned are on the other.

There also is a dose of misogyny, in that Amanda and Melissa have to conform to standards that a man wouldn't have to as much.

And Publius, you do stand second to me (and Dave Niewert as well?) in your revulsion of Malkin. In that parody she (and others) are trying to delegitimize the righteous anger that the Katrina post represented is appalling and even if Amanda has gone over the line and she is the equivalent of Mischa (is that even possible?) there is a substantive difference between being angry about an ongoing event and being angry at a group of people because they lie on the opposite side of the political divide. To let pundits like Malkin minimize Katrina is really intolerable. The Duke case is more problematic, but I find the conflation of the two into an Amanda is an evil person meme to be pretty disgusting and par for the course for Malkin.

I realize that this more on the attacks on Amanda and Melissa than the question of what Edwards should do, but those attacks are the root and arguments about what Edwards should do simply grant a legitimacy to those attacks that they shouldn't have.

Rilkefan: and I don't see how to make something reasonable out of Greenwald stance.

You don't see how to make something reasonable out of the stance that standards should be equally applied to McCain's blogger hires, and Edward's?

But you don't see how Edwards' campaign can stand having hired a woman who - before she was hired - expressed her opinion about the Duke lacrosse team rapists and the teachings of the Catholic church on birth control? (I did discover recently that someone who ought to know better accused me of "Catholic bashing" because I'd quoted exactly what the Vatican said was official Catholic doctrine about gay people, and it made the Vatican sound truly horrible.)

I mean, I personally cannot like you after a single comment you once made in a thread on abortion, because that single comment revealed a depth of misogyny that makes me cringe still to think of it - but I wouldn't assume someone who hired you to blog for them must be as misogynist as you are, or approve of your misogyny, just because of that ugly comment you made before they hired you.

But this is the post Amanda wrote about Catholic attitudes to birth control that seems to have got some right-wing bloggers all kicky: Pandagon goes undercover the lazy way on a Catholic anti-contraception seminar and Part II. If this is anti-Catholic, as I've seen at least one right-wing blogger claim, there are a hell of a lot of anti-Catholic Catholics out there...

This is a typical Noise Machinne operation and that's what gets up my nose. Why does thhe righht get a Noise Machine and the left doesn't? This anti-Marcotte campaign shows collarboration between righhtwing bloggers and the rightwing outlets on the MSM. The fake outrage over Pelsoi and the airplane is another example.

If McCain hired Misha, Trevino, AND Hindrocket, the left would object and the MSM would remainn silent. No Noise Machine for the left.

I don't read Pandagon so I have no opinion about her writing. I do think that Edwards had better stand by his hire because it is never wise to cave in to bullying.

Gary, can't say I understand. hilzoy says "set X is characterized by traits f", OCS says "the elements from X I've seen are highly z", you say "have you read most elements of X?", I say we typically consider a set from which one can easily draw examples of z to be z; f isn't really relevant to his argument.

I think Jes's third paragraph above is so far outside the posting rules that we may as well simply repeal them.

"OCS says 'the elements from X I've seen are highly z',"

But that's not what he said. He responded to what Hilzoy said she'd seen.

Also I totally agree with Katherine: the MSM will let themselves be manipulated into bloviating abouut this for about a week, if nothing else is going on. Then, down the memory hole! If Edwards caves, he will make himself look weak and the memory of that will linger on. So let the right scream. He's much better off if he toughs it out.

None of the quotes I've read so far are anything that Malkin can complain about without adding hypocrisy to all of her other sins.

RF, Hilzoy's saying Amanda is "fun to read" does not imply that every post by Amanda is fun to read, so OCS's response that a post or two that he read was highly unfun is irrelevant. Also, the z elements were certainly not selected randomly from the set.

lily: Why does thhe righht get a Noise Machine and the left doesn't?

Noise machines are expensive. The right owns more mass media and has more money.

Phil, if it's against the posting rules to say we don't like other commenters, then you too have broken them, quite a few times (your meme with me is to accuse me of being anti-American, as I recall).

Slightly upthread rilkefan, but I still took Glenn's post to be arguing that the media should be applying the same standard of scrutiny for McCain/GOP hires as Edwards hires.

Are you suggesting that Blitzer's question renders Glenn's point moot?

It weakens it a bit, but if the entire segment was on the Edwards controversey, and one aside goes to McCain, then I'd say that Glenn still has a point.

Jes: "You don't see how to make something reasonable out of the stance that standards should be equally applied to McCain's blogger hires, and Edward's?"

No, I can't understand his apparent (surely not actual) readiness as a general principal to defend people who say stuff that offends many (e.g. that obviously innocent people are rapists because - well, because she doesn't like them) - it seems he's praising McCain for not firing that loathsome Hynes. He's not as poor a writer as you are a reader, hence my comments on his post.

Phil, if it's against the posting rules to say we don't like other commenters, then you too have broken them, quite a few times

And?

(your meme with me is to accuse me of being anti-American, as I recall).

Name twice, please.

"I think Jes's third paragraph above is so far outside the posting rules that we may as well simply repeal them."

I think you have in mind her fourth paragraph -- the one about rilkefan -- not her third paragraph, which begins: "But you don't see how Edwards' campaign...."

Didn't see that response until I posted mine, sorry for the overlap.

Jes: mind the gap.

Also, when I said this: "Then either: (a) he is sacking them for some reason of his own, and not because of the pressure -- e.g., because he read some of the posts in question and thought: yikes! Or (b) he is sacking them because of the pressure."

I meant to add, but somehow didn't, that I think that either option is damning in its own way. (I mean, (a) wasn't meant to be some sort of excuse; just a different big problem.) It's not a mystery that Amanda is who she is. And it ought to be beyond obvious by now that it's much, much better to vet people before you hire them than to find yourself in the position Edwards might be finding himself in now.

You've read most of what she's written for the past few years?

I had a stick of gum and didn’t care for it.

You ate most of the pack? I’m impressed.

Huh?

Not hardly, I don’t have the stomach for it. FWIW that was my opinion of her writing before this blowup. What I have read of her was primarily what other people linked. From that perspective I’ll agree it was probably “cherry-picked”, as any link tends to be. But there was a fair amount of it over the last couple of years, and a lot of it tended to be blog wars carried out on the front page. This latest stuff only solidified my opinion.


The apt comparison is not if McCain hires someone but a comparison to the person he has, in fact, hired --- one Patrick Hynes.

Have at him. If he has similarly outrageous writings he should not be working for a presidential campaign. Or rather, he should never have been offered the position, and if he was he should have known enough to turn it out lest he damaged the candidate.

No, I can't understand his apparent (surely not actual) readiness as a general principal to defend people who say stuff that offends many

Um. I think hilzoy, to take one example, exhibits the same apparent and actual principle. And if you've read Greenwald for all of, say, ten minutes, you'd see that he's pretty absolutist on this whole "free speech" thing, to the extent that he's suffered brickbats from Canadian commenters for criticizing some of the CBC's restrictions on content and fgovernment speech codes.

Having just checked out Memeorandum, I find that Ezra says what I think, only more eloquently:

"Look: I thought the Edwards' campaign made a surprising choice when it picked up Amanda. She throws elbows, to say the least. And her focuses, and opinions, are not always popular in contemporary American political life. It seemed an act of bravery and conviction, though I wasn't sure what, exactly, the upside was. But the Edwards campaign chose her. They hired her. She left her blog for the position. And now they've got to defend their choice. To back down would either prove that their hiring process was incompetent and they didn't vet someone with an extensive public record, or that they'll collapse beneath even moderate pressure from rightwing professionals. Neither is a good look for the new campaign."

rilkefan, consider the distinction between what a blogger says after a campaign has hired them, and they have become an official employee, responsible to the campaign, and every single word that a blogger has ever said or written, that documentation can be found of, in the blogger's entire life, before being hired by the campaign.

If the latter is a disqualification in all cases, than very few bloggers, if any, will ever be hired by campaigns.

I suggest that possibly this distinction is an important one for campaigns to start establishing, and the press to start considering: not as a blanket amnesty for a blogger's past life -- obviously what they've written is the reason they're being hired, and is a crucial part of evaluating whether their hire is appropriate and wise -- but as a distinction that's part of the mix, at least.

I've already said what I had to say about this entire issue over at Unfogged a couple of days ago, and even then, I said little, and shut up, because I'm inclined to think that this is a moment where chatter isn't especially helpful, so although I have a few other relevant opinions, I think I'll wait until this affair has sorted out a bit more, rather than risk adding even a tiny amount of oil to the fire.

My understanding is that Elizabeth Edwards (and I just googled 'Edwards wife' and the results are, shall we say, illuminating) has participated in a number of comment threads, so I would assume there is a lot more knowledge of their work, so the latter is the problem, not the former.

Ah, someone else noted: "It seems worth noting at this time that if opposing Catholic teachings on contraception makes one an anti-Catholic bigot, I think about 90% of Catholics are anti-Catholic bigots." -Scott Lemieux

Exactly Hilzoy. If Edwards backs down on this, he's allowed his staff to be bullied. If anything, he can't afford to let them go now. If, in six months, he were to decide to change blog directions, that would be another thing (assuming the furor has died down--with the right wing, you can never assume they've put away their knives), but to do it now means that he's caved. Hillary's right on one thing--when an opponent comes after you, you have to deck him. I want Edwards to swing back.

Chris Bower becomes even more excitable -- to the point of lunacy, I'd say:

"While there is no way I will support Edwards with Amanda and Melissa are fired, I will immediately become a staunch Edwards supporter if they are not fired."

Huh? Is this somehow the most important issue there is?

This anti-Marcotte campaign shows collarboration between righhtwing bloggers and the rightwing outlets on the MSM.

While I'm not sure progressive bloggers are that uninfluential....this is, I think, the central issue. I continue to find it amazing that something that started with Michelle Malkin can, within a day, make it into the NYT without much more substantial research.

Phil: "Um. I think hilzoy, to take one example, exhibits the same apparent and actual principle."

Well, all praise to hilzoy of course, but I'm making the distinction between defending x and defending the right to say x (as she surely does). Hynes has the right to say racist stuff about black politicians, and McCain has the right to hire him; and I have the right (and reason) to call McCain on it, or call Sen. Clinton on what McAuliffe says. Unless Greenwald somehow thinks McCain thinks what Hynes wrote is ok, he's making a poor comparison.

And while I am sympathetic to Gary's point about oil on the fire, I'm thinking it is important to quash the notion that the Edwards campaign is incompetent on the hiring front, largely because that is the door that the rw noise machine wants them to take. It's bullying 101 and stepping back to see how things shake out enables that bullying (I say this in a general sense rather than any particular one, and can see situations where I might step back and someone else could say the same thing.)

Gary: "If the latter is a disqualification in all cases, than very few bloggers, if any, will ever be hired by campaigns."

I think everybody I read could stand such scrutiny if supported by a strong candidate, esp. those who agreed to take such a job.

"Exactly Hilzoy. If Edwards backs down on this, he's allowed his staff to be bullied. If anything, he can't afford to let them go now."

With all the points being made about how Edwards will "look weak," I have to note that this is an argument supporters of the war in Iraq like to make about why we can't leave Iraq (and it was an argument made as to why we couldn't leave Vietnam).

(I have a distinction in mind, but I'm idly curious as to how obvious it is.)

Hilzoy: "Huh? Is this somehow the most important issue there is?"

Wait, there's a more important issue than promoting the importance of the "netroots"?

If the latter is a disqualification in all cases, than very few bloggers, if any, will ever be hired by campaigns.

so what ?

if a person wants to make a name for himself as a rude, crude, loudmouth, why shouldn't that be an obstacle to getting a job where the goal is to make your boss as appealing as possible to as many people as possible ?

if you want to be a raging dick on the web, either don't use your real name, or don't expect to get high profile jobs where image matters.

"I think everybody I read could stand such scrutiny if supported by a strong candidate, esp. those who agreed to take such a job."

I'm pretty sure I couldn't.

Which is an extremely low bar, to be sure.

But, as I said: I said what I had to say about this at Unfogged the other day.

Or rather, he should never have been offered the position, and if he was he should have known enough to turn it out lest he damaged the candidate.

To expand a bit on that: Assuming they just did a poor job of vetting (as seems to be common). Why would she take the job? Assuming she supports the candidate anyway?

She knew the posts were out there. You can’t just delete them (I won’t get into that, one side says technical glitch, the other side says yeah but it only ate one post). There is google cache, The Wayback Machine, and every blogger you worked so hard to make an enemy of has your most egregious posts excerpted on their blog, often with screen caps just in case.

Knowing that, all I can surmise is that she honestly thought that this material was just no issue. That no one would seriously object to it. That no one would say, “Hey Mr. Edwards, do you agree with your staffer’s position on this?”

Can that be true? She didn't even bring this stuff to their attention and say, "I really want this job but are you sure this stuff won't be a problem for the campaign?"

If she did point it out to them and they said "no sweat" and now they are dumping her after a little minor heat - then I may be on her side in the end.

lj: "the notion that the Edwards campaign is incompetent on the hiring front"

How could they not be incompetent there, at least at the level of the individual staffer responsible? Did they pay any attention to the Kerry campaign - heck, any recent campaign?

To borrow the new meme - it's not a defeat, it's a failure.

With all the points being made about how Edwards will "look weak," I have to note that this is an argument supporters of the war in Iraq like to make about why we can't leave Iraq (and it was an argument made as to why we couldn't leave Vietnam).

That argument is beyond crap, and I suspect you know it. Nobody is going to die if Edwards pops Malkin et al (rhetorically speaking) in the mouth over this. But you can count on this--if Edwards doesn't hit back on this, anyone and everyone any Democrat hires will be raked over the same coals, and the current Democratic advantage online will disappear fast.

Unless Greenwald somehow thinks McCain thinks what Hynes wrote is ok

Given that Hynes wrote it (so I gather from Greenwald) while he was working for McCain, presumably McCain does think it was ok. (I remember the mild scandal about Hynes being paid to blog for McCain and lying about how he wasn't being paid, so actually there may be some fuzzy room there - when did McCain hire Hynes, and when did Hynes admit he'd been hired?)

What a person writes/has published before they were hired may well affect their being hired. That's reasonable. Once they are hired, however, what Ezra, and Hilzoy, said, about not firing them for what you ought to have considered before you hired them.

But, once they're hired/working for you: and especially if what you are hiring them to write could be confused with what they write for fun in their own time: then you have a right (and an obligation, to your employees) to say what they may and may not write/publish, and fire them if they go over the lines you set. (See Janis Ian's article on ABCs of Being A Boss.)

If Hynes has been writing racist crap about black politicians since McCain hired him, either McCain is OK with that, or his staff are so incompetent McCain hasn't found out about it yet.

OCSteve: If she did point it out to them and they said "no sweat" and now they are dumping her after a little minor heat - then I may be on her side in the end.

Well, I think you ought to be on her side anyway, whether or not she specifically pointed out the posts that are now being dug up and yelled about. They're all relatively recent, and if someone wants to hire a blogger to blog for their campaign, it's only fair to assume that the hiring team read the blog.

"How could they not be incompetent there, at least at the level of the individual staffer responsible?"

One scenario would be that they brilliantly had this in mind: they deliberately picked a fairly inflamnatory, but quite popular, blogger who has a lot of fans in the left blogosphere, and amongst the "netroots" (I've still yet to have anyone explain to me a test for who is and isn't in these roots, but never mind).

The point would be that Edwards feels he needs to continue to dodge what we loosely call "left," or for the progressive wing of the party, and the antiwar wing (which is pretty much everyone now, with only minor distinctions of degree, out there in the populace and the fabled "base," if not the leadership), to distinguish himself from Clinton, and avoid being swamped by Obama.

Thus, the strategic decision to pick a blogger who is popular with such supporters, but who is inflamnatory enough to guarantee attacks from the right. Then, when the inevitable attacks inevitably occur via Malkin and Powerline, stand strong and defend the blogger.

Voila, your support in the left blogosphere shoots up ten points. And the press lets it drop after a couple of weeks, save for an occasional trivial mention in the future, while other stuff is dominating the news cycle and political coverage.

Do I think that's what's happened? Let's say that I'm not confident. But it answers your question.

Man, I misspelled "inflammatory" twice. Drat.

lj: "I'm thinking it is important to quash the notion that the Edwards campaign is incompetent on the hiring front, largely because that is the door that the rw noise machine wants them to take."

Well, but what if it turns out that it's, you know, true? -- I mean, leaving aside the merits of Amanda and Melissa, it would be incompetent to hire people without checking to see whether they had written things that, on reflection, made you wish you hadn't hired them. (It would be different if the writings in question were not on their actual blogs, but, say, published in obscure journals of philology, but none of the controversial posts are hard to find.)

I don't see how, if Edwards fires them, one can escape concluding that the hiring process was incompetent, other than by concluding that while the hiring process was fine and turned up everything it should have, Edwards turned out to be a wimp, and folded in the face of controversy even though he shouldn't have.

Otoh, the fact that there's no way that, if Edwards fires them, some fairly serious criticism isn't true of him doesn't necessarily mean that he can escape such criticisms by not firing them.

I think the best way to avoid giving in to bullies is first not to make mistakes that they can capitalize on, and second, not to give in (much easier to do when you make no mistakes ;) ) Failing that, apologize immediately rather than dragging it out.

"The Duke case is more problematic..."

You think? Her take on the Duke case is either borderline insane or an example of intentionally trying to inflame racial hatred by lying. It would have been bad enough toward the beginning of the case, but to say:

In the meantime, I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good fucking god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and f***ed her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out.

Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it?

So unfair.

on Jan. 21, 2007 is a more than a bit much.

And to be clear, it is more than a bit much because the rape victim accused someone of being the rapist that absolutely definitely wasn't there.

(should be 'a' rapist) not 'the'.

Gary, if that's what they were going for it's a lot worse in my view than one staffer doing shoddy work. TPM has them in bunker mode.

Sebastian: You think? Her take on the Duke case is either borderline insane or an example of intentionally trying to inflame racial hatred by lying

Um. You think that taking it as read that the rape victim in the case isn't lying, but the rapists probably are, is borderline insane? Or that taking it as read that a black stripper is telling the truth and the rich white boys (who hired, then harassed two black strippers - and then at least three of them raped one of the strippers) are probably lying is "intentionally trying to inflame racial hatred"?

Or do you think Amanda was lying about what she thought as she listened to CNN on the Duke lacrosse rape case? Or that all feminists who get enraged when rapists get off and their accusers are attacked are "borderline insane"? Or just the ones who talk about being enraged, emphatically, without caring who's overhearing?

Sebastian, did you not just violate the posting rules?

Er. What Gary Farber said. Just for once, he was pithier, to the point, and right.

SH: "borderline insane"

Could you accept willfully and stupidly blinkered? She goes on to claim there's conclusive evidence against the players, which if true would make the preceding stuff within bounds.

"How could they not be incompetent there, at least at the level of the individual staffer responsible?"

Hmmm, my point is that Elizabeth Edwards seems relatively well versed with the blogosphere, so notions of they were incompetent are most probably false on the facts we know, so thinking that there was some incompetence isn't truthful. Now, I accept that we accept untruthful things occasionally to get over certain humps (was there really a traffic jam that made you late? Did you really misplace the phone number so you couldn't call back? etc etc). But the further point is that accepting the 'they had to be incompetent meme is merely enabling the right wing noise machine.

That brings us to Gary's point, which is quite nice, in that how is this different from Iraq. My response would be that for Iraq, if we didn't know then, we certainly know now that the effort was incompetent, so we are merely maintaining our position because of incompetence and the impossibility of the task, the latter of which Drum notes seems to have some traction even at the Corner, which makes it a different kettle of fish, though I have to admit, I had to think on it a bit. But there is a difference between doubling a bet when you are bluffing versus when you have a strong hand.

A usage note:

'working their asses off for you'

and

'working their asses for you'

are tremendously different activities.

And it probably goes without saying that I am always with the people who work their asses for me.

lj: "Hmmm, my point is that Elizabeth Edwards seems relatively well versed with the blogosphere, so notions of they were incompetent are most probably false on the facts we know, so thinking that there was some incompetence isn't truthful."

That doesn't follow at all, unless E.E.'s god. I claim this mess was entirely predictable, so either there was incompetence or the reaction's a feature, which seems inconsistent with my above link and my sense of the wurlitzer.

Sebastian, I didn't see that you were quoting me, but since the Malkin parody leads off with Amanda's Katrina post, I think it is legitimate to take first things first. I didn't comment on the Duke because it was not something that I followed at all, but I did acknowledge it so as not to be accused of pretending it didn't exist. If you wonder my comments tend to be rather cool to your assertions, your prefacing them with phrases like 'You think?' might help you understand why that is the case.

On Marcotte v Hynes…

I wasn’t familiar with Hynes so I read GG’s post and the Hynes stuff he was highlighting.

You might disagree with some or all of it (I do), some is silly or over the top or dumb, but none of it approaches the level of viciousness or obscenity of the Marcotte stuff being highlighted. None of it has nearly the traction.

Specifically, there is not one single Hynes blurb being highlighted (that I have seen) that I would hesitate to stick in a comment here for discussion. It might be to poke fun at him or to explain why I disagree with him – but if the situation arose I would not hesitate to post it here.

On the other hand, there is not one of the Marcotte blurbs that I would post here under any circumstances, even to point out how bad it is. There is no circumstance where I would post one of those comments, here or anywhere.

That defines the difference for me.

rf,
If it requires that EE be god, then the argument would be that no one is competent to judge. Which is keeping with christian thought, I might add.

OCSteve: On the other hand, there is not one of the Marcotte blurbs that I would post here under any circumstances, even to point out how bad it is.

I think that says more about the viciousness and relish of obscenity of the right-wing bloggers attacking Marcotte, than it does about Marcotte herself. How many posts in full by Amanda Marcotte have you actually read?

Personally, I don't lump "viciousness" or what more neutrally might be called "tone," and "obscenity" together.

I refrain from using The Bad Words here because our hosts request and require it.

And I, of course, recognize that these words are very very very Bad to a good number of people.

But personally, I'm not offended by them in the least, per se, and couldn't care less. Whether you are greatly offended by them, or not, I'd have to argue that their use is an entirely different issue than questions either of tone or substance.

On the RW Noise Machine:

The fact that the MSM jumped on this so fast has nothing at all to do with McCain or the right. They could care less about McCain right now (unless he is being a “maverick” this week).

Their focus right now is on getting their candidate through the primaries, and Edwards is not that candidate. Once their candidate is secure, then they can turn the guns on McCain (or whoever the R frontrunner is). This was a chance to take a shot at someone who they do not want to see win the Democratic nomination.

IMO. I'm sure you'll all buy that, right :)

"IMO. I'm sure you'll all buy that, right :)"

You're saying that you believe that the owners, editors, and reporters, of mass media, are all conspiring to elect a particular candidate?

Well, I made a post at TiO to let people post the things they can't post here. Unfortunately, in trying to upgrade, I can only put a title and open comments. Off to work now, will try and fix it tonite. Unless people like the pithier style that just post titles creates.

OCSteve: to me, what was troubling about Hynes was the apparent dishonesty (1, 2.) As for Donohoe, this sort of said it all to me (about Mark Foley):

"“As for the alleged abuse, it’s time to ask some tough questions. First, there is a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr. Foley? Second, why didn’t you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn’t allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?”"

Not to mention this

"Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it. That‘s why they hate this movie. It‘s about Jesus Christ, and it‘s about truth. It‘s about the messiah.

Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost."

"She goes on to claim there's conclusive evidence against the players, which if true would make the preceding stuff within bounds."

But if you are following the case you know that there is not conclusive evidence against the players, there is not in fact even sort-of-goodish evidence against the players, and that there is in the case of at least one of the players she conclusively accused, iron-clad evidence showing that he could not even have been present.

So to turn that into a racially inflamed rant in Jan 2007, when all of those things are known, is ridiculous. Now I think her rant would have been entirely inappropriate even a year ago, but it wouldn't have been completely crazy the way it is in 2007.

My view of a possible upside put forth by somebody at DK.

SH: "if you are following the case you know that"

Sure, no question. That's why I said "willfully and stupidly blinkered".

How is firing two people who didn't do anything wrong "a possible upside?"

When I saw that Edwards had hired Marquette, I was stunned. I don't read Pandagon often (even when I agree,I think it's extreme), but I know the basics of what she stands for (and against). If I did hire her, it would be in a HuffPo kind of way -- one of several bloggers posting analysis of the day's news. And if I hired her, there is no way that I would interfere with what she wrote; or give any indication that the hiring was wrong.

I'm hoping that the rumor of the firings is wrong -- I want as many strong candidates on "our" side as possible.

Phil: 'How is firing two people who didn't do anything wrong "a possible upside?"'

Firing one person who's hurting the campaign by representing views the candidate finds distasteful - in the face of controversy - showing the candidate does what he thinks is right regardless of who's arguing for what.

(I'm not sure I'd hire me either, but I'm not fit for politics anyway.)

Oh I'd hire you, Seb - then send you out as press secretary to announce that I'm campaigning on Huey Long's old Share Our Wealth platform.


bwahahahahahahahah!

You're saying that you believe that the owners, editors, and reporters, of mass media, are all conspiring to elect a particular candidate?

Not actively conspire, no. It is their inherent bias. I give them the benefit of the doubt that for the most part they don’t even realize it.


Hil: I don’t want to stick up for Hynes. He seems like a buffoon (and I guess a dishonest one at that). McCain should drop him.

The only blogger I can think of who could stand up to the scrutiny of this is probably you hilzoy (unless you do your really wild writing somewhere else ;)).

I'm sure the VRWC could find plenty to hoist hilzoy with, should she be in their sights.

OCSteve: thanks, but I can think of a whole bunch of possible lines of attack.

I think any of the following would survive scrutiny (not in the sense that nothing they wrote could be distorted by someone who was trying, but in the sense that their work would stand up to it): Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Matt Y, Spencer Ackerman, Ezra Klein, Glen G., the entire Crooked Timber crew, Laura Rozen, Kleiman. Hell, I think it would be harder than people seem to think to find a problem with Atrios, who can be in your face, but (imho) rarely out of line.

This is not about Macotte. This is about Shakes. Notice that the AP report allowed the noted anti-Semite to label both Macotte and Melissa as anti-Catholic bigots. Putting aside the issues of whether or Amanda's harsher posts cross the line to bigotry (I do not believe they do, but they are undeniably harsh), there is simply nothing in Shakes writing that could be remotely considered anti-Catholic bigotry. It is a smear job, plan and simple. If Edwards fires here, then she is not only financially devastated but he validates the smear.

And that is what it is about: a warming to every blogger on the left who is considering working for a campaign or a becoming an activist for a cause they love. Do so, and you become fair game for the lowest kind of politics of personal destruction, to steal a phrase.

It is also a warming to every campaign who wants to reach out to people through blogs and other online communities: do so, and the worst things anyone associated with those blogs or communities will be used to attack the candidate.

"The only blogger I can think of who could stand up to the scrutiny of this is probably you hilzoy "

If that's true there's something ridiculously wrong with the standard. Can we say "chilling effect"?

I don't think it is true, and I think Marcotte is more susceptible than a lot of people...but what about the other blogger?

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