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February 07, 2007


OCSteve: "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."

They're all biased in the same direction? Owners, editors, and reporters of the Main Stream Media alike?

Is it Hillary Clinton they're biased towards? Or Obama?

Or have you discerned the little-known MSM passion for Joe Biden?

Mike Gravel?

No, Dennis Kucinich>.

I'm unsurprised to find that I named 5 of the bloggers Hilzoy named, when I pointed, in the Unfogged thread of a couple of days ago, to bloggers who would be less controversial choices than some others.

I do think that Glenn Greenwald is rather rhetorically distinguishable to some degree from the others she lists, though. Not in the sense she was putting forth, but stylistically, he's, ah, yes, "shriller." (Note: this does not mean less accurate or correct or responsible.)

What Kevin said. That's what mystifies me about this: that the two are treated as though they were the same. They are just not.

I think any of the following would survive scrutiny...

Ahh - but I don't read them.

Anyway I am sure (I hope) you are too sane to consider it.

"That's what mystifies me about this: that the two are treated as though they were the same. They are just not."

Yes, but it makes for a simpler story, and too many journalists are lazy. As well is that if they started analyzing things like how the two of them differ, they'd actually be into the area of actually reading their respective material, and evaluating it, and they wish to avoid that, if at all possible, as that's the sort of thing that will get them themselves into being accused of bias.

"Ahh - but I don't read them."

Might give them a try.

As I said, Glenn will doubtless give you heartburn, but while you'll likely disagree with stuff from the others, you might also find them interesting.

IMO, it doesn't matter if Edwards fires either Marcotte or McEwan at this point. The damage is already done.

The fact that Edwards and his campaign have not *already gotten out in front of this* and made it *completely clear that they stand behind their hires* marks him as a guy who does not have what it takes to run as the Democratic candidate for President.

There's a lot at stake in '08, and the general environment in which the race is going to occur can be compared to swimming in a pool of hungry piranhas. If they smell blood, you're lunch.

If you're the kind of guy who will second guess your own decisions or those of your staff, even for a moment, because of what folks like Malkin and Donohue say, you don't have what it takes.

As far as I'm concerned, Edwards is done. Thumbs down. Next contestant, please.

Thanks -

OCSteve: you should give some of them a try. At least try Josh Marshall and Spencer Ackerman. (Josh is writing about Nancy Pelosi's plane at the moment; here's the post that gives the background.)

Josh was a journalist before he became a blogger, and he has serious journalistic standards. He distinguishes very clearly between fact and opinion, and I cannot recall offhand a single occasion on which he reported something as fact that wasn't. (I mean, I'm sure there must be some case in which he cited someone else saying something wrong, but even then he always corrects.) He's also very smart, and very good at analysis.

Spencer used to be the New Republic's Iraq reporter. For several years, he was the sole reason why I subscribed to TNR. Every month or so, I'd get really mad at something they published, and think: that does it! -- and then I'd think: but if I cancel my subscription I won't be able to read Spencer Ackerman anymore. The first thing I did after TNR let him go ("difference of opinion") was to finally cancel my subscription.

For my money, he's one of the best Iraq reporters out there. I also like the fact that he's mad enough to post every press release the DoD puts out about casualties in its entirety, even though it means that on a bad day, I have to scroll a bit to get to the actual posts.

"Spencer used to be the New Republic's Iraq reporter."

I think "analyst and blogger" is a more accurate description. He wasn't reporting from Iraq, as your description unintentionally implies.

Mark Kleiman's now group blog is primarily one of policy analysis, though it also does its fair share of political discussion as well -- but Marshall (who runs a small empire now) is pretty much nothing but political analysis.

Kevin Drum -- and the Political Animal blog at the Washington Monthly has a fair number of guest posters constantly dropping by, as well -- tends to be a mix, but also tends to be a fairly thoughtful, and temperate, guy. Which of course means that some on the left find him overly so (he was called "boring" the other day by one lefty blogger); I tend to agree with him a high percentage of the time, myself, as I also tend to -- with a certain amount of disagreement with both, of course -- with Matt Yglesias, despite, as someone noted the other day, his only being approximately twelve.

We keed.

I'm sure you'll disagree with a lot of the views, but I think you'll find them thoughtful, and perhaps thought-provoking. Perhaps not, but you won't know unless you give them a try. Not that this is mandatory, of course.

There hasn't been an open thread here in quite some time, so there doesn't seem to be any appropriate thread to post it to, therefore I'm digressing off-topic for a moment in this, the most recent thread, to note that frequent commenter dmbeaster is cited by Rick Pearlstein here.

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

You know, I really hope the issue here is not Marcotte's use of "bad words".

Most people use profanity on occasion. A lot of people use it frequently. Some people -- enlisted members of the military, jazz musicians, some folks in the building trades -- use profanity like other people use salt on food.

Our Vice President has been known to use profanity, publicly, to make a point.

Profanity is heightened language. In general use (i.e, if you are not a PFC or a jazz musician) it expresses anger, frustration, or general annoyance.

If the issue here is Marcotte's use of profanity on her own blog, in the context of expressing personal political opinion at a time when anger, frustration, and general annoyance are at a fever pitch, what I have to say is that if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

If Marcotte's language offends you, don't read her. If you never heard a curse word before, you're a highly unusual cat.

In short, if four letter words are what is at issue, it's time to grow up and find more important things to worry about.

Thanks -

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

Whether or not, and how vigorously, you will fight back against the Right Wing Noise Machine is the most important issue in America. Without that committment, you will not get health care, budgets, whatever...even decent and fair debates on the War on the Senate Floor.

Yeah, it is about picking a side, fully and completely. Knowing whose side you are on.

Tonight you are either on Amanda's side or Donahue's side. You don't get to be in the middle. There is no longer any middle in America. The center is gone. Anyone claiming to be in the center has chosen a side.

The Right vs the Bloggers

Kagro x at DKos explains why this is a defining issue for everyone.

"But to the extent that the netroots seek to demand a show of loyalty by Edwards, that same demand must be made of every Democratic campaign. Today, the target is Edwards. Tomorrow, should this vendetta prove successful, the target could be anyone.

Keep in mind that those targeting Edwards simply don't abide by the same standards when it comes to defining what's reasonable discourse and what's not. Perhaps more to the point, they are perfectly willing to say that whatever they're pointing to is beyond the pale whether most Americans would agree or not, if they think it could possibly result in the firing of a Democratic campaign staffer, and by extension, damage to that campaign. So it's just as likely that tomorrow's target will be Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or Tom Vilsack, or Chris Dodd, or any of the other candidates. That the attack may have to hinge on something that most people would see as perfectly reasonable won't much matter, so long as the professional outrage machine is turned up loud enough." KX

This is just swiftboating again. The specifics don't matter, it is just another long episode in the serial bullying that allowed Bush to say "Democrat Party" in the SOTU and allows Bush/Cheney to attack Iran and think they will get away with it.

Because liberals won't really fight back.

To even hesitate for a second empowers the intimidators.

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.

Are you kidding me? Is this really the piece that has launched a thousand inflamed blog posts?

Half of my extended family is Catholic, and I've heard harsher words directed toward the Church's teachings at Thanksgiving dinner (from the Catholic contingent) than anything in Amanda's post here.

For crying out loud in a bathtub. Everyone needs to grow a thicker skin. Really.

Thanks -

Here, by the way, is the only comment on the Catholic League's website from McEwan that relates specifically to the Catholic Church:

""On November 21, 2006, Melissa McEwan said on AlterNet that 'some of Christianity's most prominent leaders--including the Pope--regularly speak out against gay tolerance.'"

This is why no one should ever, ever, ever, ever, ever listen to Bill Donohue.

For the record, I read every word Marcotte and Spaulding and the largest complaint I have with their work is their temperance, moderation, and comity. They are way too nice.

"...from McEwan that relates specifically to the Catholic Church:"

Could we like not possibly play the "divide-and-conquer" game of comparing material and making lists of "nice" bloggers and "not so nice" bloggers?

What are we throwing Amanda to the wolves to save Shakes? My bet is that Shakes won't go for it.

Actually, russell, that was my reaction. My parents are ex-Catholics and say rude things about the church routinely. My husband was raised Catholic and takes his mom to Mass regularly, but he thought Amanda's crack ws more stupid than offensive. he thinks that the church is vulnerable to so many valid criticisms that it was dumb for her to waste ink on an innvalid criticism.

BTW is OCSteve shopping for new blogs to read? My suggestions are Democracy Arsenal, Belgravia Dispatch, and the Washington Note. I think BD and WN are recovering Republicans, too.

Bob is of course qualified to lecture us on who we must support, for he has been throughout these difficult years a paragon of welcome, support, and encouragement for everyone concerned about and interested in doing something to stop the Bush-Cheney machine. His compassion and charity are legendary.

Or, setting aside the sarcasm, Bob, who the hell are you to lecture any of us about big tent duties? Kos raises some points I want to consider carefully, but then he's earned my attention. When was the last time you did much of anything but pour dung down the shirts of people you find insufficiently zealous for your particular vision of imperium? There may be a reason to take you seriously when it comes to telling anyone at all about the importance of supporting people we disagree with but nonetheless have some important common cause with, but I'll damned if I can think what it might be.

You burned that bridge a long time ago, and keep coming back to burn it repeatedly.

Bob, I can more-or-less understand not supporting Edwards if he fires them to appease the likes of Malkin and Donahoe. The idea is that he doesn't have what it takes to stand up to what he'll be subjected to in the election. But becoming a "staunch supporter" of Edwards merely because he didn't fire them is quite a different matter, because there's insufficient evidence about other candidates' ability to withstand such assaults, so it's insane to put Edwards' willingness to hold his ground above any of his actual policy positions, or any other qualities that would affect his electability.

Bruce: posting rules.

"so it's insane to put Edwards' willingness to hold his ground above any of his actual policy positions"

See, I don't think so, and the particular details of each candidates policy positions are not as important to me as their ability and determination in the face of fanatical opposition. I have even been known to say nice things about HRC, for exactly this reason.

From where I sit, there are two separate issues.

#1 is the noise machine making hay out of Edwards' choices. But that's not something we can control. They'd do it to anyone. here the obvious response is a firm, quick "Of course we're proud of our bloggers" and the kind of counter-criticism that Glenn Greenwald has assembled. It startles me from time to time that candidates are still not prepared for these attacks with that sort of immediate answer, and one who showed a habit of getting it right would move way up on my list of people to support.

#2 is the question of outreach to folks on the Democratic margin: people likely to vote Democratic but not possessed of strong convictions, with tangled logic and emotions, still carrying a lot of the noise machine's lies and not well equipped to sort it all out. Here I think Shakespeare's Sister a great choice, Amanda a poor one. The thing about any style pursued as vigorously as Amanda does hers is that it's polarizing. I think she would have been better for the campaign staying independent of it.

Sorry, Hilzoy. Thought I was on the other side of them. Will update references. :)

Bob, I can accept that someone can see ability to stand up to the noise machine as more important than any other characteristic in a candidate. What I was describing as insane was the idea of embracing Edwards as the candidate merely because he didn't fire the bloggers, when there's no evidence about most of the other candidates to indicate that they're inferior to Edwards in that respect. Maybe Obama (or whoever) would be even better at fighting back if subjected to a similar test.

Of course, since the day is over and Edwards hasn't given Malkin both barrels, this is presumably all theoretical.

Bruce: no harm, no foul. The line between criticizing someone's past statements of his or her views, which is fine, and criticizing someone's past in more personal terms, which is dodgy, is not a bright one. Obviously, whoever dreamt up human communication didn't have the convenience of blog rule enforcers in mind. Hmmph ;)

Sorry Amanda, you are expendable. You know, feminists have to be polite and know their...

"Chilling effect" doesn't even begin to describe what is going on tonight. But there is an awful lot of the moderate blogosphere who are actually enjoying seeing the nasty wench cut down to size.

Perhaps at some point Bob will explain why we must all unite when he thinks it's important, but why he never has to rally and give up his individual judgment when anyone else thinks a united face against the machine's encroachments would be in order. I'm not expecting it, of course.

And in any event, the #1 criticism I'm seeing of Amanda is precisely that she seems unlikely to contribute to the unifying of forces at a time when, most of us agree, it's very important to have that. It's hard to see much beyond "Bob thinks she's entertainingly rude and would like to see that pushed on everyone else'.

"...most of the other candidates to indicate that they're inferior to Edwards in that respect. Maybe Obama (or whoever) would be even better at fighting back if..."

Kagro X dealt with this in the linked post, demanding that Obama come out in support of Edwards and Marcotte.

Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller and the DKos crowd are actually out there doing the good stuff, and when they say this story is critical, I tend to listen to them, not call them "crazy".

I am sure Bowers will have a lengthy piece explaining why it is important, but part of it likely involves the avoidance of heirarchies, and the desirability of not creating a "standards and practices" section of the blogosphere deciding who gets to keep her job and who gets thrown into the gutter.

Give it up. I respect Shakes, and she will not stay if Amanda is fired.

I hope no one but bob thinks I'm suggesting firing Amanda is fine by suggesting that I think firing Melissa is even worse.

I have two thoughts on this:

1. Who cares? This goes for the ego stroking blogwar participants and their wannabes. Regarding the latter category, I mentioned this in the Proteinwisdom comments section.

2. The PW regulars have been pleading Edwards to keep the two b/c it is helpful to the their cause. When I try to think about the last prediction PW got anything right, I can only conclude that Edwards should keep them on.

I'm still hoping that the Edwards campaign will, having chosen them both, keep them both. I think that the value of sticking by their choices is more important right now than the campaign folks second-guessing themselves. Deciding that immediately would have been best, and letting it linger hurts, but there's still time for them to do what seems to me clearly the right thing now. A wistful sigh ensues.

And there is just no reason for another candidate to get involved in who Edwards' bloggers are. It's none of their business. Obama might find it a higher priority to for-God's-sake set up an office or a phone # or email address for volunteers to volunteer or write his announcement speech....(Anyone who piles on loses huge amounts of respect from me, obviously).

"But there is an awful lot of the moderate blogosphere who are actually enjoying seeing the nasty wench cut down to size."

Do you have any links to examples you could offer?

"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?" ...Katherine

Katherine, on a night when people's jobs and maybe more (can Amanda get her old job back now that she has been made a national pariah) are on the line, defending one more than the other...well if you thought it was the right thing to do.

And maybe that is not defending one at the expense of the other, by comparison, but it looked very close to me.

"You know, I really hope the issue here is not Marcotte's use of 'bad words'."

I find her use of the f-word almost the least offensive thing in the screed on the Duke case.

"Do you have any links to examples you could offer?"

"I'm seeing of Amanda is precisely that she seems unlikely to contribute to the unifying of forces at a time when, most of us agree, it's very important to have that."

BB 12:22, doesn't appear heartbroken

Check out Sanpete on Ezra's most recent thread.

Early bedtime for me tonight, but just to clarify one more thing before I go:

It's really easy to think that these sorts of issues are all about us, the ones already tuned in and following along. But when it comes to campaign outreach in particular, we shouldn't matter a lot. The audience that matters is the one that's still looking for its positions. Half the people who can vote don't, and while some do so because they're too chuckle-headed to deserve to (Digby's covered this sort), others are genuinely confused and lack our advantages in prior experience, research skills, and the like. They've been used and lied to, and it's hard for someone in that position to figure out the truth even once they're clear on what one set of the lies is.

Because that audience is large and extremely diverse, there is no one right way to reach them. Comedic vulgarity actually is the right tool to get at some of them. Other styles will reach others. But I hope that someone's doing campaign planning with eyes that look beyond the little bunches of us at places like this, to the people who might join, if they see it as good to do and worth doing. If anyone is, they get my continued prayers and best wishes, because I know I don't have a clue what the job might take.

And now I'm off for the evening.

Okay, what is this about, why is Chris Bowers so excited?

Joe Lieberman and George Bush decide whether we go to war or not, and let vote for them or not. And HRC and Edwards and Obama don't appear to be offering and extremely forceful alternative.

Who decides policy? The people or the politicians? Do we let the HRC's pile up the warchests by making promises to corporations, grabbing the nomination, giving us only one sane choice in the general, and then determine policy essentially without feedback?

I don't much care what Edward's policies are. I and the base will tell him what to do. He works for me, and a few hundred million others. I don't work for him, and I do not serve his interests.

Am I a consumer, and Obama a product?

Stoller and Bowers and Kos and the people I respect are trying to grab control of an extremely corrupt party and political environment. So corrupt and broken we cannot even debate a war on the Senate floor.

It is about who is boss. If Edwards says I am boss, I will then vote and work for myself.

Bob: there's a lot of distance between Bruce Baugh's post, which was about tactics, and 'not heartbroken'; and a lot more distance between 'not heartbroken' and 'an awful lot of the moderate blogosphere who are actually enjoying seeing the nasty wench cut down to size.'

I find her use of the f-word almost the least offensive thing in the screed on the Duke case.

You know, I've never read Marcotte regularly. I've never read her Duke post, and didn't read her allegedly "anti-Catholic" post until I saw it cited upthread.

Maybe there's lots to object to in her writing other than her use of salty language. I'll defer to you on that.

What strikes me about this whole controversy is that a handful of right wing loudmouths have, with relative ease, set Edwards back on his heels. That tells me he is not the man for the job, regardless of anything Marcotte has or has not written.

I respect Edwards' populist instincts, but more than good policies are needed. If he can't make a clear, effective response in this situation, he's in over his head.

The '08 race is just getting tuned up. It's going to get a lot worse than this before all is said and done. If we make it to January of '09 with no photo spreads of candidates wearing Nazi-themed pyjamas while in bed with a herd of randy goats** we'll be lucky. The great Amanda Marcotte controversy will look like a game of patty-cake.

If Edwards wants to stay in the game, he needs to show what he's made of, and he needs to show it now. Frankly, it may already too late.

Thanks -

** Not that there's anything wrong with that.

"there's a lot of distance between Bruce Baugh's post"

"Bruce: no harm, no foul. The line between criticizing someone's past..." ...hilzoy

Of course there was no "harm" in Bruce's comment of 11:42. Bruce...

aw heck, never mind. That is four different people after me here tonight.

Random interjection: I stopped reading Pandagon shortly after Ezra left since, to be blunt, I found Amanda's posts to be both borderline misandrist and not terribly interested in the truth (or at least the complexities of the world). I'm not saying that this makes her a bad person by any means -- whoever said that she sounds like one's excitable friend has it right, I think -- but I certainly wouldn't hire her to be my spokesperson. That said, as someone else noted above, she's been admirably consistent, so the Edwards campaign has no excuse for finking out now.

And to pass my Jes-and-Gary approved loyalty test, I read basically every post Amanda wrote on Pandagon before Ezra's departure and probably several dozen if not a hundred since. I hope that qualifies.

[No comment on Shakes since I've only read a few dozen of her posts over the past five years.]

PS: If the Edwards campaign fires her for profanity, they've lost my vote. [In the primary, of course.] I've had it up to here with fucking "civility" used as a weapon for shutting down discourse.

*smites self for violating posting rules*

Why the Edwards Situation Means So Much to Me ...Chris Bowers

"This is a reasonable question, and it deserves an answer. Here goes:" ...Chris B

I agree that Edwards should really keep them both. The perceived weaknesses of Ms. Marcotte for this new writing form can surely be cured by carefully choosing the topics on which she is to write for the campaign. Indeed, I think this is the best solution: have her write some crackling good pieces, right now, not about blog crap, but about issues, taking it right to the other guys, but using language that doesn't alienate anyone thinking of singing kumbaya.

It's not that tough an assignment.

I'm late to this thread, but here goes:

On Amanda: I read Pandagon pretty regularly, and find her posts "fun" (in Hilzoy's apt term). Obviously there can be different views on this: de gustibus non est disputandum. I don't think we can expect consensus on this kind of stylistic preference.

I was surprised when Edwards hired her, but I assumed: (1) he [or his wife] knew what her writing was like; (2) she was/is mature enough to change her persona when acting on behalf of a presidential candidate; (3) therefore she would be given the opportunity to do a good job at what she was hired to do. (Or not ...)

On Duke lacrosse: Since I live in Durham, I've followed the case more closely than most. As I see it, it remains murkier than many partisans on either side perceive it to be. I started out assuming a rape had taken place; since then, I've come around to the view that it probably didn't. (The main charge is in fact no longer rape, but sexual assault, FWIW.)

But I'm also conscious of a couple of facts that bear on my perception of the case: (1) for most of the past ten months or so, almost all of the information we [the public] have received has been generated by the defense, who have spent $3 million so far (!) on investigators, lawyers, and the like. Their job is to undermine the prosecution case, and they seem to be very good at it. But (2) we haven't yet seen the full prosecution case, and although DA Mike Nifong seems to have screwed this case up badly, in these parts he had no reputation in general (even in retrospect) for being a reckless or unreliable prosecutor. Which leaves room for doubt.

My point here is that although SH may turn out to be right about the case - I suspect that he will - Amanda's position (making due allowance for her customarily exaggerated rhetoric) is not nearly as unreasonable as he suggests.

I suspect that she was responding to the kind of "defense" of the lacrosse players that implies, "Anything less than a felony conviction is proof that the lacrosse team are innocent victims, paragons of virtue." (She specifically cited CNN, whereas I'm summarizing comments I've read in local papers and on the internet.)

I know a lot of people around here concerned about questions of race and gender who are furious over the fact that an apparently botched investigation (or even possible prosecutorial misconduct!) is distracting from the largely UNrefuted context of the criminal case, which is that a bunch of white athletes (from comfortably middle-class backgrounds, by and large) saw fit to have a drunken party, hire black strippers for their amusement, and make racist remarks. It is probable that none of this is a crime - except the (to me) trivial offense of providing drinks to minors - but it's hardly a recommendation of the noble character of the players, which the defense lawyers are now so assiduously proclaiming.

Finally, on Edwards: I'm with those who feel that if he backs down on this, he's toast. Just not tough enough to face down Iran, to say nothing of the Republicans. He gets no major points with me for standing by Amanda; it's simply a man doing what a man's gotta do. ;}

Chuchundra wrote:

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...

As a complete aside: having posted on and off but regularly at Josh Trevino's Tacitus blog for some years, I don't believe you can fairly compare him to Charles Johnson (unless you have some Charles Johnson who doesn't run a blog called little green footballs (aka lgf) in mind.

At his worst, Josh manages to sound like the love child of William Tecumseh Sherman, but lumping him in with Charles Johnson does him a disservice. Apart from anything else, Josh managed to foster, at least at Tacitus, a civil community of people with opinions, mostly well to the left of his own, which we expressed without fear or censure.

Based on all the available evidence, I believe that had I said any of the things I said often at Tacitus (about the inadvisability of the war, for example), I would have found myself trashed and banned from lgf in short order.

But John, it was 'positions', not 'actions'. I really don't think there is that much difference between where the two stand, just in the way the choose to express it.

Josh, I don't think it's fair to treat Shakes as the same as Amanda either, but it's happening. And neither one is in the league of Charles Johnson. Regardless, if a Republican candidate hired Treviño, liberal bloggers would certainly be combing through his online works and highlighting extremist comments. The difference is that the story probably wouldn't be in Time, since we don't have the noise machine and media pipeline the Republicans do.

Bob, if Obama got involved in this controversy on either side, that would be a strong indication that he lacks the judgment to be a candidate, much less a president.

Sorry, John, not Josh.

I'm just passing through for a moment but wanted to note that Steve Gilliard has summed up the fundamental issue, as far as I'm concerned. (And done it compactly and straightforwardly, at that.)

Edwards has poorly handled the small personnel issue of the two blogresses. It doesn't inspire confidence that, as leader of the free world, he would handle monumentally larger personnel choices such as Secretary of Defense or State or a Supreme Court justice, or of confronting various world leaders or of making clear stands on tough unfolding events.

The other day, Taranto wrote about Edwards saying one thing about Iran to an Israel-friendly group, and something vastly different to the American Prospect. Conclusion: "Edwards lacks the capacity even to seem steadfast. If he backs down so easily under the pressure of domestic intraparty politics, how can we trust him to protect America's interests when negotiating with a vicious adversary?"

Bruce, the first part of Gilliard's post isn't bad, but do you really think the important lesson from this is that Democrats need to stop worrying about the Christian vote? I don't think that's relevant at all. This is about the Republican noise machine. The blog posts could just as easily have been about something unrelated to religion. (I'm also tired of "white religious voters" being equated with the Christian right or followers of Robertson and Falwell, whom nobody's suggesting reaching out to.)

Charles, I see you're still planting bomblets in your writing to sabotage communication. Really, "blogresses" (like Negresses or Jewesses)? Nice.

KC, I'd say that the Democrats need to stop worrying about the votes of some Christians: specifically, those likely to find Bill Donohue convincing, and more broadly the Christian Coalition and related audiences.

In my little corner of the game market, we routinely run into the customers who act as though they'd love to buy our products, if only thus and so were different. So, at some mild inconvenience to our existing customers, we change thus and so. Then it turns out that the objectors have a problem with this and that. If we change this and that, they'll go on to find problems with which and where...ad infinitum. The truth is that they really aren't our potential customers at all, they're just griping and whining.

What's true for my niche is also true of politics. There simply isn't anything a candidate like Edwards can do to really appeal to the people John Dean identifies as right-wing authoritarians in Conservatives Without Conscience (which I just finished and highly recommend). They don't want someone like him at all. And the concerns of the actually reachable are more complex and tangled, in many cases.

My own dream response from Edwards would keep hearking back to FDR, something like "As Americans, we can disagree all day and still work together, on this campaign and in government to address our nation's pressing needs. We have nothing to fear from honest enthusiasm, or even from honest anger. The rule of law and mutual respect provide the framework in which we can resolve our differences...or not resolve them, and continue to differ, but work together anyway. The only real threats to our cooperation come from those who spread lies and fear, but we are not intimidated. I stand by my staff as talented individuals. When they speak for me and my campaign, they'll say so. If you have an issue with anything they say as individuals, you can take it up with them, because they haven't given up their right to speak their own thoughts on their own time."

Not that he's likely to do anything like that, but a boy can hope.

Bruce, certainly the Democrats don't need to worry about those Christians, but I don't think very many people (outside some of Edwards' campaign advisers, apparently) believe they should. Gilliard seems to be dragging in a more general argument (the one made by people like Amy Sullivan and maybe Jim Wallis), which I don't think has anything to do with this situation.

I don't agree with everything Sullivan says, and maybe I'm too sympathetic toward her because I know her personally, but I get frustrated by her opponents who seem incapable of reading her without imagining she wants Democrats to reach out to the Christian Coalition types.

Hmm, "don't think has anything to do" is too strong, but my point is that the lessons are about handling the right-wing noise machine, not reaching out to Christians.

KC, all I can say is that Amy seems to me to consistently be talking about compromising or flat-out giving up on what I regard as fundamental civil liberties in pursuit of an audience I don't think exists. I do realize she doesn't think she's doing anything of the kind.

Bruce, I don't know what compromises or surrenders you're perceiving. My perception is that her argument is more about messages than actual policy changes, but I admit it's been a while since I've read anything of hers.

KC: I'm having a bad day with my immune problems today, so I won't say more than "that's how I recall it". I do promise, however, that if she comes up as an actual topic here, I owe you a careful reading response-type post to see what I think of her work then.

(I'd ordinarily do some research, but I'm racing the onset of a migraine now.)

It's okay. I'm not really up on the details enough myself to get into a real discussion. I'm mainly reacting from my memories of comment threads at Washington Monthly in which large numbers of commenters seemed to be responding not to what she had written but to some parody Amy Sullivan that existed only in their minds, and many comments demonstrated the existence of the antireligious left that other comments were disputing.

Good luck with your migraine. Mine are usually entirely visual nowadays, which is far preferable but still incapacitating.

In keeping with Bruce's point above:

Charles: If he backs down so easily under the pressure of domestic intraparty politics, how can we trust him to protect America's interests when negotiating with a vicious adversary?

What evidence can you offer against the contention that, had Edwards told the press that he was keeping both Marcotte and McEwan on his payroll, you would have simply declared Edwards "too stubborn" and "unresponsive to the will of the people", or words to that effect?

Really, "blogresses" (like Negresses or Jewesses)? Nice.

No "bombing" intended, KC. Just another variation on that blog word.

What evidence can you offer against the contention that, had Edwards told the press that he was keeping both Marcotte and McEwan on his payroll, you would have simply declared Edwards "too stubborn" and "unresponsive to the will of the people", or words to that effect?

What evidence can you offer that I would say it, Anarch? I don't really give a rip whether he keeps M&M or throws 'em under a bus. Edwards put himself in a sticky situation, and he stepped in a deep pile of personnel grief. If he tosses them, the hardline Left will excoriate Edwards for wilting under pressure. If he keeps them (which it looks like he's going to do), he's left with the unreconcilable problem of explaining why "godbags" and other epithetical bombs were "never their intention to malign anyone's faith".

No "bombing" intended, KC. Just another variation on that blog word.

Not to go all Jes on you, but isn't it a bit revealing that you feel it necessary to tag them as female bloggers?

Really, "blogresses" (like Negresses or Jewesses)? Nice.

No "bombing" intended, KC. Just another variation on that blog word.

You might want to look into that whole "sexism" thing, and the notion that using gender-based distinctions for no reason, let alone making up whole new ones on your own has some faintly problematic aspects to it, Charles. It might serve you well whenever you return to being a bloggette.

he would handle monumentally larger personnel choices such as Secretary of Defense

John Edward's campaign team hires a controversial blogger for a minor non-advisory position: Edward's is not suitable for President.

George Bush hires Donald Rumsfeld for Secretary of Defence and keeps him on 2 1/2 years longer than he should: deserves our support. One last time.

Edwards. The candidate's name is "John Edwards." Not "Edward."


blogorino, -a
bloggo (Aussie, that)
blogun (as in young-un)

I'm spent...

That's because you're a spentress.


blogatrix ;)

Really, "blogresses" (like Negresses or Jewesses)? Nice.

Odd choices for comparison. There are less inflammatory ones, e.g. waiter/waitress, actor/actress, that are a closer fit for blogger/blogress. Granted that feminizing in the first place was gratuitous, but there's no need to leap to racial terms.

LJ: Not to go all Jes on you

My name has been verbed! *does blogabloga dance of triumph*

It's the least I can do (and never let it be said that I don't do the least I can do...)

Since "waitress" and "actress" are still in use (and since gender is somewhat relevant in acting anyway -- though that means we need a word for "male actor" as well), they're not parallel to the case of using a special term for female members of a group that everyone else is content to use a non-gender-specific word for. Perhaps my examples were inflammatory (maybe "authoress" would have been better), but then so was "blogresses", so the inflammation was part of the point.

What evidence can you offer that I would say it, Anarch?

Your track record, which is why I asked the question in the first place.

Since "waitress" and "actress" are still in use (and since gender is somewhat relevant in acting anyway -- though that means we need a word for "male actor" as well)
In my limited experience, most actors have for more than a decade been referring to both male and female actors as "actors."

In my limited experience, most actors have for more than a decade been referring to both male and female actors as "actors."

Mine, too.

But I've just been producing in theatre for three decades....

rilkefan: it's easy to find way more unfortunate stuff out there than Marcotte - check out Orcinus or thepoorman or ...

Wow. Pearl clutching accompanied by an unfathomable reaction. What exactly has upset you at Orcinus, rilkefan?

"Wow. Pearl clutching accompanied by an unfathomable reaction. What exactly has upset you at Orcinus, rilkefan?"

Wow. A lame-ass cliche accompanied by an unfathomable inability to read.

In my limited experience, most actors have for more than a decade been referring to both male and female actors as "actors."
I realize that. It doesn't mean that "actress" is obsolete the way "authoress" and "poetess" are. You may notice if you watch the Oscars, or if you talk to nonactors.

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