Late-Breaking

(Thanks, Liza)

Dude’s got a spine after all.

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.

Oh, and he’s on board with this being a fake fight, too:

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.

77 comments for “Late-Breaking

  1. car
    February 8, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    I don’t know that I care. He let it go too far before coming out in support of them, and that statement makes it sound more like they had to apologize for being themselves before he’d keep them.

  2. piny
    February 8, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t know that I care. He let it go too far before coming out in support of them, and that statement makes it sound more like they had to apologize for being themselves before he’d keep them.

    Honestly, he still hasn’t got my vote yet. But–for the same reason I’m overjoyed to see candidates who aren’t evil and who can string a sentence together–I’m glad to see that he hasn’t responded to the non-problem by giving Amanda and Melissa their walking papers and all of us a big fat fuck you. I can even forgive him for sounding like a sitcom dad from the fifties.

  3. bluefish A
    February 8, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    i’m with car on this one. also, it makes it seem as though he wasn’t aware of the tenor of amanda’s and melissa’s posts which makes him look uninformed.

  4. david
    February 8, 2007 at 12:36 pm
  5. piny
    February 8, 2007 at 12:36 pm

    i’m with car on this one. also, it makes it seem as though he wasn’t aware of the tenor of amanda’s and melissa’s posts which makes him look uninformed.

    I assume he was. He probably requested people in their position–young, progressive, closer to one group of potential dem voters than he was–but didn’t bother to consider their politics. I have trouble believing he had no idea that vocal pro-choice feminism is repellent to people like Donohue.

  6. piny
    February 8, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    This postdates that, David. I think Salon got it wrong.

  7. Mezosub
    February 8, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    What car said. If my employer had issued such a disrespectful statement about me, and characterized my language as “intolerant” because it was analytical and true, I’d resign.

    When we base policy decisions on concepts like the “sanctity of life,” or the “sanctity of marriage,” we need to critically examine and analyze what sanctifies those things. Usually, for something to be santified requires the involvement of some sort of spiritual representative or authority. Whenever one representative or authority is preferred over others, that’s a state establishment of religion, which is prohibited by the Constitution.

    We really need to dump the notion that religious doctrine is somehow above reproach and not fair game for political analysis. As long as we continue to base policy on it, we need to be able to have frank and open discourse about it.

    By characterizing a critique of Catholic doctrine as “intolerant,” Edwards has chilled that discourse. I’m very disappointed in Edwards, but I’m also curious how Barack Obama would have responded to a similar situation.

  8. February 8, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    David, that Salon post was from yesterday; this is from the Edwards campaign’s own website.

    I like how he phrases things; for a mainstream candidate, it’s a bold thing to hold on to Melissa and Amanda. He doesn’t have to like their language in order to be progressive — what makes him progressive is that he respects their ideas and values what they value. That is what impresses me. It also impresses me that he won’t cave to the Malkins and Donahues of the world.

    I signed up for a recurring credit card donation on his site today, as soon as I heard the news.

  9. Rhiannon
    February 8, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    They jumped the shark, David. That article is from yesterday, the news that they aren’t fired is directly from the campaign blog.

  10. February 8, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    I’m suspicious as to whether Edwards ever read anything by Amanda or Melissa before they were hired. Likely, it was all handled by someone on his staff and he rubber-stamped it.

    Obviously, he’s gotten a crash course in feminist politics, but unfortunately he probably got it in contextless bits and pieces from the news.

    Oh, and you’ll notice that he condemns some of Amanda/Melissa’s language, but says nothing about the vile filth that spills from the mouth of Donohue or Malkin. Come on, John! Don’t be so goddamn feckless!

  11. February 8, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Daddy scolded the naughty girls but not the hate mongering bigots like Malkin and Donohue.
    I would not consider voting for a man who treats women like children and fails to support their personal right to freedom of expression on their own blogs.

  12. February 8, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Not good politics, but he has made his decision, for now. There will be a long string of embarrassing quotes from the prior writings of the two retainees that will steal energy from his campaign.

  13. Rhiannon
    February 8, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Personally, I’ve been a strong Edward’s supporter since the 04 race (when I really would have rather voted for him than Kerry, but voted for Kerry cause he picked Edwards as VP)… but now… I don’t know. I feel more like I ought to look into Obama’s running now. I’m glad Edwards didn’t fire them, I definately wouldn’t have voted for him if he had, but I’m not thrilled with his response. It’s bland, comforming and I feel like he’s treating the A&M like little kids, which doesn’t make me too confident of his views of women as equals.

  14. Artemis
    February 8, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I didn’t get much reassurance out of the Edwards statement. No, they aren’t fired. But that was not a statement of support or endorsement by any means.

  15. piny
    February 8, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    Not good politics, but he has made his decision, for now. There will be a long string of embarrassing quotes from the prior writings of the two retainees that will steal energy from his campaign.

    …Retainees? How very Freudian. No, there probably won’t. A few wingnuts might try to make this into an issue; what Edwards can do is keep reiterating his support for his employees and keep defending the work they’re doing for them. This is stupid. It’s stupid like pastel pantsuits and inventing the internet and alleging that (gasp) the Republican party is overly concerned with the interests of the obscenely wealthy and saying that Mary Cheney is a dyke. It’s not important.

  16. February 8, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Rhiannon : Stupid nitpick, please indulge me.

    It’s jumped the gun when you act without having good information (like starting to run in a race when the gun hasn’t gone off).

    Jumping the shark on the other hand, is when someone does something so stupid and contrived that you lose interest in whatever it is doing.

    So for example, if the Edward’s campaign declared that the entire ’04 campaign was a dream, and then insisted on touring the country with a precocious toddler and a chimpanzee, that would be Jumping the Shark.

    :)

  17. Rhiannon
    February 8, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Re:

    Stupid nitpick, please indulge me.

    Hmph. And all this time I thought the two were synonomous… oh well. If I didn’t learn something new everyday, I’d be dead.

  18. February 8, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    It also impresses me that he won’t cave to the Malkins and Donahues of the world.

    I’m not that impressed. Of course he shouldn’t have caved. It shouldn’t have even been considered. The way I feel about it is, I’m certainly not giving him any bonus points for not firing them, but he hasn’t lost me as a potential voter over this.

  19. piny
    February 8, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    And…what everyone else has been saying from the start. The point of this was not to get Amanda and Melissa fired, let alone to raise the tone of political discourse before the election cycle gets underway. The point was to bully. The point was to see just how quickly and how far Edwards could be made to compromise. Would it be possible to get him to overturn his campaign hiring decisions just because a couple of right-wing pundits and bloggers–people who would not vote Democrat if Christ himself told them to–didn’t like things his employees had said prior to getting hired? It’s a power play, another attempt to get the Democrats to flee from their own erstwhile base. It’s not sincere.

  20. February 8, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    what Edwards can do is keep reiterating his support for his employees and keep defending the work they’re doing for them.

    But that’s not what he did. He scolded them and promised they’d behave from now on. That’s not supporting his employees, that’s giving his kids a time-out.

  21. j swift
    February 8, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    yeah, CoRev, and I would suspect that almost everytime one is bandied about it will be with the same hypocritical swiftboating behavior we have come to expect from the rightwing pundits.

    In an instant something that Amanda or Melissa wrote months, if not years ago, will be fronted as if it is, not only the opinion, but the guiding ideology of the Edwards campaign and every liberal in the country.

    It will only steal energy from Edwards if he allows it.

  22. Myca
    February 8, 2007 at 1:04 pm

    I’m actually flabbergasted by how many people here are coming out against Edwards over this. If, as a serious presidential candidate, he’s going to keep them on, then he more or less has to say that he’s not cool with ‘holy jizz’ and ‘aborting jesus’ and stuff.

    I’m fine with all that. I think religion is crazy. I think blaming a professional politician for talking like a professional politician is also crazy.

  23. February 8, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Give him a pass on the language. Kabuki dictates that he sound very serious and concerned. I would have told Malkin to suck on my left one, and Donahue my right–but I’m not running for President.

    FWIW, I can’t see Amanda signing on to this statement, even to keep a job, if she wasn’t comfortable with it. To me, that’s what I take away from this–that, and the fact that the easy call for Edwards was to fire them, and he didn’t. That’s a huge victory, and speaks volumes.

  24. Mnemosyne
    February 8, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    I’m willing to back off and see where Edwards goes with this. Talk is cheap — even talk that we may find condescending — and action is what really counts. And his action was that he kept them on.

    And you know what all of Amanda’s and Melissa’s old posts are now? They’re old news. Malkin and Donohue and all their little pals can scream all they want, but they can’t keep the momentum now. If you keep complaining after people apologize, it’s the complainer who looks like the asshole.

  25. mothworm
    February 8, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    cross posted at pandagon:

    This is a cpmpletely shitty response. He basically agrees with the wingmuts characterizations of Amanda and Melissa, but is gracious enough to “give them another chance” now that they promise to play nice.

    Bullshit. Either he (or his staff) had read this blog and were hiring Amanda precisely because of her unique voice and viewpoint, in which case this statement is a complete cop out, or they just randomly picked her because they knew her blog got a lot of traffic, in which case they’re lazy.

    You don’t ask people to uproot their lives for you if you have no plans to support them.

    I also get the feeling that Amanda’s and Melissa’s apologies were vetted by the campaign. I’m pretty sure Amanda has made it a point, at times, to personally offend people because of their beliefs. That’s one of the many reasons I love her writing. Many people deserve to be offended.

  26. mothworm
    February 8, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I’m actually flabbergasted by how many people here are coming out against Edwards over this. If, as a serious presidential candidate, he’s going to keep them on, then he more or less has to say that he’s not cool with ‘holy jizz’ and ‘aborting jesus’ and stuff.

    Then he should have familiarized himself with the writings of the bloggers before he asked them to come work for him. This attack should have been the very first thing he expected, and he should have been prepared for it.

  27. CLD
    February 8, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Edwards needs to get on the clue train. If he had in fact read the posts he says personally offended him, he would have understood that the “intolerant language” was directed toward intolerant individuals who would love nothing more than to restrict or remove rights from gays, lesbians and people of color. [I’ve written this about 80 gajillion times all over the place]

    His statement is crap and stinks of a fatherly admonishment.

    However, I am ecstatic that Amanda and Melissa are staying!

  28. CLD
    February 8, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    If he had in fact read the posts he says personally offended him, he would have understood that the “intolerant language” was directed toward intolerant individuals who would love nothing more than to restrict or remove rights from gays, lesbians and people of color.

    OOPS — AND WOMEN!! Geez… I’m tired.

  29. mothworm
    February 8, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    FWIW, I can’t see Amanda signing on to this statement, even to keep a job, if she wasn’t comfortable with it.

    In general, I would agree (and I don’t mean this in any way as a criticism), but Amanda just completely uprooted her life to come support Edwards. She’s not wealthy and it’s not an easy thing to do to walk away from a job when you don’t have a lot of other options to support yourself.

  30. mds
    February 8, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    he’s not cool with ‘holy jizz’ and ‘aborting jesus’ and stuff.

    The joke involved Plan B, which doesn’t cause abortions. So Jesus was being prevented, not aborted. Let’s at least be accurate about such little points if we’re going to pillory Ms. Marcotte with them.

  31. Roy
    February 8, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    I also get the feeling that Amanda’s and Melissa’s apologies were vetted by the campaign. I’m pretty sure Amanda has made it a point, at times, to personally offend people because of their beliefs. That’s one of the many reasons I love her writing. Many people deserve to be offended.

    Which is great, when she’s doing her own thing. The guy is running for president. There are different standards of behavior for different circumstances.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he wants to win the presidency. If he wants to win, words matter.

    It’d be political suicide to come out and say “Hey, religious right- bite me.” He’s got pander a little bit, and that means saying that things like “holy jizz” and “aborting jesus” (to pull from an earlier comment) aren’t okay in his campaign. I rarely take anything a politician says at face value- Mnemosyne said it best- talk is cheap, and action is where it counts. He kept them on and said he takes them at their word.

    If that’s good enough for them, and they’ve decided to stay on, then it’s good enough for me for now. Politics are, sadly, a game, and I’m not going to hold too much against him that he’s trying to play to win.

  32. Raging Moderate
    February 8, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    My intention is never to offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs, and I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics.

    She learns fast. Sounds like a typical political quasi-apology (I’m not sorry I said it, but I’m sorry it offended you).

    But hey, gotta pay the bills, I guess.

  33. randomliberal
    February 8, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    I think Jeff brings up the most important part in all of this: Amanda and Melissa are incredibly independent and strong-willed people. If either of them was uncomfortable about the way Edwards responded with his release today, and with the statements they had to release, they would have left without a second thought. But they didn’t. That tells me a lot.

  34. Myca
    February 8, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    The joke involved Plan B, which doesn’t cause abortions. So Jesus was being prevented, not aborted.

    Well, yeah, obviously. I wasn’t quoting, just saying that it’s not terribly surprising that Edwards would need to not embrace the joke.

    Let’s at least be accurate about such little points if we’re going to pillory Ms. Marcotte with them.

    Dude, I am completely, 100% NOT pillorying Amanda Marcotte. I think she’s wonderful! I’ve read her for years! I agree with her over 90% of the time! I, in fact, agreed with these specific statements! I wasn’t bringing them up to say ‘bad Ms. Marcotte,’ I was bringing them up to point out that for Mr. Edwards to distance himself isn’t a sign of being a huge traitor to the cause, it’s a sign of him needing to speak tactfully on a national scale, and those jokes weren’t tactful.

    I don’t care about tact. I think it’s overrated. Every single politician in America disagrees with me, but that’s what it is.

  35. Aaron
    February 8, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    Hey, look, a troll on the Edwards campaign blog: “The Herd Watcher”. He also has a blog of his own, wherein he sounds very much like a fourth-string Malkin-alike wannabe, here.

    Y’all have fun, now.

  36. Tara
    February 8, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Yeah, his response is timid and, as many point out, still reinforce the ‘truth’ of Donahue’s criticisms. It asserts that Amanda and Melissa WERE intolerant and that they have been reprimanded. It does NOT take a strong stand against radical extremists like Donahue and it does NOT support the two people working for him — certainly, not values we are seeking in Edwards. But — and I usually call the Dems on their complicitness and selling out of people on the fringes — I have some respect for Edwards in that he did keep them on. Of course, that might be more of the Dem strategy of ‘playig it safe, playing it in the middle,’ in that it’s a way of muting criticisms from both sides. I guess, I still respect Edwards but I don’t have the respect for him that I would have had he handled this differently from the outset.

  37. Aaron
    February 8, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    More troll: Herd Watcher is this guy, ‘Soulhuntre’ — that’s kind of a familiar name from this very comments section, if memory serves.

    Just another Randroid babbling at nobody (cf. ‘0 comments’, ‘0 comments’, … on his various blogs), except that he’s trolling the Edwards campaign blog, and that’s not all that spiffy. Might be time to get out the really tasty recipes, sort of thing.

  38. TomCody
    February 8, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I think his keeping of Amanda is wonderful but yeah, he’s got to do a bit more now to earn my vote for allowing this in the first place. But hey, we made a difference people:)

  39. the15th
    February 8, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    If he’s the same person who posts as soulhuntre on Metafilter, he is a serious misogynist.

  40. beebles
    February 8, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    Not impressed. Edwards is still a weenie, and I would bet that Amanda and Melissa would be the first ones thrown under the bus if another kerfluffle like this comes up.

  41. Bolo
    February 8, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Well, Edwards “passed” this test in my eyes. Not with flying colors, mind you, but he passed nonetheless. Still has my support–giving up on him this early because he made the right choice just a little too late is kind of absurd, imho.

  42. Jason
    February 8, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    Wow, all that talk yesterday of sticking with Edwards if he did the right thing didn’t last long–did it? Shows the bind he was/is in. Now his “base” (at least on this blog) is abandoning him because he’s not adopting the Jesus jism talking point. And yesterday his base was threatening to abandon him if he didn’t keep A/M on. So now, not only will he continue taking hits for thier writings he is also being abandoned by the people that promised to support him if he “did the right thing”.

    For those whose promise of conditional support for Edwards lasted one day–what candidate do you know of or can you think of that would have unequivacally stood by Amanda’s posts? Seriously. I can’t even think of a politician that’s NOT running for President that would support those statements.

  43. Aaron
    February 8, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    the15th: I would not be surprised; he’s done everything he can to lay claim to the name, up to and including registering soulhuntre.com. (Speaking of which, check out his posts there and at herdwatching.com; plenty of misogyny on display.)

    And, of course, he’s a programmer. Why’d I have to have the same avocation as so many God damned idiots? (Seriously, this isn’t just me whining; the field seems to attract this particular sort of I’m-too-smart-to-be-sexist asswipe at a higher rate than others with which I’m familiar. Maybe it’s the (illusory) allure of facing a screen all day and not having to deal with people very much, maybe it’s the whole rock-star thing, I don’t know, but whatever it is I’m sick and fucking tired of it.)

  44. Aaron
    February 8, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    Regarding the actual subject of the post, and I apologize for taking so long to get around to it, this hasn’t put me off Edwards, though I wasn’t really ‘on’ him to begin with; he just seems to me like the best chance at getting somebody in the office who might not sell us out at the first opportunity.

    I’ll grant that I don’t like what he publicly said regarding Ms. Marcotte and Ms. McEwan, and their posts, and I don’t like the apparent necessity for the Bloggers Formerly In Question to post mea-culpas on the campaign blog, but I’m willing to assume that that’s all kabuki. (I’m also willing to discard that assumption if he later shows himself to be a coward.)

    If anything, I’m a little more likely to vote for him having seen how he’s dealt with the situation. Kabuki-or-otherwise notwithstanding, he didn’t crumble, and that’s far from nothing.

  45. Roy
    February 8, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Wow, all that talk yesterday of sticking with Edwards if he did the right thing didn’t last long–did it? Shows the bind he was/is in. Now his “base” (at least on this blog) is abandoning him because he’s not adopting the Jesus jism talking point. And yesterday his base was threatening to abandon him if he didn’t keep A/M on. So now, not only will he continue taking hits for thier writings he is also being abandoned by the people that promised to support him if he “did the right thing”.

    I hate to point out the obvious, but there isn’t one entity here called This Blog. There are a large number of unique people who post and comment on this blog. Some of them/us may have said they were going to stick with Edwards if he did the right thing. Others may not have. The people who are saying that they’re less than pleased by Edwards actions may not have been the same ones saying that they’d stick with him if he did the right thing. Meanwhile, the people who said that they’d stick with him may very well be the ones saying “I’m sticking with him for now, because he did the right thing.”

    Then, of course, there’s the debate about whether he really did the right thing. Some people clearly don’t think he did, while others do.

    That’s the problem with thinking that all of the commenters on a blog hold the same view- we don’t. I see a great range of opinions here, so it’s sort of silly to say things like “Now his “base” (at least on this blog) is abandoning him because he’s not adopting the Jesus jism talking point.”

    Remember, “this blog” isn’t one person.
    Lots of people = lots of opinions.

  46. lawbitch
    February 8, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I am going to support a candidate who doesn’t act like Ward Cleaver lecturing the naughty children (NOT).

  47. Frumious B
    February 8, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith

    Bollocks. I don’t read Melissa often enough to know her tone, but Amanda makes it a point to malign people’s faith. The whole Church of the Disco Ball thing is a malignment of faith, period. Maybe Edwards is mealy-mouthed, but he ain’t the only one.

  48. Rhiannon
    February 8, 2007 at 4:21 pm

    *blush*

    Well, I’d like to correct my #13 comment. I sometimes forget that I’m Unaffiliated and therefore can’t vote in the primaries (which I think is wrong – I should get to vote in ALL the primaries cause I’d like to have my choice of the best of each group D/I/R) so the part where I said “I wouldn’t have voted for him” if he’d fired them, kindly ignore cause I forgot that even though I’m liberal like Ghandi, I’m not affiliated with any political party.

    Oh and in case anyone wants to turn in Donahue to the IRS for violating the tax laws, the form you need to fill out is in the link below.

    http://www.irs.gov/compliance/enforcement/article/0,,id=106778,00.html

  49. February 8, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who found Edwards’ language unnerving. My own misgiving about it isn’t the paternalism, although that’s a good point too, but the general stylistic condescension. People who talk like engaged, intelligent orators speaking to an engaged, intelligent audience have the right to say “That’s not how I talk” without being hypocrites. People who base their campaigns around promises to low-income Americans that they won’t be able to fulfill don’t.

    For the record, if I had to write that press release, I’d say something like,

    There have been speculations that I was going to fire Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan. I am not, because part of changing politics is focusing on the content of what people say rather than about their level of sarcasm. Unlike some people who are routinely accepted as mainstream on the right, Marcotte and McEwan never called for anyone’s death or slandered people for supporting the terrorists. In fact, Marcotte’s rhetoric about the Catholic Church is very mild by the standards of Donohue’s remarks about Jews and LGBT folks.

    You don’t hang your dirty laundry out in public. If it were somehow leaked that Edwards was on the phone with Amanda for 15 minutes scolding her for her language, I wouldn’t give a damn. He’s her boss. Instead, he scolded her in public, which is despicable.

  50. Bitter Scribe
    February 8, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Oh, well, I guess this is the best we can expect from a frontrunner. It would have been nice if he had given Donahue and Malkin the middle finger, but you can’t have everything. Let’s hope he at least sticks to his guns.

  51. zuzu
    February 8, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    My, shades of Miss USA being forced to beg forgiveness from the Donald much?

    You know, one of the examples of “anti-Catholic” and “intolerant” language given in the AP article written by Nedra Pickler is a post of Melissa’s saying that the pope was opposed to gay tolerance. Considering that the Vatican is conducting a witch hunt to root out gay priests, and that Der Popenstein hisself has made statements that could be called intolerant of gays, I really don’t see the issue here.

    I really do get the sense that one reason this took so long to resolve was that the liberal blogosphere made it clear that he was toast if he fired them. His language here might be Kabuki, but it might also be an indication that he won’t boot them NOW, in response to this brouhaha, but he’s keeping them on a short leash and might get rid of them for seemingly unrelated reasons later.

    I say this isn’t over, not by a longshot.

  52. Reb
    February 8, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    Hmm. I think it’s entirely possible that Edwards was, in fact, offended by the post, but I don’t think that’s an inherently bad thing. A lot of Amanda’s posts are provacative, which I always assumed was intentional, and it doesn’t bother me, personally. But I don’t have any problem with someone being offended by provacative writing — especially not given that, despite being offended, he wants them to continue working for him; and I like that he doesn’t want the campaign to be hijacked by a non-issue.

    (Though I definitely agree that he should have been familiar with both of their writing beforehand, and prepared. He wasn’t, which is dumb.)

  53. Jason
    February 8, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions about Catholics of course. Even though I was raised Catholic I tend to agree with Amanda’s posts about the official policies of the Church and some Catholics like Donahue. I’m an atheist so I even agree that religion has a negative influence.

    But I don’t understand how this is becoming a litmus test for some of you. Is the fate of two bloggers really that important for the next presidential election? Like I noted above you will find no politician that will or should condone her language in the Catholic posts. What does a politician have to gain by defending such language? What’s wrong with keeping them on his team but saying that he doesn’t condone their language? A politician simply can’t going around defending the words Jesus and Jism in the same sentence. Prudish? Yes. But if we want a politician that is going to fight the system let’s pick a better subject to fight the system over–o.k.?

    And this is not just about standing up to the Right. Although that is part of it and Edwards stood up to them by not firing A/M. The fact of the matter is Amanda’s comments will offend some Democrats. Not people that read blogs but people that pay attention when campaigns heat up. Donahue is a fraud but real damage will be done. Especially now that many of Edwards’ erstwhile “base” are abandoning him becuase he refuses to condone criticisms of Catholics that employ jesus jism and a hostile tone. I know many can parse the language so that it is simply speaking truth to power but the average Democratic Catholic voter will cringe a little bit when they hear that. Trying to parse her language will not work. They did the best thing by disavowing it, saying they didn’t mean harm, and moving on.

  54. kate
    February 8, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Like others have said here, it begs one to wonder (as I did when I first read that she was going on with Edwards campaign) if he or any close to him had even bothered to read the content of the bloggers in question or simply figured, “Hey, she’s got a high ranking among leftie bloggers, let’s get her!” and the machine moved forward with little further consideration.

    This I think, seems to illustrate as well that neither he nor his operatives really took the internet angle very seriously. Now that its come to bite him in the ass, he may.

    And yes, I agree with Zuzu, that all’s not over by a long shot and yes, it must really suck for Amanda and Melissa, but I’m sure they were aware of the risks and the fickle nature of campaigns and don’t regret their decision even if they were canned tomorrow.

    I also agree with many others here that Edwards is running for national office, I hope he or any other democratic candidate is smart enough to not alienate himself to just one demographic, which of course is exactly what the Malkin/Donohue camp are attempting to do.

    I also would like someone I mean anyone in the public media/campaign swirl to call these wingnuts on their shit — just once in a while fer crise sake.

  55. February 8, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    I am of the opinion that William Donohue is trying to grab the social justice Catholic votes away from Edwards. It isn’t enough to be affiliated with the “pro-life” party anymore. Especially when Edwards promotes policies that are consistent with … valueing human life and the social justice movement.
    I’m onto you Donohue.

  56. j swift
    February 8, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith

    Bollocks. I don’t read Melissa often enough to know her tone, but Amanda makes it a point to malign people’s faith. The whole Church of the Disco Ball thing is a malignment of faith, period. Maybe Edwards is mealy-mouthed, but he ain’t the only one.

    Bollocks right back at ya Frum B. You miss the point of The Church of the Mouse and Disco Ball. IIRC correctly Amanda has made it clear that she is not religious, thus the Mouse and Disco is satire of religion as a whole. Just as she or someone has made up the Mouse and Disco Ball man creates religions. Let me repeat that, falliable men create religions. At least that is one of the points I think she is trying to make.

    Hey, I could be wrong. Maybe she is hoping to be a entrepeneurial religionist like Ted Haggard who grew a little church in the basement of his house to the New Life Church of today.

    Does this malign your faith? If it does, how? Does it lessen your faith in whatever you believe? If it does, that is sad…or does it really offend your arrogant certitude that you are one of the chosen few to be burdened with the “truth”.

    Give us a little hand here Frum B and expand on your point.

  57. February 8, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I’ve got it, j swift:

    Governor William J. Le Petomane: We’ve gotta protect our phoney-baloney jobs religion, gentlemen!

  58. February 8, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Whoever made the hire decision regarding Amanda and Melissa should certainly have been prepared for the conservative blogger pile-on and mentioned it to Edwards. Who probably would have shrugged, expecting it to be a minor drama confined to cyberspace, possibly for weeks, but it wouldn’t be that big a deal.

    Should they necessarily have expected that Donahue would pick it up so quickly? He’s usually lambasting Hollywood Jews, not bloggers, and it was only his entry into the furore that got the mainstream journos reporting on it.

    I can understand the Edwards campaign being surprised that that Amanda-bashing suddenly was out there in the mainstream press, for sure.

  59. Chet
    February 8, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    The whole Church of the Disco Ball thing is a malignment of faith, period.

    Christ, the breathtaking arrogance of the religious. Sure, it maligns your faith any ol’ time somebody doesn’t take nonsense all that seriously.

    Grow up, FB. It may shock you to know that there’s a whole lot of people who believe different than you.

  60. February 8, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    I’m deeply amused at all the people making the daddy/little girl metaphors. Did anyone check with Amanda and Melissa to see if they felt like scolded little girls chastised by Daddy? I thought they had a lot more spine than that, myself, but I see it doesn’t take much for the infantilizing sexism to crawl out of the woodwork.

  61. zuzu
    February 8, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    How else would you read the language and the power dynamic there?

  62. February 8, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    How else would you read the language and the power dynamic there?

    Leader? Boss? Captain of the team?

    Just because there’s an obvious hierarchy in play doesn’t make it a daddy spanking miscreant children situation. That’s a pretty radical reading of all human power dynamics if you push it that far.

  63. JM
    February 9, 2007 at 1:46 am

    tigtog, I have a really hard time readng a statement essentially explaining to them when to use their outside voices and inside voices (gosh, I’m not allowed to talk to anyone like that in my official capacity How about church?) as anything oher than paternalistic and deeply condescending.

    Jason, to me this is about mre than just two bloggers. I’m sure that some Democrats are offended by Amanda’s words. I’m offended at least half the time when I visit the large Democratc and liberal blogs and encounter a lot of sexist (and racist) attitudes, not from trolls but from respected members of the community.

    Within the blogosphere, there is a perception among some people that there’s a big boys’ club and the concerns of other members of the Democratic coalition are going to be either ignored or dismissed and derided. Edwards hiring Amanda sent a signal, at least to me, that he recognizes that she and women like her represent a constituency that is valuable and that there are votes there.

    Obviously, Amanda is controversial. But to many, she’s controversial just as much for what she says as for the way she says it. There are many bloggers out there who think that the views she represents are out of the mainstream no matter how sweetly they’re phrased. If Edwards lets her go, then it will be Lani Guenier time, they’ll huntdown every stray phrase anybody’s ever written, and it will take a lot less than magical jizz to disqualify someone. Right wing frames are going to decide what’s mainstream and that’s just fine by a lot of Democrats. But probably not in their long term interests. As someone said, you can’t just tell the religious right to go to hell, likewise you probably shouldn’t tell a large group of your voters they’re wacky cranks.

    And you know, there is a big gulf between issuing a statement of agreement and issuing a condescending condemtion of “intolerant language.” How about, “Amanda and Melissa are passionate Americans, I do not agree with all of their opinions, but I cannot fault them for them, and certainly not for words writen before they were employed by my campaign.” He played right into Donohue and Malkin’s script and this won’t end here.

  64. Myca
    February 9, 2007 at 2:13 am

    Right . . . when you come right down to it, he’s their employer.

    If something I’d said or done might cost my employer a big client . . . and he knew it was bullshit, and I knew it was bullshit, and he knew I was a good employee, and didn’t want to fire me, but also knew that the client was taking it seriously . . . he might have to scold me and talk about how I’d made serious mistakes while not firing me.

    Actually, that kind of shit happens at my job all the time. Not specifically to me, thank goodness, but in general.

  65. car
    February 9, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Wow JM, that would have been perfect. Wanna go work for Edwards? Looks like he needs all the help he can get right now.

    Myca – I see your point, but the thing is that Malkin and Donohue’s cadre are not his big clients. It’s more like Krispy Creme got criticized by Tim Hortons and then agreed with the criticism and said they’d change their donuts.

  66. Myca
    February 9, 2007 at 9:50 am

    I see your point, but the thing is that Malkin and Donohue’s cadre are not his big clients.

    Oh, I agree, but the fear is that the big client ‘religious people’ would buy into the (bullshit) criticism.

  67. mothworm
    February 9, 2007 at 11:59 am

    JSwift, Chet,

    I’m not familiar enough with FB to know their religious viewpoints, but I don’t think they were stating thet they, personally, found Amanda’s Church of the Mouse and Disco Ball to be offensive.

    I don’t know, maybe they did, but the larger point–that Amanda is intentionally provocative and holds little respect for religion or faith-based thinking–stands. The church thing is definately satire, and a tongue-in-cheek way to show up the silliness of religion. Of all the things she’s written, it’s probably got the lowest quotient of offensiveness to the religious. The posts that got quoted in the original furor (jesus jism, and such), may have been satirical as well, but were most definitely meant to offend.

    I’ve been reading (and admiring) Amanda long enough to know that she’s not out just to throw bombs–there’s a larger, much more in-depth criticism being made. The outrageousness is in the service of catching your attention and pointing out the absurdity of whatever viewpoint she’s dissecting. So, while it’s true that her purpose may not have been to offend anyone, the effect was certainly calculated for.

    Don’t get me wrong, that’s what I love about her writing, and I don’t think she has anything to apologize for, which is why I’m bothered by her being forced to apologize and act like she didn’t expect anyone to take her views seriously. Of course, I didn’t expect Edwards to come out and say he supported everything Amanda has written, or the style she uses, but I also didn’t expect him to verbally scold her in public. That’s what I think people have a problem with. He could have easily dismissed this in a way more like Alon’s comment. What and how Amanda wrote on her own blog in the past is her business. She’s smart enough to know how to cater her style to the audience she’s trying to reach, and I seriously doubt anyone expected her to use Edward’s blog as her own, personal platform. That’s what she has Pandagon for.

  68. February 9, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    It’s amazing how people are able to interpret “Your religion’s mythology is not sufficient reason to enact laws that will govern people who do not adhere to that religion” as “Your religion sucks and you’re stupid.”

    I’ve heard a lot of the former from Amanda, not so much of the latter, unless she was being purposefully tongue-in-cheek.

  69. GreyLadyBast
    February 9, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    I dunno, Ponygirl. I think Edwards jumped the shark when he jumped the gun.

    As for me, well, let’s just say that I’m not convinced that Edwards’ spine is actually made of good, strong material. I think his response was the least insulting and paternalistic of the many possible insulting and paternalistic responses, but I’d’ve been much happier had he chose to respond with spine and strength instead of with the least-wussy of several wussy possibilities.

    IOW, I think he showed throat when he shouldn’t have, and this concerns me. If he’ll give even this much ground to the right-wing noise machine, this soon and over this trivial an issue, how much faster will he throw the rest of us under the bus when the wingnuts start bitching that much louder?

    Basically, John-Ed m’boy, you cost yourself my respect, and you’re gonna have to work like hell to win it back. I’m willing to wait and see if he’s learned anything from this—specifically that anything less than “shut your yap, you lying hypocrite” (except in more polite, more politic tones) won’t quite do—–or if he’ll attach his spine to his brain and make ’em work together, but honestly, my first—ok, second, since my first impression of strong spininess was formed by his hiring of Amanda in the first place—–impression is that he’ll cave like an unsupported roof the second someone says “BOO!” loudly enough.

    He nearly caved this time. He’s gonna have to show a LOT more reproductive fortitude* than he’s demonstrated thus far to convince me he’s not another wimpy twit that’ll roll over and show throat at the first sign of Rethug disapproval. That’s NOT who I want as President, and Edwards is now going to have to prove to me that that is not who he is. ‘Cause right now, I think he’s a wuss who tried to please everyone, and wound up pleasing no one, instead of a strong, compassionate leader who understands the difference between personal and professional, and will stand up for idividuals. Wussiness is not a Presidential quality, if you ask me (which I know nobody has, but hey).

    *this covers brass balls as well as my (and Amanda, and Shakes’) diamond ovaries

  70. mothworm
    February 9, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Mighty Ponygirl,

    I don’t know if you were responding to me, but it occurs to me I may not have been articulate enough. I don’t think critiquing a religion’s relevance to political ideology is offensive. I don’t think Amanda does either. Nor do I think she was saying “your religion sucks and you’re stupid” (though, thank god, the wonderful PZ Meyers does).

    However, we both know that religionists will be offended by any criticism of their beliefs. So, even if it wasn’t your purpose to offend, you know people will be offended. Especially when you joke about using Plan B the morning after being spooged upon by god.

  71. Knemon
    February 9, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    “We’re beginning a great debate about the future of our country”

    Will this be a debate as commonly understood, ie, one with plural sides? Or is it an academic “debate” (also sometimes advertised as a “discussion”) in which the contestants don’t really disagree?

  72. February 9, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    tigtog, I have a really hard time readng a statement essentially explaining to them when to use their outside voices and inside voices (gosh, I’m not allowed to talk to anyone like that in my official capacity How about church?) as anything oher than paternalistic and deeply condescending.

    Fair point. I think the explanation of inside/outside voices was aimed at the critics rather than our bloggers, but if others see it differently it’s hard to argue other than that it was clumsily phrased.

    How about, “Amanda and Melissa are passionate Americans, I do not agree with all of their opinions, but I cannot fault them for them, and certainly not for words writen before they were employed by my campaign.”

    JM, that would have been perfect.

    Some others above see Amanda saying her posts were satirical as some sort of disowning of her arguments. I don’t see that. Amanda saying her posts were meant as satire doesn’t mean that she’s saying they were just a joke and weren’t meant seriously. Personally I take satire very seriously as it points out how various emperors have no clothes. Pointing out that her posts are satirical indicates that the satirist injects hyperbole and contrarianism for effect, not that it’s “just a joke”. Different thing entirely.

  73. Knemon
    February 10, 2007 at 9:04 am

    “Pointing out that her posts are satirical”

    What do they satirize?

  74. mythago
    February 10, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    How about, “Amanda and Melissa are passionate Americans, I do not agree with all of their opinions, but I cannot fault them for them, and certainly not for words writen before they were employed by my campaign.”

    If a Republican candidate hired Vox Day, none of us would accept “oh, he wrote all that sexist shit before I hired him, he’ll stop now”. At least, I’d hope not.

    How else would you read the language and the power dynamic there?

    I don’t read it as Amanda and Melissa infantilizing themselves and melting into submissive little puddles when Big Man wags his finger at them. Perhaps it’s just me, but I think that’s a pretty fucking insulting way to look at Amanda and Melissa–unless you really do think they’ve sold out to The Man.

  75. rlh
    February 10, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    John Edwards is a joke. Don’t support him. He is only making more money from playing the president in waiting bit. He knows he will never be in the oval office. He doesn’t have what it takes to become president.

    Hillary will win this one I think. The whole country is going to take a left turn.

  76. February 11, 2007 at 12:06 am

    The whole country is going to take a left turn.

    Rlh? Is that you, punkin’?

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