Arrgh. Get me back to the USA. This time difference is a pain in the neck; I go to bed and awaken to find Amanda Marcotte has resigned from John Edwards’ campaign, and everyone in the blogosphere has already analyzed this and picked it apart.
On the discussion thread underneath the resignation announcement last night, Marcotte explained that her “apology” of last week wasn’t really an apology.
On the why did I apologize thing—I never apologized for my opinions or beliefs. I do feel bad if people read my comments out of context and are hurt, but I don’t think that’s my fault so much as the fault of people who take my writing out of context.
Got it? If you’re offended, it’s your fault, not hers. Why Edwards ever associated with this character is becoming exponentially more baffling.
Something seems quite odd about this sequence of events. As of last Friday, we can presume that Marcotte really didn’t want to leave the campaign. She was willing to “apologize” and presumably didn’t offer her resignation when the controversy was coming to a boil.
We can presume that the review of “Children of Men” and a prominent Catholic Democrat essentially saying, “Hey, Edwards, this is getting ridiculous,” were triggers to last night’s events. Ben Smith lays it out:
[From Marcotte's review:] “The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal, where god is viewed as so powerful he can impregnate without befouling himself by touching a woman, and women are nothing but vessels,” she writes, contrasting that to the movie’s re-interpretation.
Brian O’Dwyer, a New York lawyer and Irish-American leader, who attacked Edwards the first time round, just came out with a statement: ”The blogger’s continuing hostility to Catholics and other Christians, especially in the centrality of the Virgin birth, is both morally wrong and, for Senator Edwards, politically stupid. Senator Edwards was horribly flawed in refusing to see the importance of how offensive the blogger’s earlier comments were to people of faith. This latest so-called review, published after Edwards refused to fire her for earlier anti-Catholic writings, should now wake him up and lead him to finally do the right thing as his campaign tries to move forward. Bigotry of any kind should have no role in the Democratic Party, or in any presidential campaign.”
O’Dwyer, also, is hard to cast as a GOP hitman. He’s the chairman of the National Democratic Ethnic Leadership Council, the Democratic Party’s official white-ethnic grouping; close to some labor union leaders; and a leading member of a prominent New York Democratic family.
As Ace notes, “And Edwards is even more on the hook for this [stuff] now — not only did he hire her, he re-affirmed the decision to hire her.”
Again, I don’t quite get it. Edwards had his chance to distance himself from her way-out-of-the-mainstream disdain for organized religion, and he chose not to; instead he accepted the most unconvincing apology in recent memory.
Did Marcotte decide she preferred being a “martyr” for her cause than the paycheck from the Edwards campaign?
Was this not quite a resignation? In other words, “did she jump or was she pushed”?
On paper, Edwards would seem to get credit from the lefty blog community for not firing Marcotte. But the early reaction is mixed; there are some accusations that Edwards “knuckled under.” It’s being scored as a win for Bill Donahue. On the other hand, everyone who was offended by the fact that Edwards would hire someone who makes semen jokes about Mary now knows that, as a rival Democratic campaign put it, “he’s more afraid of the netroots than the Catholics.”
Did this turn into a lose-lose for Edwards?
Another comment from MyDD: “The only thing missing from Marcotte’s statement was her desire to spend more time with her family.”
Also, she had additional comments last night:
Thanks, all. I’m the writer that I am because I am, but in my real life, I’m someone who keeps her head down and works hard at what I do. Above all else, the fact that this was putting a wrench into my abilities to do the job I was hired to do was killing me. I was eager to get to work talking policy, garnering support, you know—my job. At this point, I bet Bill Donohue would jump into a Wendy’s and stand on the counter and start saying, “I WILL STAND HERE BLOWING NOXIOUS FARTS UNTIL YOU FIRE THE ENTIRE STAFF.” For no reason.
Wow. Yeah, that’s one talented writer that Edwards lost. Also, she writes:
Todd, I 100% agree that this was a targeted hit on atheists in politics.
Yeah, that was the issue. Finally, her final comment of the evening was:
All people claiming to be good Christians who agitated for me to be fired, one question: Who would Jesus witchhunt?
Think hard before answering, [a-word]s.
Don’t you hate these “witch hunts” and “smear campaigns” that consist of quoting someone accurately?
Presuming it was a genuine resignation… if you’re a Democratic candidate, don’t the netroots look like heavily-shaken nitroglycerin right about now? Think about it, you embrace them, they embarrass you by alienating a demographic you’re courting; you consider firing them, they raise hell and promise campaigns of vengeance; you stand by them, take the hit… and then they quit on you, and everybody thinks you fired them anyway.
With scenarios like this floating around, how in the world is embracing the blogs worth the trouble?
The issue isn’t the technology; it’s the temperament.
UPDATE: The drama continues. Another blogger at Marcotte’s site is encouraging readers to file complaints against the Catholic League to the IRS, claiming that it violated its nonprofit status by engaging in “a political campaign intervention.”
As a commenter on that thread notes:
From the IRS fact sheet on political campaign intervention, FS-2006-17:
“The political campaign intervention prohibition is not intended to restrict free expression on political matters by leaders of organizations speaking for themselves, as individuals. Nor are leaders prohibited from speaking about important issues of public policy.”
Unless you can show that Mr. Donohue: a) asked his supporters to vote against John Edwards; and b) made his request in an official capacity — at an organization meeting or in an organization publication . . . then there’s nothing to see here. Mr. Donohue was within his rights to say what he did. With respect, all of you should move on.
Did Donahue say, at any point, “Don’t vote for John Edwards”?