NROs Kathryn Jean Lopez calls our attention to and comments on this self-indulgent and self-pitying Salon piece by Amanda Marcotte. Heres a bit:
Whether or not it was the intention of the right-wing noise machine to throw more obstacles in the way of Democrats who want to play to their pro-choice, pro-gay rights feminist constituents -- its also plausible that the right-wing noise machine was working on pure misogynist emotion -- the episode has had a chilling effect on the future of Democratic outreach to feminist communities, particularly the younger ones that flock to computers for political information as earlier generations flocked to television sets and newspapers.
Equally alarming is the possibility that this episode was something of a test case for the right-wing noise machine. The right blogosphere is mostly a sideshow act for the Republican Party, providing a cheap source of noise and noncontroversies to help professional shills like the Catholic League and the Heritage Foundation degrade the political discourse in this country, throwing culture war bombs to cover up unpopular Republican policies like starting a war in Iraq.
I think the left blogosphere has a lot more substance to it. First of all, the liberal blogs are slowly but surely building a fundraising structure that is already beginning to have substantial influence on elections. They helped Jim Webb become a senator and Joe Lieberman become an Independent. Blogs also provide a method of disseminating progressive ideas to people, while the mainstream cable news channels carry on for weeks at a time on topics such as Anna Nicole Smiths untimely demise. Liberal blogs are issue-oriented and good at parsing out complex ideas that dont fit well into the sound-bite-driven mainstream discourse. They are a good fit for wonky Democrats. Its therefore unsurprising that conservatives might want to dissuade Democrats from hiring them.
There are smart and thoughtful folks in the left blogosphere, but Marcotte doesnt seem to me to belong in their ranks. And I dont see why partisan Republicans would want to do Democrats the favor of dissuading them from hiring folks like her. Better the Democrats should go with their inclinations, so that everyone can see what all too often passes for "normal" or "acceptable" discourse in their precincts.
In the end, Marcotte is unrepentant, insisting that hers is the authentic democratic face of the left blogosphere:
As a general rule, blogs are raucous and common, as would be expected in any political environment that is truly democratic, where you dont have to brandish a pedigree to get in the door. What this means is that even the more even-keeled bloggers are likely to have something in their archives that could be taken out of context and bandied about on the cable news networks. And even if the blogger herself never says a word that could be misconstrued, members of the right-wing noise machine are perfectly willing to dig through comment threads to find quotes that fit their purposes, as the bloggers at Feministing found out when Wendy McElroy was on Fox News quoting comments left by readers and implying that those statements had been made by the bloggers.
In response to what happened to Melissa and me, Garance Franke-Ruta has written a post on the American Prospects Tapped blog wagging her finger at liberal bloggers and warning us that unless we are willing to ape the language and habits of the D.C. insider crowd, we can expect never to be allowed through the gates. She probably has a point that bloggers can expect this sort of pushback from the establishment. Blogs are popular because they provide space for everyday citizens to engage in politics, in the language and manner that is comfortable for us, if not for the establishment. To my mind, however, it would be a terrible thing if bloggers did heed the advice to mind our manners and ape our betters if we want in, since this is supposed to be a democratic system that respects the right of everyday, common people to participate in politics. While theres a chance that the crusade to separate McEwan and me from the Edwards campaign was just a singular happening, the possibility lingers that this was just the first sign that the established media and political circles will not be letting the blog-writing rabble into the circle without a fight.
Here, by the way, is the Garance Franke-Ruta post to which McEwan refers. McEwan cant even tell who her friends are, preferring to regard anyone who doesnt actually applaud her vulgarity and defend to the death her right not to be held accountable in any way, shape, or form for it as one of the enemy.