Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Edwards’ bloggers

If you haven’t been following the story of John Edwards’ attempt to cultivate the leftist netroots by hiring prominent bloggers, this Get Religion post provides many of the relevant links. Suffice it to say that this was not a smart personnel move, however much the NYT wants to spin their venom as just "doing what bloggers do — expressing their opinions in provocative and often crude language." What the #@$^%&*** are they talking about?

They regret their past indiscretions--which weren’t intended to "offend anyone for his or her personal beliefs," but were only supposed to be "criticisms of public politics" [hah!]--but aren’t being let go. I guess this means that blasphemy is O.K. if the religious belief has political consequences. Only entirely private religion, with no political implications, shouldn’t be subjected to the most offensive remarks and characterizations. It certainly gives one a sense of what Melissa McEwen thinks is fair in political life. And, I suppose, by extension, what John Edwards thinks is appropriate....

Update #2: The religious Left feels marginalized in all this: they disapprove of Edwards’ hires, but don’t necessarily want to follow William Donohue’s lead.

Discussions - 20 Comments

To some elite journalists, the things these cretins have been saying are well within the realm of legitimate discourse. They agree with the gist of such bigoted comments, although they would not themselves use such words in public. It’s really very simple.
There is a division of labor on the American left, and there are occasional differences in tactics and style. But its operative creed remains: "Pas d’ennemi a gauche -- no enemies to the left." It works very, very well for them.

I think it was probably his wife who hired those lunatics. If you recall, Elisabeth Edwards was exposed as a contributor to some of the most flaky and weird lefty blogs out there. At first she did so anonymously, but after the race was over, she came clean and divulged her true identity. Once the media and the blogosphere began to zero in on some of truly bizarre utterances, she was diagnosed with cancer. That forestalled a thoroughgoing scrutiny of her comments, her ideas, and the reflection those comments cast on herself, her marriage and her husband.

This is a perfect opportunity to dredge up her old comments, and compare those to the two fired blog mistresses. I think you’ll find a great convergence of views and expressions.

To some elite journalists, the things these cretins have been saying are well within the realm of legitimate discourse. They agree with the gist of such bigoted comments, although they would not themselves use such words in public. It’s really very simple. There is a division of labor on the American right, and there are occasional differences in tactics and style. But its operative creed remains: "Pas d’ennemi a droite -- no enemies to the right." It works very, very well for them.

I’m not a big "studies show" guy, but here’s a what seems a fairly simple study proposal that would yield immediate results:

Field: all American political blogs with a hit-count above (insert certain low number here). Categorization: do they self-describe as right(pls related terms) or as left(ditto)? Procedure: count the number of times the F-word, in all its grammatical permutations, occurs in the main text (time/program capability allowing, in comments as well).

And the results? Everybody knows what they would show truly shocking disproportion of F-word use by the left blogs. The facile initial explanation would be that the left is much more anti-theistic, much more anti-hypocrisy,and therefore it is thier fairly trivial "habit" to talk thus. But a more detailed study could easily show that most of the F-word references play up the violent/demeaning meanings of the word, i.e. (sorry folks) they involve fantasies of W. or some other conservative getting prison-raped, caught in a demeaning act, tortured at Abu Graihb, etc. Why is this? Why is the left more prepared to delve, for insult’s sake, into the netherworld of the F***ing, raping, demeaning Id? Why this adoption of a stance more cyncial than a corrupt vice-squad cop? Is there a Dr. Freud in the house who can put the Left blogosphere on his couch? Or perhaps, ’tis better "not to go there," and that is the true conservative/civilized instinct.

BTW, the right-wing counter-part to the left’s demeaning fantasies appears to be the "and I’ve got a loaded gun" type comment. Following some diatribe about traitorous lefties, the commenter mentions his gun, promises to use it if socialism or Islamofascism ever comes, or, disturbingly, suggests if he reads about one more moronic leftist thing he might just lose it and take a moonbat out. For an example of this specimen, go Belmont Club(a great site, BTW), and scroll down for the comments on Michelle Malkin’s "rot in hell" comment. But I will say this, "and I’ve got a loaded gun" comments, and other right-wing violence fantasies almost always are limited to comments sections.

Right-wingers are also more prone to the "If he said that in my presence, I’d whup his ass" comment. Lefties do this too, of course, but in either case, while I don’t really recommend it(consider James 3:5-6), it arguably is a healthy response. Lots of people do deserve to get taken outside and beat up in a fair fight. A passion for justice that occasionally needs catharsis in bar-talk or on a blog is a good thing. Increasingly destructive as it leads towards the old noble dueling instinct, but nobody wants "men without chests."

There’s something pathetic about all the blog-ventings that seem little more than "torture a voodoo doll of you" rituals. Give me fight-talk over vicious tongue-poison needling any day.

4: I think it’s very simple. The left is, by its nature, on offense. The right is, by its nature, on defense. The left are in opposition to the normal civil order. So, to many of them, the rules of conduct most of us take for granted mean nothing. For such bullies, the end justifies the means.

Dave cut to the chase well there, in that brief, insightful post. I don’t think we can improve on that observation. They’re ALWAYS on the attack, they have to be on the attack, it’s all part of their radical agenda, it’s all part of their iconoclastic ways.

I just have to add that I’m convinced that his wife was behind these hires, and that his wife is the one that made sure that Edwards retained them. His wife, from what we know of her blogging pursuits during the ’04 campaign, is absolutely frenzied and weird.

I have no sense of the conservative right being in favor of the defense of the status quo. There ARE principles of governance that conservatives would wish to preserve, but at this point in our national politics, or within the type of government we currently have, it seems more a matter of re-instituting those principles in place of what has grown over and superseded them in government. I sure do not look at America as it is and say, ok, let’s keep this as it is right now, nor do I see that on this blog, nor in other conservative writing.

So the left is merely also on the offensive, but Carl Scott is quite right that they seem happy to be so in as offensive a mode as possible. They seem to press an agenda or a trend that even they can sometimes seem uncomfortable supporting. You know? Freedom of expression, but only if it is correct by a very confusing standard. Increasing government control to promote freedom. Wealth is bad, but somehow the Edward’s wealth, which can afford to hire bloggers, is good. It is all very confusing, and therefore, perhaps, difficult to defend coherently, which would make the offensive stance necessary.

But the bloggers’ flag could be "Don’t Tread on Me" and that has a fine American tradition behind it.

My question is, how can Donohue, of all people, take the lead on the issue when he has uttered tripe, like this, himself:

"Just imagine if a white guy is performing oral sex on a statue of Martin Luther King with an erection. Do you need to see it to know it’s ugly?"


"Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, okay?...And I’m not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex."

I think Donohue is working more for the right-wing of the GOP than he is for any god, or Catholics.

Hey Kate, glad to see you back. I know the thread is ancient now (in blog years), but I would be genuinely interested to know what you think of some items that I linked to in the "megareligious hyperbreeding" thread, especially regarding your ideas on the irreconcilability of Muslims and Christians (but on some other things, too). Click here. Look forward to reading your thoughts!

(Kate, I made 2 comments there - the links I’m talking about are all in the 2nd one...)

Craig, I will certainly respond, as I can.


If you object to Donohue, you should object to Edwards’ bloggers. And no one has to embrace Donohus in order to object to their extremely offensive statements.

I do object to the comments of Edwards’ bloggers, but again, how can Donohue take the lead on this issue (or rather, be allowed to keep it) when he has a whole host of similarly rabid and gross statements attached to his name? As it cuts both ways, would you like to see Donohue distanced from this one? Do you object to Donohue’s comments?

(you acknowledge yourself that this is a Donohue-led project, after all)

I’m happy to deplore both Donohue and the bloggers, though I didn’t come to this issue through Donohue, who loudly claimed the spotlight after I’d first heard about it. The fact that he apparently has the loudest megaphone doesn’t make him my leader. Nor does happening to agree with him on this issue require me to endorse anything else he says.

I of course wouldn’t hire Donohue as my spokesman if I were running for office, which remains the big issue here. Edwards has told us something about his fitness for holding the highest office in the land.

How/where were you introduced to the blasphemous bloggers issue? You previously referred to "Donohue’s lead" on this; who else is at the front?

Craig, I responded like billy-ho as per your request in #10, above.


I can’t remember where I read about it first, but I don’t recall that notice being connected with Donohue. My reference to Donohue’s lead actually came as a characterization of something I read about the religious Left’s response to the incident.

And, by the way, I know that the anti-Donohue talking points are all over the left blogosphere, having seen them at least a couple of other places (MyDD is one that I remember) before encountering them here.

Since I’m not typically given to being blasphemy or incendiary commentary, I think I’m entitled to object to McEwen and Marcotte.

16: Professor Knippenberg, I beg to differ with your implied dismissal of Mr. Donohue. He is a real fighter and he knows that words are bullets. He calls attention to thinks that others ignore. Thank God there are a handful like Bill Donohue on our side.

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