Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Edwards’ ex-bloggers for the last time

NRO’s Kathryn Jean Lopez calls our attention to and comments on this self-indulgent and self-pitying Salon piece by Amanda Marcotte. Here’s 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 -- it’s 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 Smith’s untimely demise. Liberal blogs are issue-oriented and good at parsing out complex ideas that don’t fit well into the sound-bite-driven mainstream discourse. They are a good fit for wonky Democrats. It’s therefore unsurprising that conservatives might want to dissuade Democrats from hiring them.

There are smart and thoughtful folks in the left blogosphere, but Marcotte doesn’t seem to me to belong in their ranks. And I don’t 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 her’s 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 don’t 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 Prospect’s 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 there’s 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 can’t even tell who her friends are, preferring to regard anyone who doesn’t 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.

Discussions - 12 Comments

As I understand in Amanda Marcotte is all of 28 years old, and her writing style is of the perpetual adolescent--many of her rants are pure potty-mouth. If she thinks she’s the authentic voice of the Democratic Party, I say left her blog away. Republicans, rather than criticizing this behavior, should just stand back, shine a light on it, and let the voters decide who they want to represent them.

"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."

It is not true, IMO, that the left blogosphere has more substance. But she is entirely correct that they have been better at utilizing it for political purposes.

In some cases conservative blogs are just partisan boilerplate. (Not here.) But in others it suffers from, if anything, an excess of substance and not enough activism.

For example, the right blogoshere needs to be marshaled to make sure Rudy, McCain, or Romney is not the nominee instead of deciding which one is the least objectionable.

Specialization is fine. So some partisan blogs. Some wonk/pointy head blogs. And some activist blogs. But my experience is that the activist blogs and the partisan boilerplate blogs are the same.

My impression is that on the left they are less willing to settle for this. Hence the challenge to Lieberman and Dean as DNC head. The right could learn a lesson from them.

(I guess you could argue that the right is by nature more pragmatic, therefore you get “who is the least objectionable” instead of ideological crusading, but realism does not have to mean defeatism.)

Ms. Marcotte is a dirtbag who talks like not only a bigot, but a Satan-worshiper. However, this vile specimen of humanity has one thing right: The right blogosphere is not yet a serious force in politics. I think it needs to pay more attention to elections, fundraising for the right causes, and lobbying. It also needs to focus more intently on major stories, one that really matter.

1: "Forbes," I can’t agree with the advice you suggest ("rather than criticizing this behavior, just stand back, shine a light on it, let the voters decide"). This smacks of country-club Republicanism. To be fair, even "shining a light" on this evil bloggery would be too much for country-club Republicans, who would rather just "stand back." But the gist of your advice is passivity, trusting the people, hoping for the best, letting the Democrats (unintentionally) and the voters (intentionally) do our work for us. I don’t believe politics works that way. This passive attitude is as responsible as any other for losing our congressional majority. It’s the George Bush Sr., Bob Dole, Bob Michel, Bill Frist, Denny Hastert, George W. Bush attitude, political minimalism, an assumption that "people get it." I suggest that most people do not usually "get it." They must be reminded of it, day after day. They must be told not only what is said in this case, but how indicative it is, what it means, how Edwards and the rest of the party establishment did (actually, didn’t) react to it, and so on. We must paint a picture for people, or, to vary the metaphor, rub their noses in it. If people "got it," Bush would have won at least 55 percent of the vote in 2004. He got less than 51. In a much better political climate for Republicans than we have now, against a lousy candidate.
It is always a mistake to think that the adversary will do our work for us.
It can happen at times. But we are asking for meager results when we assume so.

Forbes observed the adolescent aspects of her rants. I think what she is a sad, ugly, young woman, who always craved acceptance with the in-crowd. And she found that she could find entry by chirping endlessly about her sexual liberation. And now, she can’t chirp about anything but.

The woman is deranged. And amongst the Left, her number is "legion."

JK is right too to notice her "unrepentant" attitude. She doesn’t think she’s said or done anything wrong. When she writes that her take on the virgin birth is the general one, the crowd she runs with, the things she reads, she doesn’t think she’s said anything at all remotely controversial.

The woman is truly a moral idiot and a barbarian. There are many like her nowadays. Many are "well-educated."

These ladies, er, make that females, are old news, has-beens. The question that needs to be posed is "Can Edwards plausibly demonstrate that he did not read the posts in question prior to his decision to let them stay?" Because if he did read them, and he almost certainly did, we know that he has zero ability to judge character, zero guts for standing up against extremist supporters, and basically amounts to one big ZERO.

Or perhaps we on the right should save that question for later on, if the Dems are idiotic enough to nominate him?

I too, agree with most of what has been posted here. However, where I differ is that the tinfoil hatted leftists Loons are nothing but brainwashed people. Their religion is Ultra Leftist Ideological. They cannot see, hear or read anything that is against their belief system without coming unglued. I find in my reading of blogs, websites and links that they are much louder then any other side.

I want the moderate conservative side to use the web to a wider and higher potential. I just think that, our side, can’t compete with the potty mouths. We may write or say everything we think, but unless there is a "Anna Nicole" type of rhetoric to it, very few on the web will pay attention except our own gallery. We need to come up with a better method of getting our message across and the sooner the better.

Well Mr. Frisk, you’ve associated my remarks with quite a laundry list of Republican shortcomings and disappointments, in your view. Somehow, I don’t think Amanda Marcotte (the topic of this post) is responsible for any of the recent failings of the Republican Party.

And if you think that most of the electorate "doesn’t get it" when the adolescent rantings of a potty-mouth blogger are presented as an authentic voice of the Democrats, then I guess I have a slightly higher estimation of the common sense and intelligence of my fellow Americans, than you do. If I am to be faulted as a "country club" Republican for that higher estimate, well, I guess I’ll have to live with that indignity.


Of course this lunatic blogger isn’t "responsible for any of the recent failings of the Republican party." I never said she did. (Straw man #1.) But one major failing of the Republican party has been its failure to respond vigorously and articulately to the vicious bigotry that Marcotte and others represent. No, hers is not the genuine voice of the Democratic party. (Straw man #2.) However, it represents a point of view that is increasingly tolerated in the Democratic party and that helps to drive Democratic positions on social issues. "Adolescent"? So what. Not so compare her to the Nazis, but just to point out your (#3) straw man here:
I’m sure the Nazis looked pretty "adolescent" too, back in the 1920s.

I do not fault you as a country-club Republican for having a higher estimate than I do of the intelligence and common sense of our fellow Americans. Go ahead and have your higher estimate -- it’s hard to know who is right about such a thing. I do fault your passive attitude in the face of Marcotte’s evil rantings.
We ask for trouble in politics when we let evil go unanswered. And we can’t just point things out. We must point them out repeatedly and relentlessly, place them in context, and give an urgent quality to our complaint. Were the American people to have the luxury of focusing on a small number of political stimuli, and were our society to have the luxury of an honest mass media, I’m sure the people would come to sensible conclusions much more than half of the time. But neither condition obtains. There is a large volume of political material to keep track of if one is to be truly informed. On top of that, the mainstream media is dishonest, largely a tool of the Democratic party and Democratic interests. It is not a condemnation of the public that it doesn’t "get" a great deal more than it does. But to say we need to agressively educate the public, not passively wait for them to understand, is simply realism.

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