Meet John Edwards’s new blogger-in-chief

by Walter Olson on February 2, 2007

Well after the revelation of the undisclosed DNA results, the ATM, taxi and dorm alibis, the umpteen times the stripper has changed her story, Amanda Marcotte still is willing to blast the Duke Lacrosse Three as guilty, guilty, guilty; and what do you know, the John-Edwards-for-President campaign has just saluted Marcotte’s acuity by naming her its blogger-in-chief (Pandagon, Jan. 21, foul language galore; Edwards blog, Jan. 30; Blogger News Network, Jan. 30, via Taranto; LieStoppers, Feb. 1). It’s enough to distract attention from all the comic joshing over the Friend of the Downtrodden’s gigantic new residence, or “Suing-’em Palace” as Mark Steyn calls it (NRO “The Corner”, Jan. 30; Dean Barnett, Jan. 30).

Update: Marcotte has now (1 p.m. Friday) yanked down her original post of Jan. 21, and appears also to have deleted several comments, but GoogleCache still has it for the moment. Here is its text, in the spirit of Fair-Use-ery:

Naturally, my flight out of Atlanta has been delayed. Let’s hope it takes off when they say it will so I don’t miss my connecting flight home.

In the meantime, I’ve been sort of casually listening to CNN blaring throughout the waiting area and good f**king god is that channel pure evil. For awhile, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and f**ked her against her will—not rape, of course, because the charges have been thrown out. Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.

111 Responses to “Stuck at the airport again…..”

Further update (1:20 p.m. Friday): Here are two comments that Marcotte appears to have deleted from the original thread. The “In her part of the country” comment had already drawn criticism from readers on the LieStoppers site:

Amanda Marcotte Jan 21st, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Yes, how dare a rape victim act confused and bewildered like she was raped or something.

# Amanda Marcotte Jan 21st, 2007 at 2:03 pm

Natalia, do you know the details of the case? If so, why do you think a women enthusiastically jumped into a sexual situation with men making slavery jokes at her? Furthermore, what is your theory on why she supposedly looooooved having sex with guys holding her facedown on the bathroom floor? There’s no “if” they behaved in a disrespectful manner. We have conclusive evidence that happened.

This is about race and class and gender in every way, and there’s basically no way this woman was going to see justice. In her part of the country, both women and black people are seen as subhuman objects to be used and abused by white men.

Plus: I see that K.C. Johnson (“Durham in Wonderland“) is on the case in typically thorough and powerful fashion. Marcotte also provides this further comment reacting to her critics (“if I see the words ‘Duke’ or ‘lacrosse’ in an email that has the whiff of accusatory tone, I’m deleting it and simply not going to reply to it”).

And again (11:30 p.m. Friday): In a further post, K.C. Johnson cites chapter and verse about how Marcotte’s hiring won much praise for the Edwards folks as a shrewd way of reaching out to progressive netroots forces. More discussion: TalkLeft forums, Betsy Newmark, Jeff Taylor at Reason “Hit and Run” (R-rated), Outside the Beltway, Patrick Ruffini, South of Heaven, Little Miss Attila, Brainster; & welcome Glenn Reynolds, Kevin O’Keefe and Michelle Malkin readers.

Further updates: see Feb. 4, Feb. 7, Feb. 8, Feb. 12 (Marcotte quits Edwards post), Feb. 16.

{ 38 comments }

1 asg 02.02.07 at 12:42 pm

That comment thread is absolutely breathtaking.

2 Dr. Mary Johnson 02.02.07 at 4:01 pm

My God. Welcome aboard Amanda! You’re Edwards’ best weapon against himself.

3 Kevin T. Keith 02.02.07 at 4:03 pm

You’re opposing Edwards’s candidacy by criticizing his blog manager, for her opinions posted on a different blog, about a state-level criminal case? “Foul language” – that’s what you base your decisions on in the most important political race in the democractic world? And that’s what it took to distract you from an issue in any way related to the actual candidate: “comic joshing” about the house he lives in?

I’m glad to see you aren’t whipping up an empty controversy to distort the campaign, out of animosity toward an outspoken woman. Keep up the high-minded, intelligent, and insightful good work.

(Hey! I hear Edwards’s mail sorter has some really hot things to say about speed limit violations in Raleigh, NC! And she’s all, like, feminist and everything! Talleyho!)

4 Hans Bader 02.02.07 at 4:38 pm

What a thoroughly incompetent blogger Amanda Marcotte is.

If Edwards had any sense, he’d fire her.

She has made defamatory remarks about people, whose prosecution has been criticized across the political spectrum, including by former Dukakis campaign manager (and law professor) Susan Estrich.

She has depicted one of the principal news networks in the country (CNN), which will provide extensive coverage her boss in the future as “pure evil” simply for belatedly covering both sides of the story.

It’s very clear that the prosecutor, Nifong, has violated multiple ethics rules, including hiding exculpatory evidence, such as DNA evidence; lying to the courts; bullying witnesses who provided truthful statements that conflicted with his claims; and making prejudicial, deceitful, and baseless public statements.

If Edwards doesn’t fire her, that will show that he is completely clueless, and indifferent to ethical and legal violations.

5 TC 02.02.07 at 4:53 pm

“If Edwards doesn’t fire her, that will show that he is completely clueless, and indifferent to ethical and legal violations.”

Well he is!

6 Ted 02.02.07 at 4:53 pm

1) There are plenty of reasons to be appalled at the Edwards candidacy for the most important job in the world besides who he hires as his blogger.

2) I find Marcotte’s January 2007 opinions on the Duke lacrosse case appalling.

3) But I do disapprove of the attack on Edwards by proxy. Saying that a politician should be judged by a mid-level staffer’s most inflammatory blog post is a gigantic deterrent to hiring bloggers for any position: who’s going to vet a blogger with thousands of posts?

Edwards clearly doesn’t endorse every position Marcotte takes; he probably had nothing to do with the hiring decision.

4) I wouldn’t even judge Marcotte’s fitness for this particular role based on these posts. She’s not making policy. If Marcotte is truly objectionable, she will hang herself with her own words in the official capacity as the Edwards blogger soon enough.

5) John Edwards’s ill-gotten wealth, and how he spends it, is a legitimate topic of ridicule given his pompous declarations and attacks on the productive sectors of society. Plus that Mark Steyn satire is damn funny.

7 Walter Olson 02.02.07 at 5:39 pm

Proving once again, in case anyone wondered, that Ted and I are indeed two different people with two different points of view.

I share K.C. Johnson’s opinion that Marcotte’s selection raises legitimate questions about the good judgment of those in charge of the Edwards campaign (no, I’m not claiming she was a personal pick of John’s, but the campaign itself is a public institution which bids for our attention). In particular:

1) Her selection was at first ballyhooed as a significant nod to the blogosphere. She was not being hired for coding skills. They were evidently proud of the chance to use her voice to reach important progressive constituencies.

2) Yes, there’s always a danger that a stampede of outrage can be set in motion against any prolific writer by picking a few unrepresentative passages from his or her work. Those who think the grotesquely abusive tone of Marcotte’s post might be unrepresentative of her writing are invited to check out her Pandagon posts more generally. We should not expect the Edwards people to have read every word of her blog output, but it is fair to expect them to have dipped into it for random selections.

3) John Edwards’s life in the law and experience with the justice system is his major resume item dating back beyond the past few years, as well as the major reason this site has given his career extensive coverage. Moreover, the Duke case, which looks ever more like the Scottsboro Boys case of our era, has been convulsing his own state of North Carolina for month after month. Edwards’ dodging of the case — his apparently successful stifling of any urge to speak out at the plight of the falsely accused — might on its own stand as merely cowardly. Marcotte’s hiring, on the other hand, throws an even less attractive light on it, rather as if, in Scottsboro Boys days, an on-the-sidelines Southern senator took on as a major spokesperson someone who’d been yelling the Boys’ guilt from the rooftops in the most crudely prejudicial language.

4) Speaking of language, my warnings about the foulness of Marcotte’s are there because some readers like being warned before they click. It’s not the four-letter words in themselves, but the grotesquely abusive nature of the sentiments she expresses, that removes Marcotte from the class of people one might ever wish to read or know.

8 Jim Treacher 02.02.07 at 6:47 pm

We shouldn’t judge Edwards by who he hires to run his official blog, because he’s a Democrat. Come on, presidential candidates hire speechwriters without reading their work, so why should they treat bloggers any differently?

9 brett 02.02.07 at 7:46 pm

It’s Edwards’ judgment and thoroughness that are in question here. Either he knew of Marcotte’s tendency to spew gender hatred, and didn’t care, or he didn’t know. Either way, this is not someone you want representing you in any way, shape, or form.

10 Michael 02.02.07 at 7:49 pm

I sent an email to Edward’s campaign asking him for his position on this case seeing as it is his backyard and seeing as he worked in a law firm with one of the defendent’s lawyers. This was late December I believe. I was subscribed to his email list but I haven’t heard any comments from him on the Lacrosse case. Surely he would fight the cause of justice in this gross miscarriage and call on Alberto Gonzalez to look into the matter. Not that Gonzalez would really do anything but anything to put pressure on Durham to get the charges dropped.

It’s not like it takes a lot of bravery now to come out for the Duke lacrosse boys given that everyone (willing to look at the facts) knows that they were essentially framed.

This would be the perfect question at the early debates. Mr. Edwards, parents around the country are incensed over the handling of the Duke Lacrosse case that’s right in your backyard. But we have had very few politicians say anything about it. What have you done to resolve this gross miscarriage of justice and what protections do we need to provide to all that are falsely accused. Especially to those that do not have the financial resources to fight a frameup?

It would be nice if Mr. Edwards could answer these questions now and be out in front of the other candidates (which likewise have said nothing) on the matter of social justice.

11 Bob In Pacifica 02.02.07 at 7:51 pm

I was one of commenters who Marcotte didn’t want gracing her blog this morning. In the comments section to a post this morning some of the commenters were asking questions or making comments about the Duke case that showed they really didn’t know much about it and hadn’t been following it. Marcotte immediately deleted any comment that tried to correct the misimpressions that her readers were suffering. She also blithely said she would not accept emails about the case unless they were in sympathy with her beliefs.

I don’t know about Edwards besides what he said in the last campaign. I’m a Democrat. From California he seemed to be a fairly decent guy, but I’m afraid Marcotte’s presumption of guilt based on her ignorance of the case is not pretty. Especially since one of Edward’s former law partners is representing one of the defendants in the case. I’m very disappointed with Marcotte. If she had any real faith in whatever her position was she wouldn’t have padlocked the playhouse.

12 boomer 02.02.07 at 8:42 pm

This is the person he has chosen to be the Internet voice of his campaign. Presumably he has chosen her because he admires or values her voice. Thus, it is relevant what her voice “is.” Her comments about the NC case are interesting not because of what she has to say about the NC case, but because of what they reveal about her voice. She’s apparently a nasty person who engages in ad hominem attacks and paints with a very broad brush. And that’s the voice that Edwards has chosen for the Internet portion of his campaign.

13 Gregory 02.02.07 at 9:06 pm

This man is expected to pick the next Vice President of the United States, the next Secretary of State, the rest of his cabinet, a person to fill any vacancy in the United States Supreme Court, and people to fill every vacancy in the remaining federal judiciary as well as other bureaucratic positions.

It can be fairly said that in this instance, Mr. Edwards “chose poorly.”

He has insulted his home state as well as the American System of Justice, with his apparent implicit approval of a modern-day lynching.

One should expect much more from the next President of the United States of America.

14 myra langerhas 02.02.07 at 9:23 pm

Marcotte is a particularly shrill voice for this slip and fall lawyer. The shrill shill will get the peanuttiest of the nutroots bouncin, but, KABOOM, spring the trap if the Edwardian shyster wins the nomination. Dont give the rest of the Left fodder for their knock-down-drag’em-out nomination. File it away. Don’t forget it.

15 Nancy 02.02.07 at 9:48 pm

If anyone in this day and age doesn’t realize the impact of blogs and those who write them, they are living in a state of clear denial.

This woman represents the Edwards campaign, attached, paid and out there writing under that umbrella.

If you don’t think it matters, let her keep ripping her bias and ignorance and see what happens.

Just duck before the backlash wooshes by.

16 Richard Nieporent 02.02.07 at 9:58 pm

The best that can be said for John Edwards is that he is tone deaf. First he decides to build a 28,000 sq. ft “cottage” when his Presidential campaign theme is the two Americas. Unless he is trying to win the Marie Antoinette award, it is hard to imagine why he would flaunt his wealth. Now he hires a foul mouth ideologue to be his official blogger. Doesn’t he realize that her blog is not “family friendly”? John let me give you some free advice. It is not a good campaign strategy to go out of your way to offend as many people as possible.

17 William Nuesslein 02.02.07 at 10:47 pm

The Duke Case is emotionaly charged.

Sometimes couples, usually those with a birth-defect child, will be advised about the probability that their next child will be afflicted. They all suppose the odds will be 50-50, although that is almost never the case. This tendency is true for average folks and for engineers and other technical folks.

People are certain that there are two sides to every case and beleive, as does Justice Kennedy, that vigorous advocacy of both sides is a good way to get at the truth. I believe that this mind set is hardwired.

The male DNA that was found inside the accuser in the Duke Case came from four different fellows, none on the Lacross team. That settled the matter. There wasn’t another side anymore. The hardwire in brains protests the loss of it’s side and finds it unfair to disregard the accuser before she has her say in court.

There is a daytime television show based upon the results of DNA paternity tests. The results are unquestioned by all races on the show.

According to the folks who actually make atom bombs, the Aluminum Tubes were the wrong size. They also were annodized and useless for centifuge puposes. This evidence did not settle the matter. Shame on us.

18 Jack Straw 02.02.07 at 11:20 pm

If she were Edward’s barber or accountant, or architect of his 28,000 foot house, of course nobody would care what she wrote or said. He couldn’t expect to vet everyone around him. But hiring a blogger is essentially hiring a PR firm, a speechwriter, and a campaign consultant all in one – and ideology is huge.

What Marcotte demonstrates is that she places ideology above facts. She judges based on race and class and gender. And when people disagree with her, she turns them off. None of these qualities are what a good leader should have around him. As an early move coming out of the gate, this is pretty embarrasing.

19 Kevin T. Keith 02.03.07 at 12:01 am

He has insulted his home state as well as the American System of Justice . . .

Overreact much?

The mere existence of a woman who disagrees with you just drives you all nuts, doesn’t it?

20 Nancy 02.03.07 at 12:39 am

He has insulted his home state as well as the American System of Justice . . .

Overreact much?

The mere existence of a woman who disagrees with you just drives you all nuts, doesn’t it?

Posted by: Kevin T. Keith | February 3, 2007 12:01 AM
——————–

On a strictly personal level, I could walk away from her ignorance and care less how stupidly fixed she is in her heavy opinions.

However, you fail to realize she now represents Edwards. No getting around it.

She comes to the campaign with a set of biases that are so objectionable to what he’s trying to say is who he is, it’s like playing with a loaded gun pointed at your head.

He will find out soon enough what a mistake she is to his campaign. At least, if he has a brain he will pay attention to the emails and messages he gets about her.

It isn’t about her It’s about him and his message through her.

21 justmyopinion 02.03.07 at 12:39 am

The fact that Edwards lived in Chapel Hill, a mere 10 miles from Durham, and has stood silent as the civil rights of the defendants in the LAX case were violated; and then hires someone as a PR person/writer for his campaign — someone who not only has not stood silent on the case but has spoken loudly in support of injustice — well, lets just say does not reflect favorably on Mr. Edwards.

If you have an opportunity, please ask Mr. Edwards how he feels about federal intervention in civil rights violations and whether he would support having DOJ investigators look into the LAX case.

22 Darleen 02.03.07 at 11:08 am

Kevin T

You’ve now made two comments of no substance. Either you support Amanda’s position that the Duke players are guilty or you support Amanda and her radical writings of vagina supremacy.

Mandy was hired as a writer and her writings are legitimate objects of scrutiny. And we are not talking about one or two heat-of-the-moment rants of years ago, but intemperate and reality-challenged entries within the past couple of weeks.

Bob-in-Pacifica above referenced a post of Amanda’s of just yesterday where she equated the Duke players with OJ Simpson and would brook no dissent from that claim.

Amanda is very intolerant of people who disagree with her. I understand that the Edwards camp thought to do outreach early to the far left of the party to solidify the support of such outliers, but IMHO they didn’t quite do the vetting of Ms. Mandy and her body of written work. OR they did review her work and still recommended her.

In either case, it shows an appalling lack of judgement on the part of the Edwards camp.

23 markm 02.03.07 at 11:38 am

I’ll bet the Republican campaign strategists are all salivating over the possibility of Edwards becoming the Democratic Presidential nominee. Either Edwards picked this foul-mouthed nut for a PR position, or he picked the campaign employee who picked her – and either way, he’s proved himself to be stunningly incompetent at managing a campaign.

24 The Lost Dog 02.03.07 at 12:48 pm

“…a few unrepresentative comments…”?????

Yeesh! I love people who make it their business to stay informed.

25 Kevin T. Keith 02.03.07 at 6:24 pm

You’ve now made two comments of no substance.

Darleen:

Project much?

I tried to make it as clear as I can: they hysteria you all show over an issue you yourselves have created reveals the lack of substance in your own remarks.

In simpler terms: what you’re saying has no relation to what you claim it means.

A US Senator has precisely no role to play in a state-level criminal case. It doesn’t matter where he lives. That’s not his job, it’s not an issue that needs or deserves his attention, and it would be improper for him to try to interfere. Your parochial obsession has nothing to do with his fitness for an even higher-level national office. Your insistence that it does is evidence of your distortion of the issues.

And, your insistence that the personal interest of one of his technical support staff in the issue you yourself are obsessed with is evidence of the Senator’s fitness for national office is an even greater distortion. The fact that your entire analysis of a Senator’s fitness for the Presidency arises from your anger that one of his female staff disagrees with you about a local issue is again evidence that you cannot (a) keep any of this in perspective, or (b) separate your resentment of outspoken liberal women from your understanding of politicw in the large sense.

Hope this helps.

26 LaughingAtKevin 02.04.07 at 5:48 am

Project much?

Worn-out cliches, ad hominem attacks, and laughably irrelevant gender-card playing much?

Spin all you want, Kevin. This isn’t going away.

Sorry.

Oh, wait: I’m not.

27 William Nuesslein 02.04.07 at 8:49 am

Mr. Keith,

The Duke case involves outrage not obsession. The world was outraged by Rwanda, not obsesed by it.

The Duke case should be something upon which almost all of us can agree as it illustrates a gross injustice as did the Tawana Brawley case. The Brawley Case involved Revernd Sharpton, an outspoken man.

A good President tries to bring us together as a people. The Duck Case is an opportunity for Mr. Edwards to show that skill.

If Mr. Edwards can not understand the DNA evidence in the Duke case, he should not be high elective office.

After graduating from Yale and studying at Harvard, Geroge W. Bush still couldn’t understand evolution, proving him unfit for high elective office. People voted for Mr. Bush because he would make a good drinking buddy, a very local matter. Mr. Edwards has shallow empathy.

28 Locomotive Breath 02.04.07 at 9:31 am

So now she’s going back and airbrushing her offensive remarks out of history and summarily deleting any opposing points of view. Shades of the Soviet Union! Is this a precursor to the Edwards administration?

29 Scott 02.04.07 at 12:17 pm

Kevin @ 12:01 AM

It was a lame comment the first time you made it.

30 scott 02.04.07 at 12:26 pm

Kevin –

Why do you keep interjecting Marcotte’s gender into the discussion? She would be just as objectionable if she were a he.

31 jb 02.04.07 at 12:43 pm

Yes a Senator has no formal power in this. But only the most outrageously naive wouldn’t realize that a Senator has political clout and respect, especially one who’s running for President, and his voice would be a powerful one condemning or supporting a travesty of justice. Similarly, his silence is deafening. We’re asking him to verbally condemn Nifong’s actions as unjust, not to do anything concrete.

32 Darleen 02.04.07 at 1:33 pm

Kevin sez ..what you’re saying has no relation to what you claim it means.

Excuse me?

Mandy is hired as a writer, ostensibly to represent Edwards’ views to the public and to attract voters to his camp. And not just any writer but being put incharge of Edwards’ official weblog.

That context makes Mandy’s own body of work a legitimate area of scrutiny.

Her recent comments on the Duke case are only one aspect of her body of work.

She’s a bigot. How can that not be relevant to her being prominently connected to Edwards’ Presidential campaign?

33 From Inwood 02.04.07 at 4:06 pm

Kevin

A place for everything. This was supposed to be a plus for Edwards.

See, John Edwards, a certified smart person, is trying to be thought of as au courant, forward thinking, etc. on techie things, &, in this regard supposedly understands that it’s important to have a voice on the ‘net.

Various people who are interested in ‘netdom & interested in politics think that Ms Marcotte is not the blogger-in-chief that a smart sophisticated candidate who wants to look smart & sophisticated, techie-wise to all parts of the political spectrum would hire.

Therefore, they are using the ‘net to giggle at Edward’s lack of ‘net sophistication & lack of ‘net smarts.

Get it?

And, yes, most of those on this thread seem not to be Edwards fans to begin with. But that doesn’t disqualify them from noting & enjoying what they see.

Also, it seems to me that in this thread nobody is saying that

-this is Edward’s now-all-his-hopes-are-dashed defining moment like Gerry Ford’s remark about Eastern Europe or Blaine’s “Rome, Romanism and Rebellion”,

-this event will make headlines in the dinosaur media, which is ‘net-phobic, or

-this will be other than little known to nor long remembered by anyone who does not care about blogdom.

But it was supposed to be a plus for him. Get it?

34 CET 02.04.07 at 5:32 pm

“Moreover, the Duke case, which looks ever more like the Scottsboro Boys case of our era…”

I follow the news pretty closely, so I’m surprised that I clearly missed the Duke lacrosse players being convicted of rape and sentenced to death.

35 From Inwood 02.04.07 at 8:16 pm

CET

You say that you are

“surprised that [you] clearly missed the Duke lacrosse players being convicted of rape and sentenced to death.”

Um, maybe that’s because the blogdom stopped that from happening!

36 Deoxy 02.05.07 at 11:47 am

CET,

That such was stopped beforeee it got there dos not change th fact that they were being railroaded very thoroughly and in many ways similarly to thee Scottsoro Boys.

3 fellows of the wrong race accusd by a woman of the right race MUST be guilty, right? Evidence? We don’t ned no stinkin EVIDENCE!

The parallels are quite obvious – that collective action has shamed someone into action BEFORE they ere convicted is a nice step in the right direction, though.

37 Funkmaster Chris 02.05.07 at 2:49 pm

Kevin T-

It is as if John Edwards were a drowning man, and he called out for someone to throw him a life preserver. Subsequently, said life preserver arrived in the form of Amanda.

Unfortunately for him, Amanda is turning out to be more anvil than life presever.

By all means, do continue to put your faith in Mr. Edwards’ campaign while it still exists.

38 Soulhuntre 02.06.07 at 12:53 am

I have a full screen grab of the original Pandagon page, including comments, linked from my blog.

http://www.herdwatching.com/items/date/2007/02/06/john-edwards-insanity-party-candidate/

Enjoy!

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