You have probably heard by now that Michelle “Dancing on the Ceiling With My Head Up My Ass” Malkin and Bill “Jews Are Taking Over the World” Donohue have attacked the Edwards’ campaign for hiring pandagon‘s Amanda Marcotte and Shakespeare’s Sister‘s Melissa McEwan to, as the NY Times put it in its own inimitable fashion, “reach out to liberals in the online world”. Donohue, notorious himself for such temperate comments as “If you asked” some Hollywood actors “to sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it with a smile on their face” and “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular” claimed that Amanda was a “potty-mouth”.
This is what’s known as a “double standard” given Donahue’s spirited defense of Mel Gibson‘s attack of intensely profane anti-semitism only a few months ago, and what my mother would have said was “the pot calling the kettle black” as the way he did it was, well, pretty G-D profane.
“There’s a lot of people who have made comments which are bigoted who are not necessarily bigots,” adding that he is “concerned now about piling on.” Of those who won’t forgive Gibson, Donohue said: “Who gives a damn about those people?” Donohue then asked, “What kind of blood do they want out of this man?
*gasp* “Damn”, Bill? I will not tolerate that kind of language. It offends my virgin ears. (most links courtesy of Digby)
What you may or may not have heard is that upon the charges being printed in a characteristically spinsterish manner by the Old Gray
Mare Lady, the Edwards team went into immediate crisis mode, huddling deep into the night as they considered whether or not to disemploy Marcotte/McEwan in deference to Donohue’s alleged language-sensitivities. Salon says the campaign has decided to fire them, Edwards’ spokeswoman says they haven’t, and so the controversy will rage for the next few days no matter what happens.
Most in the Left Blogosphere are taking this as a defining moment for Edwards. For example, Adam over at A Violently Executed Blog, stung to the quick, fired off (there’s that word again) an email to the embattled Edwards camp that went straight to the point. In part, he wrote:
My father, a veteran of the civil rights movement, taught me that you can tell a lot about someone by looking at who hates them. By that standard, Ms. Marcotte and Ms. McEwan were A-OK. Michelle Malkin and William Donohue are hardly blushing innocents, and the supposed “hate speech” they and others on the far-right fringes clutch their pearls over pales in comparison to the filthy, bigoted trash that dribbles out of their mouths on a daily basis. Being hated by the likes of them should be a badge of honor, not cause to duck your head and beg their pardon.
Mark Gisleson at Nowegianity went even further.
On the right, there has been virtually no punishment for rash and intemperate speech, much of which is outright eliminationist. For these same hatemongers to win this battle would be insufferable. If Edwards has fired the bloggers, you won’t see another kind word about him in this blog.
Many others have, of course, expressed similar sentiments/warnings, and I can understand why. As Steve Benen put it at The Carpetbagger Report:
Presumably, the internal debate amongst Edwards staffers has been ongoing throughout the day, which in and of itself, is less than encouraging. The debate need not be that hard — the choice is whether to stand by the campaign’s own staffers, or fire them for things they wrote before joining the campaign because some far-right voices have demanded it.
Voices, one might add, with so little credibility that listening to them is tantamount to giving Elmer Fudd a platform from which to aritculate his views on Foreign Policy.
But I’m frankly more concerned with how this happened than the end result. As Benen said, this shouldn’t have been much of a decision. Edwards should have listened to Marcotte and McEwan who, were they writing on their blogs, would have handled it by contrasting their marginally discourteous posts with the outright hate-filled speech of their critics. And isn’t knowing how to do that sort of thing the reason he hired them in the first place?
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s examine the way all this might have come about and see if we can’t identify some responsibilities.
(cont’d on DLCWatch)
Update: Edwards, Marcotte and McEwan have all just released statements and nobody’s fired.