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« Sauce for the goose | Main | Blythe on the big game »

Feb 07, 2007

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billg

If the Edwards campaign didn't think that the right-wing machine would research the writings of staffers, they were naively mistaken.

But, the person leading the attack appears to be a latter-day McCarthyite. No politician should cave in to that kind of attack. Doing so gives control of the public political agenda to divisive extremists. Better to suck it up, stand by your people, and issue a statement that, while you find the blog postings at issue to be intemperate and not at all reflective of your own views, acquiescing to demands that they be fired would bring dignity to a kind of political behavior that merits contempt.

Fred Gregory

Say what you will but by golly that gal can write some powerful s--t:

LettersFrom Amanda

Lex

If the Edwards campaign didn't think that the right-wing machine would research the writings of staffers, they were naively mistaken.

No, their "naive mistake" was to think that if the Times even cared about the issue, it would have understood that the appropriate context was not "incivility tolerance of Times sources" but "civility levels of all political bloggers hired thus far." When you're the Times Almighty, you can do stupid stuff like that and no one cares and there are no consequences, but no city editor west of the Hudson or the Potomac would have let that story into the paper.

Also, to call Donohue a mere McCarthyite is to give him far more credit for humanity than he deserves. I got some communications from him back when I was covering religion and have read some of what he has been up to since. Whatever milk of human kindness once ran through his veins has been left out of the refrigerator longer than Fred Phelps's.

And someone needs to sit Glenn Reynolds down and explain to him that in the grownup world, readership != logic. Just look at Cal Thomas.

David Wharton

Lex: Amanda's problem isn't the Times, or Donahue, or the Instapundit.

Amanda's problem is that Amanda wrote a lot of profane posts that, once brought to light, were sure to offend large segments of the electorate.

Howard Dean understood the need to pull in some NASCAR voters in the last election, and no Democrat can win without strong support from the Catholic population. And believe it or not, a lot of Evangelicals vote for Democrats.

It was a very dumb move to hire her.

Lex

David, yes, Amanda has a problem, and we agree on its nature and probably on its extent. I have the same problem (albeit, I hope, not to the same extent), and that's despite knowing that my daughter will probably begin going through my blog any day now if she hasn't already.

But the Times has a problem, too: On the basis of, at best, questionable motivation, it has implied and, thus far, failed to prove that the Edwards campaign, alone, has a problem in this area.

The Times fails to grasp that particularly in the political arena, pleas for civility are often the last refuge of a bully who is unpleasantly surprised to learn that one of his regular victims has learned, and is intent upon, self-defense. "Civility" or polite language is almost never the real issue, in other words, and it isn't here. The Times has been spun like a top on this, and I've e-mailed the reporter and told him so.

Lex

(oops; hit "post" sted "preview")

Nobody is paying me to be a political consultant, but there are more important issues, and bigger sins, in life than bad language or even sexual misbehavior. Unlike Howard Dean, who talks as if he knows NASCAR fans, I choose to show NASCAR fans, Catholics and evangelicals (the voting habits of the last two of whom I've covered a fair bit over the years) the respect of presuming that they'd understand any reasonably good argument to that effect even if they didn't all go along with it.

Lex

And, finally, I'm not passing judgment on the move to hire her -- I know nothing, really, about how that decision was made.

But I'm certainly passing judgment on the coverage of it and on some of the presumptions underlying that coverage.

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