It’s highly unlikely Edwards’ campaign would have significantly suffered if she had not quit. The main reason: the people going after her for her previous writings are not people who would likely vote for Edwards anyway. And voters who would vote against a candidate because someone doing blog outreach and coordination had written some things they hated were probably “squishy” voters who could not be counted on.A few things come to mind. First, I have seen a tremendous number of bloggers acting like her fall (of which this is now the second iteration) is a bad thing for bloggers, because it will mean that bloggers might have to be accountable for the things they write or have written. Given that bloggers, in general, take pride in holding others accountable, this strikes me as wanting to have the best of both worlds. Accountability is good, not bad.
Second, we are not talking about just some slightly over the line writings here. We are talking about things written that were so far over the line that it revealed a completely rotten core. Hers are the writings of an unstable, hate-filled person-- and she was chosen by a Presidential candidate specifically for the appeal of her poisonous scribing. I think it says something very disturbing about human nature that she has had so many bloggers suggest that it would be a bad thing for bloggers if Edwards canned her. Talking about God filling Mary with his hot, sticky Holy Spirit is something that should cause immediate revulsion from any American regardless of ideology; it is a matter of decorum and of proper treatment of others. For Marcotte, it is a key aspect of her popularity. But many, too many, bloggers went right past that with only token concern (if that) and went right to the impact on bloggers! What this shows is that any group will tend to be overly forgiving or blind to the failings of one of their own. And if bloggers will excuse the inexcusable from other bloggers because it would be bad for bloggers if they take a fall, it is easy to see how partisans outside of the blogosphere will tend to excuse the inexcusable from their fellow soul mates.
The third thing that comes to mind is that I certainly hope that Edwards takes a hit in the polls for his choice of hire, his flip-flop fire-rehire mush from last week, and giving her the easy way out of a resignation now rather than a firing. It showed poor judgment on his part, and suggested that, perhaps, he did not see anything all that wrong with what she wrote. This gets to my biggest concern, though. Maybe hate has become mainstream and shared by so many that it is a feature, not a bug. God help us all if that is the case.
ADDED: Althouse strikes a chord I am seeing too often.
I favor independent blogging, and I like to see things get interesting. Interesting... hot... sticky... whatever! Just not boring.
Maybe we should lament the reaction to Michael Richards' on-stage rant. We should favor independent comedy, and should like to see things get interesting. Interesting... slurs... whatever! Just not boring. Anything but that. And what, may I ask, is interesting about public displays of offensiveness, vulgarity, and hate?
And another added thought--I am sure a Duke-like blogger is interesting to certain racists and bigots. What does it say about someone who finds the writings of an anti-Catholic bigot to be interesting? Make no mistake, that is what Marcotte is. If one is an atheist or an agnostic does not make one a bigot. But if one finds the hateful writings of Marcotte to be interesting, then one might be a lot closer to, or over, that line than one realizes.
For comparison, Dale Franks gets it right.
Ms. Marcotte want two contradictory things. She wishes to create a public persona that spouts the most outlandish views, in the most incendiary fashion possible, then she wishes the rest of the world to ignore the public persona she created when it suits her...And on Danny Glover's blog, Michael Bérubé waxes sarcastically.
Ms. Marcotte doesn't want freedom of speech. She wants freedom from criticism. I'm sure that would be a cool thing to have, but, unfortunately, freedom of speech makes that...well...impossible to obtain...
It's time for a full-scale purge of atheists in politics. Only then can we restore civility to public discourse. With Rush Limbaugh's help, God willing.I find it interesting that you would try to expand the issue here from one pathetically bigoted atheist to all atheists. However, I am not sure that is wise on his part. I never really considered this to be a matter of atheists. However, if, as suggested by his snark, all atheists are like Marcotte, then frankly maybe we do need a purge of all atheists from politics.
However, I suspect that not all atheists are like Marcotte, or like Mike. As such, I do not want to purge them from politics. I am, however, open to being convinced. Not by non-atheists, but by atheists. They can make the case by emulating Marcotte.