Even though the writings of Marcotte and McEwan were claimed to be personal, everyone in politics knows that presidential campaigns are all about putting forth a particular image of a candidate. This is not a controversy over free speech in a personal blog, because at issue is not whether or not the blogger is free to say what she wants, but rather it is the story of the image one campaign wants to convey to the country. The Dixie Chicks learned through their highly publicized foray into the world of politics that they were selling more than their music — they were selling an image. Two bloggers learned this week that whatever talent they have for writing or political commentary, the image put forth through their more incendiary writing is likely to overshadow it.
See also Mary Katharine Ham’s column at Townhall, Vote for Edwards, Godbag Christofacists!. Ah, I think she had some fun with this one.
The problem comes when, in an attempt to garner the favor of the ever-cantankerous left side of the blogosphere, Democratic candidates hire bloggers with profanity-laced, President-hatin’ pasts to helm their online efforts and blogging output.
That’s what happened to John Edwards this week. He hired Amanda Marcotte of the blog Pandagon to be his blogmaster and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister to be his online communications person. If personnel is policy, let’s just say those two hires reflect the Edwards campaign’s desire to be “Queen C–of F–k Mountain” and “F–k BushCo.”
It’s not exactly the winning populist message John-Boy was shooting for, I reckon, and bloggers on the right side of the aisle recognized that immediately. Too bad for Edwards, Marcotte, and McEwan, no one on their side did. Or, perhaps more damaging, they did and couldn’t do anything about it.