WARNING to political candidates: the Internet isn't always your friend. Ask John Edwards, Democratic presidential contender.
He had hired a pair of progressive women bloggers, thinking they'd help buff his street cred as the plain-talking advocate of liberal policies.
But past writings by the pair were never fully vetted and contained insulting posts on Catholic leaders and policies. After two days of cogitating, Edwards tried to finesse things: He was offended by the writings, but wouldn't fire either one.
Bloggers, hired or not, are creeping ever closer to the center of the political ring. They bring huge followings, unfiltered views and plenty of swagger. Edwards, struggling for oxygen in a crowded political tank, can't be blamed for trying them out.
Watch out, candidates. Bloggers don't submit their work to campaign central. They do their own homework and write it up their way. They're fun, fascinating and completely untamable. The blogosphere confers a definite hip factor, but needs a buyer-beware label, too.
It may be the first cyber-dust-up of the 2008 campaign. But given the growing role of the Internet in fundraising, direct messages and hired blog commentators, candidates and voters may be in for different campaign season.
No particular comment. Sounds about right.
Also from the EssEffChron:
One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages.
Amanda Marcotte posted on her personal blog, Pandagon, that the criticism "was creating a situation where I felt that every time I coughed, I was risking the Edwards campaign." Marcotte said she resigned from her position Monday, and that her resignation was accepted by the campaign.
"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.
I certainly don't blame Amanda for quitting in the face of Donohue's hypocritical attacks. When you're up to your ass in alligators, sometimes it's hard to remember your main objective was to drain the swamp.
I am reminded of the story about the General who was visiting an outpost in a combat zone. He kept hearing a 'whiz-plop!' noise and asked what it was. The local commander told him there was a sniper on a nearby ridge and this went on all the time. When the General asked why they didn't send a squad up there to kill him, he received the reply, "Hell, General, they might put someone up there who can shoot!"
I hope Donohue finds this out by hearing the 'whiz' after he feels the 'plop!'.