In a wicked turn of political turdsmanship, John Edwards has issued himself a stunning defeat. The affable and attractive candidate wasted no time, jumping into the lava pit of the far right hate caldera. History records few instances of a presumptive front runner shooting themself in not just one, but both feet. And this is before the race begins, before the first primary. It may just be a record, we'll have to consult with officials.
So the pols have begun to realize that all of us citizens are talking amongst ourselves, using our toobz. Some of us adorable specks have blogs. That's short for world wide web logs. These are web pages or web sites where "users" can post their opinions, ideas and other trivia. Some of these blogs have audiences in the millions, most in the dozens. Well, we know what the politician thinks. This isn't access to one's constituency. No, no. This isn't a force to further enfranchisement. No, no. This is something far more important. This is an opportunity to exploit the funds and energies of others. For next to nothing. Ah yes.
How to harness this upswell of public, political engagement? Buy some of it for yourself. So the politicians do some online shopping. They aren't sure what they're buying or how it works but everyone else is getting one. So Edwards hired Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte to blog for his campaign. Which is great, except blogging isn't stenography. The whole point of blogging is to work outside of the constraints of massaged and controlled message. Marcotte is a hell of a writer with a distinct voice. Which sort of disqualifies her from a campaign that will be micromanaged, consulted and focus grouped with the goal of saying as little as possible in the most words possible, offending the fewest folks possible.
Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister has been caught up in the faux-Catholic feeding frenzy. The Catholic League, a far-right, Catholic fringe group of ultra-vicitms has shed the thin disguise of civility and gone witch hunting. Besieged by hundreds of vulgar, personal attacks and threats, McEwan has also stepped down from her position as technical consultant with the Edwards campaign. Under the leadership of Bill Donohue, the Catholic League has put a new face on Catholic discourse in the public realm. A face of dangerous, ugly spite masquerading as defense of faith. Donohue has preached his gospel of bigotry, anti-semitism, racism, sexism and intolerance far and wide.
Donohue's hate list is a long and tawdry stream of targets, starring jews, women, gooks, queers and more. His brigade of pig ignorant, rump monkeys have called down their petulant jihad on these two women. The collected rape fantasies, threats and slanders are a living caricature of false piety and naked hatred. These goons and bullies are celebrating a "moral" victory in the wake of the resignations. Lick it up while you can kiddies. Old lady karma is a bitch with a long memory.
Now Edwards might be forgiven for being naive. It isn't so easy to forgive ineptitude, bumbling, disorganization and chicken shittedness. He had the opportunity to take a stand and he squatted. His last hope for digging out from under the dung stained knuckles of Donohue is to develop a pair of bollocks and play spin the table. If Edwards wants to salvage a vestige of hope before the primary season begins, he needs to take Donohue down. Amanda and Melissa don't have ready access to the big bad liberal media. Their supposed indiscretions are being presented almost solely from Donohue's point of view. Edwards certainly has access to the media. He will have to live with his bungling of the matter, he can't undo what is done. But Edwards can salvage some of his honour and dignity. John Edwards needs to do the right thing and stand behind two courageous women who were willing to stand behind him.
It is a travesty that political discourse and disagreement should devolve into such an ugly spectacle. The women have left their positions. It is now incumbent upon Edwards to come to the aid and assistance of good people whose lives have come under such bitter attack. Donohue's entire mission was to interfere in the Edwards campaign and take down individuals who advocated positions counter to his own. He used their words as weapons against them. Fine. There are no shortages of Donohue's public displays of racism, sexism, bigotry and bile. Someone in Edwards office should put a reel of choice cuts together and force Bill Donohue to own his ugly words and ideas before the public.
Donohue needs to be hauled before the IRS and have his organization stripped of tax exempt status. The larger Catholic hierarchy needs to come forward and either disavow Donohue and his extreme positions and tactics or accept them. As of this moment, Donohue is the voice and public perception of Catholicism in North America. His brand of bigotry will not be disavowed by silence. What do the real priests and bishops have to say? Will the church muzzle a rabid dog or will they endure his villainy as they have so famously enabled past scandals and crimes?
Edwards, it is time to step up. Good Catholics, it is time to step up. Until then, I too am Spartacus.