Ironically, Amanda Marcotte has blogged about me, using exactly this technique of picking out quotes of mine and using them in a vigorous effort to discredit me. It's the way of the blogger, and now we see it turned on the blogger when that blogger goes to work wrangling bloggers for a candidate. It's interesting that Marcotte's attack on me was in response to my mocking a blogger who had been wrangled on behalf of a presidential candidate.
So I'm a little conflicted about this. Not because Marcotte attacked me -- that's life in the blogosphere -- but because I like to see bloggers use blogging to snag political jobs, and, on the other hand, I'm wary about this new activity of wrangling bloggers for the benefit of political candidates. For you bloggers seeking jobs: I hope you get them. But for you bloggers staying in this noble enterprise: Preserve your independence and don't let yourself get manipulated, even by some blogger wrangler you loved when she was one of you.
In that post of mine that Marcotte savaged, I really was trying to hurt this emerging profession of blogger wrangler. I want bloggers to keep their distance from candidates and not succumb to flattery and seduction. Oh, the candidate actually cares about me, wants to talk to me. It's fine to take advantage of some access, but don't come back like a sucker and blog about how nice the candidate was to you.
ADDED: Captain Ed -- noting Marcotte's "anti-Catholic screeds" -- says:
As a Catholic, I'm less offended by the likes of Marcotte and McEwan than I am surprised that no one in the Edwards campaign thought it was a problem for their candidate. Catholics have overcome bad weather that had more impact on our faith than either blogger, but Edwards wants to court the Catholic (and Evangelical) impulses for social justice and peace to bolster his populist campaign. Surely someone on his staff had the responsibility to actually read the bloggers' previous work to see if it matched the tone Edwards wanted to set with the on-line community and voters in general. That someone should be fired right along with Marcotte and McEwan.Implication: Bloggers gunning for political jobs have to tone down the anti-Catholicism.
Unfortunately, we can expect this incident to make it harder for bloggers to make the transition into traditional political roles on campaigns. We already have a Wild West reputation for shooting off our mouths and thinking later, which I believe is mostly undeserved; the media will use this to reinforce that impression of the blogosphere. The truth is that the Edwards campaign didn't work very hard to keep a couple of Catholic-haters out of their payroll, and while the media will also report that, that will get missed for the more sensational story of those bloggers and the liability they represent.
UPDATE: Salon reports that the two bloggers have been fired. (Via Memeorandum.)
MORE: "The Pandagon Papers." (NSFW.)
TWO MORE THINGS:
1. Some people seem to think I'm gloating over Marcotte's misfortune. That is a weird misreading of this post, which is damned sympathetic to her plight, especially considering that she was as nasty to me as she possibly could be. I brush that aside as "the way of the blogger" and "life in the blogosphere," as I worry about the employability of bloggers and the pressure for self-censorship.
2. Some people think I'm just a big Republican, interested only in hurting Democratic candidates. But with a handful of exceptions, I've voted for Democrats for 35 years, and I happen to have voted for John Edwards in the Democratic primary in 2004. The Wisconsin primary took place when Edwards was the only man who could stop John Kerry, who I (correctly) thought would make a bad candidate. On the political spectrum, I'm somewhere around Joe Lieberman and Rudy Giuliani. In short, I'm the kind of person the candidates should be concerned about.