Some people certainly have a way with words

Commentor Sniper, who sadly appears to not have a blog, over at Pandagon in the thread to new contributor Sheelzebub’s first post, an evisceration of lazy sexist stereotyping of men as clueless slobs that women are obliged to rescue.

OK, Purcell isn’t very funny, but he IS clearly labeled as “humor”, and frankly, the tone of the article strikes me as pretty tongue-in-cheek.

Excellent. I’m going to write “taut” on a sticker and put it on my ass.

Sheelzebub (Pinko Feminist Hellcat) has joined the Pandagon crew along with a posse of progressive wordsmiths: Chris Clarke (Creek Running North), Auguste Pollak (oops) (The Guns of Auguste), Roxanne (Vox Populi) and Ilyka Damen. They’ve joined the Pandagon crew to help pad out the writing roster now that the ultra-prolific Amanda Marcotte has been tapped by the John Edwards presidential campaign as Blogmaster (in a further display of excellent taste, the Edwards campaign has also nabbed Melissa McEwan aka Shakespeare’s Sister as Netroots Coordinator).

The Edwards campaign appears to be just quietly rolling along at the moment while the current excitement with Clinton and Obama fills the headlines, but we’re a long way from any actual primaries yet, so why not wait for a lull to properly strut his stuff? I’m not an American voter, but I admit to being disappointed that he didn’t get the Democratic nomination in 2004.

Phoenician in a time of Romans argues that the Edwards campaign’s choice shows a fundamentally different plan for using bloggers than has been done in the past (previous bloggers recruited to campaign staff have given up blogging on their own sites, but neither Amanda nor Melissa plan to do so, although they know they won’t have as much time for their blogs now).

It’s not just the people who read Pandagon and Shakespeares Sister directly, it’s the flow-on effect – many of those in the audience also blog, and are opinion leaders, and by associating the campaign with these two high-profile bloggers, the campaign is disseminating a specific image to a key audience. This was not the case when Kos was picked up as a consultant or when he endorses candidates – Kos is selling his expertise and his central role as a tactician for Democratic-leaning voters. Marcotte and McEwan are selling their alignment with the Edward’s campaign, implicitly stating that his views are in sync with the political personas they have established and explicitly communicating based on people’s prior understandings of their positions.


Phoenician’s delineation of the distinctions between this situation and Kos’ consultancy work is persuasive. Kos holds himself out as the tactical expert, and as a partisan coordinator. Amanda and Melissa have always been more issues-based than purely partisan, although issues and partisanry have often happily overlapped. If Edwards has identified issues-based swingvoting netizens as a key demographic for him, then choosing Amanda and Melissa to spearhead his web campaign is very canny indeed, as they are hugely influential in the progressive blogtopia.

And that’s not all. From my own typically more cynical view, the fact that Amanda makes certain RWDB wingnut bloggers’ knees jerk in a frenzied fashion can’t be underrated either. They are going to be attacking the posts on the Edwards campaign blog much more often and more wildly just because it’s Amanda writing them, then the progressives who in their turn love to mock the wingnuts will be countering the wingnut bile, thus spreading Edwards’ messages further and wider amongst potential Democratic primary voters.

Win, as they say, win.

Related post at Larvatus Prodeo: Blogging Politics

Categories: culture wars, gender & feminism, Politics

Tags: ,

6 replies

  1. correx: august is not August Pollak, though I can see how you’d get there.

  2. Ah, this is what happens when I go on a long holiday and can’t keep up with all my usual blogs. I was wondering what had happened to the Pollak cartoon blog. [Google: still where it always was – d’oh]

  3. Sourduck has some doubts about the ethical position:

    What I find more interesting is what was not said in both announcements. Neither Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister nor Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon said they were being paid for these positions.

    Melinda of Sourduck finds the lack of commentor curiosity curious.
    I, for one, just assumed that “I have been asked and accepted a position as” meant getting paid, so that’s why I didn’t ask. Pam’s announcement about Shakes specifically said she’d be getting a paycheck, anyway.

  4. Edwards is trying to harness the left flank of the field. It’s worth noting that Marcotte and McEwan are much more overtly Progressive, particularly on social issues, than the partisan Democrat Markos.
    Certainly that is a very vocal section of the blogosphere, but how his choice will aid Edwards on the ground is unclear at this point. Dean was the unquestioned darling of Left Blogistan in 04 but we all saw how that played out. Things have changed since then, true, but how much?

  5. Edwards is trying to harness the left flank of the field. It’s worth noting that Marcotte and McEwan are much more overtly Progressive, particularly on social issues, than the partisan Democrat Markos.
    the thing is that I haven’t seen any indication that the edwards campaign’s policies are in anyway supportive of progressive politics – Amanda and McEwan seem to be huge visible bandaids to get progressives on edward’s side without actually doing any thing to really earn that support – and considering his history as Vice Loser to Kerry’s ridiculously rightwing platform I’m gonna be really surprised if he doesn’t screw over Amanda and McEwan as well as the rest of progressive americans – he’s a vocal supporter of the america-israeli alliance, and is putting forth a lot of retoric at the moment that basically supports bush’s moves towards war with Iran as well so…
    But early days yet I suppose, wait and see, wait and see.
    And I have nazi cockroaches living in my walls which are more progressive than moulitsas.

  6. I do get the impression that Edwards is essentially a centrist, with the only truly progressive plank in his platform being the pro-choice one (seeing as he also hired the ex-president of NARAL as a senior advisor). His Two Americas anti-poverty campaign is essentially centrist rather than leftist, and that’s probably a good thing.
    As you say, wait and see.

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