Edward Decides to Take His Punishment Later
Looks like he won't be firing his foul-mouthed bloggers
Mr. Edwards announced on Thursday, after 36 hours of deliberation, that he would keep on his campaign staff two liberal feminist bloggers with long cybertrails of incendiary comments on sex, religion and politics.
Deliberations over the fate of the two bloggers, Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, created a crisis in Mr. Edwards’s nascent campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 and illuminated the treacherous road ahead as candidates of both parties try to harness the growing power of the online world. The case of the two women had left Mr. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, with difficult choices.
Mr. Edwards could keep the women on his staff and have to answer for the sometimes vulgar and intemperate writings posted on their personal blogs before he hired them late last month. He could dismiss them and face a revolt in the liberal blogosphere, which is playing an increasingly influential role in Democratic politics and could be especially important to his populist campaign. Some bloggers saw the controversy as manufactured by conservative groups.
Or, as Mr. Edwards did Thursday, he could keep the two bloggers on staff, but distance himself from their views.
Edwards had two basic options here; fire the bloggers and deal with the fallout on the left, or retain them and deal with the fallout on the right. Since the latter will only come if he actually gets the nomination (a dicey proposition), he decided to do the smart thing politically, but the wrong thing morally.