Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are consistently called "rock stars" by journalists describing their public appearances on the campaign trail. John Edwards doesn't get those kinds of props from the journalists. But, we're finding that the right wing loves to talk about John Edwards.
Usually the tactics they are using on John Edwards would be reserved for the General Election. However, they've gone hard and early on the former Senator from North Carolina.
A few weeks ago, the Carolina Journal, a monthly publication of the John Locke Foundation printed this article on Senator Edwards' new home in North Carolina. It was an attempted smear to cast Edwards as an elitist out of touch with the average person. However, a closer look at the Locke Foundation shows that they are a conservative organization who aligns themselves with some of the most right wing groups in Washington. This link shows organizations who they suggest their readers to consult for information on "important issues." Among this A-List of conservative groups is the Heritage Foundation, which is a juggernaut of the right wing movement.
After Matt Drudge linked to the article on the Carolina Journal website, they posted a message that their website was temporarily down because of all of the traffic generated by the link. While I think it was more of a function of dedicating ALL of their server space to handle the hits they were getting, I think they also didn't want to make it easy for visitors to discover their conservative bend. I suspect that very few people have returned to the website to learn more about them since the initial link from Drudge.
Most recently, Edwards Bloggers Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan came under attack from conservative, anti-Semite, self-appointed spokesperson of Catholics, Bill Donohue. In fact, he called these fine young women "anti-Catholic, trash talking bigots." Let's see what insights supposed religious leader Donahue can offer us:
"We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, OK? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost." [MSNBC's Scarborough Country, 12/8/04]
He doesn't sound anything like someone with the moral authority to judge anyone, much less two young women who passionately advocate things like women's health. I'm not a Catholic, but if I were, I'd be standing up and screaming that this right wing, bigoted anti-Semite does NOT represent me. I know many Catholics and they're nothing like this jerk. By the way, criticism of Catholic policies is nothing new. There is plenty of internal debate among loyal, dedicated Catholics about the direction of their Church. There always has been. There always will be.
All day yesterday, the Netroots folks sat on pins and needles wondering if such pandering right-wing jerks would be able to sever the relationship between them and John Edwards. Edwards faced tremendous pressure from both the Conservatives and the progressive blogging community. Matt Browner-Hamlin has a post here on HuffPost that is an awesome description of how it all played out.
Many of us feared Edwards would listen to conventional Washington political consultants and throw these bloggers under the proverbial bus. However, it appears that Edwards has personally intervened to determine the action of the campaign. He released a statement today. The following line shows me that he not only understands the support the Netroots has shown him, but that he's got conviction, loyalty, and that he's not going to let the right wing tell him how to run his campaign:
"We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in."
The score: John Edwards: 1 Netroots Movement: 1 Conservative Jerks: 0
Please go to Democracy in Action to send an email to the Press supporting these two bloggers. It will send a message that we will not cede public debates to jerks like Bill Donohue. Here is what he had to say about it all:
"I have news for him--the Catholic League--not Edwards--will decide what the debate will be about, and it won't be about the nation."
Don't let this jerk get away with this. It's time for the progressive movement to proudly defend the high ground and put this issue to rest. We will NOT surrender anything to vicious right wingers.