Edwards made a clarification about the entire Amanda/Shakes brouhaha, which is supposed to be a reasonable compromise but is likelier to just piss everyone off.
The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte’s and Melissa McEwan’s posts personally offended me. It’s not how I talk to people, and it’s not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it’s intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word. 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.
Knowing what I do about Pandagon, someone’s lying. That’s perfectly alright with me, though; what bugs me is Edwards’ wanton arrogance. People whose entire campaigns are based on firebrand populism shouldn’t complain that “It’s not how I talk to people.” It’s not polite to use the word “Fuck” in political conversation, but it’s not polite to engage in rhetorical class warfare, either.
There’s nothing special about Edwards’ way of talking to people. On the contrary, if I had to create a set of objective standards for acceptable political rhetoric, anything more emotional than the average Al Gore speech would be strictly verboten. People who care about getting a good government rather than a government that pretends to be good would see through the dryness and look at the actual content.
“But that doesn’t inspire people,” I hear you complain. Well, no. Echidne can be just as inspiring as Amanda. And besides, inspiration tends to mask actual content. Hitler was a really inspiring person. If you vote based on how a candidate’s words emotionally resonate with you rather than based on whether that candidate will make a good leader, you deserve people like George W. Bush.
Still, fun as it is to rant about people who prop up empty suits, that’s not my point here. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t be the first to throw stones. Empty suits like Edwards (and, for that matter, Obama, who I think is the best among those who’re in it to win) shouldn’t be the first to castigate styles they disapprove of. Edwards inspires people by pretending the 1960s and 70s were a liberal paradise and the 2000s are the robber baron era; Amanda inspires people by calling religious fundamentalists asshats. Deal with it.