More Instability

Despite going on a blogospheric hiring spree, Edwards just saw a collapse in netroots support, from 35 points in the January Dkos straw poll to 26 points.  This is probably due to the Iran flap, where he spoke belligerently to a group of a neoconservatives, walking back his rhetoric a few days later.  Edwards lost 9 points, which was just over a fourth of his blog-specific netroots support.  That's a pretty big chunk, and it looks like those people went to 'other' and 'don't know', not to any specific candidate.  The premise of the Edwards campaign is that he's changed, which makes a reversion to form problematic.

Now, I have complained about the Edwards operation, and I'm now pretty sure that they aren't ready for prime time.  In response to a naughty words put up by in a previous blog by the new bloggers Edwards hired, here's the Edwards campaign response in the New York Times.

Mr. Edwards's spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers.

That's a bad answer.  If a campaign's first instinct is to grant credibility to manufactured complaints, then that campaign simply cannot make it through the right-wing gauntlet.  This is also poor framing; the Edwards campaign knew what they were getting when they made the hires, and now to pretend like the bloggers did something wrong is not ok.  It's a pure 'I'm going to offload responsibility onto the lower beings' play.

I've spoken to two other knowledgeable individuals about Edwards recently, and what they tell me is similarly discouraging.  Journalists who covered Edwards the first time don't buy this transformation, and there's plenty of oppo out there.  New Orleans bloggers are now complaining that Edwards just used their city as a photo op.  It's sad.  I'm getting the sense that Edwards is going to have real trouble moving forward unless he seriously tightens up his operation and stops blowing in the wind.  

UPDATE: Several people have noted that the straw poll comparisons are screwed up because the January edition didn't include Kucinich, 'other', or 'don't know'. That's fair, and it's possible that Edwards support was always very soft. I do think that Edwards took a hit after his Iran belligerence, but it's not clear from the evidence that this is what happened.

Tags: John Edwards (all tags)



way"word" episcopalian

has an axe to grind and supposedly likes Biden D-MBNA - one of the only dems to vote for the bankruptcy bill running in 2008.

Yes. no one likes the Edwards response on the blogrrls.

and if you read his blog you'll see that. /7/85346/64070

However, they could have been caught offguard by a non-story story by someone who will never endorse the dem nominee anyway.

Clearly not the response we want but daggering misinformation on Iran (as though he's way different than Obama or Clark) or that wayward episicopalian is the authoritarian source on all thinks NOLA is a bit much.

what have Obama and HIllary done in NOLA?

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 05:32AM | 0 recs
wayward episcopalian here

Wayward here.
I am a Biden supporter, yes. However, that has nothing to do with my post on Edwards. I set up my blog as a disaster relief intern, not as a politico. New Orleans-themed posts there have nothing to do with my personal feelings on other subjects. When I get the chance to see and meet with Sen. Biden (I will, I'm in NH), I will post his response to the issue, whether I like it or not. To back that up, I would say: I posted a criticism about Dodd's stance on the issue, but I like Dodd. No, he's not my number one choice, but if Biden dropped out I'd be between Richardson and Dodd.

I'm going to see Obama and HRC over the weekend. Once I've heard their speeches and, if I'm lucky, met them, I'll take a look at their websites and evaluate them. It's a series of posts, not one big massive roll out.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-07 09:47AM | 0 recs

Obama traveled with Liebermann and Landrieu to NOLA a week or two ago for a committee hearing on failed policies and programs. That's not a position, but investigations are a good start, and I'm encouraged to see it. I did blog about it, despite my Biden preference.

And I say that as somewhat who is decidedly NOT an Obama fan right now, so it's quite the opposite of my Dodd post - I don't like Obama but I say good things about him and NOLA; I like Dodd but say upset things.

by Nathan Empsall 2007-02-07 09:49AM | 0 recs

by francislholland 2007-02-07 05:33AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

You know, that entire last paragraph is the exact kind of unsubstantiated allegations that gets bloggers into trouble in the first place.

by terry312 2007-02-07 05:38AM | 0 recs

by andy k 2007-02-07 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

What gets us into trouble is a Presidential candidate who hires bloggers and then a week later piously 'weighs their fate' in the face of the fact that they wrote curse words on the internet before they were hired.

by Matt Stoller 2007-02-07 05:56AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Yes but isn't this more about the ability of bloggers to transition into professional campaigning?

by aiko 2007-02-07 06:02AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

This is about the far right saying "boo" and Edwards screaming.

by Bob Brigham 2007-02-07 06:07AM | 0 recs
Edwards should just make it

crystal clear that the blogrrlss are not setting policy and have a largely technical job and not back down.

you'd be surprised at how little the MSM understands blogs.

exhibit A.  Lanny Davis dumpster diving against Lamont.

provocative language is the norm - look at Matt's post here.

Is it more provocative than dead tree journalism - yes.  Is it all true?  probably not - that's just how blogs are.

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability
According to Michelle Malkin it is.  
by Grand Moff Texan 2007-02-07 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability


What percentage of full-time political operatives use hard language?  I assume that the number is between 99.5 and 100%.

The correct response to reporters' inquiries about Marcotte is among the following:

1)  Yes, we are proud to have her.  Obviously, our communications team will run a different sort of operation than a personal blog with an occasionally rough edge, and our family-friendly editorial guidelines will differ in a common-sense manner.

2)  General Patton said that an army without profanity cannot fight its way out of a piss-soaked paper bag.  I have already revered the military, and we will try to maintain military-style discipline on some of the projects we will be doing.

3)  I will instruct my entire communications staff not to use Vice-President Cheney's Senate-floor lexicon or firearms management style in their activities on my campaign.

4)  Some have argued that those who use profanity should never work again in this country.  We tried to get Dick Cheney fired two years ago, but the people of the United States thought he should keep working.  Pity.

5)  This is of course a non-issue on a slow news week.  If you think that what Ms. Marcotte wrote was provocative, wait until you see what our team will do in the next 8 weeks!

6)  I am trying to figure out who's more scared of Ms. Marcotte - Joe Biden or Sam Brownback?  She is the kind of smart hire that the United States can expect from me, always.

7)  Oh go f&&& yourself.

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-07 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability


by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-07 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I like number 4.

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 06:48AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Somebody get this guy a job on a communications team!

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Except for the Patton reference, I agree with that.

by Hellmut 2007-02-07 07:07AM | 0 recs
#7 should be "go cheney yourself"

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 07:44AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Boy I hate to get into semantics and ultra-granularity, but "weighing their fate" were the words of the reporter, not the spokeswoman.  Whatever the spokeswoman said might or might not have been all that pious.  Presenting only as such is a bit disingenuous, don't you think?

I understand that while we can't expect perfection from any candidate, we have to push them wherever they mess up.  But this is another thing alltogether, inventing a narrative that John Edwards went from darling of the blogosphere (false) to despised enemy of the progressive netroots.  

He got caught up in a bad story on the Iran comments, and since then, including the interview with Jonathan in the front-page post right after this one, he has explained in a clear and unambiguous way his take on dealing with Iran and the Middle East at-large.  And it's been far more satisfactory to me than anyone else out there, and really, more importantly, in line with what I think is the right thing to do.  

You put out unsubstantiated rumors about people in New Orleans dogging Edwards, gratuitously at that, as it was unnecessary to make your point of the diary.  But it's just not true.  Edwards has been to NOLA multiple times, engaged in real work and not just photo-ops.  He announced from there because it fit his campaign narrative, but NOLA hasn't been a prop for the campaign, but instead part of the whole reason why he's running.  

There are lots of things that get bloggers and presidential candidates into trouble, this is an emergent synergy between some expressions of technology and communication and politics and human relations.  There are going to be bumpy roads, but expecting perfection here is like expecting ideological purity - it doesn't happen and it demeans the expector and the expectee.  Trying to weave it into a larger story that rings false just isn't cool to me.

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Excuse me, Matt, but are you taking Nedra Pickler's words to be those of Jennifer Palmieri?

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: "weighing the fate"

is not a Palimeri quote, it's from the journalist.  Given she wrote the article in the way she did, I'm not sure I trust her reading of what she was told.

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Bloggers should keep weighing the fate of John Edwards.

by Bob Brigham 2007-02-07 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I like Edwards okay, but as far as I can tell his popularity is mostly due to his being charming.  Charming is just not enough, as Edwards's pathetic loss to Dick Cheney in the VP debate attests.  As a Senator, he did only one truly memorable thing, which is that he voted for the war.  What gives?

I think first and foremost we Dems should choose someone who will make a good president.  Why should I believe that Edwards would do that?  Likeable is not everything.


by snaktime 2007-02-07 05:49AM | 0 recs
You obviously did not watch the DNC

winter speaches.  His speach was by far the most advocating/firey for dem values and least carefull of the big three..

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 06:15AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

A VP nominee handcuffed by the campaign advisors to one of the weaker presidential nominees in a long time goes up against the VP nominee of the other party who has largely set the politics and policy of the incumbent administration.  The former has to play by someone else's rules while the latter gets to do whatever he wants.

John Edwards set free is a far more engaging and powerful debater than he ever could be in that ridiculous farce of a contest.

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

That's not true.  Edwards is popular because he speaks to people's concerns.  He has been running on the two America message for several years now.  Therefore it is also not accurate to accuse him of reinventing himself.

It is fair to criticize him for pushing a different agenda nationally than in North Carolina.  The same is true of President Johnson's support for civil rights.  He didn't lift a finger for civil rights before he became president.  Edwards has become a critic of inequality, privilege, and poverty in America.  That's a good thing.

Having said that I am quite upset about Edwards' AIPAC language regarding Iraq.  It reveals that he does not understand the basics of national security.

Iran is a bad actor but it is not worse than Stalin and the Soviet Union.  Stalin did not use nukes because we could deter him.  We will do the same with Iran if the mullahs ever get the bomb.

An Iranian bomb is a problem but it's not the end of the world.  It's time to chill and pursue our national interest in a calculated and reasoned manner.

by Hellmut 2007-02-07 07:16AM | 0 recs
Edwards domestic stance is his strong point.

I like Edwards because he is placing poverty and class issues front and center in his campaign. Universal Health Care, Educational opportunity, progressive tax structure... in that regard, he is the strongest counter to the Republicans of the top contenders.

It is also true that we have a Republican President in thrall to a neocon foreign policy. I expect the Democrats to be timid and mixed in their ability to counter this while Republicans hold the presidency, but any of them as president would be far, far better than Bush & Cheney, even Hillary Clinton, who is the most ansious to prove she isn't soft on the Middle East.

In my view, ANY Democratic president would not pursue wars of aggression abroad, and would ease back from Iraq. But, they differ in important ways when it comes to domestic issues.

Obama and Edwards over Clinton.

by MetaData 2007-02-07 09:00AM | 0 recs
One Speech Pony Who Can't Think on his Feet?

In 2004 Edwards struck me as a one speech pony with a nice smile. Perhaps Democrats were doomed in any case with a relatively weak candidate like John Kerry heading the ticket, but Edwards seemed to add little or nothing to the campaign.

Edwards lost me when he failed to respond immediately and forcefully in the Vice Presidential debate after Cheney made the outrageous, false claim that even though he (Cheney) frequently presided over the Senate, he had never met Edwards until that evening's debate. Edwards sat mute and stunned, as though Cheney had just delivered a knockout blow. All of us viewers naturally wondered: "Could that charge actually be true?"

After the debate, networks quickly dug out video to demonstrate that Cheney's claim was a flat-out lie.

Why didn't Edwards have the presence of mind to call out Cheney on the spot? We need someone who can think faster on his feet than can Edwards. And someone who can demonstrate sounder judgment and vision.

by FMArouet 2007-02-07 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re: One Speech Pony Who Can't Think on his Feet?

Because he had 30 seconds to talk to the American people about issues of substance, and the American Peoplw did not want to see two grown men in a spat about who saw whop at the national prayer breakfast.

And Cheney's comeback would have bneen "oh, you're right, I did see you.... once.  Short career, huh Senator?"

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: One Speech Pony Who Can't Think on his Feet?

The fact that the phrase "Office of Special Plans" was never mentioned during that debate, in and of itself, is just criminal.  That whole debate--and, true, that whole race--should have been shooting fish in a barrel.  At BushCo's peak Cheney's approvals were never that high.  And Iraq was Cheney's baby and everyone knew it.  Even though it took Kerry until September to figure out he might want to criticize the war, the VP debate absolutely should have been a slam dunk.  We've never had a VP who ran things befre, and we're just talking aout it now?  Just say Doug Feith.  90+% of viewers would have no idea who he was, and would have been very interested to learn that he was in fact ths stupidest guy on the face of the planet.  All this is to say nothing of the fact that the words Abu Ghraib never passed his or Kerry's lips.

I was an Edwards supporter in the 04 primaries, and all told, he's still probably my second option today, assuming Gore doesn't get in and Clark doesn't get a foothold.  But the burden of proof is on him after his chokejob in 04, and I've got to hear something better than "the consultants ate my homework."  That was Gore's excuse in 02, and 04 was a very different race in which even the lowest of low-info voters knew there were stakes; there was none of the 00 "who cares, what's the difference" Naderite, RATM cynicism to fight on our side.  It's pretty close to inexcusable.

by msbatxnyc 2007-02-07 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Edwards lost 9 points, which was just over a fourth of his blog-specific netroots support.  That's a pretty big chunk, and it looks like those people went to 'other' and 'don't know', not to any specific candidate.

But keep in mind that for the last two months Kos forgot to include "No frickin' clue". It may just be that Edwards support was particularly soft. People who aren't decided, if they were pushed, were choosing Edwards. Now they may just not be being pushed any more. I'm sure that doesn't explain the entirity of the drop (and I'm sure that Edwards Iran comments have had an effect), but it is something else that needs to be considered.

It also just once again emphasizes the importance of the questions in polling.

by ltsply2 2007-02-07 05:58AM | 0 recs
Obama went down too

but not as much.

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Bye Bye Matt

Sorry, Matt, but you can't be taken seriously anymore after being so wrong with basic facts.

Bye, I've no trust in you.

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Bye Bye Matt

That's just silly.

The change is there and it is important that we acknowledge it, but at the same time there are other factors that point towards Matt's basic claim being true. Firstly, as pointed out elsewhere the drop occurred in the "Fantasy Poll" as well and there was no change to that question. Secondly, Edwards dropped a lot, Obama dropped some, but was all of it due to the change in the question? Why were their supporters in particular soft? (And why would they drop to "No clue" as opposed to another candidate?)

Of course all this will be answered when Chris puts out the next MyDD IRV poll. The long and short of it is that the Kos polls are fun, but there's a reason why we give money to Chris, Matt, BlogPAC, and others to do good, solid, information gathering polls.

by ltsply2 2007-02-07 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Bye Bye Matt

You cannot compare apples and oranges, and Stoller didn't say anything about the addition of No Clue and Other in his diary although Kos mentions it explicitly.  Hmm?  Curious.

The Fantasy polls aren't official FP polls, they're meaningless since they attract almost exlusively Gore supporters.

Did Edwards support go down?  Yes.  Why, because he's been the subject of baseless attacks from opponents and because some of that support is Gore supporters (of whom a large percentage may be former soft Clark supporters) and undecideds who when pushed go with Edwards.  So, look for those Edwards numbers to go back up when Gore announces he isn't running and people make decisions.  But, do some homework that other folks (no names here, I wouldn't want to hurt someone's pride and get warned again) don't do.  The December poll had Edwards at 28% and Obama at 28%.  Really, very little change from then until now.  The only change is Clark has gone down from 26% to 14%.  So, Edwards is in the high 20s% and that hard-core support is higher than anyone else and will grow more as Clark fades and Gore declines, and that'll happen despite all Stoller's attempts to prevent it.

Still, one fact is more important than Stoller's spin -- Edwards has led the DailyKos Strawpoll for three months in a row.  And in a one-on-one with Obama Edwards had 51% to Obama's 42% -- a clear victory.

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

After reading the previous post/comments and this one I have decided that HRC has set the bar so high that it is nearly impossible for other dems to match.  She has been seriously planning this endeavor for more than a decade and she has access to the best and the brightest and the richest.

That doesn't mean she is a winner. Her negatives are high and 12 months of dem campaigning will likely hurt the front runner.

Campaigning is an art that HRC has mastered.  It is going to be tough for Edwards and Obama to compete in the campaign arena.

But Iraq is here to stay and the war is HRC's weakest link. There is no perfect campaign.  Candidates win and lose for lots of reasons that are out of their control.  

by aiko 2007-02-07 05:59AM | 0 recs
just for the record

That same straw poll had Hillary at 4% and even Kucinich has raised 250x as much netroots money as Hillary on Actblue.

by Bob Brigham 2007-02-07 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: just for the record

As has been pointed out, you keep referencing a "scale" that has no meaning.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 06:12AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

"Her negatives are high and 12 months of dem campaigning will likely hurt the front runner."

Actually the opposite was true in 2004 primary...the Democrats all looked good and their combined criticism of Bush Jr raised all their ratings.

I think the same will be true in 2008.

Hillary actually comes across better when she is unscripted so the debates will be good for her.

The risk for her now is that Obama is even better on his feet and looks fresher and the voters want a new start...kind of like JFK new generation of leadership effect.

Either way, I think the debates and the primary will help Hillary and Obama.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I think people will get more sick of her and more tired of her not less. Her negatives will go up not down...We already know her so well that I think people will be glad to have a viable alternative.  Assuming one emerges.

by aiko 2007-02-07 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I agree. Scrutiny will reduce Hillary's negatives.  In part, her negatives are the result of Republican propaganda.  Hillary has demonstrated that she can reduce negatives over time.  Nationally, she will be less successful in that respect than she was in New York.  The results will still be substantial.

by Hellmut 2007-02-07 07:20AM | 0 recs
Edwards trying to decide who he is...

which is the trouble at this late date, four years into his running for president.  He's being very much the old school politician, saying what he thinks people want to hear vs. what he believes.

Edwards has a conservative record, that's OK but run on who and what you are. His "pull back" on his Iran war statement is almost as disturbing as the original statement.  People think his basic instinct is to bomb Iran and he's covering it up.

He's not comfortable in his own political skin.

Edwards basically is running away from everything he did...his conservative voting record, he voted for Iraq before he would have voted against it, he'd bomb Iran before he decided maybe he wouldn't, his Iraq vote was the Clintons fault, Hillary is "too sensitive" aka a woman, Obama smokes cigarettes, the New Orleans problem.

I don't think you can blame the staff, it's Edwards who is making the speeches. It's not organizational (staff), it's personal (Edwards).

It's interesting that the Edwards loss is going into the third tier and "undecided" pool. That's good for Obama.

I think the decisions are going to be made in the debates.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards trying to decide who he is...

It's one thing to be clearly for a candidate.  I am clearly for Edwards.  And my posts show that.  But you are clearly anti-Edwards, and it does you or your candidate, Obama, no favors by being so zealously anti-Edwards.  That you play fast and loose with logic, facts, and rhetoric loses you more points.

Get it together, show some character and then come back to play.

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 06:27AM | 0 recs
I try hard not to respond to him

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I try hard not to respond to him

I know, I should try that too.  But he just pops up on every Edwards-related thread to try to take him down a peg.

Remember Brion, you can never really move someone up in the world by pulling others down.  

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 08:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Edwards trying to decide who he is...

You don't address any of the facts so there's not much to respond to in your message.

The original post noted Edwards losing support and I was speculating on why.

Complaining about folks discussing why Edwards is losing traction, as you do, is not very productive.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 12:01PM | 0 recs
Speaking from MI
I was surprised and interested to learn that David Bonior became Edwards Campaign manager.  Bonior is a interesting man, a true blue type Democrat fighting for unions, the environment health care and other progressive issues of the heart.  However, he ran a pretty poor governor campaign here in MI in 2002.
Almost all the time, it's not the mistakes a campaign makes but how it handles them.  
Did Edwards make comments about Iran that even I found troubling? yes.  He could have responded, explained and corrected his comments in a much better manner.  He should be asking and stating, is it in our national interest to go to war with IRAN right now.  Of course the US should never take any option off the table, but it makes no sense to threaten or stumble into a conflict with Iran, carelessly or without a long term plan that takes into account the multitude of unpredictable consequences that go with it.  Edwards did much, much better on MTP Sunday.  But he definately needs to tighten up his game, whether that's Bonior fault or not, it needs to get fixed.  
And with the blogger controversy, they have to nail down the facts of the stories and make statements accordingly.
Clinton is steamrolling along without hardly any netroots support.  Edwards can't really afford that.  
by gasperc 2007-02-07 06:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Speaking from MI

What you're describing is exactly what he's done.  He's reacted very well to be taken entirely out of context, and explaining what he meant on Iran and the Middle East at-large.  Going on MTP was part of that response mechanism I think.

And Edwards is in good hands with Bonior.  Your point about Clinton illustrates this well.  She's steaming along with fundraising and media attention that reinforces that same notions about her to the rest of the country that have flown around for the past two years.  At no point yet in this campaign has the effect of grassroots activity come into play.  And you know that the labor movement and the community activists who are into the Edwards message are going to make a huge impact on what happens over the next 11 months.  They just have not been a factor yet, precisely because it is February of the pre-election year.  

by Peter from WI 2007-02-07 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

January dKos strawpoll did not include "other" or "no freaking clue"

Not the same poll.

Did you even study political science or are you just making this up as you go along?

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Edwards also dropped in the fantasy poll, which is an apples-to-apples comparison.  But in that poll he dropped 40% of his support.

by Matt Stoller 2007-02-07 06:41AM | 0 recs
at this point

you just want to be in the MSM label of top tier.

the netroots will eventually consolidate around whoever has the best hope of "vetoing" HIllary.

after the first round of debates it will become clearer who has the best chance of knocking off Hillary.

If it's going to be Obama he needs to go after Hillary on the war otherwise he's got no angle on her powerful campaign.

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 07:49AM | 0 recs
Re: at this point

yes yes yes

by aiko 2007-02-07 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: at this point

"the netroots will eventually consolidate around whoever has the best hope of "vetoing" HIllary."

Speak for yourself.

Hillary is a perfectly fine candidate.

Edwards has dropped to third because of his how actions (Iraq, Iran, New Orleans, hiring bloggers to generate spin where none exits, the new plantation digs, attacking Hillary because she is a woman, attacking Obama because he smokes cigarettes and was a college student).

That Edwards supporters blame everyone for reporting the news vs. blaming Edwards for creating the news is probably another reason Edwards is losing traction.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 12:13PM | 0 recs
Hiring bloggers seems so phony anyway...

never quite understood the rationale.  What services are they selling exactly?

They are going to pretend to be for a candidate because they've been paid?  Who would want to read what they have to say vs. just reading what the candidate says?

In a way it shows a kind of tone deafness to what the online political discussion world is all about.

You either have supporters online or you don't.

If you want to get your message out online, hire in house staff as part of your communications operation and have them respond and reply to online discussions. And those responses are factual such as providing candidate's actual position or policy stuff in an online debate in a situation where a supporter or opponent is misstating the candidates position. Staff acts as fact checkers in online debates vs. participants.

This actually came up way back on the 1992 Clinton campaign which was the first to go online.  It let the independent supporters do the heavy lift in the online debates.  But there was no way they were going to hire any of them since they would be speaking for the candidate and that is a dicey Edwards just found out.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 06:25AM | 0 recs
the feel of

is very unique and I like the fonts of the commenter's names.

I think stylistically pandagon is very efficient....

by TarHeel 2007-02-07 06:45AM | 0 recs

I don't think you know what you're talking about with that post. Edwards, like all Democratic politicians I know of, didn't hire Amanda Marcotte to write good things about Edwards on Pandagon. He hired her to be "in house staff as part of [his] communications operation," to use your words.

They are selling the same services as any part of the communications staff, say a spokesperson or something. It's just that they have experience in an online environment, and can therefore write things on the campaign blog that, presumably, reflects that experience.

by BriVT 2007-02-07 07:43AM | 0 recs
"Hiring" bloggers makes no sense...

"He hired her to be "in house staff as part of [his] communications operation," to use your words."

Did he?  As you noted (correctly) initially, you don't know.

He is paying her for...her online comments?  What are bloggers paid to do? Blog maybe?

Gets back to the original point, you have an employee of Edwards making statements that will be (correctly) interpreted as Edwards employees making statements.

You are either onboard on not. Edwards was buying. She was selling.  Now they have to live with the consequences of their transaction.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 12:09PM | 0 recs
Re: "Hiring" bloggers makes no sense...

Yes. She will be (if she stays) making statements as an Edwards employee. This "controversy" is over statements she made in the past. When she wasn't an Edwards employee. She left her blog and went to write official online content for the Edwards campaign ON THE EDWARDS CAMPAIGN'S OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Everything she writes on that website is official campaign material. What she did before ... was before.

by BriVT 2007-02-07 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: "Hiring" bloggers makes no sense...

"Yes. She will be (if she stays) making statements as an Edwards employee. This "controversy" is over statements she made in the past."

No different than McCain hiring the crew behind the Kerry "Swift boat" ads. Or Clinton hiring Dick Morris and Morris doing speaker phone calls to the White House while tripping with hookers.

"But he did his time for the ax murders and I hired him to chop wood".

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: "Hiring" bloggers makes no sense...

Um, OK. If you equate what she did with that ... I'm not arguing that point. I'm just pointing out that your characterization of the issue is consistently wrong.

by BriVT 2007-02-07 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Edwards is a phony, why wouldn't phony bloggers be par for the course?

Wait, did I say "phony?"

I meant to say: Edwards is breathtakingly phony.

by bluemoon 2007-02-07 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

"Mr. Edwards's spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri, said Tuesday night that the campaign was weighing the fate of the two bloggers."

"That's a bad answer.  If a campaign's first instinct is to grant credibility to manufactured complaints, then that campaign simply cannot make it through the right-wing gauntlet."

So says a person who has never been through said gauntlet about someone who has now been through it at least twice.  Has Amanda been fired?  No.

I've spoken to two other knowledgeable individuals about Edwards recently, and what they tell me is similarly discouraging.  Journalists who covered Edwards the first time don't buy this transformation, and there's plenty of oppo out there.

Who wrote this article?  Judith Miller?  

"Two knowledgeable individuals"?  Who are they?  Did they request anonymity?  Why?  Is granting them anonymity consistent with journalistic standards for such practices?  Where is your support for that contention?  If there is non, how do you know you aren't being used by people with an agenda?  More importantly, how do your READERS know you aren';t being used by people with an agenda?

"Journalists" don't buy his "transformation"?  Again, who?  Upon what are you basing this statement?  What transformation?

Damn, Matt, you're becoming a pretty good pundit.

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I don't know why you're insulting and attacking me, but if it's to influence what I write, it's not going to work.

by Matt Stoller 2007-02-07 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I'm not insulting you, I am pointing out that you are showing regrettable signs of pundititis.  

I like you plenty.  And I enjoy your perspective on blogging and the role of the netroots.  But you seem to have a burr under your saddle for Edwards and it results in posts that prematurely attack Edwards - such as the one about his house and the one on Iran.  

To frame Edwards as having "walked Back" because of the power of your questioning is really not a fair characterization of what happened.  It is unacceptable for Iran, under its current leadership, to possess a nuclear weapon.  There is no doubt about that.  You asked for more detail about how Edwards would accomplish the goal of keeping that from happening, and you got a thoughtful, intelligent and highly nuanced answer.

And suddenly nuance and thoughtfulness become a way to attack Edwards for "not knowing who he is" (I know you didn't say that, but a poster up thread did).

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 06:46AM | 0 recs
Oh, he's said it.

It's been his theme since Edwards even before announced - that Edwards doesn't really mean what he says, unless it can be interpreted uncharitably, in which case, the most uncharitable interpretation is true.

It's SOP for Matt.

by Drew 2007-02-07 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

"It is unacceptable for Iran, under its current leadership, to possess a nuclear weapon.  There is no doubt about that."

Not really the place to argue this, but there certainly is doubt about that.  It wouldn't be a good thing, certainly, but unacceptable? I'm not so sure.

Especially if it means starting a war with them over it. That's like preventing someone from being a bully by killing him and the people he's trying to bully.

by Baldrick 2007-02-07 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

It's not an insult when people disagree with you.  

You could learn a lot by not blowing your stack all the time and lashing out, which is how I would characterize this post on Edwards.

You are extremely, extremely sure of your opinions and state them in such a final, absolute way.

Dr. Frank is right, you do at times succumb to pundititis.

by Andmoreagain 2007-02-07 07:33AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Hell, I blow my stack and lash out all the time.  Wo I know of what I speak.

But agendas should be known and acknowledged.  And I sense one here.

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 07:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Stoller Jumps the Shark

Facts wrong on polls, quotes non-quotes, makes stuff up about Iran, spread rumors that he can't substantiate.

Forward to irrelevancy Matt.

Edwards has won the DailyKos Strawpoll for the third time in a row!  Suck on that!

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Stoller Jumps the Shark

not necessary.

Matt has a lot to add.  I just wish he would acknowledge he opposes Edwards, instead of constantly being "surprised" that Edwards doesn't live up to his expectations.

Pundititis does not = irrelvance.  On the contrary, it seems to be the regrettable consequence of becoming important in the political world.

by DrFrankLives 2007-02-07 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Stoller Jumps the Shark

It's not just the obvious anti-Edwards bias, it's not even mainly that, it's the very weak fact-check skills.

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Stoller Jumps the Shark

Edwards dropped to a virtual time with Obama in the latest Kos poll; not a sign of growing strength.

by Sam I Am 2007-02-07 08:14AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Saying Edward went down nine points is completely unfair without noting the addition of "other" and "no freakin' clue" to this month's poll.  Losing points to a poll's methodology change is hardly a "collapse".  Kos himself said:

"So the trendlines are a bit screwy because of that. And they'll be screwy again next month when I (hopefully) remember to add those answers back in."

(Sorry I don't know how to hyperlink, but it's in the original post's 35 points link.)

Noting this in your original post would give your post much more credibility, I think.

by dbeard115 2007-02-07 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Credibility and Work

You can't expect Matt to actually READ can you?

by philgoblue 2007-02-07 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

"I've spoken to two other knowledgeable individuals about Edwards recently, and what they tell me is similarly discouraging.  Journalists who covered Edwards the first time don't buy this transformation, and there's plenty of oppo out there.  New Orleans bloggers are now complaining that Edwards just used their city as a photo op.  It's sad.  I'm getting the sense that Edwards is going to have real trouble moving forward unless he seriously tightens up his operation and stops blowing in the wind.  "

Are you aware how much that sounds like the opening paragraph of an Adam Nagourney article?

by niq 2007-02-07 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

That paragraph was disgusting. If Matt is "concerned" then he could take this confidential information and email or call the campaign (I'm sure Jerry Meek would give him a good phone number).

But has he done that? It'd be nice to know if he has rather than leaving this crap to stand to further the media frenzy in an attempt to sink a candidate that is espousing the very same progressive ideals that Matt supposedly believes in.

by adamterando 2007-02-07 10:46AM | 0 recs
Matt "Concern Troll" Stoller

Strikes again.  Honestly, there should be a drinking game.  

by Drew 2007-02-07 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Call me cynical but there is no way Edwards is going to risk the wrath of the blogosphere by firing them.  Further, no candidate is perfect.  There are going to be moments when they embarass you, especially if you've already publically supported them. Deal with it.  If at the end of the day you agree with most of what they stand for, then just roll with the good and the bad.  Take a look at the Hillary supporters on this blog, they have nerves of steel.

by Kingstongirl 2007-02-07 08:33AM | 0 recs
Is there a more basic principle in politics

than not accepting advice from one's enemies?

I don't particularly like Edwards myself, but if I did like him or another candidate, and that candidate starting taking personnel advice from a concern troll antisemite who will support the Republican opponent loudly, I would conclude the candidate not to be a "wartime consigliere."

You remember Tom Hagen from the Godfather?  The OK consigliere except when challenged in conflict?  The one who let Sonny get massacred on the causeway?  If Edwards fired Marcotte for her abject failure to be loved by a revanchist antisemite, it is evidence that he is a second-rate strategist.

When he practiced law, how often did Edwards take trial tactics advice from the junior associates working for the insurance carriers?

by Bruce Godfrey 2007-02-07 08:34AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

I don't care for John Edwards anymore, and this is why; he's trying too hard to be authentic but he really isn't because he doesn't know who he wants to be. He wants it all ways, and its not working, as it rarely does.

His speech at that Neocon conference was very harsh on Iran.  He didn't call for war per se, but if his words would have been put in the mouth of Perle, no one would have been surprised.
Here's the actual speech.  Does sound overly hawkish to me: rticles/Article.asp?ArticleID=1728&C ategoryID=223

Edwards' turnabout by calling up the Prospect for an interview had more to do with getting word that the netroot didn't like his message. In other words, he got caught. Nothing on his website about any of the conference stuff. They only put up what we want to see.

Ditto with the big house vs. poverty theme.  Same with organic authentic grassroots vs. paid astroturfers. Same with Iraq war co-sponsorship vs. recent mea culpa. Same with I voted for IWR because Clintons told me so although I was on the intelligence committee vs. Now Congress needs to stand up and not betray us.

Edwards needs to figure who he is if he wants us to know him.  

I was partially in his camp until I started reading up on him and thinking about it.  I'm just glad he's not the only candidate running.  

There's Obama, Clark (if he's running) and Richardson.  At least I don't feel used and manipulated with these three.

by fraud04 2007-02-07 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

So at what level of income is in unacceptable for someone to care about poverty?

Or at what is the maximum amount of money that some can spend on a house in order to still care about alleviating poverty?

I'd really like to know because I've figured out who I am but if I ever break that limit then apparently I won't know anymore.

by adamterando 2007-02-07 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: More Instability

Anti-Semite my ass. There's nothing Matt has written that couldn't be the position of an Israeli patriot or a Jewish American liberal who believes Middle East warmongering ill-serves Israel and America.

by johnalive 2007-02-07 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Hiring bloggers makes no sense.

"I'm just pointing out that your characterization of the issue is consistently wrong."

The issue is Edwards hired some employees who had made some outrageous statements (I found them funny but most probably would not) and has been called on account of the views of his employees.

Neither he nor a good portion of the blogosphere quite understands the issue which is fairly simple.

The bloggers want it both ways. They want to be considered "media" when the press plane takes off but don't want to play by the reporters rules that you don't take money from the candidates and remain a reporter.

Edwards wants it both ways, he wants to be a "wild and crazy blogging boy" but doesn't want to pay the price of the freewheeling, informality of the online political discussion groups.

A better approach would be that suggested by Matt Browner Hamlin who noted the sleazy backgrounds of McCain bloggers.

If Edwards was smart (and he hasn't been showing signs of that lately) he'd say he would fire his bloggettes if McCain fires his outrageous right wing bloggers.

It would toss the debate back into the lap of the leading Republican candidate and worst case is Edwards and McCain would have to get rid of their hired trolls.

by BrionLutz 2007-02-07 04:15PM | 0 recs


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