Religion in the Big Tent

As has been widely documentedelsewhere, the Catholic League's William Dononhue holds opinions that would make good right-wing blog copy had he a more clever way with words. I can't quite get over the fact that is a man who blames Mel Gibson's anti-semiticisms on him being liquored up, Michael Richards' racial outbursts on him being upset, and Isaiah Washington's anti-gay slurs on him being ticked off -- in the very statement he puts out as a condemnation of bigotry. As for Edwards, well, people who he hired then hired Amanda Marcotte, and he no choice than to stand by her. A decent boss doesn't fire a new employee for something that he should have known about her all along -- in fact, the very thing he brought her into his employ to do. It's not as if Amanda had little boys squirreled away in a closet somewhere. These were her public writings posted on the Internet and signed with her very name. For my money, I would have preferred Edwards had gone with a simple "I hired her. I'm okay with it. Move on." But at least he seemed to understand that he was the target of a political hit by a political actor, did a decent job defending himself.

That said (here it comes), Amanda of course has all the freedom in the world to write every last hot, white, sticky word she posted. God bless America! But to then claim 'hey, just kidding, -- it was never anyone's intention to "malign anyone's faith"' seems to me an unfortunate dodge. Bigot is an ugly word. And it's absurd to claim to know that Amanda is anti-Catholic deep within her soul because of a few blog posts. But in her writings she certainly warmly embraced the tactic of mocking that faith. To pretend otherwise is to run away from a nut that does need to be cracked at some point: have we made the Democratic tent big enough to welcome religious activists without constantly snickering behind their backs? Right now we're seeing more and more American Christians connecting the dots between global warming and being stewards of the earth. Right on and keep it coming. Whether someone really thinks that they're eating the body and blood of their messiah is far, far less a concern to me than whether they walk the walk of a social teaching that condemns inequality and champions justice.

Clenched-fist progressive politics

Score one for the good guys: To put an end to the bloggergate non-scandal, John Edwards announced that he is keeping Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan on board. His brief statement, which can be found here, discusses his views on the bloggers' past writings and closes, most importantly, with the candidate saying, "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." No truer words, and words I'll discuss in further detail later. Marcotte and McEwan, it should be noted, also released statements, which can be found here and here. While Team Edwards is moving on at full power, this entire episode, which is really just beginning, offers the progressive movement an object lesson in how we must operate as a unit in anticipation of 2008 - and beyond. "They wanted a fight," I wrote Wednesday. "Let's give it to them." And with this fight, the next era of clenched-fist politics has begun.

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Wartime Consiglieri Needed Against Donohue

In Mario Puzo's novel and Academy Award winning film The Godfather, the Corleone crime family used Tom Hagen as its counselor or consigliere.  While Hagen was pretty competent as consigliere for ordinary day-to-day business, his skills were insufficient to match the deviousness of hard-core inter-family warfare.  During his tenure as consigliere, he failed to perceive a devious plot against Sonny, the acting head of the family, never conceiving that the Sonny's brother-in-law Carlo could have taken money from a rival family to batter Sonny's sister as a means of luring an enraged Sonny out from his bunker to his death in a assassination trap at a toll booth.  Years later, Sonny's surviving brother Michael as the new head of the family reluctantly told Tom Hagen that Tom was "not a wartime consigliere," and locked him out of future war strategy sessions.

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What bloggergate says about the movement

Like good drivers treat their cars in the midst of a frigid winter, the right wing must make regular efforts to rev up its outrage machine. From Coretta Scott King's funeral to Barbara Boxer's commentary on Condoleeza Rice, the latter-day conservative narrative represents a steady stream of overhyped, overwrought blow-ups intended to demonize the progressive movement while simultaneously - and always unsuccessfully - trying to avoid completely shattering the hypocrisy meter. The latest winners? Bloggers and true netroots role models Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, both recent high-level hires of the John Edwards presidential campaign. Their crime? Blogging while being a progressive, a first-degree felony in the right-wing legal world.

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Edwards: The Wisdom of Doing Nothing

Chris Bowers and other A-list political bloggers are wondering why there's been no response from the Edwards campaign on the whole caving-to-Bill-Donohue thing.

Well, I think I can tell you why right now:  I just got done listening to both drive-time radio and the ABC, CBS and NBC network TV news programs, and guess what wasn't mentioned once?  Not once?

That's right, this whole brouhaha.  (More after the jump.)

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