Thursday, February 8, 2007

Edwards Reprieves (And Is Reprieved)

I usually try to avoid writing about issues that are narrowly "bloggy", but I have to say a brief word on the recent kerfuffle regarding Edwards and his bloggers. Various right-wing sources had attacked him because he employed Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan (of Pandagon and Shakespeare's Sister respectively.) Not unlike every other political blogger alive, they had used some intemperate language in the past and now Edwards was being taken to task for 'condoning' it. Well, Edwards winded up not approving of the language but not firing them either, and a collective sigh was heard among the blogs.

In retrospect, it seems like an easy decision. If Edwards had fired them he would have suffered a blogosphere crucifixion. Chris Bowers seems to hint that it was a decisive issue for him personally. The netroots is sick of Democrats without a backbone. Backing down from winger attacks makes them mad no matter what the issue is. But when it's two of their own being taken to task for charged language, then everybody feels like they have a stake.

The netroots is a real political movement now. (I know... that's not news.) There is solidarity here. And an immense amount of potential. But the fact that this gesture was so important seems to be symptomatic of the movement's nascency and lack of confidence. All we can do is hope for the day when this movement starts turning it's eyes toward changing the country instead of just measuring the stridency of its leaders.

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