I am Amanda Marcotte

Several weeks ago, the New York Times published a hit piece on bloggers that have worked for political campaigns. In one of the most amusing twists on that story, a television show in Boston took a parody on MyDD about Jerome Armstrong seriously, prompting the creation of an “I am Jerome Armstrong” group on Facebook.

As a mixture of that and the classic story of the King of Denmark wearing a Star of David during the Nazi occupation, I now proclaim, “I am Amanda Marcotte”.

For those who haven’t been following the story, recently some right wing extremists have attacked Sen. Edwards for hiring Amanda Marcotte. Amanda is a bright young blogger who has criticized right wing extremists, sometimes using language that they find offensive.

There have been rumors that the Edwards campaign would fire Amanda and she remains a top story in political circles.

Beyond simply a statement of solidarity with Amanda, I do feel a lot of personal similarities to her case, which I imagine many dedicated bloggers, especially those who end up working for campaigns, feel.

I have been attacked for things I’ve written in the past, including people trying to prevent me from getting or holding onto jobs that matter to me. I’ve been told what I can and can’t write while I worked for campaigns. I’ve had heated arguments with different campaign managers about things I’ve written.

I’ve also been in talks with the Edwards campaign about coming on board since last summer. When they hired Mathew Gross, and then Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, I had complicated feelings. I was very excited that Sen. Edwards has hired such great talent, but a little let down that they haven’t hired me yet.

So, in more ways than one, I am Amanda Marcotte. I hope I don’t get fired. I hope that many bloggers also state that they are Amanda and I hope Sen. Edwards steps up and offers a bold defense of Amanda and Melissa.

One of the best blog posts about this whole episode was written by Joe Trippi in May 2003. Back then, he was talking about the Dean campaign, but I imagine it summarizes the struggle that senior staffers in the Edwards campaign are dealing with right now.

every political campaign I have ever been in is built on a top-down military structure — there is a general at the top of the campaign — and all orders flow down — with almost no interaction. This is a disaster. This kind of structure will suffocate the storm not fuel it. Campaigns abhor chaos — and to most campaigns built on the old top-down model — that is what the net represents — chaos.

So, while I wish Sen. Edwards would say something soon, and I partly wish I was a fly on the wall wherever this is being discussed, I’m also partly glad I’m not in those discussions. They will be hard discussions and they will have a significant impact in the future direction of the Edwards campaign, as well as, I believe, many other campaigns in the 2008 cycle.

It is time to stand up for what matters, and I stand up, recognizing that the first to stand are also often the first to get shot.

(If you are Amanda, please join I am Amanda Marcotte of Facebook.)

(Categories: )