I'm posting about this development because I have connections to both Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon (I'm the co-blogger there) and Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare's Sister (we launched the Big Brass Alliance during the Downing Street Minutes brouhaha).
These fine women are two big names in the progressive blogosphere who have been tapped to work for the John Edwards campaign. Amanda will be moving to NC to helm the Edwards blog as Blogmistress (or as she refers to it, Blogatrix), and Melissa will be the campaign's Netroots Coordinator.
You can’t say that they aren’t a savvy crew over there at Team Edwards, because they are scooping up the big guns on the almost-A list (they are both A in my book, but we know what I mean when it comes to the big boys in the blog world, underline boys). The folks at Pandagon and at Shakes Sis are large, politically engaged and active readers — and will give the Edwards camp a fair hearing. I’m sure that these developments are due to Elizabeth Edwards, who is well-versed and ever-present in the blogosphere.
It will be interesting to see what kind of pressure this puts on the other candidates to recruit well-known voices from the netroots, and what editorial effect that will have on blogs generally, since both will continue blogging at their primary pads in addition to their work for JRE. This is certainly generating more buzz on the blogs than developments at Hillaryland.
As for The Big Question: Why Edwards? A lot of reasons, none of which I've been too shy about sharing as my personal support for him has increased over the last months, although you can read more in my first Edwards blog post here. I will, however, mention the three little words that ultimately got me: "I was wrong." That's how John Edwards started his Nov. 13 op-ed in the Washington Post, referring to his Iraq war vote. "I was wrong," he said, and more than that: "I take responsibility for that mistake. It has been hard to say these words because those who didn't make a mistake—the men and women of our armed forces and their families—have performed heroically and paid a dear price. … [A] key part of restoring America's moral leadership is acknowledging when we've made mistakes or been proven wrong—and showing that we have the creativity and guts to make it right." I don't need a president who never makes mistakes; those don't even exist. I need a president who's willing to admit them. Those have been in short order as of late, you may have noticed.
First, because I know you’re dying to know, why did I throw my hat into the Edwards ring? Two major reasons. The first is that of all the candidates in the field, the only one worth my endorsement is John Edwards. He’s the only candidate that isn’t falling for the same tired line about moving to the center and is actually talking about issues that matter, like poverty. On the feminist angle, I think that this interview with Kate Michelman, the former head of NARAL, says it all on why I feel that the best candidate for feminists to endorse is John Edwards. That Hillary Clinton is a woman is not enough for me, since she makes maneuvers that send up all sorts of red flags.
In sum, I want Edwards to win and I want to help make that happen.
The other reason I’m joining the campaign is because I think that they really understand the growing importance of the internet in politics. Seriously, look at how cool the blog is already and this is all before I get my hooks into it. I want to make the internet a more important part of politics, and I see this campaign as a way to do that.
By recruiting Amanda and Melissa, the Edwards campaign is buying a "brand" of progressive voter -- and a ton of credibility in lefty blogtopia. I personally think they'll do a great job; they are excellent writers and passionate about the same issues that made them attractive picks for the Edwards campaign (an aside -- I've not endorsed any candidate, so my comments here simply represent support for these two superb trailblazing bloggrrrls).
2008 is certainly going to be more interesting — and more confusing — than 2004, as the worlds of campaigns, blogs and the mainstream media worlds collide. While they are working for Edwards 2008, both will maintain a presence on their primary blogs. That raises interesting questions about the branding of their own blogs and how they will be viewed by readers as the campaign heats up. As one commenter said over at my pad (and I gather more than a few readers might feel this way):
If the 92 announced candidates for 2008 start hiring all the bloggers how will we know when we are receiving good information or hype? Recruiting good workers with a following is a fine way to help get a message out...but please don't sacrifice the little objectivity that still remains in the world by sucking up to "the man" or "the woman".
It will be a bumpy and fascinating ride.