THE BLOG
02/07/2007 01:44 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Bar So Low...

Updated below...and again...and again

The rightwing blogosphere has tried to set the bar for what disqualifies a blogger from working on a political campaign so low that they've set themselves up to knock almost every single Republican staffer out of contention for their views. While attention is being brought on the Edwards campaign has started to gain traction, I have to wonder why Republicans are given such a free pass on their personnel decisions. As the likes of Michelle Malkin and Dan Riehl think that that low-mid level personnel decisions that campaigns make are fair game for unfair public scrutiny, it's time that we gave a serious look at some of the key figures that are working for leading Republican presidential candidates.

John McCain employs blogger Patrick Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits. As a McCain employee, Hynes began attacking McCain's rivals without disclosing his ties to the McCain campaign, a deep insight into Hynes' weak ethical compass. Hynes was also levying false charges against liberal bloggers for being paid shills during the net neutrality fight.

Hynes has a real problem with religious diversity. Hynes thinks secular and non-Christians are pagans. Moreover, he doesn"t like the pluralism ensconced in the US Constitution:

Miner: Is it fair to call America a "Christian nation"?

Hynes: Yes. America is a Christian nation. As I write in my book, "Is America a Christian nation? Of course it is. Don't be ridiculous. What a stupid question.

Hyne's keeps dubious company - his co-blogger titled a post "Barbara Boxer: Arrogant *itch." For those wondering, the content of the post makes it clear that the * signifies a "B."

McCain also hired Trey Walker, a man who's been investigated for election fraud and is a big fan of the attack smears on McCain during the 2000 primary. McCain"s staffing policy seems to be to hire the dirtiest operatives with the most sordid history and bring their skills to bear for him.

Honesty was never one of Patrick Ruffini's strengths, as he was a misleading source for the Washington Post during his time as an operative for the RNC.

Much of the outrage surrounding the Edwards' campaigns hiring of Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon and Melissa of Shakespeare"s Sister derives from the complaints of Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, a man who famously uttered this:

"We've already won. Who really cares what Hollywood thinks? All these hacks come out there. Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it. ... Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism. We have nothing in common. But you know what? The culture war has been ongoing for a long time. Their side has lost." [MSNBC, Scarborough Country, 12/8/04]

Donohue's own moral compass is something to be shunned, as we see in this defense of sexual predation.

As for the alleged abuse, it's time to ask some tough questions. First, there is a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr. Foley? Second, why didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?"

But the controversy isn't just about the hypocritical blow-hards who have promoted it to the pages of the New York Times. It isn't just about internet politics either.

McCain's campaign manager, Terry Nelson, is one of the most dubious characters in the Republican Party. Nelson signed off on the race-baiting ad attack Harold Ford, he's been implicated in conspiracy and money-laundering charges involving Tom DeLay, and he was connected to the illegal Republican New Hampshire phone jamming scam that sent James Tobin to jail. Where is the outrage about McCain hiring such a dirty operative to run his campaign? Why is McCain given license to promote the same dirty tactics that his staff has employed in the past, including against him?

Republicans clearly want to keep the bar for termination low to pressure Democratic candidates into using Republican metrics for civility (a standard they themselves clearly fail) as the basis for staff policy. What they fail to understand is that while Democrats may hire some opinionated bloggers, Republicans are hiring criminals, hate-mongers, and hypocrites. They put this standard in place, but failed to realize the sheer volume of low-hanging fruit that will be rightly plucked by liberal bloggers through legions of posts like this one.

Update I:

I thought I'd throw in a few more links to help show the scale of outrage about the hypocrisy Edwards' staffers are being subjected to by the right wing media.

Cliff Schecter, writing at The Real McCain, takes on the paralyzing hypocrisy of attacking Marcotte and McEwan while giving McCain's Nelson a free pass.

ABC News blogger Terry Moran tries to spin the story according to the Right's narrative and his commenters eat him alive. Dare I say rightly so. Gavin of Sadly, No! has more on Moran's horrendous coverage of the Marcotte/McEwan story.

Liza Sabater has by far the most comprehensive tally of all the liberal blogs that have written about this story today, as well as great action items to move forward with.

Jet at Bring It On! reminds us that if the Catholic Church expects the rest of us to let them handle the behavior of their priests, they ought to let the Edwards campaign make their own personnel decisions.

For those with a subscription, The New Republic did a close analysis of McCain's scoundrel Terry Nelson just a few days ago. Not surprisingly, no major media outlets picked it up.

Update II:

Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis documents the affliction of "Conservative Correctness" and explains why the Marcotte/McEwan episode cannot become a victory for rightwing intimidation tactics. Scher went to college with Michelle Malkin and he offers unique insights into her, um, unique mindset.

Update III:

Jeffrey Feldman of Frameshop makes a convincing case that Catholic League president Bill Donohue violated federal tax code for 501(c)(3) non-profits by actively advocating against a presidential campaign and for the firing of specific members of that campaign. Repeat: not only was Donohue grossly hypocritical, he likely broke the law.

Cross posted at The Right's Field