Edwards campaign: 'Go to hell' adviser 'speaks for himself'
After a top adviser to the campaign of presidential hopeful John Edwards told liberal bloggers to "go to hell," a spokesman for the former Democratic Senator from North Carolina denied that it reflected the candidate's sentiments.
"Thatís just Mudcat being Mudcat. He speaks for himself," said Eric Schultz from John Edwards's 2008 presidential campaign in an e-mail to RAW STORY.
Schultz was referring to a remark made at Swampland, the Time politics blog, by Dave 'Mudcat' Saunders, who identifies himself as "the rural liaison for John Edwards."
"Those Democratic bloggers, who have appointed themselves as intellectually superior and believe the only way to win an argument is to shot[sic] the loudest with personal attacks, you can go to Hell," wrote Saunders in his debut post to the blog on Monday. "Intellectually superior? The truth is these people remind me of the guy who told so many people he had a horse that he finally went and bought a saddle. The 'incivility' in their tones tell me they would be much more happy following 'pro rasslin' than the political blogs."
Saunders, known mostly by his nickname Mudcat, was warning liberal Democrats that their lack of tolerance for southern rural voters had electoral costs.
"I have bitched and moaned for years about the lack of tolerance in the elitist wing of the Democratic Party, or what I refer to as the 'Metropolitan Opera Wing,'" he wrote, before adding that "this 'intolerance' is helping the Democrats lose national elections."
Saunders's remark came in for criticism from Melissa McEwan, who was at one time hired by the Edwards campaign as a 'netroots coordinator.'
"Mudcat seems to be conflating uncivil bloggers with the so-called 'Metropolitan Opera Wing' of the party with no regard for the one true thing about the progressive blogosphere, which is that it is not a monolith. Many of the bloggers he deems uncivil and intolerant may indeed enjoy following 'pro rasslin' as well as political blogs, as the two are not mutually exclusive," she said in an e-mail to RAW STORY. "Frankly, nothing strikes me as more elitist than the assertion that an idea expressed while engaging adult language is of no value, or is necessarily a meritless personal attack. I wouldn't expect a guy with a name like Mudcat to have such delicate sensibilities."
McEwan and fellow blogger Amanda Marcotte resigned from the Edwards campaign in February after the Catholic League attacked the pair and the Edwards campaign for what it alleged were religiously intolerant blog posts. McEwan at the time blogged at 'Shakespeare's Sister,' and now heads up the group blog Shakesville.
Note: McEwan has written for RAW STORY in the past.
Another well-known liberal blogger also called Saunders a hypocrite.
"By telling an anonymous and unidentified group of people to 'go to Hell,' Mudcat is facilitating a straight-forward exchange of ideas already. His hypocrisy is a bit odd, considering that earlier in his piece he decried the hypocrisy of the blogosphere," wrote Chris Bowers at MyDD.com.
He went on, "Start an exchange of ideas by telling people to go to hell. Attack the metropolitan, pseudo-intellectual wing of the Democratic Party by defending Joe Klein. Dismiss John Edwards's biggest area of activist support in the name of rural southern whites....Remarkable stuff. I haven't seen a Democratic consultant be more open with their paranoia concerning, prejudices toward, and general ignorance of, the political blogosphere in some time. This is a post for the ages."
While Edwards's campaign did not take any responsibility for Saunders' remarks, he appeared to feel that he had gone too far. In a Monday night blog entry, he apologized.
"I never intended to shoot at the net roots with my initial post. I am simply an 'elitism hating' Southern Democrat who loathes the stereotypes that have been placed upon me and my neighbors," Mudcat wrote. "However, apologies with buts ainít worth a damn. Since I offended so many of you, I obviously did a poor job of communicating my feelings. I apologizeÖno buts."