I've been watching the Edwards blogger flap (Edwards Learns Campaign Blogs Can Cut 2 Ways) with great interest, but haven't blogged it because I had nothing interesting to say.
It seems the Edwards staff hired to hard-charging feminist bloggers to help the campaign (which has a big blog operation of its own), but didn't vet them as well as it should have. As bloggers sometimes do, they'd each said a bunch of dumb stuff. There were not only rude words but intemperate opinions.
Edwards himself had no role in the hiring and had never even met them — the campaign staff is already that big? — until the flap was well under way. At that point he found himself caught between the right-wing spin machine which was seeking scalps, and a very strong push from his early supporters and from the liberal side of the blogging community which wanted him to condemn this piece of what they somewhat mistakenly called Swift Boating (it was somewhat mistaken because while exaggerated, the charges against the bloggers had some more truth at their core than did the Swift Boat smears of Kerry). At least one of the new staffers had quit her job and moved hundred of miles to join the campaign, so any firing had a real human cost.
Edwards waited 36 hours before deciding, apparently so he could meet the people before making a decision — which could be spun as slow, unprepared, and indecisive, or as a resolute and patient commitment to doing the right thing on his own time.
And in the end, Edwards did something right: condemning the sins, but not the sinners.
You could say this is a sign that the blogs are flexing their muscles. Or that Edwards caved in to the left wing. Or that the right wing's Mighty Wurlitzer (where smears start on the fringe and work their way into the mainstream) is losing its power to mesmerize Democrats. Or that Edwards is a thoughtful guy who wanted to look the two staff people in the eye, and hear them out personally, before trashing their lives and possibly careers.
But here's why I mention it now: I couldn't help but wonder, what if it were me? Not that I have any plans or desires to leave academe, but suppose someone were mad enough to appoint me to the modern equivalent of the Board of Tea Experts (now defunct). What, I wonder, is the most incendiary thing that I've blogged (or published elsewhere) that could be quoted in or out of context to make me look bad (fairly or unfairly)?