When Bluestem last posted on the unfolding story generated by Vergas yarn-entreprenuer-turned-state-senator Gretchen Hoffman's recklessly rude tweet, the freshman legislator had yet to come to terms with the unanimous decision of the Senate ethics committee.
News venues across the state are reporting that Hoffman has finally complied--but in the Fergus Falls newspaper comments section, a local Republican and his fellow decency deniers have rallied to her defense.
It's quite the read as the co-founder of the Republican Bulldogs, who organized campaign events last year, skewer the DFL Senators for daring to bring a complaint and the local media for daring to report the story. Update: Republican Bulldog co-founder Dave Lindberg is the Vice Chair of House District 10A, according to the Otter Tail County GOP website.end update
Down in Worthington, a couple of days away from Fergus Falls as the crow flies, Forum political reporter Don Davis reports on the Globe's website:
Sen. Gretchen Hoffman has apologized for a tweet she issued last month during a heated Minnesota Senate debate on health-care funding.
As required by the Senate ethics committee on Monday, the Vergas Republican sent a letter to Sen. Barb Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights.
“This letter is intended to be the written apology from me to you indicated by the Minnesota Senate Subcommittee on Ethical Conduct...” Hoffman wrote. “I am certainly sorry for my misunderstanding of what you said and how I subsequently handled it.”
During debate on the health and human services funding bill on May 18, Goodwin told colleagues that state institutions for the mentally ill used to be called homes for the “idiots, imbeciles and the insane.” She used the phrase three times to illustrate how far treatment for the mentally ill has come.
“Sen. Goodwin just called people with mental illness idiots and imbeciles while debating HHS bill,” Hoffman tweeted to her followers.
Hoffman has not talked about the incident in public and did not testify at Monday’s Senate hearing, although her attorney did speak. The senator is a nurse who has worked with the mentally ill and her spokeswoman said she was concerned about Goodwin’s remarks.
Hoffman did not approach Goodwin on the Senate floor and she did not rise to protest the remarks, as allowed under rules.
The ethics panel voted to dismiss charges against Hoffman if she apologized to Goodwin, if she removed her original tweet and if she tweeted a link to the committee’s report on the case.
Hoffman’s Twitter page, including the original tweet, was removed on Wednesday and on Thursday a new one with a different address was created with a lone tweet that directed readers the report. . . .
KARE-11 adds in Sen. Hoffman issues apology for tweet, message still on website:
. . .Thursday Susan Closmore of the Senate Republican Caucus said that Senator Hoffman has complied with all the demands of the Senate Ethics committee.
The tweet was removed from Twitter. However, the tweet still remained on Sen. Hoffman's website as of 8pm Thursday evening. . . .
No word on where Senate Majority Leader Communications Director Michael Brodkorb was lurking.
The Fergus Falls Daily Journal reported earlier that the Subject of Hoffman’s tweets satisfied with ruling.
And while Kvetchin' Gretchen has begun to move forward, and Goodman has received satisfaction, a key Republican activist still carries a torch for the best version of Hoffman 1.0. David Lindberg, co-founder of the Republican Bulldogs, has a lot to say in the comments.
Some background: Lindberg's name and that of his group pops up a few times in 2010 election coverage. The Star Tribune took note of Lindberg's organizing in a July 2010 article, Tom Emmer: Riding a new populist wave:
On a cold and drizzly Saturday afternoon, Tom Emmer was edging his way through the crowd at a Tea Party rally in Fergus Falls. . . .
. . ."I've think I've had a vision into Tom's heart," said David Lindberg, co-founder of Republican Bulldogs, which organized the rally. "I think he's a good person, and that he's willing to work with or at least listen to people."
Closer to the election, the Fergus Falls paper reported that Michael Brodkorb himself spoke at a Bulldog rally in GOP confident of gaining seats:
The Minnesota Republican party has had its feet on the ground all over the state in the last couple of months, and the Fergus Falls area has been no exception. About 65 party faithful were on hand at a Republican rally on Friday, and another 25 were at the Westridge Mall on Saturday for a rally hosted by the Republican Bulldogs.
While much of Saturday’s crowd was on hand to hear speeches by the candidates at the event, including 7th Congressional District candidate Lee Byberg, Minnesota Supreme Court candidate Tim Tingelstad, and state auditor candidate Pat Anderson, there was another speaker at the event who wasn’t running for political office: Michael Brodkorb, the deputy chair of the state GOP.
What is the leader of the Republican Bulldogs saying now about the ethics case? Just check out a comment left at the paper by Lindberg:
David Lindberg June 16, 2011 at 10:47 am Link
So Senator Hoffman misunderstood Senator Goodman. Is this why they (the democrats) need to raise taxes? So we can spend countless dollars investigating misunderstandings? I would like to share with everyone that I am a little thin skinned when it comes to our State Government wasting money on frivolous BS. Simply asking Senator Hoffman to retract the statement because she misunderstood Senator Goodman was never considered. Also isn’t the result the same? Senator Hoffman needs to apologize and remove the tweet. No there is hay to be made there for the democrats. God how I wish I could get a committee to meet every time I thought somebody either took me out of context or misunderstood what I had to say. Better yet I would love to be able to demand a committee meeting every time I took exception with somebody’s words or actions. This is a sad case of gotcha at best, and a pathetic attempt to tarnish the reputation of an exceptional Senator who has done a terrific job so far fighting to lower taxes, and reduce regulations so that we can get our economy growing again in Minnesota. One last thing, I would like to know how much Senator Goodman’s and the democrat’s gotcha game cost the hard working tax payers of Minnesota.
Poor Senator Hoffman! And curses on Goodman for asking for justice.
Will Lindberg be chasing after those Republicans on the committee who ruled that Kvetchin' Gretchen misled the public by misrepresenting Goodwin's remark? Take, for instance, remarks by Douglas County's Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, that Star Tribune columnist Jon Tevlin wove into High-tech legislators still indulge in Stone Age behavior:
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, played the adult for much of the hearing and provided a little levity with his lack of sophistication in social media.
"I struggle with this, Twitter-Tweeter thing we have there," he said.
"Anybody who knows me, I get up every morning, roll the stone from the front of my cave and drag my knuckles to work."
Ingebrigtsen noted that his statements had been misstated on social media before, but "my skin is a little thicker than others'," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, it wasn't worth its weight in tweet, or Twitter."
Then Ingebrigtsen offered some wisdom that could only come from a knuckle-dragger: Hoffman should probably apologize at some point. He didn't post it on Facebook or send it out on his iPad, he just said it, straight up. The committee agreed and told Hoffman to remove the tweet.
It seemed like a very adult thing to do.
A fair point.
Perhaps Brodkorb can visit Fergus Falls once more and use his much-touted powers of message discipline to provide a bit of obedience training for the Republican Bulldog.
Photo: Senator Hoffman. Tip of the hat to Phoenix Woman for the Kvetchin' Gretchen moniker.