On Monday, the BBC reported No, civility isn't dead in politics, but in one Minnesota House district, it may be under "Do Not Resuscitate" orders.
This astonishing clip from a League of Women Voters' debate in Minnesota House District25A showed up in our editor's Facebook feed:
The moment was captured by Alisha Eiken, who posted on Facebook:
MN House 25A Debate tonight...Duane Quam loses his temper and rips the microphone out of Jamie Mahlberg’s hands while she was speaking about funding education. And then throws it back at her after his incoherent rebuttal. Around 41 min.
The video of the debate can be viewed in its entirety here.
As we write this, the post has been shared 244 times, with Eiken tagging bloggers (not us) and local traditional media alike.
UPDATE: As one might expect, The Twitterverse is sharing this moment:
That’s @mngop endorsed 25A Rep. Duane Quam grabbing the microphone from and tossing it back to @MinnesotaDFL endorsed @JamieForHouseMN during last night’s debate.— Drew Nelson (@dwnels83) October 9, 2018
Inexcusable and utterly disrespectful. https://t.co/h9w3Yxd7N0
The comments here on reddit are entertaining:
MN House debate: Mic Ripped from Jamie Mahlberg's (DFL-25A) Hands by GOP incumbent representative Duane Quam https://t.co/gU2KnzkTPA— Sarah Peterson (@SarahPe20915764) October 9, 2018
The moment earned this notice in the Star Tribune's Morning Hotdish from J. Patrick Coolican:
Rep. Duane Quam, who once hip checked a reporter on the floor of the Minnesota House, is seen here rather forcefully grabbing the microphone from his opponent Jamie Mahlberg and then flipping the mic back to her when he's done with it. Trump won the district by 16.
Obviously, that margin is a license for bad behavior--and bad policy proposals.
Blogger and transparency champion Tony Webster has uploaded a YouTube of the incident: [end update]
Alisha Eiken, a nurse who lives in the Rochester area, also noticed something about Quam last summer, writing in a letter to the editor of the Rochester Bulletin, We have a right to expect decency from public officials:
The GOP float in the parade was pulled by Brian Braaten in a truck advertising his business. Braaten is a former Rochester Township board chairman who has posted racist and sexist material online. His posts are so vile that the chair of the Olmsted County GOP in 2017 said, “I find them reprehensible. He’s not associated with us now, and I don’t see him being involved with us in the future.”
And yet, there he was, very much involved with the county GOP, pulling their float and getting in some free advertising with local voters. I messaged the county GOP to express my disgust. Their response: “We’re not advertising, we’re borrowing a truck. Pay attention to the float.”
OK, let’s pay attention to the float. Firmly planted on the float was Rep. Duane Quam, current state representative for House District 25A. This isn’t surprising since Quam himself has twice introduced legislation that would allow business owners to discriminate against customers, based on the business owner’s religious beliefs.
We have a right to expect certain standards of decency from our elected officials. The county GOP and Quam have known for years exactly what Braaten stands for and are apparently OK with it. Are you?
There's some bush-league trolling in the comments, including the remark that giving large contributions to a campaign means the donor "works for" a campaign, a serious misunderstanding of campaign staffing.
Screengrab: DFL House District 25A candidate Jamie Mahlberg reacts to Duane Quam ripping the microphone out of her hands in a LVW debate in Rochester on Monday, October 9, 2018.
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