On Saturday, Representative Pat Garofalo fired off a series of remarkable tweets about the Second Congressional District Republican Convention at the St. Croix Lutheran School in West St. Paul:
My much heralded network of spies has acquired video of the meltdown/rant against me at CD2 with full F bomb. #Glorious— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 28, 2015
Here it is. CD2 unplugged. (Hopefully the link works) https://t.co/GjaR10XFba— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 28, 2015
Here's the speech, magically transported to YouTube by Dan Feidt:
Fortunately, Representative Garofalo (and fellow SD 54 Republican, Representative Denny McNamara) won't have to depend on his quick wit or resort to caning this uncouth upset with Rod Hamilton's walking stick (pictured at top, via Rachel Stassen-Berger's tweet).
Keep it Civil Minnesota is here to rescue our discourse.
In Sarcasm in politics? Whatever., Star Tribune political reporter J. Patrick Coolican writes:
Now come the civility finger-waggers. The news release says a team of policy fellows from the Humphrey School is launching “Keep It Civil MN.”
“This project aims to promote civility in Minnesota politics at the State Capitol,” says the release. Meetings with legislators will create a “healthy and civil bipartisan atmosphere.”
Naturally, there will be a Facebook page and Twitter account and a hashtag, #KeepItCivilMN, “to encourage civil political discourse online.”
Why the need?
From the release: “At some point in recent history, political debate entered a wider-than-usual spiral of negativity.” Debates “have become increasingly filled with remarks that are uncivil, sarcastic, deceptive, disingenuous, snarky and downright nasty.”
Recent history? By recent history, do they mean 1964? That’s when President Lyndon Johnson and his men ran the “Daisy” ad, an ominous spot that warned of a coming nuclear catastrophe should Johnson’s opponent, Sen. Barry Goldwater, get elected. Candidates these days usually warn about tax increases or school funding cuts, not nuclear war. . . .
In 1856, antislavery Republican Charles Sumner made a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate in which, according to the Senate’s website, he mocked South Carolina colleague Andrew Butler for taking a mistress, “the harlot, slavery.” Butler’s fellow South Carolinian, Rep. Preston Brooks, would later enter the chamber and beat Sumner with a cane near to death.
If only there had been a “Keep It Civil” campaign to create a “healthy and civil bipartisan atmosphere” around the issue of slavery.
We'll leave that “healthy and civil bipartisan atmosphere” to one of the Snark Patrol's founders, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Ben Gerber. The Chamber's Manager of Energy and Labor/Management Policy, Gerber is totally Minnesota Nice when he talks, as he did in 2013, about keeping Minnesota's minimum wage at $6.15 for large employers and $5.25 for small businesses, or about not passing laws about paid sick leave, as he did more recently in today report at CBS Minnesota, MDH: Lack of Paid Sick Leave Leads To Spread Of Disease:
The lack of paid sick leave in Minnesota workplaces has contributed to contagious disease outbreaks and added to employers’ health care expenses, according to a report issued earlier this month from the state’s Department of Health. ...
The Minnesota health department’s 39-page white paper was commissioned by the state legislature.
The report found that the Minnesota employees least likely to have paid sick leave are in the occupations most likely to have contact with the public: long-term care, health care and food services. . . .
Criticism of paid leave legislation has come largely from business owners, who argue that new requirements will hurt their bottom line and subject them to overbearing regulations.
“Mandating benefits hinders employers’ flexibility to deal with individual employee circumstances and may ignore the realities of their particular industry,” Ben Gerber, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s manager of labor/management policy, said in a statement. “Proposed mandates are especially onerous and troublesome for small employers.”
The MDH report found that employers actually benefited financially from offering paid leave, seeing improvements in recruitment, retention and morale. Employers without paid leave policies suffered indirect costs, the report found, “including lost labor time, costs related to the spread of illness and disease, and challenges in employee recruitment and retention.”
Indeed, as we start sneezing over the next sandwich dropped off at Bluestem World Headquarters by a generous reader, we so totally won't be inclined to borrow that cane from Representative Garofalo to conduct a civil discourse on workers' rights with Mr. Gerber nor even hurl one of Mr. Erickson's colorful invectives while we run to the bathroom.
Photo: Should Rep. Pat Garofalo no be able to subdue Mr. Erickson through social media mockery or that tweeted challenge to a duel, perhaps he'll revive an older legislative tradition of caning. Photo by Rachel Stassen Berger via twitter.
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