Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Democrats are taking aim at a Republican congressional candidate for blog comments they say are offensive toward women and minorities.
Jim Hagedorn, of Blue Earth, Minn., recently removed several posts from his blog, called "Mr. Conservative," before announcing this week that he was running for the 1st District House seat held by two-term Democrat Tim Walz.
Examples of posts include one about the "nomination of White House legal hack Harriet Miers to fill the bra of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor." Another refers to alleged voter fraud in the 2002 South Dakota election involving American Indians. He writes that "many of the votes registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who returned to the spirit world many moons ago." He goes on to write "Leave it to liberals to ruin John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian."
Minnesota DFL party chairman Brian Melendez called Hagedorn’s posts "racist" and said they prove he is a right-wing extremist courting Tea Party members.
"If I had racist posts out there, and I was running for office, I would want to hide them, too," Melendez said.
But Hagedorn said he removed the posts prior to 2004 only because they were outdated. He said he was writing the blog as a political satirist and it is not meant to be offensive.
Hagedorn is government relations director for Electromed Inc., based in New Prague, Minn. His father Tom Hagedorn is a former Republican congressman who represented southern Minnesota.
‘I poke fun at everybody’
"I understand that some of the folks on the left aren’t going to like what I write," he said. "I poke fun at everybody, including Republicans."
Another post receiving attention is one about the late Sen. Paul Wellstone’s funeral. He wrote: "About the memorial service. Was it just me or did it not seem as if someone bailed out the union thugs; tree huggers; abortion rights feminists; peaceniks; citizens for gay animal rights; NAMBLA members and the other Marxist sympathizers who protested at last month’s IMF meetings, and transported them to Wellstone’s memorial in a slew of green buses? Talk about lefties all in one convenient location. Hopefully after the ceremony they fumigated the arena."
Comparison to Franken
Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier said it is important to keep in mind that Sen. Al Franken managed to win election in spite of several controversial jokes, including a Saturday Night Live skit he wrote that involved the drugging and raping of CBS reporter Lesley Stahl.
"If Al Franken can write a book called ‘Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot’ and get elected, I don’t see this as a problem," Schier said.
He did say that Hagedorn’s comments regarding Indians and female Supreme Court justices is "pretty insensitive" and that he does owe voters’ an explanation. But overall, he said, what Hagedorn has written does not rise above the standard set by Franken.
He added, "I also think there is a broader lesson for prospective candidates — don’t blog."
Jim Hagedorn's Mr. Conservative blog
The Minnesota Indpendent