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Sunday, May 1, 2016

'Twittergate' may be only the beginning

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LINCOLN -- It is too much, but the sadder thought is that more and worse could be ahead.

Virtually anything might be alleged these days, regardless of how ridiculous or disgusting, in a political campaign.

Millions of people track millions of others these days on Twitter accounts. It's a big deal to have a big following. Last time I looked, Lady Gaga led the world.

Political campaigns track opponents, friends and just about everyone. The Tweet search is pretty much generic.

Republican Senate candidates Jon Bruning and Don Stenberg debated in western Nebraska recently; moreover they recited their standard assertions and allegations about people and things, including each other.

An audio recording captured this exchange:

Bruning: "Well let me ask you this, Don. This Sunday my daughter walks in and she says, 'Don Stenberg's trying to follow me on Twitter.' My daughter's 14-years-old. Now...I'd like to know why does a 62-year-old man want to follow a 14-year-old girl on Twitter. I'd really like to know. She said, 'Dad that's kinda creepy.'

Stenberg: "First of all I don't do it myself.

Bruning: "I was just kinda curious. It's not an attack. My daughter... you tried to follow her on Twitter. Don, that's kinda weird.

Stenberg: "Quite honestly I don't do my own Twitter. Dan Parsons (Stenberg's campaign manager) does it for me. We've got thousands and thousands of folks. And as soon as we get done here I'm gonna call Dan and make sure that's taken off. I don't think it's appropriate and I don't know if Dan even knew who he was communicating with, cause I don't know what the name was.

Bruning: "Well, she's 14 Don.

Stenberg: "Well, yeah."

Parsons noted the campaign tracks a ton of people on Twitter and no one had an interest in the child's account, or even knew it was on the list.

The stomach-bothering part of this deal is in the quote from Bruning, although saying he was wasn't attacking Stenberg, he tosses out:

"Now...I'd like to know why does a 62-year-old man want to follow a 14-year-old girl on Twitter. I'd really like to know ..."

In today's world, obvious and awful things are implied by that rhetorical question.

It is, as observed earlier, too much.

We are certainly in for worse.

This was just an example of one family-values, conservative Republican taking a slap at another.

Imagine the depths of the general election.

Then again, don't. We will be caught among those depths soon enough.

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J.L. Schmidt
Capitol View
Nebraska Press Association