Sen. Owen Hill Commendably Kiboshes Fact-Free Twitter Tantrum

An "incident" in the Senate Education Committee last week involving Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak and Republican freshman Sen. Owen Hill turned into a major, albeit short-lived kerfluffle Friday after being clipped and circulated nationally by conservative media sites and social media personalities. Sen. Hudak, as you know, has been under intense fire from conservatives after a gaffe in testimony about a gun bill that later died. It appears that Friday's "Twitter bomb" of this audio clip was meant to further trash Sen. Hudak's character–an odd level of attention given to a term-limited lawmaker, but far be it from us to tell GOP operatives how to spend their time.

At issue was the debate in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday of the new School Finance Act proposal from Sen. Michael Johnston. It's a major piece of legislation, and Republicans are not favorably predisposed due to its linkage with a significant revenue measure that would appear on the statewide ballot. To make a long story short, Sen. Hudak is chair of the Education Committee. Due to scheduling, it was necessary to release committee members to their other committee obligations by 1:30PM. This put the Education Committee in the position of having a lot to cover, and not a lot of time to cover it. Sen. Hudak tried to get the committee through a long series of amendments, and probably was a bit short with Republicans who, true to form, wanted to "slow down" and debate the amendments in greater detail.

Near the very end of this hours-long proceeding, Sen. Hudak told Sen. Hill to "flip a coin" to decide how to vote on a Republican-introduced amendment to the bill. What she really wanted Sen. Hill to do, of course, was vote–and the outcome was not in question. But she was a bit rude about it, and from the audio it's clear that Sen. Hill wasn't real pleased.

The incident is what it is–probably not Sen. Hudak's most statesmanlike moment, but hardly a front-page story. Until, that is, out-of-state conservative pundits and their massive social media entourages–which have been lurking in Colorado social media channels since the gun debate–got ahold of an out-of-context recording of the incident made by a local right-wing blog


Folks, where do we even begin debunking this nonsense? This was not a bill to "levy $1 bill in new taxes." If this school finance bill passes, as anyone literate in Colorado politics knows, any tax increase would have to go to the voters, per TABOR. And it wasn't the bill itself that Sen. Hudak sarcastically told Sen. Hill to "flip a coin" on, it was one of some twenty amendments to the bill, many intended by Republicans to stall the process.

By Friday afternoon, conservative social media and right wing news sites like Glenn Beck's The Blaze were headlining Sen. Hudak's exchange with Sen. Hill. By Saturday, a vapid blog post at the Denver Post was uncritically publicizing the "story." This would probably be headed for further misbegotten coverage today, were it not for Sen. Hill's commendable decision to put a stop to it in an email to supporters Saturday night:

The day after this happened, Senator Hudak graciously apologized. In fact, I brought a coin to committee and flipped it before my final vote. [Pols emphasis]  Everyone in the room had a good laugh.
I want to thank Senator Hudak and the bill sponsors for their work and while we may disagree strongly on this tax increase, they agreed to slow down this bill to give us more time to debate it.

Now, what do you suppose the chances are that The Blaze, and all the other right-wing "news sites"–or for that matter, the Denver Post–are going to update their stories with either the context or Sen. Hill's gracious closure on the incident? Fat chance: in the low-information conservative agitation bubble, this is already headed for apocryphal legend status. Which was, most likely, the whole point from the beginning.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Conservatives have been all over Sen. Hudak in social media, not only since her gun bill statement. What they have against her I don't know, but it goes way beyond electoral politics.

    Sen. Hudak has been posting updates to the progress of the education reform bill, and it's clear that she and the rest of the Senators in the committee worked hard, long hours in considering it. Sen. Hudak was also pleased at the delay in the bill's consideration on the floor and said so…

    I think you've hit it dead on in your evaluation, Guvs. The demonization won't end with the resolution betwen Hill and Hudak, because it didn't start there. It's a "low-information conservative agitation bubble" phenomenon, not any serious beef between our state senators.

  2. ClubTwitty says:

    It’s hard for Twitty to escape the conclusion that the R's in the state leg are so desperate that all they now have is lies designed to inflame ignorant, low-info voters.  How that translate into any electoral success (short-term let alone lng-term) in a state like Colorado is curious.  Today McNulty sent a tweet around from some GOP state leg group claiming that new oil and gas regulations would cost MILLIONS of jobs in CO.  Millions.  That's plural, thus at least two million,.  There are 2.2 million households, total, in the state.  Do the math and you arrive at … 100% made up bullshit, and yet Rep. McNulty–not just any random legislator but the former Speaker and House GOP leadership, retweeting total nonsense.  While I think some of the GOP caucus is not smarter than a box of hammers (as Pols once put it)  certainly some others (looking at you Frank) know better, but are either too lazy to check facts before retweeting or are simply manipulative and unethical. 

    • The realistThe realist says:

      . . . either too lazy to check facts before retweeting or are simply manipulative and unethical.

      Frank and others were hoping you'd have a third choice . . . in a war for the very soul of the state (or something like that).



    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      are simply manipulative and unethical.

      this one…


      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Frank knows damned well there are no more than 15,000 O&G workers in the entire state. Actually, I think the number is closer to 10,000…last time I checked.

        • Curmudgeon says:

          Don't worry, CrappyHo will dutifully explain away that minor exaggeration by pointing out that you're ingoring all the jobs dependent on the Oil and Gas industry; prostitutes, meth production and sales workers, guys who sell stupid overized white trucks, shops that sell nekkid lady mudflaps for stupid white trucks, body shops that repair damage done when a meth-addled oil and gashole sideswipes your car with his stupid white truck……ok, I'm a little bitter.


    • RavenDawg says:

      Low information voters

      by definition don't care about this inside-baseball stuff–they probably don't even know the lege is in session.  Pols more correctly identified the "low information conservative agitation bubble.  This is really about stroking the base, letting them hear what they want to hear, keep those TV ratings up.  And you know, a little red meat to the base every day, keeps the primary away.

  3. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    It's very sad to watch them beat up on Evie, and unsurprising to watch Lynn Bartels pile on the bullshit.

  4. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    Burried the Lede.

    The Kibosh is below the fold.

  5. Gray in Mountains says:

    The Blaze? Sounds kinda gay doesn't it?

  6. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Shorter version: Evie Hudak stuck her foot in her mouth again, and Sen. Hill let her off the hook. If you don't want conservative blogs talking about how Democrats want to flip a coin on matters of major importance, don't say it. Simple!

  7. Irish Patti says:

    The blaze is run by Glen Beck. Whatever they write is not worth the hits from intellegent people. I mean if Goopy likes it you know it has limited intellectual appeal. 

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