Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback learns that the Internet can be mean

The state's highest office is in a Twitter spat.

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Brownback is feeling the wrath of Twitter.
  • Brownback is feeling the wrath of Twitter.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is so fragile. We found out last week just how delicate the Republican’s feelings are, after a teenager made a rude comment about him on the Internet. Emma Sullivan, an 18-year-old senior at Shawnee Mission East High School, grabbed headlines with a tweet directed at Brownback. She had just heard the governor speak to her Youth in Government group in Topeka, and she wasn’t impressed. She tweeted to her followers, who numbered just 65 at the time: "Just made mean comments at gov. brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot."

Though this was an exaggeration — Sullivan hadn’t spoken directly to the governor — it was nothing uncommon or even especially critical in the joke-heavy Twitterverse. But it would not stand in Brownbackistan. Someone in the governor’s administration saw the tweet and blew the whistle on Sullivan to Youth in Government, which then alerted Shawnee Mission East principal Karl Krawitz. Krawitz, apparently believing that children should be seen and not heard, pronounced the school “embarrassed” and asked Sullivan to apologize to the bruised governor. Sullivan told The Washington Post that Krawitz gave her talking points for the proposed mea culpa. Meanwhile, news of Suckedgate spread, and Sullivan’s Twitter following ballooned with supporters.

The Shawnee Mission School District announced Monday that it wouldn’t require Sullivan to apologize, and by that afternoon, Brownback had issued his own apology to Sullivan. (The governor’s staff and Krawitz owe her a stack of Hallmark cards as well.) After this PR nightmare, Gov. Poutypants could use a pick-me-up, so we offer him a few apology tweets after the jump in lieu of Sullivan’s:

We’re sorry you made Kansas the first state without an arts program #heblowsalot

We’re sorry you were the only governor outside Texas to attend Rick Perry’s bigot convention in Houston #heblowsalot

We’re sorry you hired a state IT chief with a degree from a diploma mill #heblowsalot

We’re sorry he quit and then had to admit you hadn’t vetted him #heblowsalot
We’re sorry you’re actively trying to turn young minds off politics #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your staff had to work Thanksgiving weekend due to your getting butt-hurt over a tweet #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your budget had 1,000 state workers taking early buyouts while keeping someone on the payroll to monitor Twitter #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your social-media gestapo blew this completely out of proportion #heblowsalot

We’re sorry you don’t believe in protecting every citizen’s right to free speech #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your staff didn’t have better things to do than try to get a high-schooler in trouble #heblowsalot

We’re sorry you’re so sensitive to what teenage girls think of you #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your spokeswoman thought tattling about a tweet was “important” #heblowsalot

We’re sorry your actions will likely have a chilling effect on other young people #heblowsalot

Finally, we’re not sorry #heblowsalot will forever be associated with you on Twitter.

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