Where were the freeze-peachers when Minnesota Republicans took over?

I am amused. This is so typical. When the Republicans took over the Minnesota House, they installed a button to silence opposition.

The outgoing Republican speaker of the Minnesota House had the power to silence debate with the push of a button. His Democratic successor says one of the first things she’ll do when she takes over is remove the master mute button.

The GOP leadership quietly had the button installed on the back of the rostrum after the 2015 session came to a particularly raucous end. Labeled “chamber mute,” it silences the microphones at all of the other lawmakers’ desks simultaneously. Democrats became aware of it when Speaker Kurt Daudt pushed it during an acrimonious debate in 2016. They’ve been stewing ever since.

Now if only they could install a mute button to shut the electorate up — you know they want to.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Pssst, Ms. Pelosi – we can make yours in lime green or lavender…”

    Before 20th-century sound-amplification systems, natural selection had winnowed the stereotypical US politician to a barrel-bodied phenotype, with lung power sufficient to address large auditoria and outdoor rallies unaided. The spread of this technology could result in the return of that physical form to the halls of power – especially once the hackers find its vulnerabilities and release the proverbial “app for that”…

  2. says

    That all feeds back into Republican notions of hierarchy and order. The House speaker is the “authority,” and the peons (e.g. fellow lawmakers) don’t have the standing to overrule them.

    Just another way conservative philosophy is antithetical to a democratic society.

  3. unclefrogy says

    when I was in grade school they described the political divide at the time of the Revolution as roughly 1/3 third in favor of it, 1/3 third that was neutral neither supported it nor were against it and 1/3 who were against it, the Torries who supported the king,
    it seems to me that those who did not leave have become the conservatives
    and would have a new king if they could. they sure as hell are not strong supporters of the idea of democratic rule one man one vote.
    uncle frogy

  4. microraptor says

    unclefrogy @4:

    That’s because they realize how awful their ideas are and thus need to suppress votes, lie, and generally undermine democracy as much as they possibly can in order to insure that they stay in power. Because staying in power is what all they care about.

  5. nomdeplume says

    What wonderful (and awful) metaphor for the Republican attitude to democracy in general – silence all opposition.

  6. says

    The GOP leadership quietly had the button installed on the back of the rostrum after the 2015 session came to a particularly raucous end

    I just watched video of those proceedings. There was a bit of very justified noise, but it all seemed rather tame to me. It is amazing that they thought that was raucous or inappropriate. They need to experience the joys of shouting and being loud in the House of Commons. These fragile Republicans would be eaten alive if they had to face that environment.

  7. chrislawson says

    Ah yes, the old Freeze Peach crowd:

    Protected speech: neo-Nazi rallies in public spaces where counter-protestors have been assaulted and murdered.
    Not protected speech: non-Republican elected representatives trying to exercise their duties in the legislative chamber.

    Also, according to the linked story, Senate Democrat leader Tom Bakk ought to be answering some very pointed questions from his own team. What a complete misjudgement to participate in a video palling around with the Republicans and making light of the mute button. Yes, I know it was for a non-partisan fundraising roast, and it would have been a good joke if the scenario had been completely invented for the video…but there was a real life mute button in the House that had been used to silence Democrats in the middle of debating. Which rather makes the joke not funny at all.