MINOT, N.D. — "Fargo Rep. Jim Kasper says he did not share racist, sexist and fake news posts that appeared on his Facebook page in an incident almost identical to an episode in January," my colleague, reporter Jeremy Turley, wrote in a Twitter post linking his most recent article about The Most Hacked Man in America.
Back in January, Kasper was caught with some offensive posts and shares on his Facebook account. He claimed, at the time, that he was hacked, prompting many bipartisan eye rolls around the state.
As Turley notes, Kasper has been caught with similarly offensive material on his Facebook account again.
His explanation? He was hacked, he says. Again.
"I am not technologically smart at all," Kasper said. "I do not know how these things happen."
As you might imagine, I talk to a lot of people in North Dakota's political circles, and I've yet to find anyone, be they Republican or Democrat or some other ideological flavor, who is buying what Kasper is selling.
Except, I guess, Kasper's Majority Leader, Rep. Chet Pollert.
"I've talked to Rep. Kasper, and I've got no reason to not believe him," he told Turley and fellow reporter Adam Willis.
Does anyone think Pollert really feels that way? If there is one thing that has defined that man's tenure as a leader in the Legislature, it is his stubborn refusal to make hard decisions, be they about governing during the coronavirus pandemic or bringing accountability to his caucus.
Let's try a thought exercise.
Let's choose to believe everything Kasper is telling us about the ugly material posted to his Facebook account. Let's suspend our disbelief and take it as gospel that someone accessed his account and posted horrendous memes and messages over and over again without Kasper knowing about it until the news media picked up on it.
Does that sound like someone you want serving in the Legislature?
If the man can't manage a basic Facebook profile without it blowing up in his face every few months, why should he be trusted to make public policy on everything from the state budget to complicated IT projects to education?
Kasper has left us with two options.
We can believe him, which means we also have to think that he is an incompetent bewildered by the intricacies of Facebook. "I am not technologically smart at all," Kasper tells us, but how many Luddites are using Facebook every day without managing to manifest hateful images on their profiles?
We can also think he's lying. Then we're left with Kasper, having already been burned for offensive content on his profile once before, thinking it would be a good idea to continue posting objectionable content just weeks away from election day.
He then didn't even have the courage to stand behind what he posted when challenged, instead choosing to lie about it.
Which one of these scenarios makes us believe that Kasper, who has been in the state House for going on two decades, should get another term?
It pains me to say this because the Democrats hoping to unseat Kasper would not make good policy for North Dakota in Bismarck, and most of the time Kasper pushes his vote button in Bismarck the way I'd like him to, but Republicans can't afford to keep making accepting excuses for this sort of behavior.
Call me pollyannish — I'm writing this in the Trump era after all — but Republicans have to start demanding integrity from Republicans again.
It could start with Kasper demanding some integrity from himself.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.