MASON CITY – Long-time Globe Gazette contributor, blogger and local political guru Todd Blodgett this weekend left a series of what some called incendiary comments at the Globe Gazette’s website that their newsroom allowed to stay published for nearly two days. The comments seemed to mock Muslims and their God, Allah, as well as African Americans.
NorthIowaToday.com was alerted to the comments – which were posted under a story about two Mason City citizens who are candidates for the City Council – and questioned the Globe Gazette and Blodgett about the comments, which some in the community worried were “dangerous” and “incendiary”.
Within minutes of NorthIowaToday.com Publisher Matt Marquardt questioning a Globe Gazette newsroom reporter and an editor about the comments – and subsequently publishing a story about the situation – some of the comments were removed from their web site.
“To the Globe’s credit,” Marquardt said later Monday, “they did express a bit of concern about the hateful rhetoric. It was almost embarrassing that the Globe’s newsroom denied that they knew about the comments. Perhaps the Globe should focus more on truthful reporting and less on barbecues; the community might be better off.”
NorthIowaToday.com attempted throughout Monday to reach Todd Blodgett for comment; he refused direct comment but he indicated that two associates would contact the NIT newsroom with remarks that he had authorized them to make.
Monday morning and then later that evening, two associates of Todd Blodgett who wished to remain anonymous contacted NIT. The following is some of what was said in those conversations:
“Let’s just say it seems that Todd Blodgett may not exactly be a big fan of NIT,” one man said, while attempting to explain Blodgett’s reasoning behind the comments published by the Globe Gazette.
One of the Blodgett associates is a local Mason City resident known to NIT, and the other, NIT confirmed, is a longtime friend of Blodgett’s, who is in regular contact with him.
In separate conversations, both Blodgett associates offered their perspectives to NIT on what one of them men called “one of the most intriguing, enigmatic personalities ever to have hailed from Mason City”. Both told us that Todd Blodgett is no racist, and one said that “he’s crazy like a fox”.
Here are some of the highlights of those conversations…
“Todd just likes to get a rise out of people,” one associate said. “He’s always been that way, even when he was in school here in Mason. He was bored, and so he challenged things, and people… teachers, principals, kids that were bigger and tougher than he was, you name it.
“Sometimes he won, sometimes he’d get his ass kicked,” the man continued. “But he never quit, and he’d always pick himself up, dust himself off, and get back in the game. He’s a born rebel, but it’s tough to be a rebel when you come from the kind of family that Todd came from. He was born and bred to do things in a more proper way, the so-called ‘Establishment Way’. But he never went along with any of that.”
Oddly enough, one of the Blodgett associates added “I’m not even sure that Todd even believes half the crap he writes, at least on the blog threads. I know for a fact that his concern for the underdog is genuine. I think his past drug usage might’ve had something to do with that.”
Todd Blodgett has been very forthright in acknowledging that he was addicted to crack cocaine; that is a known fact. He has said that he beat drugs in 2006, and is known to regularly attend meetings of Narcotics Anonymous.
“He’s actually helped a lot of people, the kind of folks that many of his political enemies would be surprised as hell to know that he even knows,” a Blodgett associate explained. “I’m sure that Todd has probably spent more time with, and his own money helping, more people in dire straits around here than just about any other, so-called ‘Conservative Republican’ I know of. That’s an absolute fact.”
The Blodgetts are probably the best-known Republican family in North Iowa, and Todd Blodgett has continue in his father Gary’s footsteps of mincing no words. Dr. Gary Blodgett served four terms as Deputy Majority Leader in the Iowa Legislature (1992-2001), where he chaired the House Ways and Means Committee, and represented Mason City, Clear Lake, and about 12 smaller north Iowa communities. President George W. Bush appointed Gary Blodgett to the position of Federal Administrative Judge in 2001, and Blodgett and his wife, Sandy, lived in Washington, DC, during President Bush’s two terms in office.
After working for an Iowa U.S. Senator who lost re-election to Tom Harkin, Todd Blodgett landed on the White House staff of President Ronald Reagan, where he worked from 1985 to 1987. He then went to work for the late Lee Atwater, who was the premier political bomb-thrower of his time.
Blodgett also worked for the FBI for several years as a paid informant, assigned by the bureau to surveil racists among the Far Right. “Anyone who may think that Todd’s trying to provoke any real terrorist violence doesn’t know Todd,” a Blodgett associate claimed. “Todd just likes tossing words out there, to see what comes back,” the source said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Todd is still in regular contact with the bureau, because he told me that he met with a couple of FBI agents about a year ago, after some nut that Todd used to monitor went and shot up a Sikh temple in Milwaukee.” When asked if he thinks that his friend should exhibit more discretion when posting comments, the man laughed, and said, “Good luck on that! Todd speaks his mind, public opinion be damned.”
Here are some of the comments Todd Blodgett posted to the GlobeGazette.com over the weekend of August 17th and 18th, 2013, along with the headline to the Globe Gazette story: