What happens when you’re in a Twitter ‘spat’ with Chip Flowers and don’t even know it?

Filed in Delaware by on May 27, 2014

According to Jonathan Starkey over at the News Journal, I was in a Twitter spat with Chip Flowers over a tweet I sent on Sunday about one of his challengers, Sean Barney, getting a choice spot on msnbc while the network scrambled to cover President Obama’s surprise visit to Afghanistan.


Apparently, Flowers wasn’t too keen on my innocent joke that he was “pissed” at Barney’s free airtime (or, in true Flowers fashion, one of his employees was pissed, since he blamed the now-deleted tweet on an unnamed staffer). According to Flowers, Memorial Day is “above politics.”

For the record, Memorial Day weekend isn’t above politics – it is politics. It’s a weekend set aside for us to wave flags and mindlessly remember the fallen troops who gave their lives in service of our country. A noble idea, but one that completely sidesteps two very important things – the often-bad decisions that put them in harm’s way in the first place, and the veterans that we devote substandard care to once they return home.

You know who I mourned yesterday when I wasn’t thinking about Flowers? The 22 vets who committed suicide yesterday. Yes, just about one every 65 minutes or so. About 8,000 a year. Didn’t hear much about them yesterday, did you?

Another hater of my joke (does no one in this state have a sense of humor?) was Delaware Way blogger Nancy Willing, who once professed her love for me. Her reaction is somewhat baffling – she seems to think I was reporting on Flowers’ reaction, rather than making light of the fact his opponent just had a giant microphone shoved in his face. I guess her blind hatred of Gov. Markell caused her to miss the tweet that immediately preceded my all-too-serious joke about Flowers:

Flowers (correction, a member of Flowers’ staff. Chip loves the troops, especially when one of them is running against him) also made some type of assertion, based solely on my tweet, that Gov. Jack Markell was spreading “lies” to score political points. For a guy who didn’t want politics to invade his sober remembrance of the troops, that’s some paranoid political thinking right there. Especially since the last time I mentioned Markell, it was in reference to him balancing the state’s problems on the backs of the middle class.

Back in November, I wrote that Flowers was just the latest in a long-line of bonehead politicians, and nothing in the months since has changed my opinion. He also continues to struggle with that first rung on his political ladder. 

If you’re reading this Chip, let me offer you a bit of communications advice that you’re obviously not getting from your tweet-heavy staff – stop aiming that gun at your own feet. Apparently, it’s got a hair trigger.

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author ()

Rob Tornoe is a local cartoonist and columnist, and can be seen in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Press of Atlantic City, The News Journal, and the Dover Post chain of newspapers. He's also a contributor to Media Matters and WHYY. Web site: RobTornoe.com Twitter: @RobTornoe

Comments (33)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. jason330 says:

    The real victim in this…? Selander. Let it go Brian. You have opened a door to a normal life. Walk through it.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    LOL! Flowers does like to throw his own employees under the bus, doesn’t he? You’d think that someone who has so many employees who can’t get with the program would: 1) change the program; or 2) get better employees. But maybe this Nixonian business suits him.

    And I wouldn’t worry about Nancy Willing. She’s a Flowers groupie who doe not care that her defense of this guy completely shreds any good government cred she might have had.

  3. AQC says:

    3…2…1…”you’re racist” cries coming from Flowers and his supporters!

  4. Turk 184 says:

    The Chipster, back in the news….life is good!

  5. kavips says:

    I’m shaking my head that a Twitter exchange is even given news space in the News Journal… Quick! Someone twit Rick Jensen. Let’s get ourselves in the News Journal… Of all the things to write about… this is news?

    America’s press, is literally out to lunch….

    Pat Fish’s (who?) fence controversy in Sussex County has far more relevance to Americans than a twit….

    But still, congratulations to Rob T are in order I do believe, who despite its irrelevancy, has again scored his 15 seconds… 🙂 lol.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    Unfortunately, politicians who are a perpetual train wreck get news space — cf, Sarah Palin.

  7. Geezer says:

    @kavips: There is no cure for your kind of stupid.

    “News space” is unlimited online. Jonathan Starkey covers politics. What part of this don’t you understand? Your purchase of a newspaper does not translate into you getting to set the newspaper’s agenda.

    Just because you’re still looking for your 15 minutes doesn’t make it OK to attack someone for having achieved it.

  8. hmm says:

    So am I missing something or did Chip delete the tweets?

  9. hmm says:

    Nevermind, I can’t read.

  10. Jason330 says:

    Flowers is going to dig his way out of the hole.

  11. liberalgeek says:

    Chip and his staff would have been better served with a tweet that thanked Sean Barney for his service and then went for burgers and hot dogs for the rest of the day. I swear, if Chip and his team could learn when to say something and when to shut up, we wouldn’t even know who Sean Barney is.

  12. In The Know says:

    Anyone familiar with Chip Flowers would be ROTFL when seeing a reference to “Chip and his staff.” He long ago stopped listening to the only advisors who offered competent advice; they are no longer part of the team. The shoot-from-the-hip response to Selander’s retweet was vintage Chip, indicative of his personal animus toward anyone close to Jack Markell, past or present. The only way Chip’s “staff,” such as it is, would have sent that tweet would be if Chip personally ordered that it be sent.

  13. hmm says:


  14. Delaware Dem says:

    If Chip Flowers does win this primary, it will be despite himself and his campaign, not because of it. My God, the easiest thing in the world to do is to 1) ignore Tornoe’s tweet or 2) do what Geek said, thank him for his service. PR 101. But here we get the third option: ignite a twitter war that makes news and then double down on it with an attack on Barney, saying he is politicizing his military service.

    My mind is simply blown.

  15. Monday's blue Tuesday's grey says:

    Flowers needs a new PR flack.

    It’s worth noting that Flowers has often called himself a “military brat” in campaign materials, promoting his family’s own military service.


    Delaware Treasurer Chip Flowers took issue with a suggestion he was “pissed” that his primary challenger landed an MSNBC interview to discuss his military experience and plug his campaign.

    Flowers said he was “proud” to see Sean Barney discussing his service in Iraq. “This weekend is above politics,” Flowers, or a campaign staffer, wrote in a since-deleted response. Flowers said that “as a military brat, I am proud when people talk about the military. ”


    Delaware Treasurer Chip Flowers says his Democratic primary opponent, a Marine who served and was wounded in Iraq, is improperly using his military service to his political advantage.

    “I believe my opponent and the Markell team is trying to politicize military service, and I believe it is very disrespectful to the men and women, like many of my family, who serve every day without using it for political advantage,” said Flowers, whose father is a retired Army officer. “I kindly request that he stop devaluing the hard work of our men and women in uniform.”

  16. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    I, for one, what to Chip Flowers succeed. He is a once a lifetime buffoon. By his every movement and utterance his writes the script for a new laugh.

    Some advice for the Chipster: never overlook the opportunity to shut up.

  17. Nuttingham says:

    Flowers/O’Donnell ’16!

  18. Jason330 says:

    SB is playing the veteran card on Facebook now. The nerve…

  19. AQC says:

    So, a guy who never served wants to criticize the guy who volunteered during a time of war for talking proudly about his service?! A special kind of stupid.

  20. Aoine says:

    Chip for NCC sheriff. A constitutional man for a constitutional position
    Oh wait, you all HAVE A sheriff a good one

    Maybe Kent will take him- sussex already has their nut case
    Maybe the IPod needs a candidate and he will join that happy ship of fools –

    Coz the conservative Rs in Sussex won’t take him – ask Wilson or Phillips …….

  21. In The Know says:

    Chip has no PR flack. He decided he had no use for advice that he didn’t feel like following.
    And he really doesn’t need a PR person because he believes everything he says is right, even when he retracts or amends previous statements.

  22. My cred is threatened over this crap? Nice try DELibbers. I like Flowers and think he deserves another term in office all the more as he wears the target Markell placed on his back just like so many others in our state who don’t play his way.

    The Markell surrogate Sean Barney lost his cred for me when he told members of the 23rd and 25th DEM committees that he had no opinion on Cash Management Policy Board finance disclosure etc. because he’d have to run it by them first. There can’t be anyone in the State who can possibly serve AND disclose conflict of interest?

    Also, Barney sent what I considered a highly insulting email to DEMs on May 12th titled “Today I am Grateful to be Alive” where he used his service as a campaign crutch.

    He has never had a job in the public sector and has no experience for the job. We don’t need a Markell apparatchik.

  23. Aoine says:

    In a toss up between an ignoramus or a ‘Markell apparatchik ‘ I’ll take the apparatchik

    Better manners, less drama

  24. SussexAnon says:

    “He has never had a job in the public sector and has no experience for the job.”


    Perhaps Sean can take time out of his busy schedule reminding everyone he is a veteran to talk about his qualifications for treasurer. Being a speech writer for Bill Bradley and yes man to Markell and Carper must have given him SOME experience for the treasurers office, right?

    So far he has been an empty suit. How fitting is it that he used the “turtle on a fence post” reference in his MSNBC interview?

  25. cassandra_m says:

    He does talk about his qualifications to be treasurer and his vision for the job. Please don’t tell me you haven’t roused yourself from in front of your TV to try to go meet him! 🙄

    The current holder of the office sold a whole bunch of Democrats that he was going to remake the economic climate of the state without ever explaining how he was going to convince the Governor to actually give him those duties. Now all we have is a Treasurer who can’t manage his staff (office or campaign), can’t manage his budget and sends out some of The People’s Treasury Report — one of the stupidest efforts I’ve ever seen pretending to actually inform someone. Or something. Who knows.

    But consider yourself counted as one of those working overtime to maintain a low bar of expectations for this office.

  26. SussexAnon says:

    Already met Sean. Pre-candidate and recently.

    Thanks for the suckitude update on Flowers, but please do inform us of Seans awesome qualifications to be treasurer.

    I am not wowed by either of them.

  27. In The Know says:

    I count four qualifications:
    1. He’s a Democrat
    2. He’s not named Flowers
    3. He has worked for two former state treasurers and can always call them for advice on how to do the job
    4. He thinks all kids should have a savings account.
    If you’re looking to vote for someone who has real credentials for doing the job, you should probably vote for Ken Simpler.

  28. Aint's Taking it Any More says:

    There is no reason to elect a State Treasurer in Delaware. The office has very little real decision making power or dominion. Hence, credentials are like b@lls on a blue hen.

    I’ll vote for the first candidate for that office that promises to abolish it as an elected office.

  29. painesme says:

    My personal favorite was when Chip belittled “checking accounts for kids”. Such things are apparently beneath him and the office of Treasurer.

    What an elitist.

  30. liberalgeek says:

    I would point out that checking accounts for kids isn’t exactly a core duty of the office of Treasurer. I have seen Sean speak at least 3 times and it is generally in the format of 1/3 war record, 1/3 getting along with policy-makers and 1/3 checking accounts for kids. Only one of those 3 is actually a requirement for the office (and one that Flowers has been poor at).

    Treasurer Markell made financial literacy a goal of his tenure a (and VJP continued it) but that doesn’t make it essential or even appropriate.

  31. puck says:

    ” Only one of those 3 is actually a requirement for the office”

    Which one?

  32. PluribusUnum says:

    Why do kids need checking accounts? Shouldn’t they have savings accounts?