HOEKSTRA KEEPS DIGGING…. Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s (R-Mich.) generated a fair amount of attention yesterday when he tweeted, “Iranian twitter activity similar to what we did in House last year when Republicans were shut down in the House.”

It was, of course, a ridiculous thing to say, which in turn drew media attention and widespread online mockery.

Don’t worry, though, Hoekstra’s spokesperson can explain everything.

“Congressman Hoekstra did not compare the ongoing violence in Iran to when Democrats shut down the House chamber during the energy debate last summer,” said spokesman Dave Yonkman. “The two situations do share the similarity of government leadership attempting to limit debate and deliberation, and the ability of new technologies to bypass their efforts and allow for direct communication. That’s the only point that he was trying to make.”

Hmm. Hoekstra wasn’t comparing the two, he was just publicly noting the similarities the two situations share. It’s good to have that cleared up.

Hoekstra and his spokesperson really ought to quit while they’re behind. Last August, congressional Dems didn’t “limit debate and deliberation,” they took a scheduled summer recess. That’s what Congress does. Republicans didn’t use “new technologies to bypass their efforts”; they delivered silly speeches to tourists in the Capitol, with support from far-right radio personalities (radio is not a “new technology”).

The Michigan Republican and his aide really believe this is comparable to Iranian demonstrators taking to the streets to protest a presidential election that may have been stolen from them by an oppressive regime, and using Twitter to shine a light on developments in a country that’s cracking down on free press and free speech.

GOP lawmakers last August faced tourists; Iranian dissidents are facing clubs and bullets. The more Republicans defend the comparison, the more foolish they appear.

Update: Glenn Thrush added, in response to the Republican comparison, “Pelosi, unlike Ahmadinejad,didn’t dispatch her Revolutionary Guard to beat them up or shoot them in the streets, nor did she have the capacity to block their access to the Internet, rig a national election to keep them from being seated in the legislature or place them under House arrest when they protested.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.