This morning's episode of Emo Senator, Southern Minnesota's most beloved online telenovela, is brought to you by a sharp-eyed farm activist in Steele County. This friend called Bluestem's attention to Emo's star performance in an Owatonna People's Press video at the bottom of the article, Sen. Mike Parry kicks off Congressional campaign.
A classic moment of Emo Senator starts around the eight minute mark:
Another thing about it is this combine dust. We don't need it. You know that's a rule and regulation that will be devastating to our agriculture, to our farmers.
Bluestem agrees that a rule against combine dust would be devastating to farmers. However, far more devastating to the poltical process is basing campaigns on pure cow flops, as legendary Minnesota politician Magnus Johnson liked to point out about the Republican platform of his time.
Parry is riding that manure spreader. The Washington Post reported in Bill to ban phantom EPA dust rule approved by House panel:
Earlier this year, Republicans found what they saw as an ideal talking point to illustrate a federal bureaucracy gone batty.
The Environmental Protection Agency, they warned, was trying to regulate something only God could control: the dust in the wind.
“Now, here comes my favorite of the crazy regulatory acts. The EPA is now proposing rules to regulate dust,” Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said on the House floor. He said Texas is full of dusty roads: “The EPA is now saying you can be fined for driving home every night on your gravel road.”
There was just one flaw in this argument: It was not true.
The EPA’s new dust rule did not exist. It never did.
Still, the specter of this rule has spurred three bills to prevent it , one of which was approved Thursday by a House subcommittee. It sparked a late-night battle on the Senate floor. GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain cited it in a debate as a reason to eliminate the EPA.
The hubbub over this phantom rule — surely one of the most controversial regulations that never was — involved a slow-moving federal agency and a Republican Party with the EPA in its crosshairs.
This isn't the first time--or the only time--The Emo Senator stood on the Republican "platform" during his two-day swing through Southern Minnesota towns with daily newspapers and a dozen GOP activists able to swell the progress.
Take his claims to a reporter at the New Ulm Journal. Josh Moniz writes in today's Parry talks politics in New Ulm:
. . .He addressed a group of 10 local residents, primarily Brown County Republicans of Minnesota (BCR) members, at the Ulmer Cafe. His visit was part of his two-day campaign kick-off tour that consists of nine stops in the district.
. . .He called his legislative record strong. He said he can both press those he disagrees with and reach across the aisle to accomplish work. He said Walz lacks bipartisanship and accused him of voting in lock step with President Obama.
This statement must leave his fans totally baffled and shuffling through past episodes to figure out just what the hell the Emo Senator is talking about with regard to his own bipartisanship.
Is it flouncing out of a budget meeting during the government shutdown?
That particular episode prompted a defense from Congressional candidate and Senate Majority leader Michael Brodkorb that Democrats so did it too. Unfortunately for the Republican caucus, the City Pages' Erin Carlyle deftly pointed out the flaws in the Dark Lordkorb's assertion:
But the truth is that the two situations are actually pretty different. In 2009, the Senate was in the middle of a roll call vote, after all debate was supposed to be closed. When Cohen asked his question last week, the bill was up for debate on the Senate floor--the appointed time for asking questions.
"I can't think of another situation that's parallel to that, where they just literally refused to answer questions," says David Schultz of Hamline University. "It's pretty unusual--and I've been observing it for 15 years."
But the Emo Senator didn't stop there. One of his talking points is that Walz has "sold out" to a Washington crowd, but Mike Parry himself is quick to defend his introduction of model bills written by the American Legislative Exchange Council's corporate bill factory as mere "information" that's useful. From today's NUJ article:
Similarly, he said he thought his work with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) would not be a factor. ALEC is conservative non-profit policy organization that consists of legislators and members of major corporations. The organization has generated controversy over accusation of business professional providing "template bills" for legislators to pass. Parry is a member of ALEC's Minnesota branch.
"What I get from ALEC is information. The more information I have, the more I can make the right decision," said Parry.
That's the ticket, yeah. Those wishing to gather more information about ALEC might start here. Longtime fans of the Belle of Waseca County may also remember how Parry bragged about private companies were providing budget figures for the Republican Senate majority. Bluestem noted at certain issues with this approach in Looking a gift Little Pony in the mouth: Are Parry's pals poster kids for privatization's perils?
But perhaps on The Emo Planet, that's not selling out. As a friend fondly says, grifters have to grift.
Parry also defended taking a salary during the shutdown and drawing full per diems during the session to the NUJ. This is classic straight-talking,Mike Parry-style, who so did not take all the out-of-session per diems he was entitled to:
Parry said his decision to take pay during the state government shutdown would not affect his campaign. He was one of the few to publicly defend his decision.
"I work my tail off for the citizens of this state," said Parry. "I believe that if you look at my records, you would see I only took 52 percent of the allotted per diem I could have taken."
Parry, who took the full per diem during the regular session, said his figure comes for the out-of-session per diem he could have taken but turned down.
Bluestem expects little of the Twin Cities press corps, but perhaps they might take a look at that claim, and see which Senators do take out-of-session per diem. A truly enterprising reporter might dig into the actual extent of Parry's out-of-session self-sacrifice. Just who often has he failed to claim out-of-session per diem due to him while going about the people's business? Does he draw any out-of-session per diem? And what records does he have of official senate business conducted on his own dime? Or should voters take his word for it?
Dust. Reaching silently across the aisle by refusing to yield. Calling ALEC corporate factory bills "information." Out-sourcing budgeting to the private sector, which then might score contracts. It's a career fueled by urban legend and redirection.
All epsiodes certainly add irony to the lede in the Worthington Globe's article today:
He describes himself as a straightforward person who is disappointed with the spending in Washington, D.C.
Republican State Sen. Mike Parry stopped in Worthington Friday afternoon to speak about his upcoming bid for the congressional seat currently held by Tim Walz — the 10th such stop in two days.
Straightforward never looked so tangled, and the number of stops? Somewhere between New Ulm and Worthington, another town was added. Not even the Post Bulletin's Heather Carlson gave him that extra ghost town.
Bonus: The Star Tribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger, who so never reads this unnamed country blog, gets the political acumen award today for this tweet:
@RachelSB R. Stassen-Berger
Photo: Mike Parry, the Belle of Waseca County and Emo Senator, now flouncing through southern Minnesota.
Earlier episodes below the fold.