As we tune into the latest episode of Emo Senator, Southern Minnesota's most beloved telenovela, the drama has never been greater, with the schedule of the forthcoming Minnesota State Senate session up in the air --and leadership existing only in a melodramatic vacuum.
Bluestem is told on background that the latter resembles the Senate operating budget itself.
And amid the chaos, the Emo Senator has been betrayed in his bromance with the Dark Lord of Conservative Politics, Mike Brodkorb.
Last week began on a high note. Our star scored with a triumph of earned media placement, in Politics in Minnesota. Had Michael Brodkorb and Ben Golnik not been working as unpaid volunteers, loyal fans would have thought they were earning their keep with the publication of Mike Parry draws on visibility of his state Senate seat to bolster his campaign for Congress.
Jake Grovum reported:
Facing down Dayton, taking on unions and playing champion for conservative causes will likely further endear Parry to activists when the time comes to choose between him and Quist, the only other Republican currently seeking the nomination.
Both are sufficiently conservative to win over the base, observers say, but Parry’s anti-labor position in St. Paul could prove an asset against Quist, who some deride as a perennial candidate. (One Republican called him “the Ole Savior of GOP politics.”)
. . .Parry has also surrounded himself with well-known Republican operatives such as Ben Golnik and former Minnesota GOP Deputy Chairman Michael Brodkorb.
Ah yes! Emo had earned the respect and admiration of the Dark Lord himself, de facto Senate Majority Leader Brodkorb, who actually punched the time clock to the tune of $94,000/year serving as communications head and executive assistant to titular Majority Leader Amy Koch.
Mike's undying affection for Mike was reported far and wide; typical of the stories delineating the bond between the two men is this report about the campaign kickoff in the New Ulm Journal:
Brodkorb said he jumped at the chance to assist Parry because of the close, personal relationship they share. He said he met Parry during the special election and they had good personal chemistry.
"[Parry] is one of the few candidates it would be difficult for me to remain neutral with. [MNGOP] by-laws prohibit me from supporting a candidate before the nomination.
"When he wanted me, I felt duty bound to be transparent about supporting Parry."
Brodkorb said he considers Parry a strong candidate because of his credentials and ability to tussle with Democrats.
"Walz is an incumbent, and they're never easy. But, with 9 percent unemployment, all incumbents will have a hard time," said Brodkorb, "Parry carries the total package, so he erases the challenger's natural weakness."
Walz might not be easy, but Brodkorb loved Parry's total package. Oh, the close personal relationship, the personal chemistry, the ability to tussle.
And as the City Pages noted, this act of male bondage gave the Parry campaign the force of bromentum. But in the world of Emo, all that is solid melts into the air, and that undying affection has vaporized with all the alacrity of a GOP presidential contender's lead in the polls. Suddenly on Thursday, The Not-Brodkorb, titular Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, announced her resignation from the ceremonial post, along with her intent not to seek office again.
While some on the left believed this move signalled that Koch was going to run for higher office, Emo Senator fans instinctively understood that she was simply running. Her flight would prove to be a body blow of sorts for the Emo Senator,we learned on Thursday night as a right-leaning bird whispered a shocking plot twist into the scriptwriter's ear. The explusion from the garden? Rooted in an act of bumping uglies.
The Emo Senator's world would be shattered the next day, as revelations came that Koch had engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with a male staffer. Privately, fingers pointed at Emo's bro and volunteer, Mike Brodkorb, but no semi-respectable or credentialled journalist reported the rumor until City Pages eleventh hour post, Amy Koch had "inappropriate relationship" with senate staffer. Was it Michael Brodkorb?
By then, MPR and other venues had reported that a "passionate" Michael Brodkorb had left the Senate building.
Mike Parry's reaction? The Belle of Waseca County first tweeted that he would have a late Friday afternoon press conference, then failed to show up.
By Saturday morning, the tears had been shed, the Dark Lord had left the Parry Congressional campaign, and the Emo Senator sent Ben Golnik out to receive callers with the news that our hero would carry on without his self-proclaimed political soulmate:
Ben Golnik, an adviser to Parry's campaign, said Brodkorb's departure was his own decision. Golnik said that the campaign had collectively sat down and discussed the troubles at the Capitol when Brodkorb made the decision.
Golnik did not provide any explanation on why Brodkorb chose to resign.
He said nobody has yet been slated to fill Brodkorb's place in the campaign, but he said Parry has plenty of friends and confidants to assist him.
"We'll continue the campaign as usual. We'll continue to draw contrast between Parry and [incumbent Congressman] Tim Walz," said Golnik.
In light of this week's developments, delighted telenovela fans believe whole-heartedly that the Emo Senator has done a very good job of drawing the contrast between Walz and Parry.
Poor Tim Walz! The only thing he can do to generate headlines is sponsor legislation like the Stock Act:
Lots of talk these days about whether members of congress are required to live by the same rules as everyone else. Minnesota Congressman and Democrat Tim Walz, is the lead author of The Stock Act that would keep lawmakers and their staff from using nonpublic information to profit on stock trades.
But enough of good policy.
Over in Marshall, former House minority leader Marty Seifert reflects on the affair that broke the Emo Senator's heart as the Senate went up in the flames of passion:
"To discover that Amy was involved in some sort of scandal - finding that out is like finding out that Smoky the Bear is an arsonist," Seifert said. "No one knows the true details of what went on, but she is probably the last person I would think would be involved in some sort of scandal."
Meanwhile, WCCO's Esme Murphy tries to probe the Koch-Brodkorb rumors here, and the Star Tribune reports that "One Republican activist decries 'our own little soap opera.'” Here on the Bluestem Prairie, readers following episodes of the have been enjoying one slice of that soaper for months.
Finally, Bluestem can't quite touch the divine machinery behind the scenes in the latter part of the week, and given the elephantine nature of the cast of characters, we really don't want to. Far more interesting: whispers coming Bluestem's way that the Senate coffers look far worse than those of the Minnesota House, what with the Dark Lord and Emo (who chairs a key committee for government oversight) having spent limited resources on star hearings and amicus briefs that promote Parry's political star, but do little to prepare for the upcoming session.
Dull stuff, to be sure, but perhaps journalists with an eye to looking at public records and other staples of award-winning reporting might take a look beyond the melodrama and check that out.