But as we join today's revealing episode of Emo Senator, tweets by the Strib's Jennifer Brooks and other press corps members have kept fans abreast of the Belle of Waseca County's shenanigans.
Emo Senator fans who can't watch The Uptake's coverage from work still can get a pretty good taste of the tone of the proceedings from the headline above Jim Ragsdale at the Strib: Tense hearing on state contracts shows GOP-DFL divide.
Minnesota Public Radio's Cathy Wurzer talked to Parry and then with AFSCME's Executive Director Eliot Seide about the contracts in State employee labor contracts hit turbulence at the Capitol.
Perhaps the Belle of Waseca County has grown into the Queen of Rage.
An Excerpt from The Uptake captures Parry at his Emo finest:
Following the grandstanding on the back's of public employees, Parry apparently promised to hold a press conference, and the press corps patiently waited for the state senator to appear. Brooks tweeted:
Capitol press corps, waiting for Mike Parry to come out and chat. pic.twitter.com/BLkZNI66
But the moment was not to be. Four minutes later, that tweet was followed by another Brooks sentence:
Staffer just came out to inform us that Mike Parry will be "unavailable" at this time.
She filled in the blanks:
Parry refused to field comments inside the building, promised to hold press conference outside.
Brooks and others stayed on the trail of the elusive Parry. This is certainly the sort of relentless pursuit of news that we've learned to expect from a reporter who was undaunted in her search for sweet corn ice cream at Farmfest, as well as the dish on corn belt politics.
Not long afterward:
Sunburnt reporters now idling by Parry's truck, which doesn't seem to be sporting its usual 'Parry for Congress' decal. pic.twitter.com/TAdtYO6d
Josh Moniz, Brooks' colleague at the New Ulm Journal, hazarded a guess about where Parry had actually gone:
Assuming your current silence doesnt mean your talking with Parry, he supposed to be doing debate w/ Minneosta News Network @ 1
Parry had earlier sent out an email saying that the semgent, with primary rival Allen Quist, would be broadcast at 1, but later issued a correction saying that the taping was taking place at 1:00 p.m
Finally, Brooks lost interest:
Boring stakeout is boring. Left Mike Parry a note under his wiper blade. pic.twitter.com/fd4vqXul
A waggish Ryan Winkler, who had incurred The Wrath of Parry during the hearing, tweeted a helpful suggestion:
Have you tried "Missed Connections" on Craigslist?
Not long after, Brooks tweeted a clarification from the Parry camp:
Clarification from Parry camp: He did NOT blow off a press conference. Press conferences have podiums. He bailed on "talking to press."
The ever-helpful Moniz offered a solution for that:
@stribrooks So if somebody is willing to haul out a podium, he'll talk? Ha ha.
Will Mike Parry recover? Will the media bring their own podium? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode!
Requiem for an Emo Senator?
A couple of observations. A connected handful of Twin Cities progressives are pushing the notion Parry is dying because of the Dayton-pill-popping remarks and the mid-committee meltdown. Bluestem is sure they'll always agree with themselves about this, just as they earlier agreed that Allen Quist's old statements were dooming his campaign.
Those of us who were following the campaigns more closely were hearing something else from our Republican sources in the district. What those activists had been seeing in Parry for months was a man who didn't answer questions but only returned talking points and held a weak understanding of policy, a thin-skinned man who liked to provoke but who always seemed on the edge of anger, a man whose campaign turned deeply negative in July.
The twit-storms weren't getting closely watched, as the primary itself was rather sleepy on the ground. But Parry's remarks--about the Governor, a man who is not a congressional opponent--revealed what party activists for months knew and worried about in Mike Parry's character.
Three other observers underscore this perspective. PIM's Briana Bierschbach interviewed Southern Minnesota Republicans for The storm before the quiet: Parry, Quist trade increasingly bitter blows. Overall, she found that the primary was largely quiet, and the Quist Old Quote tempest largely wasn't making a dent. Bierschbach reported:
But despite all the hullabaloo the exchange [about Quist's old statements] has created on Twitter and political blogs, Steve Perkins, a former congressional district chair in the district, says things have been relatively quiet on the front lines.
“Surprisingly, I don’t think that there’s as much discussion about it down here as I would have thought,” Perkins said. “I think it’s summer, people are busy doing other things, and a lot of it has been through email. I’m just surprised there’s not been very much talk about this.”
. . .Most GOP campaign watchers in the area hesitate to predict which one will get the chance to take on Walz this fall, but some point to Quist’s self-funded campaign and developed ground game as factors that bode well for his chances. Quist also polled better than Parry in an unscientific poll done by the Mankato Free Press in July. The poll surveyed more than 200 voters, with Quist pulling in about 54 percent support, Parry earning 20 percent and a “neither” option winning 25 percent of the vote.
“I think Quist probably has a better ground game,” Zenke said. “His volunteers have more time to do calling and advocate for Allen and show up for his events.”
By most accounts, Quist also has more name recognition. . . .
Quist says he isn’t fazed by the week-that-was in the news, and by his account, neither are the people showing up to his events. So far he has held nine town hall meetings. “I’ve had two town hall meetings since he put out all of this negative stuff. And at my town hall meetings, I give anyone a chance to ask anything they want. In the two town hall meetings since, I have not had one question or one comment about it,” Quist said. “The Mike Parry is campaign is on another planet.”
He also says Parry has not come up in any of his events. “Mike Parry is almost a non-issue. Nobody asked or commented or said anything about who my opposition is,” Quist said. “He is not on the table.” . . .
Writing in MinnPost, Cindy Brucato noted in Will Quist’s past comments on gays and women hurt him? Times are a-changin’:
Eighteen years later, though, the shock value of Quist’s comments – such as, “the husband should be the head of the household because of a genetic predisposition” – fades. His speeches as a state representative decrying homosexuality, even his visit to an X-rated bookstore for “research,” seem like old news. . . .
Quist says he believes the voters’ interests lie elsewhere. “There is no connection in what they are trying to do and where the public is,” he says. “This personal stuff that goes back 20 years, that was so, so long ago.”
Attacking the Governor? So this week--but more importantly for many Republican activists in the base, confirming the misgivings they had about Parry's thin-skin.
Finally, Governor Dayton's assessment in his famous "gutter politics" statement:
"In this era of gutter politics, something like that, especially somebody who probably thinks he's losing an election in six days is going to reach for anything he can and try to make an issue out of it and blow it up and see if he can get an advantage with it," Dayton said.
Parry's brand of Emo Politics gets a bit thin, and it had gotten threadbare for our Republican sources long before these outbursts. While the Quist campaign won't share its internal polling, it does have the money to do internal polling. Julie Quist wouldn't share data at Farmfest, but she did have an enormous grin, ever for an inquisitive progressive blogger.
And Rep. Winkler tweeted an important part of about coverage of the hearings in response to something we'd posted:
Too bad the story is about how Sen. Parry conducts himself and his committee, instead of how we left state employees hanging.
The Uptake has also posted footage that documents the delay in the committee's vote on the contract. This is how Parry is leaving state employees hanging:
Photos: Tweetpics from the Star Tribune's Jennifer Brooks of the unbranded Parry vehicle and her note. Follow her lively tweeting at @stribrooks. But brand or no brand, Bluestem wonders if Parry will take state mileage money for the truck--and charge the gas to the campaign.