As we tune in to the latest episode of Emo Senator, Southern Minnesota's most watched telenovela, fans of our hero, Mike Parry, the Belle of Waseca County, will be dismayed to find our star sinking after he shared a fond memory of Governor Mark Dayton popping "15-16 pills" at a meeting.
Even the paramour of a former key Parry campaign advisor is questioning that memory. Jennifer Brooks and Rachel Stassen-Berger report in Dayton denounces pill-popping accusation as a 'desperate' lie:
Top Republicans who have logged long hours at the negotiating table with Dayton appeared dubious of Parry's claim.
"The only thing I ever saw him pop was peanut M&Ms," said former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo.
And there's this:
Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, a lead lawmaker on the Vikings stadium, said he never saw the governor swallow a a single pill during the dozens of hours he spent with Dayton in stadium talks.
"I have not seen anything like that," Lanning said.
And archrival Allen Quist?
Parry's latest remarks overshadowed what had been billed as a premier draw on the event's first day: a First Congressional District forum featuring Parry; his GOP primary rival, former legislator Allen Quist, and the incumbent they hope to beat, Democratic Rep. Tim Walz.
Asked later about Parry's accusation, Quist replied, "I wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole."
Our hero's sentiments are drawing attention away from a less personal slam Quist made about food stamp recipients at the same fundraiser in rural Hanska on Monday night. Josh Moniz reports in GOP hosts candidates at Brown County fundraiser:
"You can have people with Rolls-Royces getting food stamps," said Quist, "If we don't fundamentally change how we do food stamps, we could lose our country. The situation is a microcosm of the problems with our deficit," said Quist.
Who drives a Rolls-Royce while on food support? Back in January, CNN reported in Return of the 'Welfare Queen':
She's out there, lurking in the 2012 presidential race like a horror movie villain who refuses to die.
She has 12 Social Security cards, mooches on benefits from four fake dead husbands, and collects food stamps while driving a Cadillac. . . .
Still, an actual Welfare Queen did exist, Gustafson says.
A database search of all major newspapers turned up the first use of the term in 1974, when a woman in Chicago was given the label.
Two additional women were also dubbed welfare queens in subsequent years by local newspapers. Both were based in Los Angeles. One collected $377,458 in welfare benefits in seven years and lived in a house with a swimming pool. She did drive a Cadillac, along with a Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz, Gustafson discovered.
Reagan merged the identities of all three and exaggerated their abuses, Gustafson says.
"Reagan twisted them around and created one character, and tried to leave everyone with the impression that it was happening all over the place," Gustafson says. "It's totally false that these women typified welfare recipients." . . .
A news report about the Rolls-Royce owner is available online, Welfare Woman Drives Rolls Royce, from the December 20, 1980 Observer-Reporter. The woman was being investigated for welfare fraud perpetrated between 1973 and 1980. It wasn't simply the food stamp program that she was fleecing, nor did she get away with her crimes.
Unlike Quist's odd statements about gays and women from the following decade, apparently the Welfare Rolls is supposed to be a problem in 2012. Bluestem would be especially concerned if otters were behind the wheel.
Quist didn't repeat the Rolls-Royce crack in public, but did call for reforms to the system at the Farmfest Congressional Forum yesterday, while acknowledging that food support was necessary in America.
In Walz, Parry, Quist find common ground and a few barbs at Farmfest forum, Josh Moniz reports that Congressman Walz talked back to his Republican dance partners on this one:
Quist said he opposed the farm bill because he considered it a food stamp bill with a farm bill rider. He said that the passage of the bill without clearly defined spending limits would only exacerbate the federal deficit, which he said threatens all farms. On Monday night at a Republican fundraiser, Quist said he believed the food stamp program was so fundamentally broken that people with Rolls-Royces could get food stamps. He relented from his statement after the forum on Tuesday, but he continued to insist that a massive overhaul of the system is required.
Walz shot back at Quist's food stamp bill claims later in the panel.
"Allen keeps calling this a food stamp bill. Maybe you should keep in mind that the vast majority [of food stamp users] are over the age of 65 or under the age of 3," said Walz.
Walz's statement received applause from the crowd.
Tune in to the next exciting episode.
Photo: MNCD1 candidates at Farmfest yesterday. Photo by Eric V. Adms for Bluestem Prairie.