True Confession: I Miss The GOP-Controlled Legislature

When it comes to the 2014 legislative elections, I have divided loyalties.

One the one hand, the current DFL-controlled Legislature has delivered a lot of very good things for ordinary Minnesotans.  Compared to the previous GOP-controlled Legislature, the DFL-controlled Legislature has delivered a healthier economy, budget surpluses, more tax fairness, marriage equality, job-creating infrastructure improvement projects, paid back schools, all-day kindergarten, early education scholarships and a long overdue increase in the minimum wage, among other things.

In the most recently concluded session, they even had the earliest adjournment in thirty years, a mark of impressive democratic efficiency. I look at that record and conclude that the DFL Legislature and Governor deserve to be rehired in the upcoming elections.

clown_carOn the other hand, as a blogger interested in the absurd side of politics, I’m pulled mightily in the opposite direction.  Because when it comes to generating a steady stream of blog-worthy absurdity, nothing beats the modern Tea Party-backed Republican Party.  After all, the last time the Republicans controlled the Minnesota Legislature they:

  • No Separation Between Church and Hate.  Found a way to make even the daily ecumenical prayer controversial and divisive;
  • Dehumanizing KidsWarned that supplying food stamps to Minnesota’s most vulnerable children is just as inadvisable as feeding wild animals; and

I get tears of joy just thinking about it. I was never in need of blog topics in those days.  Minnesota’s last GOP-controlled Legislature gave us the golden age of political comedy, and I will forever be grateful to them for that.   Memories, misty water-colored memories.

While a historically low 17% of Minnesotans approved of the GOP-controlled Legislature that was drummed out of office in 2012, Wry Wing Politics has sorely missed having the likes Mary Fransen, Steve Drazkowski,  Mark Buesgens, Tom Emmer, Curt Bills, Kurt Zellers, Dave Thompson, Amy Koch and others in positions of authority, where they had more opportunities to say and do ridiculous things.

The topic-hungry blogger in me pines for the hot mess of a Legislature that Teapublicans  built.  But deep down the responsible citizen in me knows that I need to vote to bring back the DFL’s brand of colorless competence.  Sigh.

– Loveland

Note:  This post was featured as a “best of the best” in MinnPost’s Blog Cabin.

Will There Be Payback for the Bakk Brodkorb Broadside?

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler tweets that Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL-Virginia) wants to reduce Republican payrolls because of the over $200,000 in legal expenses associated with the contested firing of  Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb after Brodkorb had an affair with Bakk’s predecessor, then Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch.

 This raises Golden Ruley questions, such as: Continue reading

Minnesota Republicans And That Old Egyptian River

“It’s not that Republicans have the wrong message…” – Amy Koch, GOP Former Senate Majority Leader

“As I read you some state spending cuts being considered to fix the budget deficit, please tell me which one would be most acceptable to you.

8%:  Reducing health care assistance for lower income people, the elderly and disabled
13%: Reducing aid to cities and counties
15%: Reducing aid to colleges and universities”

Star Tribune Minnesota Poll

“…it is how we are delivering the message…” – Koch

“By a whopping 2-1 margin, Minnesotans blame the Republicans who control both houses of the Legislature for Continue reading

Was The Brodkorb Firing Just A “Palace Coup?”

Michael Brodkorb, the Republican Minnesota Senate Communications Director who was fired for having an extramarital affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R-Buffalo), is in the midst of a media blitz to frame his firing as being nothing more than collateral damage from a “palace coup” on behalf of Senator David Hann (R-Eden Prairie).

Those darn Republican l’élite politique francophiles, always showing off their French.   To translate for the commoners:  The bard Brodkorb claims Prince David used the royal tryst as a political weapon to clear the way for him to take possession of Queen Amy’s throne.

Brodkorb’s palace coup d’état allegation is not implausible.  But beyond Brodkorb’s assertion, my guess is that there were multiple motives behind Brodkorb’s firing:

  • HR Propriety.  In the face of this news, there may have been legitimate workplace management reasons to remove Brodkorb.  For instance, corporate Human Relations (HR) Departments sometimes worry that such affairs can cloud the ability of the lovebirds to be objective in their decision making, and can create the reality or perception of favoritism that can harm operations and/or make the organization legally liable in the future.
  • Brodkorb Coup.  Brodkorb is a bare knuckle political brawler.  Because of that, many Republicans Senators that were bruised and bloodied by Mr. Brodkorb over the years may have resented his style enough to want HIM gone.  In other words, the coup may have been aimed at the Queen’s staff more than the Queen.
  • Political Damage Control.  Mr. Brodkorb is not just any staffer.  For years he has been in the center of high profile political battles, practicing his scorched Earth approach to both politics and governance.  He is Minnesota’s version of Karl Rove, except more bombastic and more fond of the limelight.  Because of Brodkorb’s fame or infamy, depending on your point of view, his involvement in the romantic rendezvous made the whole matter infinitely more newsworthy than your more run-of-the-mill staff-politician affair.  Because it was more newsworthy, it was more political damaging for Republicans.  Because it was more political damaging, it needed to be nipped in the bud.

The current Republican Senate leadership wants Minnesotans to think this was ALL about them being proper business managers doing what any by-the-book corporate HR Director would do.  But it is difficult to believe that there wasn’t also an element of Koch coup, Brodkorb coup, and political damage control involved in their decision to fire Brodkorb.

My speculation is that political damage control was the top motivation for the firing, not a burning desire to oust Senator Koch, and not workplace law propriety.  But no one can know for sure.

The other interesting thing about Brodkorb’s media tour is the timing of it.  The timing was driven by the judge in Brodkorb’s lawsuit lifting a gag order on Friday.  But a guy like  Brodkorb, who lives and breathes electoral politics, also is fully aware that he is bringing the Repubilican’s most humiliating story back to the front pages just three weeks before the Republicans have to face surly voters, who already give the GOP-controlled Legislature the lowest approval rating on record.

It may or may not be true that Hann was using the Brodkorb-Koch affair as a political weapon in a palace coup.  But it certainly is true that Mr. Brodkorb is using a potent political weapon in his current media tour.

– Loveland

Photo by Talking Points Memo (TPM)

Note:  This post was also featured as a “Best of the Blogs” in the Politics in Minnesota Morning Report, and a “best of the best” in MinnPost’s Blog Cabin feature.