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Yes to personal responsibility, even for Senate Republicans
Over the past three decades, the Minnesota Republican Party has been evolving from one with moderate and traditional conservative wings to one that is now engaged in an open tussle between the younger Ron Paul Libertarian types and the more radical social right of Mary Kiffmeyer and Tony Sutton.
For purposes of this blog, I will focus on the latter since they have been in power through the Pawlenty years and still control the legislature. Further, under their leadership, the party has moved further to the right. In addition to a total prohibition of abortion choices, their philosophy extends to endowing the fertilized egg with constitutional rights thereby prohibiting certain forms of birth control, strong anti-gay sentiment, anti-tax increases, pro small government, anti-the United Nations, etc. Their message has always contained a certain political rigidity that is unusual in democratic systems and any deviation has resulted in the labels of “traitor”, “quisling” or “RINO” being applied. We need only to remember the party’s attempt to oust six GOP legislators who voted against Governor Pawlenty’s veto of the transportation bill.
Briefly, any deviation from party orthodoxy was punished.
Further, there has always been a firm adherence to self-sufficiency and personal accountability. For instance, the platform GOP incumbents ran on in 2010 declared: “Reform and Eliminate the Welfare System” as a headline and then continued, “People in need should be assisted primarily through private charity, including faith-based programs instead of government welfare programs.”
However, when philosophy and comfort collide, the latter usually wins. Such is the case with Michael Brodkorb vs. the Minnesota State Senate.
Originally, Tony Sutton, as GOP Party Chair, brought in Brodkorb because he excelled in campaign research particularly opposition research. He played a key role in the Republican legislative victories of 2010. Sutton then moved him to the Senate Republican payroll where he exercised party power over GOP Senators thereby causing some to refer to him as the “enforcer.”
Now circumstances are different. The party is virtually bankrupt with massive debt as a result of years of gross mismanagement and the Senate Republicans are embroiled in a major legal battle with Michael Brodkorb. It would appear that while this new Republican Senate majority was busy during the session trying to constitutionally protect the sanctity of marriage from the threat of gays, there was some serious extramarital bed hopping going on in Senate offices. As a result, Michael Brodkorb was fired and the majority leader stepped down.
Brodkorb has now trained his weapons of research on his former employers and has concluded that others have probably engaged in this same activity and were not punished in a comparable fashion. The result is some nervous stomachs fearful of disclosure and a Brodkorb demand for some $1 million to cover the loss of employment and damage to his reputation.
The Senate has engaged outside counsel at a rate in excess of $300 per hour. It further appears that the intent is to have the taxpayer pay all legal and settlement costs. So far, DFL leadership appears to be compliant.
Simply put, the Senate will do all in its power to postpone action until after the election and then surprise the taxpayer with the bills.
We, as taxpayers, are already saddled with an impending deficit of approximately $2 billion and an additional $2.4 billion owed to school districts. We do not deserve to be further burdened with the costs of political misbehavior.
What others do in the privacy of their lives should be their business and not the concern or obligation of government. The new Senate Republicans brought this mess entirely upon themselves and should be principled enough to fully accept the consequences and not expect taxpayer welfare.