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‘I’m done with partisan politics’: a Q&A with Michael Brodkorb

MinnPost photo by Brian Lambert
Michael Brodkorb: "Bomb­-throwing is a part of being a party official."

As public embarrassments go, few in recent memory have generated the level of ridicule that accompanied the saga of Michael Brodkorb, the political operative who was the creator of the semi­-legendary website, Minnesota Democrats Exposed, and the embodiment of the modern, take-­no-­prisoners conservative attack dog.

While it’s hard to imagine how anyone could have forgotten, Brodkorb’s annus horribilis (to quote Queen Elizabeth) began in December of 2011 with revelations of The Affair, with then-GOP Senate Majority leader Amy Koch. That was followed by The Lawsuit: legal action Brodkorb took against the Senate protesting his firing, a move that included threats to out similar hanky-­panky among prominent statehouse politicians. The period concluded in January 2013 with The Crash, a one-­car pile­-up in which a despondent Brodkorb was seriously hurt, and for which he later pled guilty to driving under the influence. 

In large part because of his prominence in, shall we say, “aggressively conservative” circles, Brodkorb received little in the way of public sympathy. Liberals were gleeful, while fellow Republicans couldn’t distance themselves fast enough. It was a vicious mix of schadenfreude and shunning.

But in the months since, Brodkorb has struck a different tone: chastened, apologetic, remorseful and far less partisan.

A year ago, tacitly acknowledging that despite the farce of his undoing, the man still possesses a sharp mind for strategies as well as an impressive storehouse of Minnesota political backstories, the Star Tribune brought Brodkorb on as a regular contributor among its stable of community bloggers.

To the dismay of his former soldiers-­in-­arms on the right (few of whom openly supported him in his year of horrors), Brodkorb — in both the Strib blog and on his own website,, has taken Republicans to task as much as Democrats for ethical shadiness and incompetence.

We met for coffee not far from his home in Eagan.

MinnPost: How did the Star Tribune gig come about?

Brodkorb: I got a wonderful phone call one day. Just out of the blue. But I’ll tell you, it made my year. But I’m just so grateful. It’s a wonderful opportunity. Not just to write about politics, because while I love politics there’s so much more to life, but also write about other things. I just really enjoy it. When I write about politics, I try to provide some context. I take it very seriously. Its a different kind of writing than I started with. But it’s much more impactful.

MP: “Impactful,” how? Because of the larger readership?

Brodkorb: Yes. But it’s also impactful for me personally, because it’s given me so much more respect for what real journalists do. It’s not like other kinds of writing. You really have to take it seriously. But for them to call, for someone to be willing to take a chance with me again, I don’t know if they’ll ever comprehend how much that meant to me. To my dignity.

MinnPost: Several years ago I had a conversation with someone who has since left the Strib editorial offices and he was saying that they were kind of at their wits end trying to find a reliable, regular conservative writer. This was toward the end of their Katherine Kersten experiment … Have they talked to you about expanding your role?

Brodkorb: No, no they haven’t.

MinnPost: Would you be interested in it?

Brodkorb: I would. But I’m happy doing what I’m doing now. But on that point, I will say that conservatives and Republicans dealing with the media so often take this very aggressive approach, and it’s a tiresome act. I have tremendous respect for traditional journalists in the Twin Cities. I think they do a tremendous job. I really do. But you hear this continuous drumbeat from the national level all the way down, Republicans always want to go after the media, and I really don’t understand the mindset that much.

MinnPost: Really? You understand the tactic, right?

Brodkorb: Yeah. I understand the tactic. I know why they’re doing it. I just disagree with it. That’s a better way of saying it. I just disagree with it.

MinnPost: Because why? Now you see it as having become counter­productive?

Brodkorb: I think it is counterproductive. There are so many mediums and opportunities for politicians to get their points across right now. Social media is a part of the day. There are so many ways to drive your message, that what’s happened is so many candidates and politicians, particularly on the Republican side, seem to have lost the ability to sit across from a reporter and have a conversation. They’re much more comfortable throwing out a Facebook post or a tweet where they won’t be challenged. I noticed it with Scott Walker and his presidential campaign where he got into the business of whether President Obama loves America. Remember? So when he was asked about it, instead of saying something thoughtful he tried to play games with the press.

MinnPost: But he’s not talking to reporters. He’s talking to his base.

Brodkorb: Yeah, right. That’s what’s frustrating to see. I think what Walker does in a situation like that is play into the narrative that most voters have about Republicans.

MinnPost: Do you advise Republicans that this sort of thing only marginalizes them among general voters.

Brodkorb: Not directly. But I’ve said as much in comments I’ve made. The thing they don’t understand is that all this stuff, everything they say, is on the record. It’s permanent. You saw some of the effects in the last election cycle in the race for governor. Republicans have a much more difficult time in this state navigating through the endorsement process to the general election. They have to race around talking to the Tea Party groups, where they have to say things that drag them to the right. Unlike the Democrats, the Republicans have never been a coalition party. Consequently, they don’t do [coalitions] very well. What you end up with is the fringe of the fringe having the loudest voice, and I think that’s bad for the party.

MinnPost: The “fringe of the fringe” of course is great fodder for the media. Do you have any advice for how the media should cover these people. Every experienced reporter knows they’re fringe people saying fringe things.

Brodkorb: Yes. But a lot the things being quoted are coming from people with titles. People who have some significance. They’re not just random Republicans. And I get that there’s some value, in the carnival­-like atmosphere of politics to have partisan bomb­throwers on each side. It just seems to me that the bomb­-throwers on the conservative side are getting the most juice out of it.

MinnPost: Well, the obvious irony is that for a lot of people around here they look at you and see the guy who kind of invented the partisan bomb-­thrower game with Minnesota Democrats Exposed. Which is kind of to the point in talking to you, to see how your thinking has evolved since those early days. 

Brodkorb: It was a blog that was hyper­partisan. Would I do it the same way today? No. But like a lot of things in life, it is what makes me who I am today. Having been so hyper­partisan, and having had that search and destroy mentality, I find that it helps me now in recognizing where not go with some things I see. I’m not into exposing anyone or the “gotcha” stuff. When I was writing Minnesota Democrats Exposed, it was all about search and destroy, writing sensational headlines, driving traffic and making mountains out of molehills. It was something I got out of my system and it’s benefitting me now because it is absolutely somewhere I do not want to go.

MinnPost: Is the difference more tonal than substantive?

Brodkorb: I think the difference is both substantive and tonal. When you’re writing Minnesota Democrats Exposed you’re waking up every day and looking for a target. Even though that kind of thing drives traffic, it’s not a very fulfilling way to write. And as I say, having gone through it, I find it helps center me today.

MinnPost: But the tone and traffic you generated with Minnesota Democrats Exposed certainly helped to some extent in establishing your bona fides within the party and achieving the post you held with the Senate [as the caucus’ communications director].

Brodkorb: Folks love someone who throws fire and serves up red meat. It was a great way to ascend in the party. But ultimately what I learned is that that kind of approach creates a lot of blockades and a firewall that prevents you from having any thoughtful seat at the table.

MinnPost: Well, I hear you on the “mountains out of molehills” thing. But the argument I made is that there is value in someone doing that kind of thing for, or against, each party. No one should get a free ride and a little hyperbolic agitation is a good thing. Blowing the whistle is a good thing. How exactly you do it is a whole other discussion.

Brodkorb: Well, that’s the thing. I think there’s a way to blow the whistle and fact-­check that invites participation from the other side.

MinnPost: Once you moved on from Minnesota Democrats Exposed and took your position with the party, did you find your reputation was an asset in what they wanted you to do?

Brodkorb: Well, I was deputy chairman for two terms, [2009-­2011], and I didn’t face much criticism for the approach I was taking and left on good terms. In retrospect, I would have done some things differently. But bomb­-throwing is a part of being a party official. In fact, if you watch the gamesmanship of politics right now in Minnesota, that’s a facet I think the Republicans are missing out on. Ken Martin, [chairman of the DFL], is a very smart tactician who is not afraid to walk into a press conference and throw some bombs. I think Republicans are largely missing that.

MinnPost: I gather from some of your Strib posts that you’re not impressed with the way Keith Downey is handling his job with the GOP.

Brodkorb: Well look, I’m still a Republican. I’m also a Vikings fan, and how many Sundays are good for them lately? Not too many. But where I think the party, and Downey in particular are struggling is with any kind of thoughtful analysis. He generally kind of pushes it away, and that’s fine. That’s his prerogative as chairman. But in the end the party is quickly becoming less and less relevant in the state. For two reasons: The stances the party has taken on some significant issues and the rise of influence, financial, of outside groups. But any critique of Downey is largely based on … .

MinnPost: Well, you strongly imply his actions [like with the much-­ridiculed $150,000 “Give It Back” ad] are self­ serving.

Brodkorb: I don’t think there’s any question he’s interested in running for governor. I could pretty quickly point out flaws in messaging and how they were largely to do with him moving into the race rather than other factors.

MinnPost: Do you know where the $150,000 came from?

Brodkorb: I don’t know. But the party raised the money quickly. Downey has said the ad cost $150,000. They didn’t put $150,000 on TV. They used other social media. But it was literally wasted money. I would argue they would have been better doing nothing than to waste it away like that. Because what they did was create a division between legislative Republicans and the party. As much as chairman Downey would like us not to think it was about him running for governor, it defies logic that it was about anything other than that.

MinnPost: Is the party chair a job you’d be interested in?

Brodkorb: I’m done with partisan politics.

MinnPost: Really? Never say never.

Brodkorb: Yeah, “never say never.” But my interest in party politics today is from the stands. From the bleachers. I was on the field of play for a long time. I took a lot of hits, and I really enjoy watching now. That level of partisanship is not something I’m interested in.

MinnPost: Did you feel supported at any time by party leadership?

Brodkorb: Who do you mean by “leadership”?

MinnPost: Well, I guess people like [Sen.] Dave Senjem ….

Brodkorb: No. Obviously, I sued them. So that tells you something. But let me say, the decision to sue was not an easy one. Regardless of how people felt about me personally, I was an employee, and I felt I deserved to be treated in a certain manner. I wish it hadn’t happened. But people file lawsuits because they feel there’s no other option. And in my cases I felt there wasn’t a responsible person on the other side of the table.

MinnPost: Knowing the nature of politics, did it surprise you that you’d be abandoned as fast as you were?

Brodkorb: It was surprising, yeah. Imagine you’re sitting at a table much like this [Brodkorb’s firing was handed down at a restaurant] and you suddenly realize that the world as you knew it has changed, very quickly. It was really tough. But, you know, when you hit bottom that’s a great foundation for building up, and every experience I’ve gone through has brought me to the place I am today. And as much as I wish I had gotten to the place I am today without some of the hurdles along the way, I’m really happy with where I am.

MinnPost: Everyone has suffered embarrassments in their life, although few come with the kind of public factor yours did. I remember thinking how I’d be in some kind of fetal tuck and immobilized if it were happening to me. What did you tell yourself to get through it? What advice do you have for anyone else in a similar situation?

Brodkorb: When you go through something like that, where you’re literally afraid to go outside your house, to where I am today, where, you know, everything is out there. I go through the day with quite a bit of calmness and peace, a calm a few years ago I couldn’t imagine myself having.

MinnPost: But where does that come from?

Brodkorb: It comes from starting over. It comes from being in a situation where one minute you’re sitting having a beer with a friend you knew from junior high and worked with to the next minute knowing your life as you knew it is over with. The best piece of advice I got was from a friend who said, “Tomorrow will come.” “It’s going to get better.”

MinnPost: Yeah, but you have to make it better. You have to make conscious choices. Do you compartmentalize this stuff and tuck it away where it doesn’t infect the rest of your life?

Brodkorb: I’ll tell you the firing wasn’t the worst day. It was the car accident. That’s where I really hit rock bottom. As much as I’m dealing better with it now and I’m 180 degrees from where I was a couple years ago, I don’t know if I didn’t have the opportunity, and I see it that way, of the car crash, I don’t know if I’d be here today. People ask and I tell them there were a lot of times when I wondered if it’d get better. It was hard. I went from being able to speak in front of thousands and thousands of people to not being comfortable going to a movie. That’s a huge shock to the system. It took a lot of time to re­-assimilate back into society. So the car crash, it wasn’t an accident it was a car crash, was an opportunity to re­set. It was a life-­changing experience.

MinnPost: Are we talking a Charles Colson-­like religious conversion?

Brodkorb: No. My faith is the same as it was before the accident. But the hand of providence works in ways you don’t always understand. What I’m saying is it was a very tough time. The accident was obviously a consequence of what I was going through at the time. It was hard to get up. I felt a tremendous amount of shame and embarrassment toward my family. Particularly my immediate family, my wife and my kids. I’m very thankful my kids couldn’t read the papers at that time. It was a sense of total shame and embarrassment. But through it all, I never felt the desire to move out of the state or change my name.

MinnPost: Was that a fighter’s combative instinct?

Brodkorb: It might have been. But after the crash, I didn’t want there to be a place on the map I had to stay away from. I didn’t want my family to go through that. I felt a responsibility to clean the mess up. Would it have been easier to put Minnesota behind us? Maybe. But I think it would have just postponed issues. I’m lucky. Really lucky. So my advice is, ‘Tomorrow will come. The day will get better.”

MinnPost: Is that necessarily true?

Brodkorb: Tomorrow will come.

MinnPost: Yeah, but will it be better? That’s what people worry about.

Brodkorb: It will get better. But I did a horrible job of talking about how tough it was. I had such a sense of shame and guilt over what I had done, I felt like a leech, like I was sucking energy out of people by sitting down and talking about it. And at a time when people are at their lowest is the time they need to reach out to other people. And there’s a responsibility on others to be receptive to that. I didn’t do a good job of that. And it created a situation where you drink too much. Where you get behind the wheel of a car and you’re lucky to walk away alive.

MinnPost: I’m always amazed how receptive the public is to an apology. I mean, there’s so much [bleep] going on, who can keep track of any of it for very long? But … 

Brodkorb: But it has to be sincere.

MinnPost: Oh yeah. And the public will gauge. But I’m struck by how rarely you hear a sincere apology in politics.

Brodkorb: There are a lot of qualified apologies. “I’m sorry if you felt that way.” “I’m sorry if I offended you, that wasn’t the way I meant it.” Those kinds of apologies don’t actually heal people, or let them move past the moment.

MinnPost: I don’t want to go all Diane Sawyer on you, but how’s the family life?

Brodkorb: My family life is wonderful. I wouldn’t be here today without the support of my family. My immediate family, my sisters and my parents. They’ve all been wonderful and I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to them all. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate every day of my life with them, with my wife Sarah and my kids. [Chokes up]. It’s sometimes tough to talk about. But I’m very lucky.

MinnPost: Someone who had been abandoned by everyone would be in a much tougher place.

Brodkorb: Oh yeah. And I get it. I get the game. What I did was … was .. an epic … epic …

MinnPost: Faceplant.

Brodkorb: [Laughs]. Yeah, “faceplant.” Rivaling only Icarus. So where I get emotional these days is talking about family. But I understand why it happened. I understand why the senators did what they did. I disagree with it. But I understand their position. When you take a step back and look at it that way, you personalize it less and are able to move past it.

MinnPost: One of my theories about your case is that elected officials make a distinction between themselves, people who have been through the meat­grinder of running for office, and someone like you who has risen to a position of prominence and influence without exposing yourself to that ordeal. And that were you an elected official like them they would have shown much more solidarity on your behalf.

Brodkorb: I think that’s absolutely true. You don’t have to be Karl Rove to get elected to some of these seats. I have great respect for the institution of the Senate and the House. But these people are human. So, yes, you are absolutely correct in how you framed that. Of course they would have shown more solidarity toward a fellow elected official. Of course they would have.

MinnPost: Who do you read for political news or commentary here in town, especially on the conservative side?

Brodkorb: I don’t really read a lot of conservative blogs. And I’ll tell you why. I read [PowerLine] occasionally. But there’s a mindset that comes with the pace of blogs. There’s this immediate intensity, where everything is a crisis. Everything’s a crisis in the blogosphere and there’s no sense of rhythm, or anything. It creates a loss of perspective.

MinnPost: A couple weeks ago I took a tour of the new Star Tribune offices. Very nice. But on street level they have this large, pleasant atrium, with your Au Bon Pains and people moving through the skyways. It’d be the ideal modern agora. A great place to have a kind of regular debate forum, where two people on different sides of an issue could go at it in front of a live audience that could throw out questions or heckle or whatever they wanted to do.

Brodkorb: That’d be great. I’d love to see something like that. Someplace where you could have a thoughtful debate.

MinnPost: But the rub, it always seems to me, is that something like that isn’t civil or proper enough, certainly not controllable enough for the established media. I mean, look at the debates of the last election cycle. Appalling snoozes. In my experience, the institutional media is very reluctant to get into anything that throws off sparks.

Brodkorb: But … sparks are a part of life.

Comments (25)

  1. Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 04/24/2015 - 10:43 am.

    Nice chat

    Lovely interview of a man who has been given a lot of room to change himself without having to apologize. He cheated on his wife and family while proclaiming himself a champion of family values and working hard to deny others the comfort of family. Before letting the past be put away there needs to be discussion of that offense and apology not just to his loving family but to the others that he derided. This is the same standard I would hold Senator Koch to as she reasserts her role in politics and policy.

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 04/24/2015 - 01:19 pm.

      and do you know he hasn’t?

      Beth-Ann, you seem to know what he has and hasn’t said to his family about the harms he may have done them. Unless you are a family member I’d think that was not your business. As for apologies to those he derided, and I am sure there are many, I think the more important atonement he can make is to change his behavior, which it sounds like he has done. As someone claiming the higher moral ground perhaps you could be more willing to embrace forgiveness.

      Back then I didn’t care for either of them, Koch and Brodkorp, but they’ve moved on and I’ve moved on. They both paid heavy prices and I’m not qualified to decide if that price has been high enough. My opinions were shaped by the lenses of the writings and opinions of others. I had no personal knowledge and so I have no grounds to be personally offended by their survival.

      • Submitted by Beth-Ann Bloom on 04/24/2015 - 05:58 pm.


        I should have been clearer that I was not speaking of the huge debt Mr Brodkorp owes his family. I was, however, speaking as a member of the broader public who received no apology from Mr Brodkorp and was forced to spend a lot of money on a lawsuit. In addition I was speaking for my gay friends and neighbors who Sen Koch and Mr Brodkorp felt free to deride and deny family rights. Before redemption comes contrition.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 04/24/2015 - 01:41 pm.

      You have no

      idea about whether there has been an apology from Mr. Brodkorb to his wife or family. Neither do I. But it is, frankly, no one’s business. They are still living together and from the words in the article it would appear that they are doing so happily.

      People make mistakes in their personal lives. They don’t go to jail for them, and often their spouses forgive them.

      As it says in the Bible and on the flyleaf of Anna Karenina:

      “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

      As for former Senator Koch, I think she has behaved in an honorable way since her divorce. She is working hard at her bar/bowling alley and is still politically active. I hope she re-enters politics, because the GOP needs all the competent women they can find. And I say this as a Democrat.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/24/2015 - 11:26 am.


    …to Beth-Ann for the reminder(s).

    That said, this piece struck me as really good work. Good questions from Brian, thoughtful responses from Brodkorb. I’m not a fan of bomb-throwers, literal or figurative, left or right, and what the interview reveals is a human being. That’s different from a bomb-thrower, even if I still doubt that we’d agree on very many political issues. I haven’t had the same set of experiences, but I can identify with Brodkorb’s low point, and frankly, it’s refreshing to see someone who seems to have grown up a bit rather than insisting that their troubles are someone else’s fault. I think he’s quite correct in asserting that he (I’d argue that it’s all of us) is a product of both good and bad choices and decisions, and that, while bad choices and decisions are still bad in retrospect, they’re also a part of how we came to be the people we are at the moment.

  3. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/24/2015 - 11:29 am.


    Nicely done Mr. Lambert and best wishes to Mr. Brodkorb who I at one time saw as the devil incarnate and a flaming hypocrite to boot. On the modern Agora, we need this not for our ordinary citizens as much as “required office hours” for our political leaders. The Prime Minister’s Question Hour in the UK starts to get at this: a weekly, mandatory confrontation that requires our leaders to publicly defend the outrageous rhetoric they have spewed to fawning audiences of true believers in the past week. Lacking these consequences, they soon believe their rhetoric and use it as the basis to build from there. Again, consequences are the key element: in business if a leader distorts a financial report, or violates a contract/business agreement their are consequences. In academia, a lie or plagiarism has consequences. Spout fact free political nonsense to a cheering audience and it is only natural to have the behavior reinforced and repeated. Spout fact free political nonsense to a cheering audience and know that: “boy, am I going to get my rear roasted when I have to actually back this up next week” and the behavior declines and truth and fact increases.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/24/2015 - 12:05 pm.

    I’ve got a little story to tell, and I’m not worried if it doesn’t make it through the censors or not because it’s directed at the Minnpost editors and staff as much as anyone else.

    In 2006, a friend directed me to Mn Dems Exposed, and I loved everything about it. The author was really shredding lefties and getting real traction. I think MDE’s “BREAKING” stories had as much to do with Hatch and Entenza’s defeats as anything else.

    Throughout the first year, Brodkorb maintained that he was not a GOP operative, he was just a guy out there looking for the truth. He was so successful, the DFL realized he was going to have to be stopped. So Blois Olson filed a thinly veiled libel suit attempt to find out the identity of MDE’s author.

    Brodkorb posted pleas for financial help to cover the costs of fighting the suit, so I sent him $50 along with an e-mail that told him I was 100% behind him, but I’d be more than disappointed if it turned out he was in fact a connected GOP operative…I told him I don’t like liars.

    Well, the rest is history.

    And although my opinion of Brodkorb was irrecoverably diminished, I continued to support him. Even though I didn’t trust or respect him any longer, and even though I heard behind the scenes stuff from prominent Republicans that disturbed me, I supported him because he continued to deliver the goods. So when he turned and “bit the hand that fed him”, me and a lot of others had a burden of blame to bear.

    My point is this. Brodkorb is feeling chastised, but he hasn’t changed a whit. Give him a couple of years to put the shame behind him, and he’ll be back…except this time he’ll be working for Democrats, heck he already is.

    And that’s fine, y’all are welcome to him.

    But don’t think for a minute it’s because he’s heeding a calling for the greater good; he’s got a chip on his shoulder, and he sees an opening to use the DFL and their operatives as a weapon against the people that (finally) shunned him.

    Remember what I’m telling you; my experience informs me Michael Brodkorb is a man without scruples, and your association with him will eventually cost you.

    • Submitted by Mike martin on 04/24/2015 - 05:34 pm.

      Tom has good points

      I agree Brodkorb is always looking out for himself. He always spins the past to make himself look good.

      He is bright, thoughtful and is a good read.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/24/2015 - 05:59 pm.

      Not the first time we’ve agreed on something

      but as usual you and I agreeing on something (a meeting of the extreme right and extreme left) will just prove to MinnPost that Brian did an excellent job because he managed to offend both the right and the left.

      That hogwash is getting very old.

      I see no specific apologies from Mr. Brodkorb for the many distortions he crowbarred into MN politics over the years. Letting him cop a plea on his personal immorality is lame. That’s not our business and whether his wife forgives him or not doesn’t change the fact that everyone who knows this man has stories about the lies he has told. And failure to mention the financial aspects of his government misservice greatly undermines the integrity of this interview.

      Since “Swiftee” can comment here without being edited by the ever-concerned arbiters of political politeness (and rehabilitation) here at MinnPost, let me say on the record that I would be very surprised to learn that that somebody at the Strib who reached out to Brodkorb was not D.J. Tice, a likeable guy the TC Media keeps applauding for being reasonable but who has spent his time at the STrib moving their editorial page ever further to the right.

      It is unimaginable that Brodkorb is allowed to write on politics in Minnesota without disclaimers. Knowing who he is and what he has done would influence any reader attempting to assess whichever cause Brodkorb is shilling for. And he should have to send his tax returns to the Strib every year to prove he’s not being paid for his opinions.

      Having zero credibility should result in consequences, not plum gigs any politico in the state would love to have.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/27/2015 - 04:53 pm.

      I want a response from Brodkorb

      As to Swift’s comments. What’s the problem with that MP?

  5. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 04/24/2015 - 05:51 pm.

    The interview skimmed the surface.

    It is facile to dismiss Mr Brodkorb’s prior occupation as “bomb-throwing.” It was aggressive dishonesty to undermine fundamental norms of self-government for private benefit. He took his place, at a local level, in a line with Atwater, Rove, and a steady stream of grifters working to dismantle our capacity to govern ourselves by any means necessary because they’ll be well paid by those who profit from a neutered collective or those being hoodwinked.

    We all like stories of redemption, and Mr Brodkorb appears sincerely chastened by his experience, but because of the judgments and rejections of others, not because of any internal recognition of an errant moral compass. Has his compass been recalibrated? Is one’s internal compass susceptible to that sort of recalibration? Frank exchange on this would have been of interest, not merely for The Michael Brodkorb Story but more broadly for questions about human nature and the possibility of democracy.

  6. Submitted by Charlene Washburn on 04/24/2015 - 09:57 pm.


    Forgive me but I’m not convinced that he’s turned over a new leaf. Did he not mean the hateful things he said as “Minnesota Democrats Exposed”?? Whether or not he’s admitted his lies, how does someone change that easily? I’m suspicious about the motives.

  7. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/25/2015 - 07:42 am.

    Walking the dog

    Somehow this front-and-center interview sounds more like someone sitting on a whoopee cushion as one last chance getting back in the public eye?

    Would the R party consider him for house chair was one question.

    I suppose it would be a leg up from sitting on a three legged stool milking the media cow?

    Best advice; try walking the dog?

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 04/25/2015 - 04:29 pm.

      “Would the R party consider him for house chair was one question.”

      Assuming you mean party chair, Brodkorb isn’t welcome at Republican Party functions as a guest.

  8. Submitted by Charlie Quimby on 04/25/2015 - 05:52 pm.

    Redemption story

    Michael Brodkorb was very good at doing bad things, and I had no love for him or his tactics in the old days.

    But something now tells me to take him at his word.

    Redemption stories are best when they involve people who least deserve redemption.

  9. Submitted by Johnny Johnson on 04/26/2015 - 01:34 am.

    Please just go away, Michael.

    Though the comparison would probably make him smile, Michael Brodkorb was basically Minnesota’s Karl Rove — a political assassin for the establishment — and everyone in inner circles knew it. (Some of us are relieved he’s finally exposed himself — no puns intended.)

    His effectiveness as a ruthless political operative, made him just as dangerous as Frank Underwood complete with all the corruption, drama, and ambition. It always left me wondering if his Eagan neighbor, Tim Pawlenty, gone to Washington, would the whole House of Cards still be standing?

    But now we know the truth. Michael Brodkorb is an adulterer, a drunk driver, and a major contributor to the events that plundered the Republican Party of Minnesota along with the short-lived GOP legislative majorities.

    This interview is probably just a part of his making his name less toxic for future consulting gigs. Any serious news outfit or political candidate would do well to keep their distance, but not underestimate him. After all, a RINO’s horn can grow back.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/27/2015 - 08:29 am.

      Time will tell . . .

      And actions speak louder than words.

      As a significant amount of time goes by, it will become apparent whether this is a true reformation, or just another PR spin du jour to enhance his employment status.

      Watchful waiting, that’s what I’d advise.

  10. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 04/26/2015 - 07:58 am.

    …so what’s the greater issue here?

    I guess my concern initially, essentially is not with the interview I suppose…not even with the shallow nature of the show-and-tell expose…but the placement of the story, front-and-center, while one of the greater human tragedies, world issues, sits a few stories down by Porubansky , “Better to die for something than live for nothing,”

    Mediocrity raises its large head here and consumerism wins over content..I hope that’s not the case but…

  11. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 04/26/2015 - 09:12 am.

    This is America. We all have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves. For those who would prefer to hold a grudge; ‘cast the first stone’.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 04/29/2015 - 11:16 am.

      Buddhists are heavy into forgiveness

      but Theravada Buddhists cannot forgive someone until that person has acknowledged that they did wrong. This was a big deal in the Senser trial because the victim’s family, all Theravada Buddhists, could not put closure on their son’s death until Amy Senser acknowledged her crime, something her legal strategy did not permit.

      When you made your living slinging mud, some of which is still sticking to people, you can’t ask forgiveness without spelling out what it is you’re asking forgiveness for.

      Personally, I would never trust Brodkorb, a man who lied to me at length in our one face-to-face meeting. But if he actually made a detailed apology and cleared the record on some of his mud-slinging, I would have no trouble with him working in political media. David Brock was a political hit man who found his inner mensch and went on to found a fact-checking site that puts newspaper fact checking to shame. Maybe Brodkorb has some Media Matters in him. We won’t know until he dishes on the stuff he knows isn’t true, but that he formerly asserted was.

  12. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/26/2015 - 11:53 am.

    Partisan politics?

    Is there any other kind?

  13. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 04/26/2015 - 05:55 pm.

    Recent Brodkorb work

    Like many people on the left, I did not think highly of Brodkorb back in his MDE/Republican party days and got some spiteful pleasure out of the wreck of his career (not of the actual car wreck, though—I am not quite that spiteful). Some of the above commenters seem very doubtful as to Brodkorb’s moral reformation. While the interview above rings earnest to me, I don’t really think the man’s character is my business. But I’ve read a number of his more recent columns with interest, and I’ve been impressed with what strikes me as thoughtful and intelligent commentary. So whether or not I agree with his conclusions, I appreciate his voice.

  14. Submitted by Nancy LaRoche on 04/27/2015 - 09:26 am.

    Done with partisan politics?

    Like many who were around during his MDE and MNGOP Deputy Chair days, I’ve seen interesting behavior from him since his return to blogging/opining. Why does he seem obsessed on criticizing current MNGOP leadership cleaning up the debt and bad PR Tony Sutton created (while he served as Deputy Chair). Also, he didn’t mention the leaks from GOP state executive members feeding him information from party meetings (a concern while I was a State Exec member during 2013-2015) – which he seems quick to release on his blog and Twitter. That alone should give pause, since he doesn’t seem to report on any inside information or dirt on DFL leadership. It also piques my curiosity: is he being paid to dig up dirt on one party by another? Some liberal activists and journalists (and conservative) believe so. I wish him well, but I do not trust his motives. Dig below the surface, MinnPost. Done with partisan politics? I don’t think so.

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