FARGO -- Now that Heidi Heitkamp is vanquished, her secret plan in conjunction with Nancy Pelosi to have MS-13 gang members invade the state to set up the Environmental Protection Agency's world headquarters in Bismarck having been laid bare, you have to wonder what North Dakota Republicans are going to do with their time.
You can almost see Republicans sullenly swirling a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue at Harold Hamm's Oklahoma ranch, grousing about the new reality of life without Heidi.
"Sigh. Remember that time she split her infinitive on her brother's radio show and we turned that into five days of content for Chris, Rob and Scott? Those were the days, eh? Sigh. Pass the bottle."
Such was the fixation over the Democratic U.S. Senator from the day she was elected. The NDGOP controlled every lever of government, statewide and federally, except the coveted Heitkamp seat. The last six years were an exercise in Pavlovian conditioning. It was great fun. You could say "Heidi" and watch Republicans' eyes bulge out of their head, mouths frothing, while they screamed "George Soros! Socialism! Hillary!"
It was best to warn others if you pulled the stunt in a restaurant, so as to allow other customers to protect their food from the spittle-flecked chunks of appetizers flying through the air.
But now what? Heidi will be gone, replaced by a Republican who pulls a Meg Ryan every time he hears the word "Trump," and Republicans have every office they want, except the mayorship of Fargo and possibly the dog-catcher in Hatton.
Give them time. There's a rumor the guy in Hatton once allowed his National Rifle Association membership to lapse for the three weeks and the GOP has the hearsay to prove it.
But that's such small potatoes. North Dakota Republicans are going to be bored. They won't have Heidi to kick around anymore. Or Al Carlson, who they kicked around behind his back because they were afraid to lose plum committee assignments that would net them free dinner and drinks from the best lobbyists.
Carlson lost his reelection bid to the North Dakota House, which actually isn't all bad. Now he can spend 52 weeks a year at his Minnesota lake place, instead of the usual 49 he did while representing south Fargo.
It'll be a challenge to fend off the boredom, though. Some of the GOP's Heidi angst can be directed toward ethics, since Measure 1 passed. With the good practice the Republican-dominated legislature has in gumming up medical marijuana, it can probably keep the dangers of transparent government at bay for a decade or more.
Or maybe they start cannibalizing each other, which would make for tremendous viewing. The Establishment vs. The Libertarians vs. The Theocracy. Put 'em in an octagon. The 14 Democrats in Bismarck could sell popcorn to raise money. Last one standing gets full credit for turning the state universities into trade schools and slashing taxes for oil companies.
Sigh. It just isn't the same, is it? They'll never admit it, but Republicans will miss Heidi. For six years, she gave meaning to their lives.