Yep, that IMRC vacuum actuator is spring-loaded to the open position, and it's almost impossible to get your hand, or even a mirror, between the firewall and the actuator to check it out.
I used some tiny nails (with the heads cut off) as pins, which I heated with a torch and melted into the remaining half of the lever and into a thick plastic washer in which a nylon rod was JB-welded; this is how I re-created the missing half of the plastic connector. Regrettably, I did not photograph my work, as I was too stressed out trying to get it all to work. Good news is that the home-made lever is tough, and survived a bench-level torture test (actuated it by hand, violently, a hundred times or so). Better than OEM.
After I put it all back together, it ran fine and I was happy....for two days. Then, the engine started idling very rough, and the Check Engine light came back on. I ordered a new IMRC controller (solenoid which controls vacuum to the actuator), and installed it tonight, but the rough idle persists.
Interesting enough, when I cram my hand between the firewall and the actuator when the engine is running, it feels like it is retracted (butterfly valves closed) at idle.
Not sure where to go next. Vacuum lines seem fine. Idle just get worse when the MAF sensor is disconnected. Starting to wonder if it is the throttle body or TPS.