MINOT, N.D. — An unfortunate side effect of our style of government is that it makes ample room for the performative politics of ideologues.
It is possible to achieve a position of power and influence and then use it to perform as opposed to making the more banal and often difficult choices necessary to govern.
Ideologues, when put in the positioning of actually governing, often become more pragmatic. Former President Barack Obama, as an example, never actually closed the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay during his eight years in office despite it being a high-profile campaign promise. Saying on the campaign stump what we ought to do with a bunch of dangerous people detained in a military facility as a byproduct of the war on terror is much easier than being the one on the hook for the consequences of making that decision.
So it goes with state Rep. Rick Becker, a strident ideologue who could use his position to promote competent governance for his Bismarck-area constituents but instead uses it as a platform from which to perform for the small cult of personality he’s cultivated in state politics.