Why have North Dakota Democrats been pushed to the margins of the state’s politics? Why has their party been worn down to a small, angry nub of hard core progressives?
Part of it is that they promote policies and ideas most North Dakotans simply don’t want.
Another part of it is that when it comes to the trade craft of retail politics, they kind of suck. As in, they’re not competent.
Case in point, this press release from the Democratic party which literally criticizes Congressman Kevin Cramer for having an open mind.
“Congressman Cramer said he’ll ‘look at the budget with an open mind,’ which means he’s open to destroying programs that support North Dakota and rural communities,” said Robert Haider, Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party.“That’s a betrayal of his responsibility to North Dakotans.”
“Cramer is open to a budget that would cut programs that are critical to rural communities across the state, such as funding for rural airports, rural development, and clean water. He’s open to cutting funding for programs that help families afford meals and stay warm in the winter. Cramer owes it to the people of North Dakota to fight for these programs, none of which are included in Trump’s budget.”
“As North Dakotans, we want to work together to reach results, but we’re unable to compromise when one of the negotiators wants to rip apart the fabric of our communities. That’s a non-starter.”
How do you attack someone for having an open mind about something?
Like, “Damn it that so-and-so is so open minded!”
The “open mind” thing isn’t even really a direct quote from Cramer. Those are actually words written by my colleague April Baumgarten and attributed (accurately, I’m sure) to Cramer in an article she wrote that’s linked in the release from the Democrats.
Here’s April’s reporting in context from her article:
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., agreed, saying Congress has had to fight for EAS funds almost every year. He also noted any president that submits a budget tends to set high goals, but Congress likely will make changes.
He said he also understood the U.S. needs to build up its military, but he didn’t want to “punish the people that are helping” the country, referring to agriculture producers.
He didn’t rule out cutting programs, but he said he was concerned about cuts to the FSA.
“I’m never one of those people to say, ‘Hell no, we won’t go there,’ ” he said, adding he will look at the budget with an open mind.
In other words, Cramer is a little skeptical of some parts of Trump’s budget, but he’s not going to set up chunks of the budget as sacred cows which cannot be slaughtered.
He’s got, you know, an open mind. Which doesn’t seem unreasonable. Unless you’re a partisan hack looking for a talking point.
Believe it or not, it seems the Democrats actually toned this down a bit. Judging by the URL for the press release, they were going to accuse Congressman Cramer of “betrayal.”