Forget The Iran Vote, Can Heidi Heitkamp Explain Her Filibuster Hypocrisy?


Since casting a vote to defend President Barack Obama’s controversial deal with Iran Senator Heidi Heitkamp has been acknowledging the political ramifications.

“It’s going to impact any campaign,” Heitkamp admitted to Bismarck Tribune reporter Nick Smith. “We’ve got to be able to defend those decisions.”

But Heitkamp’s vote to support the Iran deal isn’t the only thing she’ll have to defend. She also needs to explain why, yet again, she’s joined in a largely partisan filibuster of Republican efforts to block the deal after campaigning against those sort of tactics in 2012.

If there was a theme to Senator Heidi Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign to the U.S. Senate it was the idea that she is a pragmatic leader who would help cut through obstruction in Washington D.C. to get things done. On her still-active campaign website Heitkamp said there are “too many extreme politicians in Washington” who hold the country “hostage to advance their narrow political agenda.”

Heitkamp was specifically against the filibuster, pledging to reform it during her campaign casting a vote to obliterate it while a member of the Senate majority in 2013 and 2014.

During her term in office Heitkamp has also postured herself as a compromiser. “Compromise for so many people is a dirty word here in (this) town,” she told a high school classroom earlier this year, claiming that she her uncompromising colleagues the “hell nos.”

Yet, on the Iran deal, Heitkamp helped a Senate minority block majority, bipartisan opposition to the Iran deal. Heitkamp also voted five times to filibuster a Homeland Security appropriations bill earlier this year.

How can Heitkamp square those actions with her rhetoric against the filibuster and her posturing as a moderate compromiser?


This isn’t about the merits of the Iran deal as policy, which is a separate issue. This is about why Heitkamp only thinks the filibuster, and political obstruction in general, is bad when she’s in the majority.

For the record, I 100 percent support the filibuster and I have no problem with Heitkamp and Democrats using it generally. I am against Heitkamp getting away with being a hypocrite on the filibuster.