Kudos To George Sinner: Sometimes It's Ok To Say I Don't Know


I’ve been pretty hard on Geroge Sinner, who is running on the Democrat ticket against U.S. House incumbent Kevin Cramer. I think his campaign has been lackluster and amateurish. I think he’s a bit of a policy lightweight. And I think he’s just a bit too enamored with his last name as a ticket to political success in this state (for those of you who don’t know, his father was Governor in the 1980’s and early 1990’s).

But credit where it is due, I thought Sinner handled this question about the mess over in Iraq pretty well:

FARGO (KFGO-AM) – Democratic North Dakota congressional candidate George Sinner says he doesn’t have an opinion regarding whether U.S. ground troops should be used in the war against “Isis.” …

“I just don’t have enough to really make a qualified statement on what I think I should do,” Sinner said. “I am really uncertain. I have to back both the congress and the administration. I don’t know what honestly is the best method because I’m not privy to the same information that they get.”

When asked specifically whether he would support using ground forces against Isis, Sinner said, “I’m not in a position to answer that question. I don’t have the same information that our congress people do and our administration.” “Am I ready to put boots on the ground? Not without the information, I’m not.”

It’s not an easy thing for someone running for public office to say “I don’t know.” The last thing a political candidate wants to appear as is uninformed or uncertain. As unhealthy as it is, Americans expect their political leaders to jump to conclusions.

He could have just taken the party line with President Obama and his fellow Democrats, but Sinner is acknowledging that he doesn’t have all the facts and so is reserving judgment.

It takes a big man in the calculating, cynical political world to admit that you don’t know something.

Some might call that a punt – dissembling from someone who doesn’t want to take a hard stand on a tough issue, but I think it’s refreshing.

Sometimes – more often than not, I’d argue – it’s ok for our political leaders to be deliberate in thought and action. Eventually one would hope that Sinner would inform himself of what’s going on in Iraq, and come to a decision, but f there’s one thing we need less of it’s knee-jerk reactions catering to the emotional whims of the voting mob.

For the record, Cramer (who isn’t likely to lose to Sinner) voted with a House majority to authorize strikes against ISIS.