Governor Dalrymple's SB2279 Comments Were An Act Of Political Cowardice


House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo) is unhappy with Governor Jack Dalrymple’s comments regarding the defeat of SB2279 yesterday, and who can blame him?

Here’s what Dalrymple’s office sent out after the state House defeated legislation outlawing discrimination against gays yesterday:

I’m concerned that we have missed an opportunity to affirm what North Dakotans already believe, which is that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is not acceptable. We should have at least established protections in the areas of housing and employment.

The problem here isn’t Dalrymple’s position on SB2279 – reasonable people can disagree on the efficacy of the policy, though there isn’t a lot of reason on that issue of late – but rather his timing.

Dalrymple’s ex post facto support for the legislation isn’t going to endear him to its supporters. They’re wondering why he lacked the courage to speak up before the bill was voted on.

On the other hand, Dalrymple throwing House Republicans under the bus after they took a tough stand on a controversial issue is hardly going to endear him to his own party.

Some say the move was calculated. “That tells me he’s running for governor again,” Carlson told the Bismarck Tribune of Dalrymple’s comments.

Maybe so, but if political calculation was the motivation, it failed miserably. Dalrymple didn’t make himself any friends with this move. He probably decreased, rather than increased, the public’s appetite for another Dalrymple term.