I was happy to see this week that Senator Heidi Heitkamp embraced gay marriage. That’s the right decision, and one more and more Republicans and Democrats are making. Hopefully this shift in political thinking will result in allowing feelings about homosexuality to be a private matter to be settled in our homes, churches and civic organizations.
But the applause for Heitkamp’s decision is, frankly, a little nauseating.
First, Heitkamp couched change of heart in victimhood. In explaining her decision to the Bismarck Tribune she made a bizarre reference to some sort of discrimination she suffered in her own marriage.
After an election season in which Heitkamp played the “victim” card over and over again, can we get a break? Can Heitkamp just give us a straight explanation for a policy position without trying to insert herself into it as the victim?
Second, this change of heart might seem a lot more genuine if Heitkamp had made it during her campaign for the US Senate. And it’s not like she didn’t have the chance to address it. Heitkamp was asked about her position on gay marriage, and rather than give a straight answer she dismissed the question as a “distraction” (and our lapdog political press corps didn’t press her on it).
Now that Heitkamp has won election, and has the better part of a decade before she has to worry about being on the ballot again, suddenly the gay marriage issue isn’t such a “distraction.”
That speaks volumes about Heitkamp’s calculating political nature. She attempts to portray herself as an honest, down-home populist always ready with the straight-talk for voters, but this maneuver reveals Heitkamp’s willingness to deceive and deflect on controversial issues.
That’s not a good sign for politician who campaigned on a largely right-of-center platform. Senator Heitkamp is going to be a lot further to the left than candidate Heitkamp was, and not just on social issues.