John Andrist: NDGOP's Gubernatorial Debate Does North Dakota Proud

It was good to listen to North Dakota’s governor hopefuls in a so-called debate last week.

I’m not sure it was a real debate, because the three hopefuls were polite. They answered the questions, and they seemed to be primarily concerned with getting their points across without being disrespectful or nasty.

There were no personal attacks. Nobody swore. None of them taunted. If they were perspiring nobody mentioned it. So perhaps it wasn’t a real debate, at least by the standards of presidential debates.

I like to think it was a debate North Dakota style. You know, no verbal fisticuffs or body slams.

The pundits tell us most Americans are tired of politics as usual. Or maybe it’s the candidates on the outside, trying to get on the inside, that tell us that.

But if we are tired of politics as usual we seem to be trading it for politics that are extraordinary. Downright nasty.

I really don’t like it. But my fellow voters must like it, because they still seem to get elected.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]When I was young and knew everything I might have been a Donald Trump fan. But now that I’m old and don’t know anything for certain, I’ve become more of a centrist, more willing to work with people and compromise.[/mks_pullquote]

So perhaps we should blame the voters. Sometimes I think that if we don’t get everything we want we get a whole lot more than we deserve.

Voters seem to have a funny logic. When they are mad at their school they look for a better one, or they hire better trained teachers and administrators.

If they don’t like a store, they look for one that is new and improved — better management.

We pass all kinds of requirements for all kinds of professionals, because we want the best trained and the most experienced. A majority of professions, I think, now require a license.

Those nasty corporations Bernie Sanders likes to trash hire CEOs and pay them way too much money in the eyes of most of us, because they want to feel they have chosen the very best.

But in the world of politics, if we don’t like our president we often want an outsider without experience in the particular work we want them to do.

When I was young and knew everything I might have been a Donald Trump fan. But now that I’m old and don’t know anything for certain, I’ve become more of a centrist, more willing to work with people and compromise.

I suppose part of that is aging, but a larger part is (this may surprise you) after I had served a few sessions in the Senate I learned that because something seemed perfectly reasonable and logical to me, it wasn’t necessarily so with my colleagues.

And I learned that you can get more from others being nice, instead of using a baseball bat. Moreover, I learned it is more fun.

If that sounds like Ronald Reagan, I’m flattered.

Here’s another example of trying to look for middle ground amid controversy.

On a PBS news program recently a guy made these remarks:

Republicans who deny global warming out of hand need to accept the fact that CO2 in the atmosphere is near record levels, that it contributes to holding heat, and that we need to find ways to capture or eliminate some of it.

Democrats and other alarmists need to recognize that it will probably be another 40 or 50 years before we can figure out an economical way to do it if we want to avoid freezing in the dark, either because we don’t have enough electricity or we can’t afford to pay for it.

Sometimes wisdom becomes a by-product of listening to both sides  and seeking middle ground.

Now I’ve done it. I promised myself I was going to write less often about political things.

Just goes to show you, you can’t believe us lying politicians.

Rob Port is the editor of, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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