I suppose we are just going to have to live with the notion that the Democrats in North Dakota don’t know how to govern. Being the minority party allows them to be superficial and irresponsible. Knowing that some of the things you propose have no chance of passing allow you to become reckless.
In these last few days I noticed Democrats feign indignation that some of their inane ideas didn’t get much traction. I often wonder if they propose these bills because they think it will garner favor with the electorate or just to satisfy their base.
What becomes infuriating is the grandstanding in committee and on the floor which one has to endure while the charade plays itself out. Rep. Jim Kasper (R-Fargo) had enough when he didn’t accept anymore amendments that didn’t have a chance of passing in his committee and the Democrats were irate. Senator George Sinner (D-Fargo) breaks rules and tradition by calling out a Republican senator on the floor of the senate.
While no legislative leader I have ever served under, myself or any since my time wants to limit the minority from expressing their opinion there comes a time that you need to. The legislature has 80 days to complete its work. If every time the minority throws a monkey wrench in to the proceedings where the majority lets them get away with it, it wouldn’t be near enough time. If that means cutting off the debate in committee or limiting the debate on the floor that is what a responsible majority has to do.
Sometimes a bill doesn’t get an amendment because it isn’t going to pass in any form; it is just a bad idea. I have seen legislation introduced by Republicans get the same treatment. There are also times that amendments are so radical in nature that it isn’t fair to the assembly or the voters to put them on a bill without a fair hearing in committee.
When you are the majority party you must act responsibly or soon you will find yourself in the minority. Senator Harry Reid is the latest example of acting irresponsibly in the way he conducted the affairs of the US Senate. How his caucus could re-elect him leader after the losses they suffered is beyond me. Of course they had just witnessed the scenario played out in the US House while being led by Speaker Pelosi and they keep re-electing her leader.
If North Dakota Democrat legislators ever want to have a working majority they must learn some lessons. The Republicans enjoy a good approval rating because they are doing what the voters expect of them. They are governing responsibly. Democrats should begin to understand that some legislation shouldn’t be introduced as it is never going to pass in North Dakota. Making an issue of something just for the sake of having an argument isn’t a strategy for success.
While there are some responsible Democrats in both chambers of the US Congress and the North Dakota Legislature I am afraid they are a minority in their own caucus. The liberals have control of the Democrat agenda and they are the most vocal. If the moderates don’t take back control the continuation of the present Republican majorities will continue.