If Senator Heidi Heitkamp had won re-election last week and some Republican took to the internet to complain about how Kevin Cramer might have won instead had the incumbent reined in her talk radio host brother I think Democrats would have had a good laugh.
As well they should. Whining about that sort of thing is childish.
So what, then, are we to make of Joel Heitkamp, the aforementioned talk radio host brother, whinging on in a post on his radio station’s website about how his sister would have won were it not for my employers deploying their “pitbull” to ensure it didn’t happen?
The “pitbull” being me, apparently.
Most of the time Joel Heitkamp isn’t worth paying attention to, but in this instance his rant is, unintentionally, rather instructive. It speaks to the sense of the entitlement that has permeated Senator Hetikamp’s entire career in politics, and her re-election campaign especially.
The Heitkamps seem to think they’re owed deference. They can dish out whatever they like at their political enemies, of course, but they have zero tolerance for getting any of the same back. When it happens, they play the victim.
This is why Senator Heitkamp thought she could get away with ignoring her critics in the media, such as me. It’s why Heitkamp’s campaign and Senatorial staff would routinely berate the reporters/producers/editors of any news organization that dared run coverage critical of them.
They simply thought they were above such things.
That conceit was their downfall, and yet even in defeat it’s clear the Heitkamps still don’t get it.
As for my supposed role as “pitbull,” I can tell you that nobody at Forum Communications Company has ever told me what to write, or what to cover in my broadcasts. My content is a reflection of my priorities, not necessarily theirs.
That content was effective because it was both factual and persuasive.
Let’s not forget, the Heitkamp campaign gave me plenty of opportunities. I wasn’t the one who decided to clumsily out sexual assault survivors in a print ad. I didn’t tell the Democrats to start an online ad campaign trying to persuade hunters not to vote. I’m not the one who chose to accuse a decorated WWII veteran of “gutter politics” simply because he didn’t want his name and story used to further Heitkamp’s campaign.
I broke those stories, and they got a lot of statewide and even national attention, but I didn’t create them.
The idea that I’m some attack dog working on behalf of other interests is a fairy tale the Heitkamps are telling themselves so they can ignore reality, which is that they ran a bad campaign in pursuit of political agendas most North Dakotans don’t support.
And this sense of entitlement they have? This expectation of deference from the public and the media?
It’s exactly why the Heitkamps shouldn’t have power.