What’s Good for Senator Hoeven Is Good for Senator Heitkamp


In their editorial today the Grand Forks Herald calls on Senator John Hoeven to speak out about Donald Trump.

What occasioned the editorial is criticism from Hoeven’s opponent this election year, Democratic candidate Eliot Glassheim, accusing the incumbent of an only tepid endorsement of his party’s controversial and divisive presidential candidate.

(You can listen to my radio interview with Glassheim from yesterday below in which he talks about Trump. I had him on as a guest while sitting in for Sandy Buttweiler in 970 AM WDAY.)

The Herald argues that if Hoeven has problems with Trump – and his less-than-enthusiastic embrace of the candidate seems to indicate that he does – then he should speak out about them. After all, Hoeven has a weak challenger in Glassheim and a long track record as one of the most well-liked politicians in America. If anyone in the Republican party has the political cover to speak critically about Trump it’s John Hoeven.

So I agree with the Herald. Hoeven should speak up. I realize that’s not his style. Hoeven’s modus operandi is to avoid controversy. But that’s not leadership. North Dakotans elected Hoeven to be a leader, and I think in these turbulent times in national politics he owes us a forthright accounting for his stance on Trump.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]While Trump is the consummate snake oil huckster stoking the anger and resentment Americans rightfully feel toward the political status quo, Hillary Clinton is the shining example of that status quo.[/mks_pullquote]

To his credit, Rep. Kevin Cramer has done just that, endorsing Trump with gusto and speaking openly about what he perceives as the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. I’m no fan of Trump, and Cramer’s endorsement of the buffoonish candidate disappoints me, but at least Cramer explains himself.

All that said, I wonder why the Herald doesn’t apply this same standard Senator Heidi Heitkamp?

Hillary Clinton, who Heitkamp has endorsed for President way back in 2013, is no less a repugnant candidate for President than Donald Trump. It’s a bit rich when Trump calls Clinton a “crooked liar” given his own track record of glib falsehoods, but he’s not wrong either.

While Trump is the consummate snake oil huckster stoking the anger and resentment Americans rightfully feel toward the political status quo, Hillary Clinton is the shining example of that status quo. The scope of Team Clinton’s corruption is simply breathtaking. So much so that it almost seems an asset these days in that Americans have become so inured to news about Clintons doing something dishonest that it almost stops being newsworthy.

What would be newsworthy, at this point, is a Clinton behaving with integrity.

So if it is incumbent upon Senator Hoeven to speak his true feelings about Trump, it should be incumbent for Senator Heitkamp to speak out on Clinton.

After all, Clinton has promised to follow through on an Obama administration moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands if elected. Clinton has also said she plans to crank up fees and taxes on fossil fuel energy development in order to fund more subsidies for so-called “green energy” projects.

Oh, and Clinton has also said that she’ll maintain the political roadblocks in front of the Keystone XL pipeline project, something Heitkamp said she supported during her 2012 campaign.

Keep in mind that Heitkamp’s popularity among North Dakotans – which earned her an election day victory by the slimmest of margins in 2012 – is built on her departures from Democrat positions on key issues like energy development. It seems more than a little odd that Senator Heitkamp would endorse a presidential candidate who would implement so many policies Heitkamp claims to oppose.

Again, Heitkamp signed a letter urging Hillary Clinton to run for President back in 2013. In December Heitkamp stood alongside other Democratic members of the Senate and endorsed Clinton for the presidency (video here).

Why would Heitkamp, given her stated policy positions on energy, want any part of a Clinton presidency?

That’s a question Heitkamp should answer.