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Omdahl: It’s all a clever trap, Sen. Heitkamp

Dear Sen. Heidi: As you now, I never meddle in your political plans. However, I have always felt responsible for the well-being of my former students from Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers to the Pomeroy boys and the Heitkamps. The time has co...

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Dear Sen. Heidi: As you now, I never meddle in your political plans. However, I have always felt responsible for the well-being of my former students from Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers to the Pomeroy boys and the Heitkamps. The time has come, however, to warn you about the clever trap that is being set back here in North Dakota. They’re trying to lure you into a narrow political canyon where they can dry gulch you in the 2016 election. They want you to run for governor.
That insightful political observer Mike Jacobs, retired editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, noted recently that U.S. senators seldom run for governor. It’s always the other way around. For you to run for governor would be going down the up staircase. To keep this whole discussion nonpartisan, we will just identify “they” as Party No.1. There is no denying that Party No. 1 would like to have your Senate seat. In fact, it looks like they would even trade the governorship for it. The tipoff is the bill in the present session of the Legislature that would require special elections to fill Senate vacancies. They are worried that when you get elected governor you can appoint your successor under present law. Now please note they are not conceding the gubernatorial election to you. This is just more cheese in the trap. While the proposed legislation is the giveaway, there is the recent Gallup well-being survey reporting that North Dakota folks have become very unhappy in the last couple of years. In 2013, we were the happiest folks on earth. In 2015, we plummeted to 23rd in the country. Ordinarily, Gallup people are as right as any polling organization can get, but I am suspicious of such a significant decline in so short a time. Cultures don’t change that fast. I can believe that folks in Hawaii are the most happy. But South Dakota tied for second? Give me a break. Among Gallup’s criteria was “having supportive relationships and love in your life.” Our most populous nationalities, Scandinavian and German, didn’t verbalize affection. My folks never said they loved me but they made lefse, lutefisk and gammelost, and that said it to me. Another bit of Gallup criteria was “managing economic life to reduce stress.” Hey! This is a farm state and I never saw the day that farmers didn’t complain about something. Farming is a stressful business. They’re already stewing about the lack of moisture for spring planting. Gallup polled around 800 people in North Dakota, most of whom vote for Party No. 1. I think they were coached to tell Gallup how unhappy they were so you would think people were ready for a change and would vote for candidates in Party No. 3, especially for governor. (Right now, there is no Party No. 2 in North Dakota.) Then, there is another Gallup survey indicating that North Dakota is moving from conservative to moderate. At one time, we were in the top five conservative states and now we dropped to No. 13. That’s suspicious. Asking people to classify themselves politically is like asking people about religion. Most will claim to be believing Christians when they are actually practicing secularists. It’s a kind of socially-acceptable atheism. We may claim moderate but Party No. 1 has all of the elected state officials and two-thirds of both houses of the Legislature. That’s not moderate. That’s excessive. We’re Sanforized deep red conservative. It all adds up, senator. And just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get one. Omdahl is a former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email him at ndmatters@q.com.Dear Sen. Heidi:As you now, I never meddle in your political plans. However, I have always felt responsible for the well-being of my former students from Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers to the Pomeroy boys and the Heitkamps.The time has come, however, to warn you about the clever trap that is being set back here in North Dakota. They’re trying to lure you into a narrow political canyon where they can dry gulch you in the 2016 election. They want you to run for governor.
That insightful political observer Mike Jacobs, retired editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald, noted recently that U.S. senators seldom run for governor. It’s always the other way around. For you to run for governor would be going down the up staircase.To keep this whole discussion nonpartisan, we will just identify “they” as Party No.1. There is no denying that Party No. 1 would like to have your Senate seat. In fact, it looks like they would even trade the governorship for it.The tipoff is the bill in the present session of the Legislature that would require special elections to fill Senate vacancies. They are worried that when you get elected governor you can appoint your successor under present law.Now please note they are not conceding the gubernatorial election to you. This is just more cheese in the trap.While the proposed legislation is the giveaway, there is the recent Gallup well-being survey reporting that North Dakota folks have become very unhappy in the last couple of years. In 2013, we were the happiest folks on earth. In 2015, we plummeted to 23rd in the country.Ordinarily, Gallup people are as right as any polling organization can get, but I am suspicious of such a significant decline in so short a time. Cultures don’t change that fast.I can believe that folks in Hawaii are the most happy. But South Dakota tied for second? Give me a break.Among Gallup’s criteria was “having supportive relationships and love in your life.” Our most populous nationalities, Scandinavian and German, didn’t verbalize affection. My folks never said they loved me but they made lefse, lutefisk and gammelost, and that said it to me.Another bit of Gallup criteria was “managing economic life to reduce stress.” Hey! This is a farm state and I never saw the day that farmers didn’t complain about something. Farming is a stressful business. They’re already stewing about the lack of moisture for spring planting.Gallup polled around 800 people in North Dakota, most of whom vote for Party No. 1. I think they were coached to tell Gallup how unhappy they were so you would think people were ready for a change and would vote for candidates in Party No. 3, especially for governor. (Right now, there is no Party No. 2 in North Dakota.)Then, there is another Gallup survey indicating that North Dakota is moving from conservative to moderate. At one time, we were in the top five conservative states and now we dropped to No. 13. That’s suspicious.Asking people to classify themselves politically is like asking people about religion. Most will claim to be believing Christians when they are actually practicing secularists. It’s a kind of socially-acceptable atheism.We may claim moderate but Party No. 1 has all of the elected state officials and two-thirds of both houses of the Legislature. That’s not moderate. That’s excessive. We’re Sanforized deep red conservative.It all adds up, senator. And just because one is paranoid doesn’t mean somebody isn’t out to get one.Omdahl is a former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email him at ndmatters@q.com.

Related Topics: LLOYD OMDAHLHEIDI HEITKAMP
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