Berg’s Final Vote: “No” To The Fiscal Cliff Deal


Rep. Rick Berg just cast his final vote in the US House. He’ll be heading back to the private sector after failing in his bid to move to the Senate. By the narrowest of margins, North Dakotans picked liberal Democrat Heidi Heitkamp over him.

But Berg finished strong. Even as his fellow North Dakota Republican John Hoeven voted for the “fiscal cliff” bill in the Senate (read his justifications here), Berg cast his ballot against the Senate’s “fiscal cliff” bill which adds just $62 billion in new revenue per year, and nearly $4 trillion to deficit projections over the next ten years.

Berg’s short time in the US House won’t be heralded by many as it ends. Liberals in the state were happy to see him out of office, and conservatives feel he squandered his opportunity to move up to the Senate by running a lackadaisical campaign.

Berg lost because of his personality more than anything else. Heitkamp needed to make voters hate Rick Berg, and she succeeded, proving that the very sort of campaign everyone claims to hate – a very negative campaign long on mud-slinging and short on issues – works pretty well.

But Berg’s last vote in the House proves that he would have governed closer to what North Dakotans want than Heitkamp, if he’d been given the chance.

We can at least take solace in the fact that Berg will be replaced by Cramer who is, if anything, even more conservative.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • two_amber_lamps

    Do you think North Dakotans will have buyer’s remorse after choosing Heidi “The Bolshevik Bulldog” Heitkamp over Berg for the Senate?

    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle merite.”

    (“Every nation has the government it deserves.”)

    –Joseph de Maistre 1811

    The same applies to the states…. “enjoy” your choice ND.

    • Roy_Bean

      I think that people here are comfortable with a lying democrat blowing smoke up their behind, it’s what we’ve had for the last 26 years and what we will have for the next 6. It’s more likely that we have, or will have, buyers remorse over Hoeven. He was elected as a Republican. I think people expected more of him.

  • ND citizen

    I always hate it when people state that North Dakotans are one way or the other. True around 60% of ND did not vote for Obama, BUT around 40% did. And that is not a small amount. In other words, it needs to be recognized that there is more than one view in ND. I am glad that Hoeven recognizes that.

    • Rob


      Majority rules. But opinions shift over time. That’s why we have Republicans, though they rarely hinge on a single vote in Congress.

      Objectively, and demonstrably, this was the wrong decision for the country.

    • Rulz

      It’s like that in the South, too, but note that their African-American population is much larger and this is was the second-first Black President, and people will vote for what they often see in the mirror, which is why Clinton and Bush carried Southern white vote.

      North Dakotans, and Midwesterners in general, really have no excuse.

      They decided the Senate and the White House (IA, MI, WI and MN).

      Were i the GOP smarty, I’d completely ignore the great white north vote east of the dakotas, because if we can’t get it with Romney and Ryan against a deadbeat like Barack Hussein and Joe Robinette, then we should go for the Hispanic and Asian vote.

      Personally, I’m so sick and tired of hearing about the Heartland. They want everyone off of section 8 and welfare but have to have their farm, ethanol and wind subsidy and new stadiums in MN, MO and OH.

      The next time Americans in the “home-grown” heartland want to yell at DC, they should look in the mirror first.

  • ND citizen

    Thank you to the 85 Republicans who voted “yes.”

    • Rob

      We’d have been better off going over the cliff.

      • Tim Heise

        Totally agree.

    • OobieDoobie

      …to do even greater damage to an economy that is so weak. Your votes were like putting your foot down on the gas pedal while on the road to financial doom.

      • jimmypop

        in most cases youd be 100% right…. we are dead regardless. why prolong the pain? take the rich peoples money….. guess what….were still broke and getting broker. now what?

        we need this over with so we can all move on to better things like cutting pending to 80%.

  • ND Citizen

    By the way, Berg had just as many, if not more, negative ads as Heitkamp. And you are right: part of Berg’s problem was his personality.

    • Rulz

      Berg didn’t seem to be perfect, but this was the most important election since Reconstruction and you’re telling me that all these common-sense Dakotans voted for Heitkamp because of Berg’s PERSONALITY?

      What have been people been watching up there?
      The View?

  • splined

    Thanks Rick for doing the right thing and thinking about future generations..

  • JW-American

    Repeal the 17th Amendment, we need “edjukated” or at the very least informed legislators to select our Senators, 8 million dollars worth of negative ads does nothing but confuse an already apathetic public. We need Senators that vote to represent the State from which they were elected rather than the wishes of the Senate chamber in a “Congenial manner”

    The Progressive movement in the early 1900-1910s was very destructive, they knew then what we are seeing today that if the masses vote for the Candyman, the Candyman will deliver. Now we are broke. the system has broken, and I fear for our future.

  • nimrod

    Thanks Rick. The tax increase is the “cheap” part of this bill, the damage to the economy is going to be very expensive.

  • north dakotan

    apparently this is a republican “blog”…..mmm, mudslinging – that would be Berg’s m.o.

    • Rob

      What about Heitkamp claiming Berg was “attacking women?”

      Berg went after Heitkamp’s support for Obama and Obamacare. That’s called sticking to the issues.

      Heitkamp tried to claim Berg wanted to let women get raped, etc. That’s called “mudslinging.”

    • Rulz

      Get real—your side slings mud even in the humble pie of the rural Midwest.

      Sometimes, you’re even worse that what’s on the coasts.

  • Shadowwalker

    How different things would be if you had to own property to vote. I can’t think of when that was ever tried in history. Novel idea wasn’t it. Here is another one to try and wrap your head around…..if you receive any money from any government assistance program or are a government employee your right to vote is suspended until such time as that your are not dependent on the government. Just a thought. Good vote Mr. Berg. An honorable last vote Sir!

  • Lynn Bergman

    Kevin Cramer will be the first bona fide conservative national LEADER for North Dakota since I don’t know when…

    • Rulz

      I’m happy he won, but he should have gotten more than 55% of the vote.

      • Rob

        Well, to be fair, there was a libertarian candidate who took over 3% of the vote. Most of that would have been Cramer’s. Also, he ran a very conservative campaign. He didn’t pander. He called for an end to wind subsidies the day a wind plant was closing its doors in GF.

        That takes cojones.

  • somebodysomewhere

    Berg’s integrity shows even down to the last vote. He’s a class act.

  • Rulz

    I sure hope that North Dakotans are happy they elected Heitkamp over Berg, someone who will vote for Harry Reid as Majority Leader and could be twisted to come after nodak’s boom oil business.

    Congrats! You are now stuck with her for SIX years, just like you were with Dorgan and Conrad.

    It just goes to show you what a joke the Midwest really is.

    Shame on you, North Dakota!