North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp likes to position herself as a moderate, but during the government shutdown she worked hard with the rest of her Democrats on “shutdown theater.” The intent of that theater was to make the shutdown as painful as possible for Americans, in order to wound Americans.
But now, after joining her fellow Democrats in turning up her nose at an offer from Republicans to delay Obamacare and avoid a shutdown (something that, frankly, would have left Democrats in a better position now than pushing ahead with what has been a disastrous roll out) Senator Heitkamp is quietly moving toward backing a delay.
Not through any sort of a press announcement on her website or anything as high-profile as that, but rather on her brother’s radio station website. From KFGO.com:
FARGO (KFGO-AM) – Senator Heidi Heitkamp has joined a growing number of Democrats who are considering a possible delay on imposing penalties for people who haven’t purchased health insurance.
Some Democrats and Republicans want to extend the sign-up deadline because of widespread problems with the government’s health care website. Heitkamp says she’s discussing the possibility of supporting legislation for a delay, but has made no firm decision as of yet.
I suspect the delay has less to do with Heitkamp making up her mind than it does with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – who directed millions to Heitkamp’s 2012 campaign – making up her mind for her. With Heitkamp not up for re-election until 2018, this won’t be a vote she’s allowed to decide for herself.
If Heitkamp does ultimately back a delay – and it seems as though the number of Democrats backing it is reaching critical mass, especially when every Senate Democrat running for re-election in 2014 on board – she should face pointed questions about why worked so hard to wound Republicans during the shutdown fight when it was clear that the delay they were offering was much-needed.
She probably won’t face those questions, but she should.