Heidi Heitkamp Noticeably Absent From List Of “Red-State Democrats” Planning To Stand Up To Obama

heidi heitkamp

If there was one bedrock foundation in Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign for the US Senate in North Dakota, it was the idea that she was “independent.” That she’d go to Washington DC and stand up to President Obama and the liberal wing of her national party. In fact, Heitkamp campaigned so far to the right that at one point the state Republican Party offered her a membership, gratis.

But things are a little different now that Heitkamp is in office. This week Politico ran an article about “Red-state Democrats” who “may break with White House.”

Conspicuously absent, despite the aforementioned vows of independence, is Heitkamp. But that’s probably for good reason. You see, per the article, the only “red-state Democrats” who are planning on standing up President Obama are those up for re-election in the next cycle. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even has a plan in place to help protect those Democrats from having to take a position on controversial votes:

From guns to immigration to budget fights — especially possible cuts to the popular Medicare and Medicaid programs — these upcoming battles will expose the fault lines within the Democratic Party. Obama will have to juggle the political needs of red-state Democrats even as he tries to outmaneuver a House GOP leadership pulled to the right by its hardliners.

Reid singles out those who are up for reelection and does whatever he can to promote their agenda and protect them from politically charged votes, aides said Friday.

That’s instructive for two reasons.

First, it means that Heitkamp is probably going to have to toe the party line in her first years in office. With Reid giving some Democrats up for re-election in this cycle a pass, he’ll need votes from people like Heitkamp on controversial issues. That will put Heitkamp, who barely held a seat Demcorats have controlled since 1960 with less than 1% of the vote, in an awkward position for this first Congress of her term. But that’s not all bad for Heitkamp because…

Second, Senate terms are long, and as Heitkamp nears the end of her six years in office she’ll be able to count on her party giving her a pass on controversial votes just as the Democrats mentioned in the article are getting a pass this cycle. Americans have short attention spans, and by the time Heitkamp is starting her campaign for re-election in 2018 most aren’t going to remember her controversial votes from two cycles in the past.

We talk often of how politicians say one thing back at home while doing another in Washington DC. This is one tool they use in accomplishing that feat and Heitkamp, despite her vows for “independence,” will be playing the game along with everyone else.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. 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. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Thresherman

    Didn’t take Harry long to call in his markers, did it?

  • sbark

    Even the radical comedian Senator Al Frankken of Minn had second thoughts on massive gun control via Exec Orders……………..and Heidi had none?…….none?

    MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Scolds Al Franken For Lack Of Support For Gun …

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/01/17/msnbcs_ed_schultz...

    MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Scolds Al Franken For Lack Of Support For Gun Control. … Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is another Democratic lawmaker that was …

    • Dirty Harry

      Schultz scolds Franken. That’s rich. Talk about spanking a monkey.

  • Dirty Harry

    During the campaign she repeatedly said she had stood up to Obama. Past tense. She already did it. Apparently there’s no need to keep doing it now.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Right, no need to keep doing it…while she’s actually in office.

      That was just something for the campaign trail.

      • Dirty Harry

        I never believed she stood up to Obama on any issue. After all, she wasn’t holding any office and was basically a nobody on the national scene.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Well, she was certainly critical, but actions matter more than words so you’re right.

          She hasn’t ever really stood up to Obama, and she won’t except perhaps toward the end of her first term when she needs to create an appearance of independence again for her run for a second term.

          • Lianne

            And it will be people such as yourself who will keep her entire 6 year history at the fore front of her campaign.

  • Yogibare

    The coming debt limit increase will make for interesting politics; the Repubs are driven by the Tea Party, will take the approach of increasing the limit each quarter and thus, make the Senate and Obama come to the House every 3 months with a request for more money. Maybe the public will see what Reid and Obama are doing—-that is “SPENDING”.
    Who knows, perhaps the MSM will catch on to the follies of Obama and Reid.

    • Wayne

      The MSM? You mean the propaganda wing of the Democrat Party? Keep dreaming.

  • Roy_Bean

    Situational ethics are a cornerstone of liberalism. Her situation has changed from candidate needing votes to senator wanting to push an agenda.

  • Lianne

    We all knew, at least many of us knew that it didn’t matter WHO Heidi was running against. It only mattered that the person be brutally bashed so that she could get in and hold that seat.

    She only did what she had to do for her party. I doubt there is anything that she would NOT do or have done.
    Democrats blindly follow anyone or anything with a D behind their name—that is the greater tragedy.

    • SusanBeehler

      Alot of people with R voted for her otherwise how did Romey win North Dakota?

      • Lianne

        That is even a greater tragedy. A vote for Heidi was a vote for Harry. See where he has taken us. But, it is just the beginning of what Heidi has in store for us. Should Gaylord have stayed in the Senate from ND and run from his home in Delaware? Maybe.

        • SusanBeehler

          I would not call it a tragedy. “Heidi is now Harry”, sounds like something from a Sci fi movie, “woman senator turns into a “Harry” guy”. I don’t buy into the vote for one and you are voting the other “sales gimmick”. Apparently many others did not like that sales pitch either. Who is Gaylord?

          • Guest Observer

            Susan our Court Jester at SAB! Thanks for the comedy!

          • Wayne

            Don’t you know? Susan is a witty. Comedy is her specialty. Everything she posts is a joke.

          • Lianne

            ” Who is Gaylord?” You aren’t serious, are you? I guess Guest Observer has stated it best.

          • Lianne

            Susan, “Heidi is now Harry”, is not what I said. Your mind took you there. Please reread my post.

          • SusanBeehler

            ” A vote for Heidi” cannot be ” A vote for Harry” she is not Harry and he is not her.

          • Lianne

            You truly are obtuse and sure go out of your way to defend democrats.
            Heidi will do whatever Harry tells her to do. He spent too much money in ND to set her free to be independent.

          • SusanBeehler

            Harry gave Heidi money? We have to wait and see.

          • Lianne

            Why the question mark after your first phrase? We have to wait and see what? If he gave her money? or If he will set her free?

          • Wayne

            You’re right of course. Harry’s PAC spent millions on Heidi’s campaign. Harry obviously knew more about Heidi than the people like Suzy that voted for her. The more Suzy posts the more it is obvious it is that she knows very little.

          • Thresherman

            Well lets just see how often she does his bidding before we start drawing unearned distinctions shall we? After all, I seriously doubt that Harry Reid is not going to expect a return for the millions he dumped into her campaign. Reid controls the Democratic purse strings for senate campaigns and those who don’t dance to his tune find themselves left out in the cold next time around. That is just the way Democratic politics is played baby.

          • Wayne

            She can’t read. She has proven that over and over.

          • sbark

            Gaylord…..the last dem’cat that campaigned from the center, but went to DC and voted against N.Dak wishes at every oportunity.
            sound familiar………….at least Gaylord could spin his way out to a degree, Heidi seems to be needing some help—maybe should hire Ed Schultz as head PR person?……..

  • Camburtn

    Seems a lot of folks don’t know Sen Heitkamp very well.

  • SusanBeehler

    Which issue is she supposed to take a stand on and what will the “stand” look like; a press release, a letter to you, a vote? The Politico article seems to be written about those in states looking for re-election. Heidi was just elected.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      That’s exactly my point, Susan. She’s had plenty of opportunity to speak out on issues from the Keystone Pipeline to gun rights, and she’s not taking them. She doesn’t have to worry about re-election again until 2018 so, unlike how she campaigned, she’ll be a loyal partisan vote until then.

      • SusanBeehler

        Oh, you are disappointed she still isn’t campaigning and running ads or speaking to the media you see. Keystone Pipeline was dead before she took office and an opportunity for its resurrection has not presented itself again. She has spoke out on gun rights you just did not like what she said. As far as Obama’s executive orders on guns what is wrong with them, other than they are an executive order. I haven’t seen Kramer or Hoeven taking any more “opportunities” than she has. Actually where is Kramer. How many interviews do you want with her? Maybe you have a fictitious expectation of her performance.

        • Guest Observer

          My goodness are you clueless!! But then that is the trademark of a good liberal/socialist/communist/progressive.

          • Geoff Bosse

            Finally, someone said it. Yes, the dems claim to fame “uninformed voters”. Without them, they have nothing.

          • Wayne

            But, but…Suzy is not a liberal. She said so. THAT is how clueless she is.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Keystone Pipeline was dead before she took office and an opportunity for its resurrection has not presented itself again

          Boy, you’re really not well informed are you?

          • SusanBeehler

            I am listening. Please inform me

          • Wayne

            I promised myself I would stop replying to you’re stupid posts but …
            Since when have you been interested in being informed?

  • Stuart

    Heidi is like a fox guarding the hen house! And a Red State means having to deal with that kind of authority and she loathes Red State authority . She is a sophist!

  • Ken Sletten

    Perceptive analysis & (unfortunately) probably good
    predictions in thread start.
    Makes me think again of desirability of changing ND State Constitution; to
    explicitly include elected FEDERAL officials in voter’s ”right of recall”
    (given recent ND A.G. legal opinion that ND Constitution recall language does
    NOT include ND members of U.S. Congress). . . . Even though: Yes; I know:
    Ruling in recent case in NJ Supreme Court back east held that under U.S.
    Constitution, U.S. Senators could NOT be recalled; i.e.: It sez 6 year terms,
    period. Far as I know that ?? has not been ruled on by Federal Courts, but even
    so / in any case:

    Who knows: If above NJ Court ruling was upheld @ Federal level, then if nothing
    else maybe ND could at least establish an ”advisory” recall vote for U.S. Senators;
    i.e.: Voters call on them to immediately resign (I’m not attorney or
    Constitutional expert; leave nuances on appropriate language alternatives 4
    this ?? to others that R).
    SIDEBAR REFERENCE:
    See following link; 4 legal opinion on recall of U.S. Senators by 1 of the best
    legal minds anywhere; where Eugene Volokh includes this interesting comment:
    ”an attempt at a recall should be treated as a constitutionally permissible
    advisory but not binding recall vote”.
    Also note there R some good / interesting comments @ end of this piece:
    http://www.volokh.com/2010/11/18/recall-of-u-s-senators-is-unconstitutional-says-the-new-jersey-supreme-court/

    • SusanBeehler

      So less than a couple weeks into serving you would like a way to recall? Sounds like you want to circumvent the rest of the voters. Also sounds like a “control” issue.

  • MetisMick

    No surprise, but disappointing just the same. Berg was the same. He jumped on board with Boehner as soon as he arrived.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      The difference is, Berg pretty much governed on how he campaigned. That might not have been conservative enough for some of us, but it was right-of-center unlike Heitkamp who is a very much left-of-center politician who had to come to the right to barely win her election.

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    I can’t believe there would be people that were silly enough to believe this woman was a conservative democrat or whatever it was that she was shoveling during the election. Heidi will vote lock step with Harry Reid until she has to appear to be a moderate and support things that we wouldn’t support. Heidi is a poser.

  • Nd observer

    Harry already spanked Heidi for calling Obama’s gun control agenda “extreme.” Like Conrad she found out quick that Dems are to fall in line with Harry and Barry or you are done. The Dems who are up for reelection in 2014 are the only exception since if they lose then Harry and Barry will have no power and we can look behind the curtain at their tiny stature.

  • mustangnut

    When it comes to guns we’ll remember

    • Lianne

      It will depend upon what Harry tells her to do. If he doesn’t need her vote for gun legislation, he will let her vote no. Not only will we have to remember, we have to review each vote.

  • Clairvoyant

    Next time let’s have a serve up a better candidate than Rick Berg. How about Eagle Scout Tony Clark? A great Public Service Commissioner, without the ethical baggage of Cramer or Kalk.

    • Wayne

      What ‘ethical baggage’ did Berg really have? Heidi ran a dishonest smear campaign.

      • Clairvoyant

        I was referring to Cramer and Kalk in this situation. Berg had an equally bad “smear” campaign. That whole Senate campaign is why we need to get both leftist and right wing special interests out o the picture.

        • Wayne

          What ‘smears’ did Berg run?

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