Kent Conrad Proves Why Heidi Heitkamp Can’t Be Trusted To Replace Him In The Senate
When Barack Obama declined to give authorization to the Keystone XL pipeline earlier this month, North Dakota Democrats were quick to respond with condemnation. Particularly those Democrats who will be on the ballot next year, like House candidate Pam Gulleson and Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp, who both condemned their fellow Democrat’s decision. But even Senator Kent Conrad, who will be retiring at the end of 2012 and doesn’t ever have to worry about getting elected again, disagreed with Obama’s decision.
But that’s typical for North Dakota Democrats. They’re willing to speak out against their party. Conrad, specifically, has been a self-styled “deficit hawk” for decades now…when he talks to the media. When it comes time to cast votes, Conrad is usually on the side of more spending.
So it isn’t at all surprising that, when forced to do something more than talk about the Keystone XL pipeline, Senator Conrad suddenly finds himself on the fence:
BISMARCK, N.D. – Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is undecided on whether or not he will support legislation introduced on Monday that would approve the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. …
Despite not being a cosponsor, Conrad has been in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline project from the beginning, said spokesman Christopher Gaddie. He released a statement from Conrad via email on Monday outlining his position on the pipeline legislation.
Conrad’s statement reads:
“I am in favor of the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. However, this Legislation could actually produce additional delays in the pipeline construction. If this legislation did pass, it is likely that lawsuits would soon follow due to conflicts with environmental review laws.
“The result would only mean further delay of this vital pipeline. The better course to completion is to allow TransCanada to proceed with the rerouting selection to avoid the Ogallala Aquifer and then to re-apply.”
The idea that Congress can’t make a law out of fear of conflicting with existing environmental laws is utter nonsense. Congress makes the laws. They can word their legislation set aside or even repeal existing law, and no rules or regulations set by other branches of government can trump Congress’ policy-making authority.
Conrad is just looking to muddy the waters to cover his caving on this issue that is of the utmost importance to North Dakota industry (remember the Keystone XL pipeline would be able to transport roughly 20% of the state’s oil production to market). But this is just another chapter in the long and duplicitous history of “Team North Dakota,” the state’s formerly all-Democrat congressional delegation.
Conrad, along with former Senator Byron Dorgan and former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, could be counted on to sound conservative when talking about the issues before their mostly-conservative constituency but then vote with their liberal party in Washington DC. This was a charade they got away with for decades thanks in no small part to a lap-dog state media that didn’t see the need to contrast what these guys were saying in North Dakota with how they were governing in Washington DC.
But the reason why Dorgan and Pomeroy aren’t in Congress any more is because the mask slipped, thanks to the internet democratizing journalism, and they could no longer pull it off.
We’ve seen how Heitkamp and Gulleson are tacking pretty far to the right so far in their campaigns. We can be assured that, if elected, they would go back to the ways of Conrad, Dorgan and Pomeroy. Talk conservative when it doesn’t matter, but govern like a liberal when it does.Tags: bakken, Heidi Heitkamp, Kent Conrad, keystone xl, keystone xl pipeline, North Dakota News, oil