North Dakota Democrats Finding It Hard To Be Deceptive In The Internet Age
Yesterday North Dakota Democrats were caught going full-on Soviet on some video of liberal Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp talking about how awesome Barack Obama was back in 2008. This wasn’t a change in tone on Barack Obama. This wasn’t some effort to manufacture political distance from the President. This was an attempt to expunge the record so that certain people could pretend as though certain things were never said.
And it failed. Comically. Because in the internet age, Soviet-style attempts at history revision stick out like sore thumbs.
It’s amazing to me that North Dakota Democrats haven’t learned this lesson yet. They’ve had plenty of experience for it. In fact, the emergence of the internet is perhaps the primary reason why they no longer have a stranglehold on North Dakota’s seats in Congress.
For decades “Team North Dakota” – Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan along with Rep. Earl Pomeroy – seemed unbeatable. Republicans couldn’t touch them. Those who paid close attention knew that “Team North Dakota” was playing a game, playing themselves up to be much more conservative here in North Dakota than they were governing in Washington DC, something they got away with thanks to a pliant and cooperative state media that happily went along with the charade.
But then 2009 and Obamacare happened. North Dakotans engaged in national politics like perhaps no other time in the state’s history, and found new tools available with which to inform themselves. Namely, the internet, and access to media far outside of North Dakota, plus the tools (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to share the stories they found important. I’d humbly suggest that even this blog played a big roll in pulling back the curtain on those three.
During the summer of 2009 Dorgan, Conrad and Pomeroy faced angry constituents at town halls. It was a game-changing turn of events. Pomeroy, who almost decided not to run, ended up losing his seat in the House after nine terms in 2010. Dorgan opted for retirement, as did Conrad in the present election cycle.
I maintain that all this happened because the deception these three had been perpetrating on North Dakotans was pierced by bloggers and Facebookers and Tweeters.
Which brings us to Heidi Heitkamp, who is campaigning like it’s still the 1990′s. Even just five years ago she (or, more accurately, her political allies) might have been able to get away with trying to flush a video of herself praising Barack Obama. The North Dakota media wouldn’t have reported it (they haven’t reported the disappearance of the video today anyway). Republicans might have been able to talk about it, but seeing is believing, and most North Dakotans would never have seen it.
But they did see the video, and they also saw the attempts to make it disappear, and that is making all the difference.Tags: Asshats, Byron Dorgan, Earl Pomeroy, election 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, Kent Conrad, North Dakota News