RINO Of The Week: Governor Jack Dalrymple

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During North Dakota’s last legislative session I began a weekly post highlighting a Republican legislator who had further distanced himself/herself from what are supposed to be the conservative, limited government ideals of the party. The postings proved more popular than I expected. I began to get nominations from legislators in Bismarck, and I’m told that some honorees (if you can call it an honor) had RINO pins made up.

I’m not sure anyone should be proud of the fact that they’ve undermined the principles they’re supposed to stand for, but whatever.

Anyway, because of popular demand, I’ll be doing the RINO of the week again this year. You can email me your nominations ([email protected]), and I’ll pick a legislator each week to highlight. But for this first week of the legislative session I’m going to give the honors to someone outside of the legislative branch. Mostly because the legislature hasn’t done much this week outside of listen to addresses by the governor and other officials as well as work on submitting their legislation and organizing their committees.

The only person in the state who has really made any major policy-making moves is Governor Jack Dalrymple who has submitted his executive budget to the legislature, and delivered his “State of the State” speech laying out his priorities for the coming biennium. And through those actions, Dalrymple has earned the RINO of the Week designation.

Strike 1: Dalrymple is spending too much My friends in the executive branch tell me there is too much complaining going on about overall spending growth. They point out that the state has a booming economy, and the fastest growing population in the nation, and those things require more government. They have a point. More traffic, more people and more commerce necessitates more government. There’s no way to get around it. That being said, some of the governor’s spending priorities leave much to be desired. For instance, the governor is proposing a 38.7% increase in total appropriations for the university system. Since the 2003 – 2005 biennium, total appropriations to the university system have grown 150%, while enrollment has grown just 8.7%. Dalrymple’s budget also increases Human Services spending by 25%, at a time when prosperity in the state is growing. Dalrymple and the executive branch is quick to talk about “one time spending,” and the governor specifically warned against allowing the state’s current big appropriations to become part of our “base line budget.” But does anyone really believe that the big spending increases in these two areas, and others, won’t be with us going forward?

Strike 2: Dalrymple pushes phony tax relief With the state awash in tax revenues, citizens and business owners are looking for some relief. And why shouldn’t they? Unfortunately, what Dalrymple has put on the table isn’t tax relief at all. Dalrymple proposes shifting most of the burden for education funding from the local level to the state level, thus buying down property tax mills dedicated to schools. But that’s really just a shift in spending from one tax stream to another. The burden of government tax payers are carrying won’t get lighter. They’ll just be paying for this spending in a different way. What’s more, Dalrymple himself stressed during his State of the State address that local school districts would be free to keep increasing their property tax mill levies, meaning that while Dalrymple’s plan might reset local property taxes at a lower level, it won’t stop the upward climb that has citizens so upset.

Strike 3: Dalrymple begins state implementation of Obamacare I’ll admit that I had thought Governor Dalrymple was standing strong against implementing Obamacare in North Dakota. His office had made it pretty clear that North Dakota wouldn’t be creating the health insurance exchanges required by the law, which are the tool by which the government will control the health insurance markets. Unfortunately, one aspect of Obamacare Dalrymple did slip into his executive budget was the acceptance of Obamacare dollars to expand the state’s Medicaid program. That expansion is unnecessary, and at a time when most North Dakotans oppose Obamacare, the governor has no business implementing it.

Three strikes and you’re out. For these reasons, Governor Jack Dalrymple is, on the eve of his inauguration celebration in Bismarck, our inaugural RINO of the Week for the 2013 legislative session.

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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  • camsaure

    Can and will he be nominated almost every week? Rob, Who are these waring the RINO pins? It sure would be nice to know.

    • camsaure

      We need to get pictures of as many of these guys that we can. It may come in handy at election time.

      • borborygmi

        I doubt it. I am guessing the 20% didn’t vote for him anyway. For a segment of voters that say they represent the majority, you don’t seem to be able to get your candidates elected nor you referendums passed.

    • RCND

      We should have them made up and delivered to their desk every Friday of the session.

  • RCND

    I think you should have an award for the executive and legislative RINO of the Week.

  • NDConservative2011

    Rob, I would hope that at the end of the session, you would also take a tally to see who would win out as the RINO of the 2013 session.
    I’m not sure if anyone can reach the spending pinnacle that Governor Spendrymple has attained. I believe it is tragic that the Republicans have lost their way in North Dakota.
    During the 2012 state Republican convention, the leadership could not, and did not ratify their own platform which was agreed upon by the committee. The so called leadership was too busy fighting with the conservatives on the floor of the convention to even allow for a vote to accept a platform. Leadership apparently felt that the selection of the whos who of Republican contributors to the national convention was far more important than a guiding platform for the party. It is no small wonder that the Republican party is struggling. Just one plank in the platform stated that the North Dakota Republican Party would strive for less spending and a less government intervention in the lives of the citizens of North Dakota. There is no doubt that they cannot even adhere to that principle.
    Right after the legislature heard from Governor Hoeven during the 2005 session, Elliot Glassheim spoke up and stated “Let’s just accept the Governors budget and go home” as it will save all of us some time and expense. It is a shame that both Hoeven and Dalrymple are so far to the left in spending that even the most liberal of legislators believe that their budgets are acceptable without agrument or debate.
    Now in 2013, the Democrats are touting Governor Dalrymple’s budget as acceptable except for a couple of small tweaks, and the tweaks that they are suggesting are only for political postering so they will look somewhat relevant.
    It may be very interesting to see if the leadership of the majority party in both the House and the Senate will have enough guts to cut back on the atrocious spending that Dalrymple has layed out in his budget. I for one will not hold my breath.

  • borborygmi

    Dalrymple has earned the RINO of the Week designation: Or as it is known in avg man parlance, Good Governance. Thank you Mr. Dalrymple. Don’t cave into a vocal minority. What was the statistic in todays paper about the TeaParty 8% overwhelming support.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Good governance, in which way?

      I guess I think tax relief should actually lower tax burdens, and that spending increases ought to be moderate and not excessive.

      • camsaure

        There you go Rob, If a far left hack like Borb approves and folks on the right don’t…..That would be a RINO action by dullrumple.

  • Clarence A. Herz

    Of the week? The only RINO bieger than Dapimple is Hoven.

    • borborygmi

      Hoeven whom Mr. Port suggested “we could control” we being the Tea Party. Hilarious

  • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

    If we have a surplus in ND give it back to the people, it’s our money, not the Government’s.

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    RINO of the week is insulting and wrong. Disagree with him on policy — I do, as well — but the fact is, Dalrymple has served for decades in the Legislature and Executive Branch, and he’s helped build a strong Republican party in the state that holds all state offices.

    The RINO attack is used by people who don’t believe in political parties, in this case, the GOP, as effective in pursuing a political agenda. Fine, criticize away on the agenda. But the fact is, Jack Dalrymple is a Republican. The attack against RINOs is sour grapes.

    Meanwhile, elect precinct persons.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      I don’t see how it’s so terribly unfair. The party has a platform. The party has certain things it’s supposed to stand for. If the governor’s policies contradict those things, what’s wrong with pointing it out?

      I think you’re being overly sensitive. I’m not saying anything about his lengthy service in North Dakota. I’m just pointing out that this week he gave Republicans and conservatives a lot of reasons to groan.

      • DelawareBeachHouse

        Agreed on the reasons to groan. Absolutely. But you’re effectively denying he’s a Republican. RINO is an insulting term that tries to drive people out of the party, and goodness knows, the party has to be expansive to win.

        He’s not a conservative? OK, agreed. But that’s different than not being a Republican. I believe a Republican Party must propose a conservative, constitution-based agenda while at the same time not drumming people out of the party. Persuade, not shame or alienate. The RINO line is unnecessary and alienating.

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          But how do we move the party toward a conservative, constitution-based agenda unless we call out the people, specifically, who undermine that agenda?

          I think you’re making mountains of molehills.

          • DelawareBeachHouse

            Mountains out of molehills? I disagree strongly. Calling someone a RINO is alienating. It shuts out debate. Make the argument on policy grounds, but stop with the name calling.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            You know what’s also alienating? A party built around a platform electing people who makes policy that directly contradicts that platform.

            What’s the purpose of a political party that elects leaders who move us further away from the organizing ideals of the party?

          • DelawareBeachHouse

            Amen, brother. I say, make the case, and avoid insults. And work! Jack Dalrymple is governor because, among other things, he worked and worked and worked. You can be principled and smart and all those other things, but unless you work withing the political process, you’re not going to get things done.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I am working. I am undermining Jack Dalrymple’s credibility as a Republican governor by pointing out ways in which the policy he promotes doesn’t jibe with Republican principles.

            Dalrymple, of course, can fix this by governing more conservatively. Which is my hope. ;-)

          • VocalYokel

            “…he worked and worked and worked.”

            He came in on the coattails of Hoeven and spent and spent and spent…and continues to spend.
            As for his recent election, IMHO the Republicans could have run almost anyone against the DFL candidate whatsisname and prevailed.

          • Opinionated

            EXACTLY

          • The Fighting Czech

            Would you feel a little better if we just designated him as “Democrat Lite” instead? actually I believe the majority of the Republican party would feel right at home with that label…

          • guest

            Does this Dalrymple policy fit your definition of Republican policy grounds? http://www.wdaz.com/event/article/id/12200/

        • camsaure

          If you don’t want to be called a RINO, you simply quit acting like a RINO. Or even more be honest about yourself and become a damocrat.

        • Opinionated

          Dalrymple fits the definition of Rhino perfectly, his policies are an exact match, and Rob is only guilty of putting lipstick on the pig. There is one thing trying to help the citizens of your state, it is another to be the leader of the dependency movement. Rob’s speech is protected and his opinion is his own, you have the right to form your own opinion, which you expressed rather poorly with the sticks and stones argument. Jack Dalrymple is one of the least popular governors elected in the last 40 years, a lot of people agree with the Rhino name tag which we will pin on him until he backs away from the trough

  • ND Observer

    Nearly two-thirds of the voters of North Dskota voted for Dalrymple with the R behind his name. The secret to being elected as a Republican is not to appeal to a narrow base, but to a majority. Dalrymple did that well. democrats get elected when Republicans nominate ultra-conservatives like Dorso who complains about other Republicans but cannot get close to be elected,

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Fair enough, and certainly you can’t govern unless you’re elected.

      But is getting elected the sum total of our goals? Shouldn’t Republicans also want conservative government?

      Put another way, shouldn’t the goal not be merely to get elected but to get elected while campaigning on a conservative agenda?

  • Emil Kashuntz

    A Republican acts sensible and you come down on him like rain. Just like the Tea Party you are destroying the Republican party, so it is not all bad

    • Hal109

      When you claim that a Republican has acted sensibly, that is verification that he deserved the weekly RINO award.

  • Opinionated

    Thank you Rob for this well deserved award. This guy and his wife are salivating over 1.6 billion in excess vote buying cash. The laundry list of handouts is nauseating. the federal government gave every single North Dakotan a pay cut via SMS taxes, and these people are talking about subsidized day care. I damn near blew my lid at the thoughts of my money paying someone else’s daycare expenses. In my world you pay for your own kids. There are many reasons why people in this country are not doing well and the majority of those reasons are self-imposed. Stop standing their with your hand out and take responsibility for yourself.

  • Lynn Bergman

    Excellent choice… and respectfully presented! Can’t wait for next week’s choice. Long ago, Republicans could have avoided nominating candidates for governor that had been seriously on the government “teat” (direct payments from the farm program in the $Millions). They did not! When will Republicans avoid running RINOs for public office? Or, perhaps more succinctly, when will remaining true to the platform take precidence over winning at all costs?

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