You really have to admire the chutzpah.
In her 2012 campaign, Senator Heidi Heitkamp worked long and hard to brand herself not as a liberal Democrat, but as an “independent” who would “stand up” to President Barack Obama. Such rhetoric was necessary in a state where Obama lost by more than 20 points, and Heitkamp herself won by just a few thousand votes. It’s hard to imagine Heitkamp being in the US Senate now had she not campaigned so hard against Obama.
But she did, and she won, and then spent her first year in the US Senate voting with President Barack Obama 97 percent of the time according to an analysis by Congressional Quarterly.
That’s quite an about face.
Compounding that hypocrisy is the fact that Senator Heitkamp, standing on her own anti-Obama campaign record, is setting out to help other Democrats campaign against Obama.
Obama lost all of West Virginia’s 55 counties in 2012 and won just 35.5 percent of the vote statewide. West Virginians take the administration’s proposed pollution rules on coal-fired plants, among other regulations, as an affront to the coal industry, an economic driver here that is perhaps even more important to the state’s cultural identity.
Tennant, the 46-year-old secretary of state, tailors her message accordingly. “This is about an opportunity for me to show that West Virginia is first and foremost to me,” Tennant told The Associated Press. “I’ll stand up to the president when it comes to coal, when it comes to his job-killing EPA regulations.”
She recently campaigned with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a former private-sector energy executive who won her Senate seat in 2012 railing against the Obama administration’s energy policy, even as the president lost her state by 20 percentage points.
Given Heitkmp’s hypocrisy – railing against Obama’s policies only to snuggle up to his agenda once in the Senate – you sort of have to wonder about the candidates she’s supporting.