Let me be clear: I am not a political neophyte. I do not idolize politicians, and I am not taken by surprise when they disappoint me. Nobody is going to agree with me 100% of the time. When I wrote my first diary here supporting Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for the senate, I explicitly stated that I knew she would disappoint me on some issues. But I was concerned about control of the senate. And I thought I "knew" Heidi. In 40 years of political activism, I have never, ever been so wrong. I have never, ever been so embarrassed. I have never, ever been so sick to my stomach over my support of a candidate.
Mary Katherine Heitkamp is nobody's fool. She knows full well that there is no reasoned argument to be made against the gun regulations that she voted to block yesterday. Nobody's 2nd amendment rights were going to be taken away. The 2nd amendment explicitly refers to a well-regulated milita. Even if I were to accept the argument that the "milita" refers to an armed populace, it is axiomatic that a well-regulated milita cannot exist without regulations. I take it on faith that Heitkamp is not a fool.
So why vote to block a vote on reasonable gun regulations? Is she afraid that voters would hold it against her if she voted to allow a vote? Many argue that Democrats in deep red states have no choice; they must vote against their interests if they want to keep their seats. This assumes that their seats are more important than the interests of the country. It also assumes they would, indeed, lose their seats. This is cowardice. A stateswoman stands up for her principles, even in the face of losing her seat, but then comes out swinging to defend that seat. North Dakota needs leaders and respects leaders. Political cowards are a dime a dozen.
A subset of cowardice is political opportunism. In an effort to retain her seat, Heitkamp appears to use every opportunity to grandstand. Less than a week after taking office, Heitkamp dashed for the Sunday talk shows to bash the Obama administration. In three-and-a-half months, she has done little to demonstrate why she is a Democrat and much to say, "Hey! Look at me. I'm a tough gal who will stand up against my party, my president, my supporters, my principles."
Well I've had enough. In early January I replied to an e-mail asking for yet more money. I demanded that my name be removed from the list. In February, I contacted Heitkamp's office and expressed my concern about her apparent trend on gun regulation. In March, I called her office and flat-out said she was a coward. It's April, four months into a six-year term, and I have decided I will not ever vote for her again. I don't care if Dick Cheney moves to ND and runs against her. I am done.
There are other fights to wage, other candidates to support, other ways to retain control of the Senate.