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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.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    There is no higher achievement in life than to make a child laugh.

    by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:20:26 AM PDT

  •  i gave her money (7+ / 0-)

    i also had few illusions. but background checks? she opposed even a compromise negotiated by manchin?

    i've been on her email list. last night, i unsubscribed. i told her she should be ashamed.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:30:13 AM PDT

    •  I wrote her an email asking her to vote yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, vcmvo2

      Are we allowed to post their responses?

      'Cause here it is:

      Dear XXXXX,

      Thank you for contacting me about gun control. It was good to hear from you.

      I appreciate hearing your support for additional gun control measures. As you may know, in January, President Obama outlined his plan for reducing gun violence. The plan calls for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Further, it includes provisions for universal background checks and new gun trafficking laws.

      I believe that gun violence in America must be dealt with in a multifaceted way. There is no single measure that can alone eliminate instances of gun violence. The ultimate solution must address mental health services and school security measures. We must also build a system that encourages parents, family members, and school and health care professionals to report persons who may present a serious risk to our schools and communities.

      While the discussion should bring all options to the table, the Second Amendment rights of North Dakotans must be protected. Any package addressing gun violence must ensure that law abiding Americans continue to have access to guns for self-protection, hunting, and sport. I also believe we need common-sense laws to protect our citizens and children to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerously mentally ill persons. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate debates measures to address gun violence.

      Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any additional questions or concerns in the future.


      Heidi Heitkamp
      United States Senate

      This was my response to that -
      Senator Heitkamp,

      Thank you for your reply.
      We all understand that this issue has many facets. The controls HAVE to start somewhere and background checks are a good start.
      There is NO excuse; and all the obfuscating language about mental
      health, school security (who will pay for this when GOP legislatures all over the country are slashing school spending?) and Second Amendment rights is just so much pablum.  Frankly I find it outrageous that the demands of 4MM or so NRA members should trump the desires and safety of the other 315MM of us. Anyone who is a responsible gun owner is FOR this legislation.
      Not voting for this first step, background checks for all, is simple cowardice. What is it going to take Senator? Get on board!!

      I knew from her response she was going to vote no. Coward.

      America is a COUNTRY, not a CORPORATION. She doesn't need a CEO. Vote Obama.

      by manneckdesign on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:06:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't quite figure Heitkamp out---- (6+ / 0-)

    I listened to a conversation just an hour or so ago on Ed Schultz's radio show between Ed and Joel Heitkamp, who is Heidi's "baby brother" (his words, not mine).  Joel is also a radio talk show host on some radio station in N. Dakota.  I had a very hard time not screaming at the radio during parts of the conversation.

    Joel says Heidi is not a member of the NRA.  He used the "she's in a Red state and can't go against the population".  He also stated that when Bloomberg ran ads against Heidi (maybe because she shot off her mouth so quickly after the Sandy Hook massacre?) that a lot of North Dakotans called his radio show and said they would not be told what to do by the New York Mayor.  I didn't know about that previously, so Bloomie might have made things worse out there.

    At any rate, I'm over in WI but I'm seriously thinking of sending dear Heidi an e-mail that will not be very kind.  My biggest gripe is that Tammy Baldwin, my long-time rep in the House and now one of my Senators, voted FOR the gun control amendments yesterday.  That took courage on her part because WI has very conservative areas once your get outside of Madison/Dane County and Milwaukee County.  That's why we have Gov. Walker and a state legislature run by Republicans.  It was a risk for Tammy to vote as she did----but one thing about Tammy is that she has ALWAYS had strong, Progressive principles and with her, you know what you're getting.  Tammy is a freshman Senator as is Heidi.  It's my take that Heidi needs to sit down, shut up, and learn the ropes instead of crashing about like a raging buffalo.  And Heidi also needs to stop using the "I can't help it---I'm a Red state Dem" because a whole lot of us are getting very sick and tired of these people like her selling us out time after time under that excuse while taking Democratic campaign funds.  

    I'm sorry your got taken in by Heidi H.  I know I had high hopes for her, but when she pulled that stunt right after Sandy Hook of announcing that "there will be no gun control legislation passed", I just blocked her out.  She's a freshman Senator shooting her mouth off when she had absolutely no business doing so.  Heidi is going to rue that big mouth of hers one of these days.  She's clearly NOT a team player.

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 10:42:16 AM PDT

  •  Only defens I could think of is (0+ / 0-)

    if ND voters were truly against this.

    Don't parrot the 90% soundbyte, leave that to Scarborough.  States are distinct entities and the 80+ percentages Ive seen are all national polls.

    If ND voters were truly against this bill, she should vote against it.  She is not here to represent the national progressive movement or do what Harry Reid tells her to do.  She is in DC to represent North Dakota.  Period.

    But if the polls show ND citizens supported this relatively weak bill, then what she did was self-serving at best and cowardly at worst.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 11:14:09 AM PDT

    •  If it is the job of a senator to only (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bornadem, nadd2

      vote in accord with the wishes of a perceived majority of their constituents, there is absolutely no reason to have a Democratic senator from North Dakota.

      In fact there is no reason for parties at all; polling firms could as easily cast votes in the senate.

      There is no higher achievement in life than to make a child laugh.

      by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 11:21:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Polling firms would be cross sections (0+ / 0-)

        the majority of which would be uninformed on an issue.

        She should be a dedicated resource to represent the interests of North Dakota and serve as a 2-way conduit of information to bring the voices of North Dakota to DC and to go home to talk about the DC Agenda and Actions to the people of her home state.

        The converse of my original comment would be representatives (and that is a key word) substituting their own judgement for the expressed will of their constituents.  This should in no way be acceptable.  Its fine for them to extrapolate the will of their people on issues that are unclear or under-reported and vote with what they judge to be the best position, but for issues of prominence where the people have spoken, all members of Congress should take that as explicit direction.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 11:34:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So she should blindly vote the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          way an uninformed majority says she should?  

          We disagree on the role of a representative.  She should state her views clearly when running, so the voters know what they are getting.  She should vote her convictions while in office.  If the voters don't like her votes, they should find someone else to represent them.

          Of course, to stand for and vote one's principles, one has to have principles.

          There is no higher achievement in life than to make a child laugh.

          by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 11:46:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This was a MAJOR well-publicized issue (0+ / 0-)

            She should have taken measures to gauge the interests of her constituency and acted accordingly.

            I don't think the people of North Dakota are expected to be up to speed on whether or not to direct the Commerce Department to mandate penalties under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and provide additional authority for searches, inspections, shipment detentions, arrests, and subpoenas.

            They are busy people.  They elected her and she should do her own research, vote how she thinks best represents North Dakota and then inform her citizens of any potential impact or benefit such new laws would have, if any.

            But for something that is dominating the headlines for MONTHS following one of the worst tragedies in decades, it would be awfully fucking arrogant to KNOW that your state is against this but vote for it because you want to advance your own personal agenda.  

            Perhaps we do disagree on the role of a representative.  In which case, we should cease lobbying or contacting our representatives about current issues.  let them vote according to their convictions and we will pass summary judgment at the next ballot box.  

            Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

            by Wisper on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:01:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do you know how the majority of (0+ / 0-)

              North Dakotans feel on the issue?  Does Heidi?  If polls cannot tell us, then maybe we should have a plebescite on all major issues.  Your concept is strange and unworkable.

              There is no higher achievement in life than to make a child laugh.

              by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:25:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Of course I dont (0+ / 0-)

                I have never so much as stepped foot in North Dakota and do not presume to know hardly anything whatsoever about the state.  My original comment was this was the only defense I could see.  I would never have a problem with a Senator, from either party, voting in accordance with the expressed sentiments of their state.

                But this is an issue where I think polls could be accurate.  This was a major nationally publicized issue.  The kind of thing where the "No Opinion" quotient should be very low.  People are either for it or against it and she should make an effort to make sure her vote, on key issues like this, is aligned with the position of her voters.

                I have to assume I am being unclear, because I honestly don't know how you can argue against that notion in a Representative Democracy.

                Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

                by Wisper on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:38:54 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  He is just trying to rationalize because (0+ / 0-)

                Heidi is a Democrat.

                She is a poor excuse for one.

                NC voters polls indicate they support background checks for gun purchases.  Hell - they passed a bill for background checks for welfare at the state level.

                This was a way for Heidi to establish conservative creds.  It was all political.  She doesn't give a fig about the people that will die because of it - or doesn't seem to.


          •  She's a dumb fck - nuff said. (0+ / 0-)
      •  Once you're in Congress, your actions affect every (0+ / 0-)

        citizen, in every state.  Yes, you should take your own state into account, but your votes don't just affect those specific people.  If you only want to worry about your state and ignore everyone else in the country, go run for your state's congress.

  •  She came out for same-sex marriage (2+ / 0-)

    That's one progressive stance.

    She also voted in favor of one or two of the amendments.  I'd have to research for the details.

  •  We underestimate the importance of staff members (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof

    consultants, etc., I think.
    I think that is the reason we vote individuals in and then feel so disappointed. We're just scratching the surface of the culture of Washington when we get new people in.

    I think we're going to have to start shedding some light on these people behind the scenes more.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:18:07 PM PDT

  •  Snookered 2 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof, nadd2

    Yeah, I donated and posted for her. Joe Donnelly, too. The two of them have gravely disappointed me.
    What really irritates me is that they're not up for another 5 YEARS. They could have done the right thing.
    They didn't. Shame on them.
    I won't be fooled twice. Neither of them would have one without a ton of Blue State money, and I'm going to do my damndest to make sure they don't get any 5 YEARS from now.

    Repeal Amendment 2. Now.

    by bornadem on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:40:48 PM PDT

  •  It's important, too, to remember (0+ / 0-)

    that Heitkamp did not vote against background checks.  She voted against allowing the senate to vote on background checks.

    There is no higher achievement in life than to make a child laugh.

    by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:05:13 PM PDT

  •  I sent a note to Heidi and said (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that I agreed with the Washington Post editorial that a cowardly group of senators voted to block the background check bill from coming to the senate floor.

    I can't think of a worst label to place on an elected official.


    If the shoe fits, wear it.

    It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time. - Thich Nhat Hanh.

    by Frank In WA on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:06:25 PM PDT

  •  What bothers me (0+ / 0-)

    is that she was just elected to a six year term-plenty of time to explain a yes vote to her state. Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu are up next year and voted yes. Thank heavens I didn't donate to her campaign.

    "Well Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?"

    by buffie on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:44:02 PM PDT

  •  I say all 3 (0+ / 0-)

    Fool and coward and opportunist.

    Her reasons are stupid.  And she didn't vote against the bill.  She voted to continue the Republican filibuster everything strategy.

    Primary her and if she remains the choice, I would just stay home.


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