Heidi Heitkamp Apparently Easily Duped
Perhaps you remember freshman Sen. Heidi Heitkamp from last week’s Senate trampling of overwhelming public will? Heitkamp was one of a handful of red state “Democrats” who sided with
the forces of evil Republicans in their effort to defeat passage of expanded background checks for guns. (A policy favored by over 90% of Americans.) She was recently asked to defend this vote, and her answers were highly illuminating.
“In this office, the calls literally were before the last day at least 7 to 1 against that bill. This was after a series of very extensive ad campaigns done in my state saying call me and tell me to support it.” (Politico)
1) If I have to tell one more of you skeptics that legislators truly are moved by phone calls, I’m going to just send you to Heitkamp’s office instead. Honest to gawd, people, if it’s an issue about which you really care, one phone call to a wavering pol is worth more than a thousand of your wittiest tweets!
2) Heitkamp is more than a little deluded if she thinks that of the callers urging her to vote ‘no’ even a handful have any intention of ever voting for her reelection, regardless of her acquiescence in this case.
That’s how the game is played, folks. The gun rights nuts are highly motivated. They’re noisy. They get a politician’s attention. Sure, Heitkamp is probably crazy if she thinks any of those “constituents” will ever thank her for her vote or support her politically; but they got their way while the people who actually put her in that seat got bupkis. Lesson learned? I hope so.
But that wasn’t the only surprising thing to come out of Heitkamp’s mouth:
Asked about polls showing more than 90 percent of voters supporting expanded background checks, including back home, Heitkamp doubted that was truly indicative of public opinion. She compared the polls to her improbable Senate win showing her down double digits to Republican Rick Berg just weeks before Election Day.
“That wasn’t true either,” she quipped.
You see? Heitkamp doesn’t trust polls because polls said she wouldn’t win her Senate seat in the first place. And just look at how wrong they were:
PollTracker’s collection of data on the 2012 U.S. Senate race in North Dakota includes only one public survey that showed Heitkamp trailing by double digits. Polls conducted throughout the campaign consistently showed an extremely tight race between Heitkamp and Berg. On Election Day, the PollTracker Average showed an outright tie between the two, which turned out to be an accurate harbinger of Heitkamp’s margin of victory of fewer than 3,000 votes. (Talking Points Memo)
In the end, it probably just goes to show the futility of counting on red state “Democrats”. Too bad that the inherent unfairness of Senate seat distribution coupled with Harry Reid’s failure to fix the filibuster means we will continue to see progress stymied by these so-called “moderates” for the foreseeable future.