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Yesterday, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he told Senator Heidi Heitkamp that he felt "betrayed" by her vote against the Manchin-Toomey amendment and that he would like back the $25,000 he donated to her campaign.

As a strong supporter of gun safety laws (and non-violence in general) myself, I won't defend Senator Heitkamp's vote.  However, Bill Daley has no grounds on which to feel "betrayed."

For Heitkamp to have "betrayed" him, she would have had to have expressed strong support for gun safety legislation during her election campaign, only to back away from such a position out of political cowardice.  

From what I can discern, gun control was not an issue of debate in the 2012 Senate election in North Dakota.  Heitkamp had made no statement advocating stronger gun safety laws that her votes would have contradicted.

Gun control was also not an issue in the 2012 presidential election either.  Obama's campaign website featured no language on the issue even though there had been two high-profile mass shootings--Tucson and Aurora--since the 2010 election.   During the town hall debate this past October, when asked about gun control, Obama expressed support for a renewal of the assault weapons ban--something about which he had spoken rarely if ever in the past few years; however, he quickly shifted the focus of his answer, as politicians are wont to do, to discuss education.   His answer was, a least, better than that of Mitt Romney, who seemed to blame single mothers for all gun violence.

In his first term, Obama signed laws that allowed individuals to carry guns on Amtrak and in national parks.   He signed no laws strengthening gun control, nor did he advocate for any.  It comes as no surprise then that the Brady Campaign had awarded him an F.

Bill Daley was Obama's Chief of Staff from January 2011 to January 2012.  He took office shortly after Gabby Giffords's shooting in Tucson.  In his speech commemorating the injured and dead, Obama had only one quick reference to gun safety, focusing primarily on civility.  It was a well-written speech, but it was a call for improving "character," rather than achieving meaningful social reform.  Bill Daley may have encouraged the President to take up the issue of gun safety in the wake of the Tuscson incident behind-the-scenes, but if he was anything like his predecessor, we can assume that he did not.

There's another problem that I have with Daley's op-ed.  Bill Daley hails from Illinois, not North Dakota.  He is not a citizen of the state of North Dakota.  He, consequently, would not have voted for Heidi Heitkmap in the 2012 election.  Her obligation is to her constituents, not to her donors.  Her constituents may disagree with her vote; however, they, not Daley, are the ones to be disappointed, but still not betrayed.  

As I indicated earlier, a politician betrays his/her voters when violating a campaign pledge, when undermining promises that he/she repeatedly affirmed.  Remember when Joe Biden said, "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security"? Hahaha, good one, Joe!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Asdf (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheKF1, tardis10

    Well, to be fair to Joe, there have been no changes to Social Security.......

  •  Daley wants to run for Governor of Illinois (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

    I wouldn't vote for him, at least in the primary. After all, he served in the administration of President NAFTA.

    Of the three Democrats who are interested in running serious campaigns for Governor of Illinois, none of them are appealing to me (Lisa Madigan seems to be the most progressive of the three, but she'll probably stab us in the back as soon as she's sworn in as governor), and all of the Republican candidates range from too conservative to way too conservative.

    Despite being a "solid blue state", there are very few progressives who hold elected office in Illinois.

    Progressive first, Democrat second

    by DownstateDemocrat on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:39:40 PM PDT

  •  How about a compromise? (3+ / 0-)

    They're both assholes. ;)

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 02:41:31 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad she's getting pushback (6+ / 0-)

    I called her office myself, and was pleased to see her Facebook page is getting overrun with critical comments about her vote. She needs to feel the pressure.

  •  The Oath of Office (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, 3goldens

    They don't take an oath of office to serve their donors and I may be wrong, but I don't think constituents appears in their oaths either. They are FEDERAL elected officials. Their oath invokes the constitution and their mandate is what's in the best interest of the whole country.

    Betrayal isn't simply that someone broke promises that they made. Re-election surely depends on not straying too far, but, if the polling data is correct, North Dakotans probably support simple background checks as well.  

    For what it's worth, the same thought about my contribution to Heidi crossed my mind, briefly.  I don't need my donation to her campaign back, because I got a fantastic return on my investment in Elizabeth Warren.  

  •  As a betrayed former (and never again) (7+ / 0-)

    Heitkamp voter, donor, volunteer, fundraiser, I have a few points in rebuttal:

    1.  Your premise is that Heitkamp voted against background checks, and that she never took a position on background checks.  This is a false argument stemming from a false premise.  Heitkamp did not vote against background checks.  She voted in support of a filibuster, blocking the majority from having a chance to pass background checks.  She was, at one time, in favor of filibuster reform.

    2.  She has articulated no rational reason for blocking background checks.  There is no rational reason to block background checks.

    3.  You and she and everyone seem to believe that the majority of North Dakotans oppose background checks.  I have seen not one iota of evidence to support that assumption.

    4.  Heitkamp, or at least her brother Joel, argue that a senator is supposed to vote based on what a majority of her constituents want.  First, see point 3 above.  Second, what is the point of electing a Democratic senator from a deep red state if they are bound by some ingrained principle to vote as if they are Republicans?   Third, and most important, how can we expect Heitkamp to vote on reproductive rights?  Because I guarantee you that if she starts voting anti-choice because -that is what she feels her constituents want- that is what she feels will better represent her interests in getting re-elected, I will have a fucking cow.

    Heidi For North Dakota, my ass.   Heidi For Heidi.

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

    by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 03:29:51 PM PDT

    •  Good Point (2+ / 0-)

      I think a strong case can be made that the 4 Democratic senators who voted against allowing a vote on the background checks amendment definitely betrayed the party.  From that procedural perspective (that you don't need to vote with the party on final votes but you should not block the vote itself), I think the use of "betrayal" works, both in terms of Democratic voters in ND and the Senate leadership.

      I would assume that, as polling shows, most of ND voters actually support the idea of universal background checks.  However, both parties have bought into the idea that the country is much more to the right than it actually is.  It's possible that she and the other 3 heard a lot more calls from the rabid gun rights folks and make their assumption of state opinion from the intensity of such calls rather than public opinion at large.

      I've been very disgusted with Begich, Baucus, and Pryor recently because they also voted against the Senate budget.

  •  I am often disappointed with how this or that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democrat votes on a particular issue, and sometimes that Democrat is the senator I spent tons of time phone banking and knocking on doors for.

    Do I voice my displeasure in public. Hell no. I don't want to discourage one single person from voting for that office holder again. I write a fax and in polite tones tell them why I disagree.

    A senator that votes different than I would have wished is common. I can't think of one whose votes have aligned 100% with my wishes other than maybe Bernie Sanders.

    At the end of the day we needed Joe Lieberman's vote. A republican would have been a no vote. (ACA)

    I'd bet a sober look at Heidi Heitkamp would show her to be about the best possible choice we have in her state. I'd support her if she were to vote a lot worse than this one vote.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 04:08:33 PM PDT

    •  Good for you. I wouldn't vote (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, 3goldens

      for her if she were running against Dick Cheney.  There are other fights to wage, other causes and candidates to support and other ways to retain the senate.

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

      by Fiddler On A Hot Tin Roof on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 04:38:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Depends (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, 3goldens

      Joe Lieberman was challenged from the left in a primary 2006, and Ned Lamont won.  Lieberman just won in the general election, unfortunately.

      The state that really should express displeasure by voting for a third party IMHO is California.  Diane Feinstein is pretty conservative for the state, but she wins by large margins.  You could have 10% vote third-party, making a statement, but not challenging the outcome. Or you could have someone primary her to at least force her into a debate.

      I think that running primaries against conservative Democrats makes sense unless winning is just such a lost cause that it's a waste of time and money.  It forces debate, which re-election after re-election doesn't provide.  However, I'd probably vote with the party in the general election if the race was tight.  Unless we are speaking about Max Baucus.  I want him out.  He is the poster child of Beltway corruption.

      •  I pretty much agree that all kinds of contesting (0+ / 0-)

        by Dems is good as long as it doesn't damage the eventual winner so bad that he/she loses the general.

        With the way our system is set up, and the way our current congress functions, I'd always vote Dem over Republican.

        Max causes a lot less mischief than Denny Rheburg who is your alternative choice, would.

        I remember Lieberman's history and how he backed McCain too, I'm not real fond of him. I also remember how he wasn't retaliated upon after the election, I was very angry at him, but Dem leadership is playing to win, they could care less about feelings, they want votes. Passing legislation is where it's at.

        How big is your personal carbon footprint?

        by ban nock on Sat Apr 20, 2013 at 05:44:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  While I normally vote straight Democrat (0+ / 0-)

        I have been appalled at Feinstein's support for bad legislation (and no, I'm not even considering her proposed AWB) for some time. I know she'll still win regardless of my vote next time she's up for reelection and that we're in no danger of a Republican senator in the foreseeable future, so I have no problem casting my vote for a third party candidate when the time comes.

  •  You're defending Heidi Heitkamp? (0+ / 0-)


    •  No, I'm not. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      voicemail, kurt

      I'm not defending Heitkamp as I clearly stated in my piece.  I'm just saying that Bill Daley is in no place to complain that she betrayed HIM.  He is not a North Dakota voter:  he has a corporate Democrat who gave money to her campaign.

      •  But you say Daley has no right to expect (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        varii, Nova Land

        a so-called Democrat--who accepted campaign funds from across the country--to vote with the party when it comes to allowing debate?

        I say he has that right.

        Because even if Heitkamp counted every single nose in her state and decided they wanted her to vote against Manchin-Toomey--she should have supported debating the bill and then voted against the bill itself.

        We would hate seeing her do it, but we would understand.

        Instead, she tossed a big steak to the False Filibuster Beast.    

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