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Port: Becker backers boo the concept of statesmanship, demand death penalty for 'deep state' bureaucrats

U.S. Senate candidate Rick Becker also called for mass arrests and more investigation in pursuit of disgraced former President Donald Trump's stolen election conspiracy theories.

Rick Becker campaign announcement
State Rep. Rick Becker is seen here in a campaign video announcing his bid for the U.S. Senate.
Screen capture from YouTube
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MINOT, N.D. — Last night's state of the union address from President Joe Biden was marred by a couple of immature outbursts from two Trump loyalist congresswomen.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, tried to get up a "build the wall" chant while Biden was speaking. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, began shouting about American military casualties during our chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Whatever your thoughts about the views expressed in these outbursts, can we agree that heckling the president is beneath the dignity of the offices these women hold? Boebert's shouted remarks came when Biden was recounting the death of his son, and both women turned their backs while the president and members of his administration entered the House chamber.

Unfortunately, this boorish behavior seems to be what a not-insignificant portion of the GOP base wants, and that's the base state Rep. Rick Becker is courting with his quixotic challenge to U.S. Senate incumbent John Hoeven for the NDGOP's nomination.

As evidence, consider this ugly report from a recent NDGOP convention held in District 2 in the northwest corner of our state. Jacob Orledge has a remarkable report of the proceedings in the Tioga Tribune .

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At the meeting, Becker promised a "bare-knuckle" approach to serving in the Senate that would include congressional inquiries into disgraced former President Donald Trump's stolen election conspiracy theories.

"People need to go to jail," he told the audience during one rant. "For god's sake, they need to go to jail."

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But even that ugly rhetoric wasn't enough for some in the audience. Dennis Lindahl, a talk radio host for KTGO in Tioga, which is part of conservative host Scott Hennen's radio network, called for the death penalty.

"The penalty for treason is the death penalty," Lindahl, who also serves as the City of Tioga's economic development director, reportedly said.

It got worse.

Hoeven didn't attend the District 2 event — he was at another district meeting in another part of the state — but Kathy Neset, a well-known figure in state government and the oil industry, spoke on his behalf.

"There's a fair amount of effectiveness that happens when you can be a statesman in addition to a politician," she told the crowd. "There are times when you have to, you have to give a little. You have to negotiate."

These remarks elicited boos, per Orledge.

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"Along with murmurs of disagreement, a handful of outright boos erupted before one man in the back shouted in response, 'You can't sell yourself to the devil,'" Orledge wrote.

Think about that for a moment.

Odes to statesmanship and cooperation are rote in political campaigns. But, for this crowd Becker is pandering to, these Trumpists who are hard at work to take over the North Dakota Republican Party, statesmanship is controversial.

Something to be booed and heckled.

How does that serve the best interests of our state and our nation? If Republicans send more people like Becker to Washington, D.C., to join the ranks of people like Boebert and Greene, and if Democrats send their own uncompromising firebrands, then how do we govern the country?

How do we ever get anything done?

It'd be nice if Becker, who ironically styles himself as an ardent proponent of liberty and small government, took a break from demands for mass arrests of his political opponents to answer that question.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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