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Port: Rick Becker is, I kid you not, campaigning against compromise and bipartisanship

"We need to elect uncompromising, bold leaders to the United State Senate," is an actual thing independent U.S. Senate candidate Rick Becker is telling voters. He's deriding incumbent Senator John Hoeven's "willingness to reach across the aisle and compromise," and I'm not making that up.

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U.S. Senate candidate Rick Becker, a Bismarck state representative, speaks to delegates at the North Dakota Republican state convention on Saturday, April 2, 2022.
Kyle Martin / The Forum
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Minot, N.D. — Rick Becker says the problem with incumbent U.S. Senator John Hoeven is that he's too willing to work with other people.

I wish I were making this up.

Earlier this year Hoeven defeated Becker, garnering the majority of the votes at the North Dakota Republican Party's state convention. Becker had promised at that time to abide by the vote of the convention's delegates. His overweening ambition has since prompted him to go back on that promise. He's now mounting an independent campaign on the general election ballot.

And in a statement released on the occasion of submitting the required signatures needed to be on the ballot, Becker makes it clear that his problem with Hoeven is compromise bipartisanship.

"We need to elect uncompromising, bold leaders to the United State Senate who will rein in the spending, reel back the over-regulation, and take on the corrupt globalist agenda headfirst," he said in his statement.

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"John Hoeven is wrong for North Dakota," he continued. "His willingness to reach across the aisle and compromise away our constitutionally protected rights to advance his career in Washington has largely contributed to the record-high inflation that is currently crushing hardworking North Dakotans."

Sen. John Hoeven
Sen. John Hoeven
File photo

Give Becker credit for turning political cliche on its head, I guess. Normally politicians tout a "willingness to reach across the aisle and compromise" as a good thing.

Becker is not inaccurate in using those words to describe Hoeven. I agree with them. Hoeven himself agrees with them. He's often touted bipartisanship and compromise as important parts of his political resume.

Becker seems to think North Dakota voters want someone who will go to Washington and refuse to compromise.

I think he's mistaken.

I hope he's mistaken.

Either way, that Becker would say these things comes as no surprise. He became one of the least effective lawmakers in Bismarck, during his tenure in the state House of Representatives, because he alienated so many of his colleagues few would work with him.

In his last years in office, few of Becker's initiatives went anywhere, and if they did, it was because some other lawmaker took up the cause.

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Becker began his career in office as a thoughtful and serious-minded policymaker but has drifted to the entertainment wing of American politics, becoming someone more concerned with how a vote plays on Facebook than how it might impact his constituents.

That Becker now wants to take his cynical show to Congress is something he isn't even trying to hide. He hopes to be yet another caustic, bombastic politician vying for face time on Fox News or Newsmax.

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Mund, who got into this race late, who has zero track record outside of campaign-trail statements to illustrate how she might vote in Congress, is trying to be all things to all people, and in politics, that's an excellent way to make most people not like you.

He'll peddle his schtick to the infotainment crowd, preening and patting himself on the back for hard he owned the libs while celebrity pundits look on.

That Becker thinks this approach will help solve the problems facing America — things like inflation and run-away spending and government overreach — is either a lie of rank self-delusion.

Either way, voters should reject it. To quote George Will , prudent politics means "adjusting tidy principles to untidy realities." This is the opposite of what Becker intends to do, which is clinging to ideological pieties while our nation suffers.

An uncompromising Congress is a dysfunctional Congress.

A dysfunctional Congress cannot fulfill its duty to be a check on the excesses of other branches of government.

Let's talk about a recent example. Last month President Joe Biden issued an executive order forgiving hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt. He did this without any authorization from Congress. Yet he has little to fear from checks-and-balances reprisals from Congress because Congress doesn't function.

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Congress already has in its chambers a lot of people like Becker who are there to entertain, not govern.

Here's another example that's not so recent: The last time our nation balanced the budget was when our government was from 1998 to 2001. We had budget surpluses because a Republican-controlled Congress compromised with President Bill Clinton, a Democrat.

This same divided Congress produced meaningful reform to the nation's welfare programs .

These compromises, representing real good for our nation, are almost unimaginable in today's Congress which features ideologues, left and right, like Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rep. Ilhan Omar.

These people measure their job performance in retweets.

Becker, having already been rejected by the state's Republicans, is now asking North Dakota's electorate to send him to Washington D.C. to be a part of that problem.

I hope we say, "no thanks."

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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