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Senator John Hoeven supports the incumbents but why not? They're his buddies.

john hoeven endorsement

John Hoeven has always been a bit of a light-left piece of vanilla.

When he was the governor of the state of North Dakota, I'd run into him now and then as a reporter for the Langdon newspaper when bad weather blew through. I can't say he was a good governor and I can't say he was a bad governor. He just was. Seemed to like spending taxpayer money, but long ago the fiscal conservative was put to death in American politics, so not much was said. People kept voting him in as governor, then as Senator, because he had an (R) after his name.

Hoeven, along with Rep. Kelly Armstrong (who is running for governor this year) live in my district, District 30.

It’s an interesting district. It encompasses some very wealthy homes and areas along the river1, but it also pulls in middle class, trailer parks, low-income housing, and new developments. It's quite a cross section of demographics.

It’s so varied that if you don’t regularly meet with people, or just go door to door outside of your usual haunts, you can’t possibly know what matters to them. With all the new development and a continuous stream of people from who knows where, there’s no way to know who or what your district is without connecting regularly with them.

Today's Republicans love to name-drop Trump when he's popular (not so much when he isn't). But Trump has this weird thing about actually liking to go out and meet people. He eats fast food, has zero qualms about meeting and taking photos with the plebes, and stories abound of him quietly paying off someone's mortgage or some other good deed.

Yet how many politicians name-dropping him actually rub shoulders with the plebes? Do they carry some local-level self-importance in which they think the ten or so blocks that separates them from such folks is worth maintaining at a functional or ideological level?

A giant postcard arrived in the mail today, featuring smiling photos of Larson, Nathe, and Bosch. You may remember that trio from such hits as “The Three Who Didn’t Come To The District Meeting They Tried To Cancel And Got Censured” or who can forget “They Took It From Us, So We Took It Back Because How Dare They Usurp Our Expected Right Of Power.”

I looked at the postcard carefully before throwing it.

For starters, I would recommend more current headshots because they looked much older when I saw them that one time they showed up at a meeting. When Nathe was red-faced and growling at me about taking back the power, he wasn’t so smiley as he is in the headshot.

In addition to Hoeven’s endorsement on the back of the postcard proving little but that they know the “right” people, beneath each photo the three incumbents list what is essentially an appeal to authority because I guess this is what they consider their accomplishments.

In an era where politicians are being handed term limits and people are sick and tired of compromise, I don't know why these three think touting how long they've been in the North Dakota Legislature is good thing. So far, most of what the legislature has done is spend money, kick the can down the road on true tax relief, and waffled about conservative social issues that are important to parents and those with even a minor interest in the Bill of Rights.

A general summation of what is on the postcard is that they procreated, have been in elected office a long time, and have a business or service connection to the community. What the reader is to assume from that is not clear.

For example, Bosch says he’s the co-owner of the Bismarck Larks. So? Why would that mean he would be good as a representative of me in the legislature? All it tells me is he’ll have more money than I’ll ever see, that he schmoozes with powerful people, has a lawyer on retainer, and mainly, he probably isn’t going to give a rat’s a** what the people buying beer and brats at the Larks’ games think about state fiscal policy. He just wants them to buy tickets and schwag.

The main point is that they don’t talk about their platform or beliefs.

They simply provide information that suggests that we should turn off our critical thinking and just give them our vote because they are important people who have been doing this a long time. It would be one thing if they could list the significant conservative wins they’ve had in the legislature. As incumbents, they should be able to show specific, verifiable proof that they’ve been doing their job. But they don’t. Small wonder.

Consider the information provided by their primary opponents, newcomers Rose/Amundson/Charles.

district 30 republicans

These three new candidates actually tell you what matters to them and what their platform is.

Haven’t we had enough of just voting for and trusting the “expert” considering how well the pandemic worked out for the world?

When a politician can only tell you that they’re important and have been in office a long time, stop checking the box next to their name, because all that means is they’ve “worked across the aisle” and “know how to compromise” and don’t want to rock the boat because they’re eyeing powerful committees as they climb the political and local power ladder. Longevity, for most politicians, is a liability for their voters. And it’s revealed when they list authoritarian reasons to vote for them, not platform-based or ideological reasons.

If a politician is at a point where they don’t bother to tell you what issues matter to them, maybe it’s because none of the issues matter, they know their beliefs don’t actually reflect the issues that matter to their constituents, or they’ve been schmoozing and gladhanding for so long they don’t even know what matters themselves. They just expect to retain power.

At some point, for most politicians, politics is a sum zero game.

It’s all about who has control and what provides the best exit strategy, with very little consideration for what matters to the poor schmuck exhaustedly working two jobs to feed his family and pay his property taxes so he can raise his children according to his faith or morals and his concerns about trashy perverted books in the school or library.2

It wasn’t only their platform that they forgot to list on the postcard, but I went ahead and fixed this one for them:

district 30 incumbent postcard

Harsh, but true.

I’ll change my mind about that addition when they all three calmly and respectfully show up at a district meeting, eat the anger they’ve helped foment, aim to make a positive and unifying change, and explain themselves. I’m very willing to hear them.

Until then, cowards.

It may be that their big money spend on giant signs and postcards are enough to clinch the primary in a district if the people are too busy to go vote in a primary, aren’t aware of the issues, don’t know what’s been going on, or don’t care. I hope for better, but whatever the outcome, I won’t be fooled by these three and any in their cohort until someone steps up with courage and decides to show up at meetings and connect with people and actually explain their voting record and the reasons behind it.

By cohort, I also mean Hoeven, whose office has received an email from me regarding his thoughtless endorsement of his pals without any public acknowledgement of what went on in the district. I won’t be voting for Hoeven until he acknowledges the situation. I’ll do the same for Armstrong, if he comes out in support of them.

Both Hoeven and Armstrong need to get their pals to acknowledge their stinky behavior and actually sit down and talk to the people in the district—all of the people, even the upstarts that dare express interest in holding offices they currently have. If those two men can’t even deal with a local district they live in, going up in angry flames, why in the world should they represent the state?

Politics has gotten ridiculously angry, but hijinks like these three and their pals have pulled have only increased it. They can use that anger as an excuse to not show up at meetings, but that’s like not showing up at a fire with a firetruck because the flames are so big and scary.

On both a national and local level, people have had enough of “representatives” in our system who don’t want to connect with the people they represent. They want your vote but they don't want to actually be around you and meet you.

An unfortunately, that’s the vibe from Larson/Nathe/Bosch.

I could be wrong, surely, but they aren't doing a very good job convincing me otherwise, preferring to let folks like Rob Port carry water for them, gathering all of the lobbyists, family members of lobbyists, financially and politically powerful, Ivy League educated,3 and hyphenated-last-named people they can to circle the wagons and run interference.

Thanks, but no. We don’t need a modern-day district-level bourgeoisie.

Lest you be concerned, I'm not interested in feeding the "hate the rich" attitude that is prevalent in this nation because I don't hate the rich. Money isn't evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil. When bad things happen, though, there’s a reason you follow the money. What I am interested in ferreting out is a micro/local ruling class that somehow believes—or at least puts off the vibe—that they are above the rules and are expected to have the power.

In District 30, the area is plastered with giant signs—on choice, visible land owned by developers and apartment building owners (i.e. rich) along the major roads4—telling us to vote for Larson, Nathe, and Bosch. Their postcards are as big as you can send, much larger than the new, district-selected Republican primary candidates Rose/Charles/Amundson.

For political competitions at the local level, here's my best advice to people who aren't paying attention or are too busy trying to live life and pay bills to go to a district meeting: there is an inverse relationship between how often you get a chance to talk to your representatives one-on-one or at a meeting, and how much money they’ve spent on advertising and promotion.

Having seven grandchildren and being part owner of a local baseball team and sending out the most gigantic postal-worker hating postcard5 is lovely, but it doesn’t mean you are qualified to serve others as an elected leader.

Readers, start looking critically at every piece of political mail that comes to your house, and every sign (and its location) that you see. What other signs are with it? Who owns that land? What does the mailing say? How much did it cost? Who paid for it? I know we’re all tired, working hard, overwhelmed, and exhausted by the thought of this election season, but try.


UPDATE APR 27, 2024: I kid you not, but ten minutes after clicking publish, who should knock on my door but Amundson and Charles. They were going door-to-door in my area, which is not the nice homes along Southport/River but just normal working neighborhood. I point that out because in a recent Bismarck Tribune article, Diane Larson makes it sound like she’s out pounding the pavement, that the three incumbents are so approachable they’re handing out their cellphone numbers.

She also said she’s doing her door-knocking with her fellow incumbent legislators Rep. Mike Nathe and Rep. Glenn Bosch as a team. She added she’s been getting great responses from her constituents, including one woman who prayed with Larson for her campaign as she visited.


Larson said she and her colleagues need to remain approachable and reachable by their constituents, which is why the District 30 incumbents include their cellphone numbers on their campaign handouts.

“I do feel that most people think that experience does matter,” she said.

But I’ve never seen her. Or the other two. Ever. I don’t even have Ring footage of them dropping a pamphlet at my door. I don’t have their cellphone number. Where’s my flyer? I’d love to give them a call and get them on record. When all the hubbub started, they didn’t respond to my emails. How approachable is that?

It might have been handy if the reporters who wrote the article had bothered to ask where she was doing this alleged door-to-door, because if it’s just in the usual enclave, the usual friends and neighbors…it means nothing. Along the river, the big houses and yards are already plastered with Larson/Nathe/Bosch signs. Going door-to-door there takes zero courage for the incumbents.

I am going to attempt to ascertain where they have been going door-to-door to provide a better, fair picture for readers. I will get back to you.

UPDATE APR 29, 2024: I contacted the reporter who helped with the Bismarck Tribune article, asking if Larson indicated where they were going door-to-door. He responded: She did not say which parts of the district that she was door knocking. Only that she was on her way out the door to meet Nathe and Bosch so they could door knock together.

I emailed all three of them with the email address provided on the postcard, inquiring about where they went door-to-door at in the district. None responded as of yet.

If you live in District 30, feel free to email me if you’ve had them come to your door.


1 I helped sandbag some of those big homes during the flood of 2011, as well as flew recon flights for photos of the dikes, river, and dam, looking for erosion, and losing income because I had an hourly job and I’d leave early to ride the flight. Lost a lot of pay that summer, for those river homes.

2 You may want to check the voting records of some District 30 incumbents from the last session regarding these kinds of social issues. You’ll understand why they are rated as leaning left.

3 As we watch the Ivy League schools crumble into a cesspool of antisemitism and plagiarism and woke thought and required vaccinations, it’s finally nice to be able to see the long-festering internal rot poking through, exposed to the world. Maybe those Ivy League diplomas and their graduates aren’t as valuable as we thought? Consider that the Bud Light marketing fiasco came from a woman with an Ivy League diploma because she didn’t understand the people she was selling to. I see a pattern.

4 District 30 is sort of an island in some sense, with very few arterial roads to service it. So the prime land to get your sign seen is along those roads. When I first moved here, it was farmland along much of those roads. Now it’s all developer-owned and exploding into apartments and housing, and so Larson/Nathe/Bosch have been able to place their signs on the developer land. Where a sign is placed tells you who gave permission. I value yard signs in individual yards more than those on developer land. Just consider the location of the sign you’re seeing and what that might mean logically.

5 I used to work for the post office. Giant 8.5x11 “postcards” are just an absolute delight to sort, process, band together for the routes, and box, I assure you.


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