Tony J Bender: That’s Life — Dear Doug Burgum …

Dear Doug Burgum,

You’re killing me. How can you be an outsider who is going to break up the good old boy network when you keep acting like an insider good old boy?

So all it takes to get your support is an “R” behind the name? (See Donald Trump.) You’ll endorse a cartoon character for president just because you think that’s what the hick base wants. You can’t possibly think a Trump presidency is a good idea. So you are either pandering or lacking judgment — in either case, it disqualifies you from serious consideration.

The advertising campaign — negative — pounding Wayne Stenehjem for having the political courage, something desperately lacking in this state, to defend the Affordable Care Act subsidies. More people are insured because of it. You attached the word “conservative” to your name so often in radio commercials — “Conservative Doug Burgum” — I began to think Doug was your middle name. Methinks thou doth protest too much.

And that whole idea of going through the motions to get the party nomination while gunning for the primary anyway. … Seriously? Like that’s going to win friends in the party.

OK, it’s too late, but fire the morons advising you and follow along here. First of all, a real outsider runs as an independent. Here’s the plan. You don’t abandon the tech genius casual cache and put on a suit to make the announcement of your candidacy. Burn the damn suit. You’re the North Dakota version of Steve Jobs.

The rest of the narrative? Easy. A kid grows up in North Dakota in a hard-working family that founded a grain elevator. So you love farmers, right? And wheat. You love wheat.

Then, you created this high-tech company right here in North Dakota because you love your state more than Silicon Valley. You employ a whole bunch of freshly scrubbed, smart as a whip North Dakota kids. I repeat, you did it here because you love North Dakota. You’ve created jobs! High-tech jobs!

You want to run this state in a businesslike manner to help the people you respect so much. To heck with the divisiveness of wedge issues, this is about breaking up a stagnant political caste in Bismarck and moving forward with a vision. America. Apple Pie. North Dakota work ethic. We’ll work Teddy Roosevelt in there, somewhere, too. You love Jesus but you don’t wear it on your sleeve. You attend the Muslim prayer at the Legislature. And you’re still not wearing a suit — maybe a sweater vest after you balance the budget.

What the hell were you thinking, Doug Burgum? You were uniquely positioned to get enough support from both parties to win this thing. All you had to do was be who you are — or at least who we thought you were.

I suppose this bromance was doomed from the start. For starters, I’m an Apple guy. And, in spite of my best instincts, I remain an idealist. What the hell was I thinking?

Tony Bender

Leave a Reply