JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Doug Burgum For Speaker?

OK, so we don’t have a Speaker of the House. And there’s no one stepping forward from the ranks of the U.S. House Republican caucus to grab the gavel. Well, no problem. The House can pick anyone it wants to be the Speaker, according to Article I, Section II, Clause 5, of the U.S. Constitution, which reads:

“The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.”

Yes, that was the way they spelled “choose” in the 18th century, I guess. But there’s no requirement for the Speaker to be a member of the House. Actually, given the current state of the chaotic Republican Party in Congress, they will be better off if they go outside the ranks of their members to choose their Speaker. I told some friends of mine at the end of a meeting the other night I’d go home and figure this out for the Republicans.

So I thought about it late into the night, but no clear favorite emerged. So I thought I’d just share my thoughts. Here are some possibilities, listed in no particular order.  I got it narrowed down to 10.

  • Mike Lindell. His pillow machine has quit making pillows and he’s broke and needs a job.
  • Sarah Palin. She tried hard to become a House member last year, but lost not one, but two, elections, to a Democrat, after longtime member Don Young died in office — a special election to replace him, and the regular election last fall. She might be the only person ever to lose two elections for Congress in one year.
  • Tucker Carlson. Since getting fired from Fox News, he’s disappeared down one of the rabbit holes of streaming television. He needs a visible job.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s just as buff as Jim Jordan at age 76, and he’s the only person EVER to be both Mr. Universe AND the governor of California (although not at the same time). Good enough qualifications for me.
  • Rudy Guliani. He’s probably done practicing law, but we’d have to work hard to keep him out of jail during his term. He could convene the House at Four Seasons greenhouse from time to time for a change of scenery.
  • Ron Paul. Hey, I said RON Paul, not RAND Paul.
  • Chris Christie. He’s probably not going to be president of the United States, so this would be a way to keep him in the limelight. He’s just so much fun to have around.
  • Donald Trump. He’s available, and he’d probably do it.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu. Wouldn’t it just be fun to have a Speaker whose name rhymes with Yahoo! He looks like a Republican. And the Constitution doesn’t say the Speaker has to be a U.S. citizen …
  • Doug Burgum. Here’s a way for Burgum to end his embarrassing campaign for president. And if those House members get out of line, he’ll just throw a rope around them and haul them out of there.

And speaking of Burgum, Screeeeech! Grrrriiiind! That’s the sound of me switching gears.

Because some of the pundits are calling Doug Burgum’s latest fundraising gimmick “desperation.” After spending close to a million dollars out of his pocket, a figure he’s not unaccustomed to, after the last two North Dakota legislative races in which he bankrolled Republican candidates against other Republican candidates in the primaries, to give $20 cash cards (yeah, I got mine, but I haven’t spent it yet) to anyone who donated just a dollar to his campaign, in order to reach the 40,000 donor threshold for qualifying for the first GOP presidential candidates debate, now he’s offering the same kind of deal: send him a dollar and he’ll send you a $20 gas card, but only to new donors who haven’t given to his campaign previously, because now he has to show 70,000 donors to get into the third debate. That lets me out. If he gets to 69,999, I’ll ask Lillian to help out, but she hates gimmicks, and besides, that’s only five gallons of gas these days. … (Oops, just checked and according to this website, the cards are all gone.)

 But in between the two debates he’s been open for business, offering all kinds of merchandise at bargain prices for “donations” to his campaign. It’s a rich guy buying his way into the competition, but it does indeed, smack of a little desperation. Here are some of the offerings. Note the tag on many of the items says “Shop Now” while the other say “Contribute.”

Good Lord. This isn’t a presidential campaign. It’s a thrift store. It certainly is the most unpresidential campaign I’ve ever seen. Trucker hats. Baby diapers. Tee shirts. Sweat shirts. Golf balls. Camo Koozies. Click here to see ALL 60 items for sale. Really! A storefront with 60 items for sale.

And the thing is, I’m pretty sure Burgum is paying for those things out of his pocket, and when you buy one, the money goes into the campaign war chest. There’s no way to know how much of his fortune he’s spending chasing this silly dream, but it’s surely in the tens of millions. And it’s not making a dent in his bank account.

North Dakota Democratic-NPL Chairman Adam Goldwyn, when asked what he thought of Burgum’s campaign, said it’s just another “bored billionaire” running for president. Nailed it.

But if that’s how he wants to spend his money, if that’s how he wants to be remembered, well, OK then. But I wish he’d stop saying “That’s how we do it in North Dakota.” As much as we’d like to be proud of a North Dakotan running for president, we’re not.  And he’s starting to sound goofy, and North Dakotans aren’t goofy. I watched the second debate. I’m pretty sure not another candidate said what state they were from. Burgum says it over and over. See, Doug, it doesn’t matter what state you’re from when you’re running for president, except for Electoral College votes.

Pretty soon they’re going to say, “Hmmm, North Dakota. Isn’t that the state where the governor signed a bill with about 58 different things in it and the state’s Supreme Court held it unconstitutional, and now they have to have a special legislative session to fix it?”

Uh huh. Maybe, Doug, you should come home and help get that fixed, because if it isn’t fixed pretty soon, some state agencies aren’t going to have operating money, and a lot of good charities are not going to get grants, and the PERS Board is getting so big going to have to rent an auditorium to hold its next meeting.

Did you click on the link to Doug Burgum’s store? If not, here’s another chance at it. It’s pretty embarrassing all by itself.

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