From his Gardner is a “good man” remarks to siding against ND’s farmers, Former Grand Forks Herald Editor and Publisher Mike Jacobs runs down Kevin Cramer’s lack of judgment

(BISMARCK, ND)  — Kevin Cramer seems to be spiraling. From defending admitted peeping-tom Will Gardner to failing to pass a Farm Bill to sticking up for the administration’s misguided trade policies that are hurting North Dakota’s manufacturers and farmers, he’s consistently put his political ambitions ahead of hard-working families in his home state.

Today, former editor and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald Mike Jacobs joined the growing chorus of North Dakotans wondering why in the world Kevin Cramer would defend and endorse Will Gardner’s political career. Highlights from Jacobs’ column on Cramer’s campaign in free-fall below:

Grand Forks Herald: Jacobs: N.D. winds, and politics, blow hard

  • A month ago Republicans were confident of a clean sweep on the North Dakota ballot in November, but contrary winds have begun to blow.

  • Republicans lost a statewide candidate when Will Gardner withdrew from the race for secretary of state, leaving the party scrambling — and settling eventually on the very man they’d rejected at their state convention. He’s the incumbent, Al Jaeger, who will run as an independent. The secretary of state contest will follow the federal candidates on the ballot; in other words, Republicans will have to leave the column in order to vote for him.

  • No one can be sure but it may be that Gardner would have survived the publication of his arrest record, but once exposed he quit the race. That might have ended the matter, but Kevin Cramer couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and he rushed to Gardner’s defense, calling him a good man and suggesting that he could be a candidate in another election some other time.

  • Cramer is the candidate for the U.S. Senate, the top of the ticket race. His defense of Gardner didn’t do either of them any good politically; Gardner was a gone goose by the time Cramer said anything, and Cramer’s statement raised questions about his own political judgment, a quality already in question. Cramer consistently displays a premature naïve enthusiasm.

  • Cramer has been an uncritical supporter of Donald Trump, not a political liability in itself, except that he’s been obsequious about it, suggesting, for example, that the president deserved the Nobel Peace Prize even before the North Korean summit. He was also an early apologist for Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, whose latest policy initiative is to end the renewable fuels standard, a move that would have a wallet-draining effect on North Dakota farmers.

  • The standard is an example of how a little appreciated provision, like a well-placed bush, can cause the political winds to shift. Other examples include looming trade wars, one with China, which buys a big share of North Dakota’s soybean crop, and one with Canada and Mexico over the North American Free Trade Agreement. Despite initial opposition from the state’s congressional delegation, all Democrats at the time, NAFTA has proven to be very good for North Dakota. To these add the farm bill, defeated in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and resurrected in the Senate.

  • It’s a sign of frustration that Republicans whined about Trump’s attention to Heitkamp, and there were worried suggestions that the president might forego campaigning against her, a decision that might doom Cramer’s chances.