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Kent Rogne, Dickinson, N.D., Published September 16 2012

Letter: Eisenhower could have been describing today’s Republicans

In 1954, Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote these words to his brother: “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would never hear from that party again, in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. ... Their number is negligible, and they are stupid.” These words are not just something “doctored” to prophetically fit our current times and situations. It was all too true then, as it is now.

Ike was referring to H.L. Hunt, Texas oil magnate, a central figure in the foundation of the John Birch Society. Hunt was spearheading a drive to eliminate social programs and subsidies to certain industries, agriculture among them. His ilk felt any government help smacked of socialism, communism and the collective. How sad is that?

Although Eisenhower was a Republican military leader turned government administrator, he was also a pragmatist. He knew that compromise, and sometimes tactical retreat, were simply part and parcel of the presidency.

It is ironic that nearly 60 years later, we are in the same battles with monied splinter groups. Only two things have changed. One is the political affiliation of the president. The second thing is “shadow groups,” bent on funneling dark money into local campaigns, thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.

The tea party splinter group backed by the Koch brothers is trying to do the exact same thing H.L. Hunt attempted all those years back. Rick Berg and Kevin Cramer are, quite frankly, walking in lockstep with the marching orders of this extremist faction. They are all for the elimination of government programs that provide for those in need in our state – programs that provide state-of-the-art health care, nutrition, education, protection of vulnerable women, and income stability for ranchers and farmers during tough economic times. They want to side with Paul Ryan, from the distance of Washington. These two are funded in large part by unknown, secretive entities that reveal nothing of themselves, and care little for the welfare of the people of North Dakota.

Eisenhower also said, “It looks mighty easy to be a farmer when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles away from the cornfield.” Do we want people representing us who are doing the bidding of people from thousands of miles away? Rather, we should elect three people born and raised to respect the value of small-town America. Support Heidi Heitkamp for U.S. Senate, Pam Gulleson for U.S. House and Ryan Taylor for governor.