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Ryan Bakken, Forum Communications, Published October 15 2012

Ryan Bakken: Politics ad nauseam

GRAND FORKS - Mercifully, the election is three weeks away. That’s when it will be safe to watch evening television again.

I’m referring, of course, to the commercials. It seems as if 90 percent of commercials this month concern political races.

Ninety percent of that 90 percent are about the Rick Berg-Heidi Heitkamp race for the U.S. Senate.

And, 90 percent of that 90 percent of that 90 percent are negative. Or at least it seems that way. Sigh. Even at my age, you can go to the restroom only so often.

Many of these commercials are not only negative, but baffling. For instance, I never knew that being a multi-millionaire was a bad thing. I once aspired to be a millionaire, too, but then I chose the newspaper business. It seems to me that having the ability to earn a lot of money would be an achievement, not a liability.

I’m also perplexed about the charge that Berg has “gone Washington.” I would hope he goes there because that’s where his workplace is located.

On the other hand, I’m also puzzled by Berg’s slogan about “the North Dakota way.” What exactly does that mean? That we’re flat? Tightwads? Dull? Old-fashioned?

Also surprising is that one candidate conceded the “nice factor” from the start. In just about every commercial that proceeds to rip Heitkamp, the narrator starts by noting that she is likable.

This landslide in the personality race may also explain why Heitkamp’s political signs read “Heidi” and Berg’s don’t read “Rick.”

Also baffling is the Democrat in the senatorial contest appears to be President Obama. Heitkamp apparently is guilty by party association, even though she’s sworn off Obamacare and other traditional Democratic positions that would be vote-killers in North Dakota.

However, the biggest lesson to be learned from this is to never call someone “amazing,” at least not with a camera rolling.

Another lesson that politicians should learn is to shoot commercials about their agriculture positions in fields of row crops. Every time I see I see one standing in a wheat field, I wonder how much of the crop is being trampled and how that will affect bread prices at the supermarket.