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Published August 06 2013

Editorial: DNCC shot at Cramer really silly

The political cliché “the silly season” rings true this week because of a radio ad by the Democratic National Campaign Committee that is aimed at Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. The DNCC, attempting a reach that raises silly to a stratospheric level, accuses freshman Congressman Cramer of (can you believe it?) taking a vacation. And not just any vacation but the mandated congressional shutdown that guarantees a five-week hiatus for every member of Congress, including all the Democrats.

In what has to be one of the most transparently nonsensical cheap shots of the way-too-early political season, the DNCC’s radio spot tries to paint Cramer as shirking his responsibilities because he won’t be working in Washington for a U.S. House of Representatives that won’t be in session. It is peculiar that the DNCC isn’t making the same goofy charge against all those Democrats who (guess what?) are taking the five-week break, too. The shallow folks at the DNCC might recall that Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., took the same vacation break during his many years of honorable service in the House.

Cramer has made a mistake or two (his vote to support a House farm bill that decouples ag programs from nutrition titles, for example). But no one who knows him would ever suggest he does not work hard. Indeed, an observer of Congress would be challenged to find a congressman or senator who puts in more hours, not only in the nuts-and-bolts minutia of writing legislation but also with constituent services.

Furthermore, the “vacation” the DNCC is so quick to denigrate does not mean Cramer stops working as a congressman. He’ll be back in North Dakota doing what every congressman – Democrat or Republican – has done during the August break for generations: visiting with anyone and everyone who wants to talk with him. He’ll take the political and policy pulse of North Dakotans. He’ll use the time to explain what he’s done in Washington, and learn more about what voters want him to do.

If during those five weeks, the congressman takes time for a well-deserved family vacation – away from media spotlights and political demands – good for him.

And as for the DNCC? If a really dumb radio spot is the best it can do to criticize Cramer, the congressman has little to worry about in the run-up to the 2014 election.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.