McFeely: ND delegation finds religion on Putin, Ukraine

Cramer and Hoeven voted against $13.6 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine a week ago, decrying "the process" of the Senate vote. Wednesday, they gave Ukrainian president Zelenskyy a standing ovation.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers video address to members of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol in Washington
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a video address to senators and members of the House of Representatives gathered in the Capitol Visitor Center Congressional Auditorium at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 16, 2022.
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FARGO — Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven and Kelly Armstrong took time out from shilling for the oil industry to stand and clap for Volodymyr Zelenskyy after the besieged Ukrainian president addressed Congress on Wednesday. Zelensky begged the U.S. for help in holding off Russia's invasion and showed a gut-wrenching video of what Vladimir Putin's war has wrought on Ukraine and its innocent people.

North Dakota's Republican delegation is as good at wrapping itself in the Ukrainian flag as it is the U.S. version, given the opportunity to score cheap political points. If the trio could slap a Continental Resources logo on the blue and yellow banner of Ukraine it'd be all the better to keep their boy Harold Hamm the happiest fracker in Oklahoma.

Surely there must be a way for congressmen to make dough off endorsements now that college athletes can.

Putin's troops had barely stuck a toe into Ukrainian territory before Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong were using the humanitarian disaster and, this seems important, a possible prelude to World War III as an opportunity to tout American Energy Independence (TM). Drill baby drill outweighs literal children being kill baby killed as the thug in Moscow bombs civilians. Nice to know where the priorities of our deep-thinking delegation lay.

Millions of innocents are streaming out of Ukraine as refugees? That's someone else's problem. There's money to be made for their Bakken buddies.


But somehow that pales to the selective amnesia North Dakota's congressional delegates have exhibited in recent weeks.

Remember when Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong voted against Trump's first impeachment, when the then-president withheld arms to Ukraine in hopes of extorting Zelenskyy for dirt on Joe Biden? Sorta makes the current calls for arming Ukraine ring hollow.

Remember when Cramer and Hoeven voted against $13.6 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine a week ago, decrying "the process" of the Senate vote? Wednesday, they gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation.

Remember when Hoeven spent July 4, 2018, in Moscow on a trip that still hasn't fully been explained?

Remember when Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong for years refused to denounce Trump's reverential, subservient relationship with Putin? Refused to bat down Trump's favoring of Russian intelligence services over America's? Refused to criticize Trump as the president repeatedly praised Putin for being "tough" and "smart?"

It was just recently when Trump called Putin a "genius" for invading Ukraine. That's the guy Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong slobbered over — the same one who instigated an attack on the U.S. Capitol and tried to overturn an election. He was their guy then and they'd support him again if he runs in 2024.

Maybe, though, our trio sees that history will record which side they were on when Russia went into Ukraine. So after standing with Trump and his sidepiece Putin for all those years the North Dakota delegation now sees this could go really bad really fast.

And if it does, with mushroom clouds and all, we'll know quickly how Cramer, Hoeven and Armstrong plan to turn that moment into American Energy Independence (TM). Five seconds would be a solid guess.

Opinion by Mike McFeely
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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