North Dakota AG earns his own “extreme close-up.”
When it comes to “juvenile antics,” Wayne Campbell has nothing on Wayne Stenehjem.
Stenehjem, North Dakota’s attorney general, was one of 17 GOP attorneys general who signed on to what, in generous terms, was a “far-fetched election lawsuit” attempting to delay certification of electors in four swing states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – that, coincidentally, the now former president* lost in the 2020 election. The Texas AG led the farce.
When he signed on, good ol’ boy Wayne might just as well have been Wayne Campbell hanging out with buddy Garth Algar filming another episode of their community access show, “Wayne’s World.”
The boys recorded the show in Wayne’s parents’ Aurora, Illinois, basement. Every installment began with Wayne hammering on his guitar and Garth drumming at his lap while they headbanged away, long locks flailing, the two of them screaming, “It’s Wayne’s World! Wayne’s World! Party time! EXCELLENT!”
The image came to mind when the good ol’ boys from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) signed on to the frivolous suit, headbanging and flailing away at an instrument they understood but wouldn’t be able to play successfully even if an election depended on it.
Which, as a matter of fact, it did.
Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit out of hand, much like a record-label executive telling a rock-n-roll band hopeful that they, in fact, suck.
“The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution.” (Read the full statement.)
If Stenehjem and his good ol’ RAGA boys didn’t know their brief was bogus, they definitely should have.
And, based on reporting in an excellent piece by The New York Times, “77 Days: Trump’s campaign to subvert the election,” Stenehjem was being advised that way by at least one attorney in his own office.
“…red flags were going up among the attorneys generals’ staff, emails obtained by The Times show.
“’The decision whether we join this amicus is more political than it is legal,’ James E. Nicolai, North Dakota’s deputy solicitor general, wrote to his boss.
“’I still think it is most likely that the Court will deny this in one sentence,’ Mr. Nicolai wrote in a follow-up email, which was also sent to the attorney general, Wayne Stenehjem.
“But the brief was gaining momentum, closing in on support from two-thirds of the Republican attorneys general…. At the last minute, Mr. Stenehjem decided to become one of them, leading Mr. Nicolai to send another email.
“’Wonder what made Wayne decide to sign on? he wrote.”
Either Mr. Nicolai was prescient or he just had the smarts every law school graduate should have.
Either way, one legitimate question remains….
Why, Wayne? Why?
In a state where 65-75 percent of voters identify as Republicans, it’s not like you needed to pander to the base to get re-elected in 2022.
To date, the closest you’ve come to an explanation appears to be this quote:
“’The decision that I made was based on what I thought was sensible knowing that the Supreme Court would end it and hoping that it would end it sooner than have these things linger,’ (Stenehjem) said.”
That’s your justification for dragging the state into a frivolous filing before the highest court in the land, making North Dakotans look like a bunch of podunk bassackward fools, and wasting the time of a staff that’s supposed to be working for the public, not worrying about your next election?
It’s the Republican version of “Party on!”
Makes us want to hurl. We’re talking serious chunkage.
A great many of us believe attempting to interfere in other states’ elections is not just unconstitutional, but seditious.
A great many people.
And whaddya know? Those four words have been the primary basis for GOP lawmakers, reTrumplicans and insurrectionists in justifying their actions from the final day of the election cycle (November 3) through the 6th of January attack on the U.S. capitol.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans believe the 2020 election was fraudulent,” they said repeatedly. Which is the same as saying, “A great many of us think the elections in states that the former president* lost were rigged in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket. Therefore, the votes of citizens’ in those states should be vacated.”
Never mind that there’s zero evidence to back the claim. Or that the GOP accepted without question the elections of Republicans on the very same ballots used for the presidential election in those states.
Fact is, regardless of how much hair dye Rudy Giuliani sweated out during his porn-shop-adjacent press conference, the election fraud claims were baseless. And now some domestic terror experts are calling what happened during the 77 days a “mass radicalization.”
Good ol’ Wayne was part of it.
Since a great many of us believe the actions of the 17 Republican attorneys general were seditious, does that mean you all should resign or be removed from office?
Vacated, as it were?
(Whoa, Wayne – “if you’re gonna spew, spew into this,” O.K.?)
Turns out RAGA is the ideal acronym for your little club, given that its members appear to be a bunch of ragamuffins, a.k.a. disreputable people.
A great many of us think so.
So cue the guitar! Slam the drums! Headbang as only Mike Myers and Dana Carvey could!
Just one more thing Mr. Attorney General – as nerdy as Wayne and Garth were, they were cool.
You and good ol’ boy RAGA buddies?
Featured image: ND Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem superimposed (poorly on purpose) over Wayne Campbell from “Wayne’s World.” Garth Algar is seated next to him. Original photo of Stenehjem by The Williston Herald. “Wayne’s World” promotional image from Paramount Pictures.