Yesterday I wrote about Robbie Lauf— a former advisor to Governor Doug Burgum who was named as Director of Partnerships and Programming for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation back in February. You can read the article here, but in a nutshell Lauf recently had a silly and sophomoric text exchange with District 35 Republican’s endorsed state senate candidate, Ryan Eckroth. The exchange shows Lauf hasn’t matured much in the 6 1/2 years since he mocked a handicapped UND fan on social media.
Not only does Lauf’s behavior reflect negatively on him, but it certainly doesn’t do Governor Burgum or the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation any favors either. Not to mention Eckroth’s primary opponent, Sean Cleary— who also happens to be a former Burgum staffer. Burgum and Lauf attended the District 35 endorsing convention together to show their support for Cleary.
Interestingly enough, Rob Port of Forum Communications — who claims to be “North Dakota’s most popular and influential political [blogger]” — has chimed in on this issue. Though he completely missed the mark on his coverage, Port at least got an admission from Robbie Lauf that he indeed was the one who sent the messages to Eckroth— a reality that we already knew. Lauf now acknowledges, “I probably shouldn’t have done that.”
I must say that this might show some form of personal growth for Lauf, who didn’t admit he made a mistake in October 2015, when he mocked UND super fan Mark Kauk. Back then he deleted the post and made up some irrational explanation to try and make it all go away after he was called out for it.
It’s appalling how lacking Port’s coverage of this really is though. For example, not only did he completely ignore the reality of who Lauf first mocked back in 2015 — which clearly illustrates a pattern of immaturity — but Port’s weird and obsessive hatred for the “Bastiats” runs so deep that he now associates that title with people it doesn’t belong to. In this case, senate candidate Ryan Eckroth.
Port claims that Eckroth is “part of a wave of legislative candidates” from “a new breed of Trumpy culture warrior populists loosely affiliated with the Bastiat Caucus in the Legislature”. What evidence is there of that? Let me make it easy for you— there isn’t any. And I dare Rob Port to prove otherwise.
In fact, the individual that provided me the screenshot of Lauf’s silly exchange with Eckroth is not a “Bastiat” either. It just so happens that individual doesn’t even like Rick Becker, who is the founder of the Bastiat Caucus.
But hey, why should facts get in the way of Rob Port flinging around names and affiliations where they don’t exist?
Port’s disdain for the dreaded “Bastiats” — queue the scary music — have even led him to label us as “a propaganda blog for the Bastiats”. I’ll admit, we very much align on the issues with those who belong to the Bastiat Caucus. But the way Port makes it sound you’d think there’s a smokey back room in which The Minuteman Blog conspires with this “secretive” group of legislators in fighting the establishment overlords in Bismarck. It’s simply hilarious— and not even close to being true.
Indeed, the “Bastiats” are living rent free in Rob Port’s obsessive head. And he may need professional help to evict them. Short of that though, I suppose that Governor Burgum’s Dakota Leadership PAC and Pat Finken’s Brighter Future Alliance will suffice as a replacement in the effort to clear his head.
In addition to Port conveniently leaving out the details of Lauf’s 2015 post and ranting about scary Bastiat connections that don’t exist, he also attempted to use sarcasm in making light of the reality that Sean Cleary’s sister is a Democrat. Sure, in and of itself, this isn’t necessarily uncommon. Members of the same family often have differing beliefs on a variety of things— including politics. But when there’s a deep affiliation in the Cleary family with the Democratic Party (their grandmother was a Democrat lawmaker), I think that’s worthy of noting for Republicans who may be considering her brother for state senate in a June Primary. After all, Democrats running as Republicans isn’t uncommon either. Yet somehow this isn’t “newsworthy” to the state’s most popular and influential blogger. Strange.
I can’t say for sure why Rob Port’s coverage of the Robbie Lauf situation was so poorly done. Could it be intellectual laziness? Is it easier to just name call and fling around affiliations that don’t exist, rather than deal with all the facts? Has his hatred and obsession with the “Bastiats” hindered his ability to rationalize? Or is he simply trying to minimize the situation to help out one of the governor’s boys?
Regardless, neither Rob Port nor Robbie Lauf can get away from this reality— Lauf screwed up. Again. As a former Senior Advisor to the governor and Director for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, that is newsworthy. And those who associate with him honestly need to reevaluate whether he can be trusted going forward.
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- Former Burgum Advisor & TR Library Director Once Mocked Disabled Fan – The Minuteman Blog
- Former staffer for Gov. Burgum texts mocking messages to Bastiat legislative candidate | Say Anything (sayanythingblog.com)