Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 11/01/06 16:37
by Dave Mindeman
There is something disturbing about Congressman John Kline. It is like he is always on the edge......on the verge of losing control. He is always at war with whatever he determines to be the "other side".
I listened to the MPR debate between Kline and Rowley today. I always find it interesting that Kline's description of the Iraq War is always flowered with Islamic language. He defines Iraq as the central front on the war with Islamic Jihadists. Very few people use that terminology, except maybe the President. It is a constant protracted attempt at justifying Iraq in terms that can overlook the facts on the ground and make the threat, global in nature.
Kline has had a distinguished military career but he seems to also need a pure sense of order. He seems most comfortable using the same talking points that are passed down from House leadership. His answers are predictable and lack any depth.
And he refuses to admit that the answers passed along to him could be completely wrong. The only visible sign of candor, during the entire campaign, came from his reaction upon learning of the atrocities at Haditha. His first reaction was to condemn it as conduct unbecoming... which it was. But, after it became apparent that he was siding with Jack Murtha on the topic... he used the excuse that he made the "mistake" of pre-judging the case and "apologized" for his momentary, emotional reaction.... putting him back in line with the House leadership's attempt to bury the issue until after the election.
Kline works from pre-determined positions and uses whatever facts are available that match up with those conclusions.
He dimisses Coleen Rowley's points of contention with his positions because they require complex analysis that he refuses to delve into. You can't question the chain of command... and it is weakness to admit that what you have committed your resources to, what could be, a complete mistake.
Kline's attacks are very negative but they are very simple. Coleen Rowley wants wholesale changes to the status quo and that cannot be allowed. Advocating policies different from the administration means those positions have to be refuted...in John Kline's world, "staying the course" dictated to him, is the only acceptable policy.
In recent days, Kline's defense of those policies seems disjointed. His defense of his voting record for veteran's issues seems shrill and frankly not factual. His distortions on Rowley's immigration position and Iraq changes seem, well, almost desperate.
His unrelenting defense of current policy is rapidly marginalizing him as an effective representative. To have Kline as the voice of the Second District means we lose our seat at the table when we make the changes that are critical to a deteriorating foreign policy.
If we are to truly move forward from the problems we face now, we have to elect a Congressperson willing to be open to any and all options. Coleen Rowley can do that -- John Kline has made it crystal clear he won't.