- First of all, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) has about as anti-woman a congressional record as one could have.
So, who can Republicans count on to “preach the Gospel of Bachmann” … of course, John Kline. Just look at the bills that he has sponsored :
H.R.7 : No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act
H.R. 23 Sanctity of Human Life Act
H.R.61 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.217 : Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
H.R.346 : Stop Abortion Funding in Multi-state Exchange Plans (SAFE Act)
H.R.447 : Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2013
H.R.732 : Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act
H.R.940 : Health Care Conscience Rights Act
H.R.1091 : Life at Conception Act
H.R.1797 : Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (MN Political Roundtable)
(That’s just regarding reproductive choice; there are many, many more War on Women efforts, with Kline’s name on them, in other areas.)
- And there’s this:
But the Supreme Court isn’t the only government body limiting insurance coverage to women. A new White House report released Wednesday argues that the 24 state governments that have failed to expand their Medicaid programs to individuals and families earning 138 percent above the federal poverty line could also be undermining women’s health.
That’s because women make up nearly 70 percent of adults on Medicaid and the report finds that limiting their access to coverage significantly restricts their access to health care. Relying on past health research, the analysis concludes that “having health insurance increases the probability that individuals report receiving ‘all needed care’ over the prior year.” “If the 24 States that have not yet expanded Medicaid did so, an additional 651,000 people would receive ‘all needed care’ over a given year once expanded coverage was fully in effect,” it says. (Think Progress)
I agree with those arguing that the main reason Eric Cantor got beat like a drum is because his district was effectively convinced to regard him as a guy lost in DC ambition, who didn’t care any more about, and in fact was just using, the homefolks.
Which got me thinking about a couple of House incumbents in Minnesota. I mean, come on, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) practically revels in maintaining an aloof distance from, and even an almost contemptuous attitude toward, his constituents. (The ones that aren’t millionaires, that is.) And while Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) perhaps is spending some time here, if that‘s so, I never see it noted in the paper or anything. Even if he is, the perception could well be that he isn’t, because the guy is basically an ambulatory no-charisma zone.
My thinking in this is undoubtedly influenced by the fact that as a voter in MN-08, I retain clear memories of how well the “out-of-touch“ charge worked for Chip Cravaack against Jim Oberstar in 2010. And the fact that the incumbent apparently didn‘t realize how much trouble he was in, until it was too late. (Note that the e-newsletter for MN-08’s current House member, Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN), constantly features images of, and articles about, him hanging out with constituents, of all ages.)
I have to mention that the potential fatal flaw in this is that my examples involve the “out-of-touch” attack working when pitched to right-wingers. Those aren’t the voters that could oust Kline and/or Paulsen in November. I don’t know that the approach has been shown to work in motivating the more issues-based center-to-left crowd.
Mike Obermueller was endorsed right away at the district DFL convention on Saturday. His opponents, Thomas Craft and Paula Overby, will not go to a primary.
He plans to campaign against (Rep. John) Kline (R-MN) on three main issues.
“I think the big issue between us is the difference in how he treats the middle class,” Obermueller said. “He’s been giving huge tax cuts away to millionaires and pushing that burden back onto seniors and the middle class. I think we ought to grow the middle class because that’s the only way to get our economy up and running again.”
The second issue, he said, is Social Security and Medicare for seniors. “He wants to privatize it. I want to make sure we’re shoring it up,” Obermueller said.
Finally, he criticized Kline for failing to support pay equity for women and allowing women to make their own health decisions. “That’s a big contrast between us.” (Pioneer Press)
If you ask me, those “three main issues” are well-chosen, indeed.
Kline is egocentric, reactionary, and none too bright, and his time in Congress has been a disaster for everyone except the corporate honchos that he serves. He needs to go, and in this purple district, we have a legitimate opportunity to make that happen.
Rep. John Kline’s (R-MN) extreme distaste for interaction with the public is well known. As an authoritarian social dominant, he believes that the only proper behaviors for his constituents are to keep their mouths shut and keep voting for him. But once in a while he’ll do something “safe.” Like a recent “tele-town-hall,” involving a very special guest of honor. From Tuesday:
Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline will host a campaign event today with Tea Party activist and former congressman Allen West.
Kline and West will participate in a telephone town hall meeting with residents in Kline’s district, which covers the suburbs and exurbs south of the Twin Cities.
Scheduling the event with West — a favorite of the GOP’s right wing — may help boost Kline’s conservative bona fides ahead of his district’s April 5 nominating convention. (Star Tribune)
Most, perhaps even all, of you know about West. If you want a reminder, about how he’s not right in the head – indeed, ostentatiously and even dangerously so – here you go. It’s been underreported that West left the U.S. Army because he was facing a court martial.
Kline recently went 0 for 28 on an environmental scorecard. Read all about it, here, from MN Political Roundtable. The post includes a list of some of his contributors, which certainly clarifies things, if you’re wondering how even the worst of the worst could possibly put up a goose egg like that.
The other group of Republicans flirting most blatantly with electoral danger are those who showed outstanding loyalty to the Tea Party despite representing districts in which President Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Of these, Rep. Joe Heck of Nevada had the highest loyalty score, voting with the Tea Party 85 percent of the time in 2013. He was followed closely by Rep. Erik Paulsen of suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul whose Tea Party loyalty score was 83 percent and Scott Rigell of the Tidewater area of Virginia who voted with the Tea Party 81 percent of the time – all while trying strenuously to cultivate a moderate image. Overall, Republicans in “Obama” districts voted with the Tea Party 75 percent of the time. (Bolding mine.) (Americans United For Change)
You should read this whole thing, not just the teaser blockquote I’m providing.
Timing is everything … November 1st, the day that SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] which provide food assistance for qualified families, including veterans, saw a cut in benefits, John Kline (R-MN-02) issued a press release touting military veteran-related legislation that the House approved this week.
Too bad, he did not mention that the House refused to vote on H.R.3108 – Extend Not Cut SNAP Benefits Act – which would have forestalled those cuts.
Did you know that in 2011, approximately 1.5 million veterans, living in households with a net income below the federal poverty level, received food assistance. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than $100 million in food stamps were redeemed at military commissary stores in 2012.
Heck, even if Mr. Kline did not want to extend food assistance to all, he could have joined Betty McCollum (D-MN-04) and sponsored H.R. 2038, known as the Disabled Veterans Nutrition Fairness Act of 2013. H.R. 2038 would strengthen the ability of SNAP to respond to hunger among disabled veterans while their disability claims are pending with the VA office. (MN Political Roundtable)
Presumably election strategists have given a great deal of thought to the best issues to use against Kline, who is quite vulnerable in 2014. I don’t know whether his behavior on veterans issues is on the short list. The problem is that for low-information voters, it may seem like a cheap shot, because of Kline’s own status as a combat vet. That said, it would be good if there’s an effective way to work it in, because it’s one of the ugliest aspects of a truly ugly record in political office. The voters in MN-02 can do way, way better.
Please join us Saturday, July 13th at 11:00 am for Tom’s announcement regarding his intention to seek the Democratic endorsement for Congress in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District. Tom’s campaign will ensure that Rep. John Kline is made to account for his lack of results and political gamesmanship in Congress. Come out to meet him and hear how he plans to turn the Second District blue in 2014. See you there!
Obviously, I wish Mr. Craft well. But from the available information it’s clear that there is still no progressive officially in the running for MN-02. I’ll update with the location of the announcement, when I find out. A commenter kindly provided the following:
Tom Craft is making his campaign announcement on Saturday, July 13th at 11AM at his home (1450 Richards Court, Eagan).
She’s looking to get on the ballot vs. incumbent John Kline (R-MN).
(Mehring) recently stepped down as CEO of the nonprofit CaringBridge, which helps connect those who are hospitalized or ailing with friends and family.
In a press release Tuesday, Mehring said, “there is a crisis in Washington and I am ready to step up again with innovative solutions. Instead of helping solve the problem, Congressman Kline has become part of that gridlock and is out of touch with the people he was elected to represent”…
The other DFL candidate likely to step into the race is former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, who challenged Kline in 2012. Obermueller similarly hinted at a likely rematch two weeks ago, and the Star Tribune reported Tuesday that he plans to make a formal announcement this week.
The State House has passed a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $9.50/hour and index it to inflation so $9.50 in today's dollars is worth an equivalent amount in next year's. The State Senate is dragging its feet, insisting on legislator pay raises *first*. Tell them to get off the sidelines, stop dragging their feet, and help raise up the working poor!