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MN-02: Kline breezes to GOP endorsement

by Dan Burns on April 6, 2014 · 5 comments

271_19344293946_1831_nLike many progressives I was hoping for a much more entertaining scenario here, but that was probably never realistic.

U.S. Rep. John Kline easily brushed aside a challenge from the right Saturday, winning a first-ballot endorsement at the 2nd Congressional District Republican convention in Lakeville.
Libertarian challenger David Gerson of South St. Paul conceded to Kline, a six-term incumbent from Burnsville, before the results of the first ballot were announced.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)

It cannot be emphasized enough that Democrats have a realistic shot here, this year. And if that doesn’t happen, we’re likely better than 50-50 to win it in 2016.


Allen West pitches in for John Kline

by Dan Burns on February 21, 2014 · 2 comments

klineRep. 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.


If he votes like a Tea Partier…

by Dan Burns on January 23, 2014 · 2 comments

4469683230_236dcc9d4cWell, you can draw the obvious conclusion.

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)

Rep. John Kline (R-MN) also did “well,” by Tea Party standards that is, rolling in at a robust 79%.

(h/t Capitol View Daily Digest)


Kline and veterans: the ultimate hypocrisy

by Dan Burns on November 7, 2013 · 3 comments

klineYou 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.


Tom Craft joins MN-02 race

by Dan Burns on July 10, 2013 · 11 comments

969312_531801460213246_2138856674_nAnother Democrat is engaged in the sublimely righteous undertaking of trying to bring down Rep. John Kline (R-MN) in MN-02.

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!

From his Facebook campaign page:

Tom is a fiscally conservative and socially liberal Democrat running for U.S. Congress in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District for the 2014 election.

His personal FB page is more informative. He also has an ActBlue page.
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).


Obermueller makes it official in MN-02

by Dan Burns on April 4, 2013 · 0 comments

Former Minnesota State Representative Mike Obermueller was John Kline’s (R-MN) opponent in 2012. He announced that he’s getting after it again, via video.

Here’s his website. Another Democrat, Sona Mehring, is also in the race.


Sona Mehring to challenge in MN-02

by Dan Burns on April 3, 2013 · 2 comments

mehringShe’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.



Here’s Mehring’s website, which is just getting underway.


John Kline doesn’t much like wind energy

by Dan Burns on December 17, 2012 · 0 comments

The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a fairly pessimistic article about the likelihood of renewing the tax credit for wind energy.

Among those who don’t support the extension is Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline. His spokesman, Troy Young, said that while the original intent of the program was to increase renewable energy production, Kline is concerned about extending programs that artificially drive up demand.

After 20 years of federal support, Young said, wind should be able to stand on its own.

Kline’s real “concern,” of course, has to do with protecting, at any cost, the interests of Big Filthy Fossil Fuels, and to you-know-where with the rest of us. Shall we talk about the hundreds of billions – and so much more, in terms of human impacts – spent on those subsidies and handouts over the years, including warmongering in the Middle East?  The health costs of coal-fired power plants?  Not to mention those from fracking.

Of course Kline’s “mind” is about as cognitively flexible as a hunk of granite. Fortunately, he’s not a mover and shaker on this issue.  My own feeling is that the credit probably will be renewed at some point next year, because of support from Midwestern Republicans, as noted in the article.


MN-02: Kline’s stranglehold weakening enough?

by Dan Burns on November 1, 2012 · 2 comments

Things don’t look all that great for the chances of Mike Obermueller, vs. Rep. John Kline (R-MN);  he was down by eight in independent polling.  But I’m not giving up hope; the stealthy approach is often the best, and few thought, before the fact, that the 2010 wave would display the breadth that it did.  (Here’s Obermueller’s website.)

As always, MN Political Roundtable remains the go-to source for just how very, very seriously Kline sux.

The picture in John Kline’s TV advertisement – “Forcing Washington to Be Responsible” – is quite emblematic … John Kline, alone. The lonely warrior, fighting a battle for a Constitutional Amendment. That seems to be what he wants to talk about … never mind that when President Bill Clinton left office, there was a surplus … but two wars, a Prescription Drug benefit program, TARP … all expenditures authorized with John Kline’s support … and now, John Kline is focused on a Constitutional Amendment as a solution to the debt that his votes helped produce.

A tracking organization awarded Kline a 7% score (out of 100) for his votes on legislation intended to help the middle class.  Kline doesn’t believe that the taxes paid by the non-wealthy should go to programs that benefit them, but should rather be funneled to the rich man via more tax cut welfare and handouts to corporations.  Disgraceful, as is the fact that he has plenty of company in Congress.

How do you get people to reassess their (bad) voting habits, and move away from support for a politician that has consistently demonstrated grotesque selfishness and miserable incompetence in everything but rewarding his corporate campaign financiers?  I wish I knew, man, or woman, as the case may be.  I wish I knew.


Reason for optimism in MN-02

by Jeff Rosenberg on October 23, 2012 · 0 comments

The race in MN-02 has been pretty quiet this year, overshadowed by the fight to take back MN-08 and the inevitable battle in MN-06. To be honest, I doubt anyone really thought the 2nd District would be a DFL pickup this year. But a new KSTP/SurveyUSA poll provides reasons to be optimistic for the future:

If the election for U.S. House of Representatives from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District were today, would you vote for…
– John Kline (R) 49%
– Mike Obermueller (DFL) 41%
– Undecided 11%

If the election for President were today, would you vote for …
– Mitt Romney (R) 44%
– Barack Obama (D) 48%
– Other 4%
– Undecided 4%

For a race that’s been very quiet, and given John Kline’s +21 favorability rating according to the same poll, this is a surprisingly close race. Obermueller is within 8 points, Kline is under 50 percent, and Obama holds a lead in the district. For the sake of comparison, in the old CD2 in 2008, Kline won 57 to 43 during a very strong year for Democrats.

Sure, Obermueller isn’t likely to win it this year (sorry, Rep. Obermueller). But with the proper resources, the new post-redistricting MN-02 looks eminently winnable. The DFL should make capturing this seat a priority.