Tale of two congressmen: Compare and contrast

January 26, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

My "representative" in the U.S. Congress is John Kline. He is arrogant and condescending. He is in thrall to George W. Bush. He has voted against every humane initiative Democrats have brought forward since the great bipartisan era began earlier this month. On-camera, he is a dignified old white guy with body posture acquired in the military.

It is reported that off-camera, he has a mean mouth (e.g., ripped a new hole in the body of a constituent at a community parade), sanctions vicious campaign materials and generally does not play well with others who are not exactly like him. Asking John Kline to champion social or civil justice issues is an exercise in futility. He does not listen to voters unless they are reliably Republic. I could line all of Minnesota's litter boxes with John Kline's canned responses to requests for his help. Lest there be any doubt, I do not like this man. I do not trust him. That is my lede, and I'm sticking to it.

"Whoa!" you say. "What's the burr under your saddle this morning?"

I was reading the Star Tribune this morning. There's an article about Keith Ellison who, on November 7, was elected U.S. Representative in Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. Predictably, the Republics whomped up a boatload of smarmy attacks on Ellison, who is a black, Muslim Democrat. Trifecta! Leading the charge was a vicious local blogger who most people believe is paid by the Republics to pretend to be a free agent. His holiday gift to Minnesota was to roast Ellison on an open fire, metaphorically speaking. (Cue: Hiss the villain.)

Before his election, Ellison spoke at a rally in downtown Minneapolis. The Strib says:

If campaign talk means anything, there would be at least one sure vote on the House Judiciary Committee to impeach President Bush if the matter ever came up.
It would come from freshman Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the Minneapolis lawyer and former state legislator who got a plum assignment when he was named to the storied House panel this month.

At a rally in Loring Park in October, Ellison said Bush "has been running amok" and needs to be reined in: "There is one way that you can truly hold this president accountable, and it's impeachment."

(Cheer the hero!) [ . . . ]

At the rally in Minneapolis, Ellison said it was time to "send the message to this Bush character that we're not going to have it anymore." He said that impeachment "would be a major undertaking and it would dominate the headlines for a long time" but that it was the right course.

Since taking office on Jan. 4, Ellison has not made impeachment an issue. Last week he joked that he's still learning where the bathrooms and cafeterias are located. But he said that he's backing proposals to fully investigate Bush and that "a little more homework needs to be done" before Congress can move to impeach.

"I'm a lawyer, you know. I don't think due process is just for some people, it's for all people, including the president."

Asked to comment on Ellison's views about impeachment, Kline said that:

. . . Ellison's views won't matter because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has already said impeachment is "off the table."

"In all fairness to the gentleman from Minneapolis, he is a freshman member," Kline said. "I understand that he was endorsed by ImpeachPAC and supported financially. ... He probably feels that he made a commitment and he's got to make some noise, but so what?"

Let me translate for you, lest Kline's subtlety shroud his true meaning:

1. Nancy Pelosi declared that impeachment is 'off the table.' She will have to throw herself on her own sword if impeachment happens. Ellison, too.

2. Ellison has not achieved Mt. Olympus stature like mine. He's a mere rookie. He's irrelevant. (Cue fly flick.)

3. I am casually illustrating Ellison's subversive nature by mentioning ImpeachPAC. Can you say "gauntlet"?

4. " . . . but so what?" Cue BIG FLY FLICK. "I am Zeus, Ellison is but a lesser-god wannabe. Don't be bothering us with justice, you little pipsqueak."

You know, even as I write this, I can see where folks outside our peculiar congressional district might say, "Why is this a big deal?" It's a big deal because John Kline is glued to George Bush. He is not a real representative because he represents one party only. He sits in the seat of judgment (on the right side of the aisle) and spews sweeping snideries from time to time. He consistently votes against the most vulnerable people in this nation. He is a false god.

Okay. I'm done. For now.

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Conservatives Against Kline (not verified) | January 26, 2007 - 4:51pm

It would also be worthwhile at some point to compare Kline to other Republican congresspersons who DO take their job of representing their district more seriously such as Congressman Ramstad. Certainly special interest corruption and the need for earmark reform is completely non-partisan. So why would Kline vote against earmark reform? Another worthwhile comparison which could be made is between Kline who has repeatedly exploited his military background in order to support Bush, Cheney and the other neo-cons who AVOIDED serving in Vietnam, on the one hand, with other congresspersons with military experience, including those who served in Vietnam like Senator Chuck Hagel and newly elected Senator Jim Webb, once Secretary of the Navy, who are extremely critical of Bush’s handling of the war. Such comparisons lead to the question of whether Kline is truly conservative, or simply whether:

Special Interest Money Behind Kline's Votes? http://www.mnpact.org/sblog/comments.php?id=483#comments

….… Kline’s press releases continue to brag how he listens to and answers all constituents of the 2nd District. An easy way to find out if this is true is to join others in writing him at Congress.org. (http://www.congress.org/congressorg/bio/letterslist/?id=10583). This website is not only great for sending letters and e-mails to your respective congressperson and senators, but it also publishes letters of those who give their permission (and it’s privacy friendly because it does not identify you personally but just your city). At present, almost twice as many of the recent letters posted on the Congress.org website for Kline are from constituents who are not only displeased with his support of Bush and the Iraq War but also extremely displeased with his series of “NO” votes for things like earmark reform, raising the minimum wage and reducing student loan interest rates.