Bush's man in Minnesota

April 04, 2007 by barbara

by barbara

John Kline. U.S. Congressman in Minnesota's Second Congressional District. My district. John Kline, Republican. Retired Marine colonel. Son in Iraq. Assorted family members in the military.

Last night, for the first time in his seven years in office, Kline consented to hold a town hall forum. Given that it was a dark and stormy night with gale-force winds and the threat of a huge dump of snow, the turnout was surprisingly large. We mostly filled a high school auditorium. But for little gaggles of Kline's hand-picked supporters here and there, we were largely co-mingled. Yes, that means that Republicans and Democrats were seated side by side, front to back, hither and thither. I happily report that I believe I do not have cooties this morning, and further believe that I did not infect any Republicans with liberalis erudititis. Of course there's more!

I have not yet fully digested the experience nor the things said and unsaid. I'll probably post more about it later. Details. Quotes. Impressions. Click here for a tidbit to tide you over.

The bottom line, though, is that for the first time in a while, I had a visual and auditory sense of how deeply divided Americans are. Division is not unusual. But the tension in that auditorium was palpable. And rather like the State of the Union address, though not as neatly separated by an aisle, Democrats and Republicans rose to their feet at different times to applaud either an audience member's comment or something said by Kline. So the division of the house was easily assessed. Just so you know? We were guessing Dems outnumbered Reps roughly 60-40 percent.

We were a generally well-behaved group, though a few folks felt moved to say inflammatory things that were geared to generate anger. I was embarrassed by some of "our" people. More than once, Kline's famous short-fuse got lit but extinguished before he went off. I think it's fair to say the tension was palpable in that place.

Frankly, I found no joy in this exercise in polarity, which may surprise you. I'm as partisan as the next Dem, but sometimes I am alarmed at the rancor and rage that has permeated our political whole (to the extent that it's whole at all) and, by extension, permeates me.

I'm babbling, because I have one eye on the monitor and the other on the clock. No small feat. The clock is behind me. I have a date with one of my grands this morning, which almost surely will be the highlight of my week. And it is for her and the others that I keep beating my head against the wall. Remember that old joke? Fact is, it doesn't even feel good when I stop. 'Tis a fair mess we're in, that it is.

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Comments

Harold (not verified) | April 4, 2007 - 10:06am

I’m as partisan as the next Dem....???...???

A LOT of Democrats are NOT as partisan as some of our so-called Democratic "leaders"- a lot of us realize what is truly at stake - Joe Lieberman is a courageous example, and look what we did to him. I was there also and was nauseated by people who would call themselves Democrats. Please find another party that represents your nut noodle ideas better than the proud party that I once knew. John Kline presented himself and his concerns very well.

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fahrender (not verified) | April 4, 2007 - 11:12am

i cannot abide joe lieberman. he did not respect the will of the democrats in connecticut and he does not respect the will of the american people. if a large number of republicans hadn't voted for him in november he wouldn't even be in congress right now. he is enabling george bush and his disasterous decisions. both of these men have brought the american military and the country close to ruin. we need to be rid of them.

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Harold (not verified) | April 4, 2007 - 11:33am

he did not respect the will of the democrats (nut noodles) in connecticut and he does not respect the will of the ( nut noodle) american people.

GOOD FOR HIM

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leftymn (not verified) | April 4, 2007 - 12:08pm

granted reasonable discourse is preferred to anger and rage, but the so called "Republican" administration and previous Congress (they aren't the Republican party of Eisenhower and Goldwater but that is another discussion) have effectively taken the Rovian technique of wedging and ratcheting up the rage in order to win with 51% that division and rage are the natural result.

The nation is getting wise to it though, 70% of Americans want American troops out of Iraq by next year, and 70% of us do not think this means we are micromanaging or "not supporting" the troops. What we believe is we are saving these troops from the worst foreign policy blunder since the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Joe Lieberman is not a Democrat, he is an Independent.

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attilla (not verified) | April 4, 2007 - 12:24pm

One of the stars of the evening was Eagans' own war hawk Joe Repya who politicized a gold star mothers loss of her son in Iraq.

It doesn't get much lower than a man who will score political points with the death of a soldier.

He is now running for state repuglican chair and I'm sure will fit right in.

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