Monday, October 27, 2008

They Said What?

I had a feeling of guilt come over me while I was on my Monday morning loop this morning (one of my favorite rides of the week btw). I was down along the river by Black Dog power plant doing battle with a stiff 20mph northwest wind in 30 degree temps when it dawned on me that neither Tammy nor I had contributed to John Kline's campaign lately. We'd made a conscious decision that we wouldn't be contributing to any campaigns this year. Not even the $100 refundable contribution you can make to the party of your choice. It's all a part of our disillusionment with the politics of our times.

But it didn't seem right. Money sent. Guilt satisfied.

I came back from my ride and sat down with the paper for a few minutes before getting ready for work. I don't usually find myself in agreement with the editorial board of the Star Tribune but I was this morning.

Second District: John Kline

Republican Rep. John Kline has significant differences with the Editorial Board on some important issues. His absolutist position on earmarks is a concern, likely making it more difficult to complete transportation projects in his district. There's also room for improvement on veterans' issues and the environment. The moderate Republicans for Environmental Protection gave Kline a zero on its most recent congressional vote scorecard.

But recently, the three-term congressman faced a tough and revealing test of leadership. He passed, a key reason he merits endorsement. The test? Voting on the Wall Street bailout bill.

The anguish of that decision still could be seen on Kline's face during a recent interview, when he recounted the tense days on Capitol Hill as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson warned of economic Armageddon. At the same time, angry voters swamped his office demanding a no vote. Kline began working the phones, listening to bankers, business owners and economists in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. When it came time to vote, he did what he thought was right for the country instead of what was politically expedient. He voted yes. That's leadership.

Kline is a thoughtful conservative -- one who has become far less of an ideologue during his three terms in office. When the retired Marine colonel first ran for his House seat, he hewed too closely to talking points and his ramrod image as the guy who carried the "nuclear football" briefcase for President Ronald Reagan. Over the years, he's become a multidimensional politician, displaying easy fluency on a wide range of issues. He's also developed a reputation for collegiality on Capitol Hill and in his district, suggesting an openness to new ideas and a willingness to listen. That's a valuable quality in an era where partisanship has blocked much-needed progress.

With Democrats expected to pick up House seats this election, Kline will provide needed balance in the House. His calls for fiscal responsibility will be particularly welcome. Also valuable is Kline's level-headed approach to foreign policy. Throughout this election, Kline has stressed the role of diplomacy and the power of economic sanctions. Kline's support for turning a pioneering Minnesota soldier reintegration project into a national program is also praiseworthy and garnered him an award from the National Guard.

Kline's challenger, Democrat Steve Sarvi, easily is one of the most outstanding political newcomers this year. A former mayor of Watertown and an Iraq veteran, Sarvi is a fresh face on the political scene. His service in Iraq gives him considerable depth as a candidate. In a televised debate with Kline, Sarvi held his own on foreign policy. He's also passionate and well-informed on veterans' issues.

If this were an open seat, Sarvi may well have garnered the Editorial Board's endorsement. But Kline's expertise, seniority and growing clout -- he's the ranking member on an influential Education and Labor subcommittee -- make him the strongest contender.

They also endorsed Norm Coleman. Hmmm, are they serious or simply trying to improve their sales?

My neighborhood is full of John Kline yard signs and a fair amount of McCain/Palin signs. Obama signs are few but I'm not sure if that speaks more to a shortage of them or a lack of support for the man. My guess is it's a lack of signs. A friend from work is bringing one in for me tomorrow but it's going to cost me $11. I figure that's a cheap price to pay to rattle the neighbors but I hope to allay their fears with a John Kline sign to place beside it.


John said...

Love the spam cartoon!

Saeedi said...

In our neighborhood, signs are getting stolen. Especially those that are opposed to others' views as I've seen handwritten signs replacing the original signs. Keep a camera directed at your Obama sign.