MinnPost ran a curious article in its DC Dispatches about Congressman Kline. Here is what was said:
Rep. John Kline is leading behind-the-scenes outreach efforts for Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Capitol Hill, as the prospective presidential candidate attempts to better introduce himself to members of Congress in advance for a possible 2012 run.
Although these high level Congressional meetings are meant to benefit Tim Pawlenty in his “unofficial” presidential bid, there is a certain amount of benefit for Kline as well.
Kline, who often criticizes Congressional leadership for controlling too much of the agenda and government balance sheets, seems to be getting pretty comfortable with playing “power broker.” House Minority Leader John Boehner has been giving Kline more responsibility, which, truth be told, seems to increase that condesending arrogant style of his.
The high profile Bachmann has been content to have the potential GOP Presidential field come courting to her doorstep. Pawlenty is not even on her radar right now, as Sarah Palin occupies her time and notoriety. Kline on the other hand has been quietly promoting the Minnesota’s Governor in the halls of Congress and that will certainly not be lost on Minnesota’s Republican elites.
So, what’s in this for Kline? Well, win or lose in his POTUS bid, Pawlenty is going to have considerable influence in Minnesota politics. He will know who his friends are and how to distribute his chips. In 2012, Amy Klobuchar will be up for re-election. Looking over the political landscape, you would begin to speculate about which Republican is in the best position to challenge her in a statewide race.
Norm Coleman has moved on and doesn’t appear to be looking back. There are no GOP Constitutional officers that can claim state wide credentials unless some challenger wins this year. And Erik Paulsen has not moved his visibility much beyond the 3rd District….and seems content with that.
That leaves Bachmann and Kline as the highest profile Republicans that could mount a challenge to a Klobuchar re-election. If Bachmann is indeed interested, she will have to depend on her national notoriety to carry her into any nomination and that is certainly possible. But who would Governor Pawlenty back in such a contest? As his potential visibility nationally grows (at least in theory — it is not a given), his backing would be very important to any potential Senate candidate.
Who is building the most political capital with our soon to be ex-Governor?
Why, that would be Congressman John Kline.