It’s a familiar phrase that you have seen in countless movies, “On counsel’s advice, I invoke my right under the Fifth Amendment not to answer, on the grounds I may incriminate myself.”
Apparently, John Kline is offering his own twist, “On my campaign’s advice, I invoke my right as an incumbent not to answer any question or participate in public debates, on the grounds I may say something that I will have to explain later.”
It’s the advice that Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-06) should have followed before he answered a simple question : “I want to know how you feel about the government issuing student loans. Is that something that you’re for?”
Congressman Bartlett response is one that makes a campaign manager cringe — “Not that it’s not a good idea to give students loans; it certainly is a good idea to give them loans,” Bartlett said. “But if you can ignore the Constitution to do something good today, tomorrow you will be ignoring the Constitution to do something bad. You could. There are more people in our, in America today of German ancestry than any other [inaudible]. The Holocaust that occurred in Germany — how in the heck could that happen? And when you start down the wrong road, it can be a very slippery slope.”
Yep, it’s a slippery slope … to take questions from the general public … or worse yet from a moderator in a televised issue discussion …
Recently, 5 Eyewitness News and 45 Local News invited candidates for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District to an informal, 30-minute debate. Mike Obermueller, the Democrat candidate has no problem discussing the issues, presenting his views and vision for the District, State and country … but Congressman Kline’s campaign claimed he had no available dates in September to attend.
So what is filling up the Congressman’s schedule? Congress is only in session for all of eight days in September, so we know that’s not it. His campaign schedule shows “Sign Blitz” events for September 22 and 29 … yep, John Kline must be the only man capable of inspiring his army of campaign workers the proper techniques of pushing a stake in the ground … and of course a handful of community parades where he can kiss a few babies, wave at the crowd and not be able to stop to take any questions from the general public — a proven campaign strategy that has worked for over 30 parades this year.
But just in case, Mr. Kline ever does decide to meet the public, what questions should be asked ?
Here’s one question for Mr. Kline : Roscoe Bartlett questions whether the Constitution permits Congress to enact a student loan program. What do you say ?
If so, please comment on Stafford Loans which the Ryan Budget would double the interest rate to 6.8% … what rate should students plan for ?
What about Head Start … is that a program that you believe is constitutional and if so, what funding level do you believe is appropriate ? Consider your answer in light of the Ryan Budget which could impact by some estimates as many as 200,000 children ?
What about charter schools … are they constitutional … or is Congress only allowed to dictate policies within Washington DC (as you did with your SOAR legislation at a cost of $60 million of taxpayer dollars?)
Or, it was reported that wanna-be Educator-in-Chief Mitt Romney said at a Palm Beach Florida fundraiser that he would consider eliminating the Department of Education. Do you agree with Sandy Adams (R-FL-24), Todd Akin (R-MO-02), Steve Austria (R-OH-07), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD-06), John Duncan (R-TN-02), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-18), Don Manzullo (R-IL-16), Mike Pompeo (R-KS-04), Bill Posey (R-FL-15), Reid Ribble (R-WI-08), Martha Roby (R-AL-02), David Schweikert (R-AZ-05) Steve Southerland (R-FL-02), Scott Tipton (R-CO-03), Steve Womack (R-AR-3), etc. – who have all indicated that they wanted to reduce the role of the Federal Government in Education ?
Or, the Ryan Budget which you voted for cut funding for Education but left it up to the Committees to determine what programs would be cut and by how much. As Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee, how much do you recommend be available for Pell Grants ( in light of your letter recommending that it be on the Budget chopping block) ? Students will need to know what the rules are to consider if that funding will be available before pursuing higher education.
Or, a simple one — Roscoe Bartlett is Co-Chairman of the STEM Education Caucus (that would be Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education Caucus) which features many Members from both parties … why are you not a Member ?
Lastly, during an interview on December 8, 2010 regarding No Child Left Behind, you stated : We absolutely have to make changes. I think there’s bipartisan agreement that the law needs to be changed. We have been discussing that in a bipartisan way for the whole last year.
Now as the 2012 legislative year comes to an end, why hasn’t the House taken a vote on education reform ?
Yep … lots of questions … but Chairman Kline knows that if he does not answer any, he cannot be held accountable for his responses.
Voters should hold Chairman Kline accountable on Election Day … being an obstructionist is not being responsible … in the meantime, voters are limited to trying to shout them out as he parades by.