The picture in John Kline’s TV advertisement – “Forcing Washington to Be Responsible” – is quite emblematic … John Kline, alone. The lonely warrior, fighting a battle for a Constitutional Amendment. That seems to be what he wants to talk about … never mind that when President Bill Clinton left office, there was a surplus … but two wars, a Prescription Drug benefit program, TARP … all expenditures authorized with John Kline’s support … and now, John Kline is focused on a Constitutional Amendment as a solution to the debt that his votes helped produce.
Mr. Kline fails to acknowledge that the House failed to approve H J RES 2 — the Constitutional Amendment that he is advocating — this session with a few prominent Republicans including Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan and Rules Chairman David Drier voting against it. Of course, even if it was approved by the House, it would still have to be approved by the Senate and then by three-fourths of the State legislatures before becoming law.
Mr. Kline has spent the time avoiding the real issues and his challenger, Mike Obermueller. And it has worked, as Chairman Kline was awarded with the endorsement of the Star-Tribune :
Kline, who has also led on veterans issues and on repealing the controversial No Child Left Behind educational plan, earns our endorsement for a sixth term.
The nation badly needs a thoughtful, long-term “grand bargain” — like that outlined by the Simpson-Bowles plan — to put its finances in order and reassure jittery investors and businesses.
WOW … does the Strib know that No Child Left Behind has not been repeal yet … in fact, Chairman Kline has failed to get his five-part legislation approved by the Republican-controlled House … worse for Chairman Kline is that the US Chamber of Commerce has called his Student Success Act as “bad for taxpayers, bad for students”.
Further, does the Strib know that John Kline voted AGAINST the Simpson-Bowles plan ?
OK … John Kline supports Veterans … but Tim Walz’s hands can be found on more pieces of legislative accomplishments for veterans than John Kline … and it is unknown that Mike Obermueller would not do the same.
The Strib should know that John Kline voted for the Ryan 2013 Budget which features a plan that would reduce out-year Medicare outlays by adopting a premium support program for workers currently under the age of 55. Under the plan, a Medicare Exchange would be established where seniors would purchase private health plans.
Today, in what was Mr. Kline’s first, and only event this election season, in which he took questions in a joint appearance with Mr. Obermueller, he commented :
“The big drivers of deficits and debts are entitlements. Medicare: you’ve got to turn the spending curve down. Social security has to be addressed. You’ve got to do something so you could slowly start raising the retirement age.”
Which leads to the obvious question, to what new retirement age would Representative Kline advocate … and the response was so telling …
“I don’t know. It’s not my proposal.”
While the Strib, seems to have fallen for the “incumbent”, the ECM newspapers looked at the candidates and offered a different view :
Kline also has a growing reputation in his district for not making himself available during election season. His office rebuffed efforts by the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce to recruit him for a candidate forum with Obermueller.
And this is the second straight election cycle in which Kline’s press office refused requests from Sun Thisweek Newspapers to make the candidate available for an hour-long endorsement interview.
The new 2nd District deserves a representative who’s less ideological and more respectful of its voters. Mike Obermueller is that candidate.
The ECM endorsement describes Mike Obermueller as “young, bright and determined to win the expanded center in the new 2nd. His views and political instincts are a rebuke of the obstructionism that has discredited the Republican House majority” noting that “As a legislator, he voted against several DFL Party tax-raising initiatives”.
It’s a telling picture … one guy standing alone offering a solution that has no hopes of being enacted … rebuffing media and community groups for access … and being vague on the real issues.
The challenger is willing to engage … and promoting reforms to change the health care system so that it works to keep people healthy and saves the program that all of us have, or, will in future, need.
After one “debate”, it is clear that Sun newspapers got it correct … The new 2nd District deserves a representative who’s less ideological and more respectful of its voters. Mike Obermueller is that candidate. If we truly want to “Forcing Washington to Be Responsible” it will take someone who is not afraid to meet with the voters and his challenger.