Once you talk with Coleen it a 'no brainer':
ECM EDITORIAL BOARD: Coleen Rowley right choice in 2nd District
The nation’s growing polarization and disenchantment are mirrored in the 2nd Congressional District race between Republican incumbent John Kline and Democractic challenger Coleen Rowley.
Kline offers stubborn support for a status quo that produced the deadly quagmire in Iraq and tax cuts that ballooned the federal deficit as war costs mounted.
Like many Americans, Rowley is indignant at the country’s direction under President Bush and a Republican Congress. The ex-FBI agent and 9/11 whistleblower is bright, tenacious, a flexible thinker and an able voice of dissent.
In other words, she’s right for these perilous times. The Republican-leaning 2nd District may not be ready to elect a Democrat, but we think Rowley is the most capable and deserving of Kline’s opponents since 2002.
The two-term incumbent served his country for 25 years as an active-duty Marine and is the only retired military officer on the House Armed Services Committee. He was an important champion of lawful military conduct as details unfolded of alleged murders of Iraqi civilians by American soldiers.
Kline was instrumental in passing a new law that helps protect private pension plans while giving the beleaguered airline industry more time to manage its obligations. Kline has also begun delivering funding for key road projects in his district, and local officials are grateful.
His uncritical embrace of the Bush team’s Iraqi campaign is troubling, especially for a Marine veteran. His analysis of the challenges faced in Iraq is cogent, his list of solutions short and unsatisfying. Kline is loyal, and determined, and probably correct in stating that an immediate withdrawal from Iraq would bring an even greater terrorist threat. But he has little regard for reasonable criticisms of the war effort voiced by several retired generals. Neither he nor the Bush administration has adequately explained why Iraq is, or had to be, the central front in the war on terror.
Rowley supports a phased troop withdrawal that calls for allowing the Iraqi army and security forces to assume responsibility for the country. The plan, promoted by dissident U.S. Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, would have U.S. troops retreating to the perimeter of the fighting and being hosted by other countries. The plan may have flaws, but it’s a starting point for discussion.A self-proclaimed former Republican voter, Rowley can’t be dismissed as a liberal tax-and-spender.
Her call for repeal of Bush tax cuts to the top 1 to 2 percent of income earners comes at a time when economic forces are conspiring to fatten corporate profits and further enrich the wealthy while leaving the middle class in its place. Rowley says revenue from repealing the tax cuts should be applied only to reduction of the $300 billion national deficit, not new spending.
Some ideas she espouses face a high burden of worthiness. The country may not be ready for federally mandated universal health coverage or discussion of a reinstated military draft, which Rowley says can’t be dismissed.
But Rowley has shown prescience before. As an FBI agent, she wrote in a 2003 letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller that the internal security posture of the United States “has been weakened by the diversion of attention from al-Quaeda to our government’s plan to invade Iraq, a step that will, in all likelihood, bring an exponential increase in the terrorist threat to the U.S., both at home and abroad.”
The recent National Intelligence Estimate confirms Rowley’s pre-war assessment, as terrorism worldwide increased more than three times from 2003 to 2005.
Of course, Rowley is best known for her post-Sept. 11 documentation of how FBI headquarters personnel in Washington, D.C., mishandled information provided by the Minnesota field office on now-convicted terrorist plotter Zacarias Moussaoui. Timid, she is not.
A nation thirsting for change will be better served with Coleen Rowley in Congress than with John Kline
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