I grew up reading comic books wanting to be a superhero. Comics taught me that those who speak the truth are heroes, all the rest are liars.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thursday Random Thoughts On Rep. John Kline

I attended the Kline townhall-like meeting Tuesday night at Lakeville High School. My overall thoughts were, "this must be what it's like in other congressional district where their representative actually meets with constituents in open venues several times a year." It was great even if Kline and his staff have control issues...here's some initial thoughts:

The Format (AKA:Kline’s staff lack of information and helpfulness):
Could they have been more arrogant or rude about keeping both the format and denying information to people...in a word...NO! Kline and his staff tried to control everything with the often quoted phase “It’s our meeting and if you don’t like it - tough”. That phase was used often regarding where and what media could do, what could be handed out and where, even regarding the tightly held secret of what the format was to be for the evening…Funny…I thought Kline was elected to office and not ‘crowned’. Kline and his staff should have been responsive to those that elected him by at least letting them know what the format was in advance or aat least answering question regarding it…One speaker asked for Kline to answer question not realizing what the format was...she wasn't alone as most of us were in the dark. Apparently you had to be a 'Kline insider' to know what was going on...

Once Inside:
I just randomly picked out a seat near the exit on the end of an isle (just in case I needed to make a quick exit). As destiny would have it, I was in the far-right GOP wingnut section so I knew it was just a matter of time before they gave me something to write about....

Kline’s way or the Highway:
Two supporters sat near me. They were reading the rules (one set from Kline’s camp and one set from the peace camp). One read out-loud, “Please state your name and what town you’re from when speaking at the mic”. He then said that was a good idea before noticing it didn’t come from Kline. His friend immediately said, “that’s from the crazies.” I found it funny that an idea can be good up until they decided it's source. Nor did it surprise me that attendees at an open forum would be so polarizing. This is the standard typical red shirt behavior that has surrounded Kline for the last four years. So the real question is why Kline would allow such polarization? (if you're paying any kind of attention this question answers itself...)

Shut up or I’ll show you the door:
The group of far right knuckle-dragging constituents in front of me kept waving a large flag and making rude comments about speakers and doing a thumps down sign when they disapproved of questions or answers (picture it every time anyone but a righto republican wingnut spoke!)…It was rude, mean, distracting to those around them and gave us a good look at who supports Kline. (it wasn't attractive!) At one point a speaker tried to go back to the mic after Kline misquoted what she said. She had called Kline’s voting record despicable, but Kline quoted her as calling him despicable. When she called out a clarification the group in front of me started calling her names, yelling for her to ‘shut up and sit down’ and generally being the asses they had been all along only louder. It was the only major disruptive behavior from attendees within the auditorium during the event. When several people behind them asked them to be quiet, they became even more enraged, shouting at them also. Almost immediately a state trooper walked over in front of them, pointed his finger and said “I’ve had enough of your behavior- either shut up, or go to the mic and wait your turn to ask a question, or I can escort you out”. They stopped after the clearly angered officer’s warning directed to them. The Ann Coulter school of etiquette by Kline supporters doesn't help Kline's public image.

The Fix:
As stated earlier Kline left nothing to chance including having his staffer Mike Osskopp dragged a young Iraqi man to the mic to make sure his ‘comments’ supporting the U.S. military involvement in Iraq was heard before others waiting to speak. This was toward the end of the evening and they probably feared that time would run out before they could get him to speak…oh well, as they say “It’s our meeting and if you don’t like it…tough”! I was impressed with the Iraqi's story, especially with his comment about how meeting with the 'gold star' mom was a highlight for him ....but I'm sure it also was just a coincidence and in no way staged by Kline's people....

King Kline:
I thought overall Kline handled himself well except for licking his lower lips 28 times (no I didn't count but my younger sister did!). Naturally in most cases Kline didn’t really give specifics but keep it in general terms like “we’ve made mistakes, Bush made mistakes” but then wouldn’t elaborate on what those mistake were…still you'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to know what those mistakes have been...I’m guessing he still hasn’t figured out one of the biggest is the continuation of this war and it’s now ‘new’ improved escalation! (Iraq Part II). Three things really showed:

Kline often referred to the Iraqi Study Group (bipartisan commission) and it’s findings to support his blanket type statements and assertions, yet he recently voted against implement their recommendations. Makes you wonder what’s up with that? Kline continues to support Bush’s failed war strategies but tries to use recommendations that he doesn’t support to help explain those failed strategies? Too strange...

Kline often didn't answer questions instead falling back on general feel good terms and jokes with his military brotherhood. I dare say not everyone is military and a good military man isn't necessarily a good congressional leader. Taking orders is a lot different from leading.

Kline did not mix with the group before or after. Again, Kline keeps himself separate and apart...choosing only those he knows that support him blindly (much like Bush). I've attended several congressional town hall meetings in several different districts. Without exception the representatives were available to walk up to and talk to before or after the meeting...not so our own Mr. Kline. That alone sends a message...(I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to why)...

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