Thursday, March 22, 2007

Kline takes cue from Bush. He is the decider.

Paranoia runs deep at Rep. John Kline's office. Instead of reaching out for a neutral moderator for his first large-scale face-to-face meeting with his constituents in years, Kline has decided he will be the decider on what questions he has to answer.

According to constituents who have been pushing for Kline's "Town Hall meeting", Kline Chief of Staff Steven Sutton says Kline doesn't trust the League of Women Voters to moderate such an event. Sutton also said he doesn't trust the group that has gathered 700 signatures asking for a dialog on Iraq, calling them "liberal ideologues". In the past, Kline's office has revealed that it maintains files on constituents (sometimes called an "enemies list" ). One can only assume that Sutton's assessment was based upon comparing that list to the petition signatures.

Kline has been distrustful of "neutral" moderation of any public discussion he's had on Iraq. In one of the few radio broadcast debates he had last election, he had conservative talk show host-"Mr. Right" Jason Lewis moderate. Lewis spent most of the time debating Kline's opponent instead of moderating.

For this forum, Sutton said Kline was worried that the microphones would be monopolized by people who were critical of his positions. So instead, Kline will pick who talks and what questions will be asked. Sutton said Kline promised to not to only call on his supporters.

Of course, Kline's office is already working hard to make sure he has a lot of supporters there. As previously noted, he is recruiting members of military families who are on his supporter list to come to the 7pm April 3 meeting at Lakeville South High School. Some Republican groups are already blogging about how they will be there early, presumably to have seats next to the microphones.

More paranoia
Sutton also refused to answer in writing any of the questions the group had submitted to Kline's office. Instead, Sutton would only give verbal answers, limiting the ability of anyone to document where Kline stands on the issues.

Sutton's rationalization was that if they replied in writing to these questions, they'd have to do the same for other questions they get. This could explain the large number of constituents who complain that they write Congressman Kline, but don't even get a form letter response. Of course it was Kline's office who asked for the questions to be submitted in writing as a way of shooing the group out of its district office.

Sutton himself is apparently paranoid as well, refusing to give his email address to the group's leaders.

Since the group asking for the meeting has some members that would like to see Rep. Kline defeated in 2008, there is some rational for Kline not trusting the group. However, it appears Kline also does not trust a time-honored democratic tradition of open discussion about the issues. That distrust of open, frank, conversation is very disturbing.

Kline rounds up troops for town hall meeting

Rep. John Kline is apparently concerned about how things will go in his first large scale public face-to-face meeting with constituents in many years. He has been sending out messages to military families on his supporter list asking them to show up for the scheduled town hall meeting on April 3. The agenda of the meeting is wide open, but Iraq and Kline's unwavering support for the Bush administration is sure to be one of the topics. Kline's recruitment of military folks who might be sympathetic to his position indicates he expects trouble on this issue.

If you object to the war, the escalation or the continuing occupation of Iraq by the US, this is as good of time as any to let Congressman Kline know his actions do not represent your views. The meeting starts at 7PM April 3, Lakeville South High School. Some Republican organizations have already indicated on their blogs that they will get there early, presumably to be closer to the microphones.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

DFL Blasts Kline, thanks his patriotic constituents


Constituents pushing for an end to the escalating Iraq war finally secured an open public forum with Rep. John Kline to discuss the issue after negotiating for six weeks.

"It's unfortunate that it took such a monumental effort for Representative Kline to finally agree to this forum," Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez said. "It took six weeks and a 700-signature petition but Second District residents will finally hear from their representative on the issue.

"Representative Kline's continued lockstep support of the Bush administration's failed Iraq policy is out of step with his constituents. Democracy functions best when it's open to the public. I thank those patriotic citizens in Representative Kline's district who brought this issue into the daylight."

The public forum on Iraq and other topics is Tuesday, April 3, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Lakeville South High School.
(The above is a press release from the Minnesota DFL)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

MN GOP admits it doesn't have to be accurate

A hate-site put up by SD 37 Republicans (no, I don't link to hate-sites) has some interesting stuff buried in it's legal disclaimer. In it, the SD37 GOP says

"Whilst we endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, we do not warrant its completeness or accuracy; nor do we not commit to ensuring that the website remains available or that the material on this website is kept up-to-date.
That's right. This group of Republicans is telling you up front that if they lie or distort, they're not responsible. (Hmmm... perhaps they're taking a cue from the White House?) That disclaimer wouldn't hold water in a US Court because of US libel laws and libel law Supreme Court rulings.

Now it could be that Republicans are planning to put out inaccurate information on their hate-site. But the more likely reason for the disclaimer's oddness is it is a template from a British legal site. How un-American...outsourcing your legal work to England! Unfortunately for the SD 37 Republicans, British laws on libel are different from US laws.

Evil or just stupid? You be the judge. In either case, the credibility and believability factor of any information on the site is very suspect. The SD 37 Republicans must feel the same way. They don't even link to the hate-site from their official site.

Another GOP web folly

For months SD 38 Republicans chaired by Michael Brodkorb (who also doesn't get a link) had a site promising "a real agenda and some good ideas and solutions of our own". Not surprisingly, the site had neither. And after two out of three of Brodkorb's incumbent legislative candidates went down to defeat in November the site went dormant.

Earlier this year when other bloggers began making fun of the outdated site, most information was removed from it and replaced with a promise of a new site "coming soon".

Now the site is completely gone.

Perhaps the SD38 Republicans have decided that Brodkorb's blog is their official voice and they don't need a website. Perhaps they're moving back to the site hosted at the MN GOP. Oops! That one hasn't been updated for years!