Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Inside John Kline's Ugly Campaigning

Rep. John Kline(MN-R) offered an 'almost' apology for the behavior of his Director of staff (Mike Osskopp) in using a slur last weekend, But Kline fell short of apologying for the rest of the intimidation, harassing and screaming that was done at his staffer's direction. The full article by Kevin Diaz of the Star Tribune is here.

...Kline's Minnesota director, former state Rep. Mike Osskopp, was seen repeatedly chiding people who arrived in foreign-made cars at the Murtha event at a local VFW hall. Witnesses said they heard Osskopp several times use the word, considered a disparaging term for Japanese. One Rowley supporter, Paul Bartlett, complained Monday to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, noting that Osskopp is a "high-level federal employee." .... "I apologize if my words offended any Americans of Japanese descent, including my sister-in-law," Osskopp said. "I allowed my emotions to get the better of me and used a phrase commonly used in my youth, but which is now inappropriate and offensive."
I'm assuming Mr. Osskopp is about my age (in my 50's) that would make us peers. The slur in my youth was degrading then as it is now. It is a racial slur, which has been used to demean and dehumanize people of Japanese ancestry, and during World War II, the term was used to vilify the enemy. It was meant to be disrespectful then as now. In fact, having lived in Japan for several years I find it particularly hateful and mean. To excuse his behavior as being acceptable in his youth but not now is not correct. It was wrong's wrong now.

But this time the controversial remark was uttered by a campaign aide, and Kline was quick to condemn it. "That's unacceptable now," Kline said. "We've all seen the John Wayne movies about World War II, and then it was acceptable. Now it's not, and [Osskopp] knows that."
Kline may excuse it based on his faulted view of propaganda and hate mongering (even by "Hollywood Liberals'), but that didn't make it acceptable!

Osskopp knew it was unacceptable, but used it because it goes to a pattern of using whatever means necessary to bully and intimidate Coleen Rowley's supporters including veterans and their families. I would also submit that had it not been vidoe taped neither Osskopp or Kline would have responded to our complaints. This is the type of people were dealing with, they are mean and arrogan, .the Kline culture of corruption has bred this type of 'above the law' attitude.

The video also shows a dozen or more protesters, including Osskopp, who says he
was there on his own time

Oh really- So Dave Bailey goes into Kline office before he works for Coleen (as a volunteer) and gets smeared as 'spying for Coleen's campaign', but we're suppose to believe Kline's high level paid staff did this on 'his own time'. Right, can you say double standards and big fat liar?! Which promps me to ask:
1. Can a federal employee really stump for his boss's campaign like that?
2. Who's monitoring what is being done for Kline (the congressman) and therefore for Minnesotans verses Kline (the campaigner) and therefore for....Kline. Isn't this a blurry area and one that might actually be illegal? I certainly don't want my tax money financing Kline's election bid.
3. Osskopp clearly was directing and organizing the protesters. Where's the limits to his behavior? Did they know he was on his 'own time' or where they being directed by a Director on Kline's staff?

Kline staffers said Osskopp's outburst was prompted in part by a Rowley supporter who showed up in a Ford Explorer SUV and blamed Republicans for the loss of his job at the Ford auto plant in St. Paul. Osskopp responded by pointing out a number of foreign-made cars driving into the parking lot, at times pointing and yelling.

Ah, this is really sweet, blame the victims. If only a veteran hadn't shown up and said something to the dozen or so protestors heckling and harrassing him. Then Mr. Osskopp would not have said bad things!

This isn't an excuse that a responsible adult would ever use. Remember 'individual responsibility' is one of the few things that Kline has posted at his campaign site. I guess John doesn't really require that from himself or his staff when it comes to harassing veterans and their families.

When can we expect a real apology for their outrageous behavior against veterans and their families? The above incident was just one of many insults that were screamed at those who came to see a decorated veteran and 30 year Congressman- Murtha. Makes you wonder just how far out of touch with normal people Mr. Kline and his supporters have come to think they can act outside the boundaries of Minnesota nice without being called on it. But times have changed.

More at IMP Inside Minnesota Politics

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