Although there was absolutely nothing to clap for in the State of the Union, gung ho supporters like John Kline dutifully put their hands together to try and bolster Bush’s (and their own) sagging ratings. Kline’s voting partner in pearls, Michele Bachmann went a step further, physically grabbing and kissing her President, since, as her press secretary explained, Bush could use a “pat on the back.” Experts say all that show of affection may temporarily give Bush a 2% bump. But what can our GOP cheerleaders possibly do for an encore?
Essentially thumbing his nose at the people of the 2nd District, Congressman John Kline has been doing his level best to continue supporting President Bush’s misguided and unpopular war in Iraq. Ironically, his latest way of backing Bush’s call for a surge in troops in Iraq is by parroting, almost word for word, VP Cheney’s criticisms of Congress for trying to micromanage the president's war powers. On January 8th, Kline was quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune saying, "As I recently told the president, it's important for Congress to maintain oversight, but we can't run this war by committee. The last thing our country needs is 535 members of Congress assuming the role of armchair generals."
And so the hypocrisy exhibited by a former marine colonel reaches new heights! Think about it. For starters, here’s Kline, who served in the Vietnam War, taking his cue from Dick Cheney, a guy who obtained five— count them... five—draft deferments to AVOID military service in Vietnam. In the same fell swoop, Kline denigrates hundreds of his colleagues in Congress who possess valuable military experience, like newly elected Senator Jim Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy, as “armchair generals.” This comes after he, John Kline, based his five campaigns for Congress almost solely on HIS OWN military experience, essentially consisting of his having carried the “nuclear football” for President Reagan.
Nor did Kline ever have a previous problem playing armchair general in constantly referring to his own military expertise in order to shore up support for Bush’s reckless decision to invade Iraq, the Bush-Rumsfeld handling of prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib, or the whole series of horrible missteps Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have thus far made in almost four years of debacle in Iraq.
Expert opinions of real military generals like Eric Shinseki, Anthony Zinni, Wesley Clark, Barry McCaffrey, Joseph Hoar, and William Odom, to name just a few, have seemingly never mattered to Kline. Other real generals have repeatedly testified that our military has been stretched to the breaking point and has been terribly weakened by Bush-Cheney’s fiasco in Iraq. But John Kline, regardless of his military background, always puts loyalty to the President, Karl Rove, the GOP and his corporate special interests first and so remains oblivious to the damage they have done to our country’s national security.
The final hypocrisy lies in Kline’s unqualified support for the continuing unethical (if not illegal) detentions at Guantanamo and his voting this last fall for the torture condoned in the Military Commissions Act. It should be noted that the strongest criticism of this Administration’s violation of the Geneva Convention and the use of torture has come from the military itself and especially from former military POWs like Senator John McCain and Phil Butler (who was more decorated and held even longer as a POW in Vietnam than McCain - see his recent compelling commentary in the Monterey Herald).
In abdicating the interest of our own country’s service men and women in not being subjected, upon capture, to similar torture, Kline has shown where his true loyalties lie. He couldn’t have said it better with a kiss.
_submitted by DJK staffer