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Disclaimer: The author of this site maintained the campaign weblog of John Kline's opponent in the 2006 election, which made Congressman Kline a bit testy.

As with all blogs, review the facts carefully and draw your own conclusions.

Friday, January 27, 2006

John Kline's Summer Vacation: 2004

Having worn himself out in June 2004 with a personal-best four floor speeches, John Kline kicked back for the month of July, contributing nothing in the way of floor speeches while serving as Speaker Pro Tem just once, on July 20.

Congress did not convene in August, 2004.

In September 2004, John Kline once again served as Speaker Pro Tem on the 7th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 28th. And on September 22, he spoke in support of a resolution honoring the families of members of the Armed Forces.

On October 5, Kline spoke in opposition to a bill which would reinstate the draft.

On November 19, Kline once again served as Speaker Pro Tem.

On December 6, Kline led the House in the Pledge of Allegiance, and made a speech honoring Minnesota Commissioner of Veterans Affairs, Jeff Olsen, on the occasion of his retirement.

Apart from the anti-draft speech, I think it's fair to say that John Kline's summer vacation in 2004 ran for the entire final six months of the year.

Oh, and one more thing: on November 2, 2004, Kline was re-elected to Congress by a whopping 16-point margin. Rather impressive, given his lightweight record of achievements in his first term.

Here's the October 5 anti-draft speech. Note that for all he does to extol the virtues of today's all-volunteer army --- points which may well be perfectly valid --- he completely ignores the underlying reason why Democrats proposed reinstating the draft in the first place: that America doesn't have the troop strength required to fight all the wars George Bush seems intent on fighting, and it is disproportionately underprivileged Americans who join the military because they have few other options. This problem hasn't gotten any better in the last year and a half.

  • Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 163 and urge my colleagues to overwhelmingly reject not only this election year "scare tactic" but the increasingly archaic policy of universal conscription.
  • Since the founding of our nation over two hundred years ago, the U.S. military has reluctantly used conscription to rapidly fill the ranks of an often undermanned and under funded military force in the face of grave national threats. Today, we live in a nation united under a single representative government that has faced and defeated the global threats of fascism and communism. A vital component of these victories was the evolution of the U.S. military from a garrison force, reinforced by conscripts in times of national emergency, to the present-day, all-volunteer military which now ably defends our nation from the deadly violence of international terrorism.
  • Like a large portion of our population, I am old enough to recall America's last attempt at conscription. More significantly, as a junior officer in the Marine Corps near the end of the Vietnam conflict, I witnessed first-hand many of the unfortunate repercussions of the military draft policy--the migration of a drug culture into the ranks, race riots, and the lack of unit camaraderie that leads to mission success.
  • I am proud to say that when I finished my 25-year career in the Marine Corps, those problems had completely disappeared or been reduced to statistical insignificance. Today's all-volunteer military, forged in the tragic "lessons learned" of Vietnam, has repeatedly demonstrated its professionalism and ability to defend America's national interests. The men and women of this well-educated and well-trained force serve our nation because they choose to do so. Today, we honor their service and ensure their continued success by voting to maintain the best-equipped, best-trained, and all-volunteer, Armed Forces.

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