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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.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

John Kline Protests WAY Too Much, and Asks for Money

Colonel Klink

1960's sitcom icon Colonel Klink

John Kline

Congressman John Kline
Does this man look like a Nazi?

A source of controversy . . . and cash?

John Kline wants you to feel sorry for him.

For about 24 hours at the end of January, the bottom photo appeared on Coleen Rowley's campaign website. Most observers agree that this was a mistake on her part; a congressional campaign shouldn't be about mocking your opponent. Kline complained, Rowley took the photo down and apologized, and reasonable people assumed the matter had been put to rest.

However, John Kline saw a moneymaking opportunity. The controversial photo immediately elicited a fundraising letter from Kline's campaign office, and another just a few days ago. In this letter and elsewhere, Kline repeats the mantra that he wants "an issues oriented, honest campaign" based on "issues and ideas". Which "issues and ideas" are Kline campaigning on here?

In a one-page letter, Kline manages to use the words "nasty", "ugly", "insincere", "radical", and "absurd" to describe Rowley's supporters, her campaign, or Rowley herself. He accuses her of crossing the "line of civility, respect, common decency and above all, honesty" by making "increasingly outrageous statements, accusations and insults" (emphasis Kline's), including "direct assaults on my character", "thinly veiled innuendos" and "many gross distortions" of Kline's positions. Kline himself professes to be both "shocked" and "outraged" by her antics.

That's an awful lot of ire over a single photograph. And although Kline suggests that Rowley has stooped to the gutter on many occasions, as if this photograph were the final straw, he fails to mention the specifics of any of them (this isn't the first time Kline has failed to back up his claims). But since Rowley has supposedly been slinging mud "since the beginning of her campaign" last July, surely Kline has documented all of her chicanery on his own campaign site, right?

Nope. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing too much about issues or ideas, for that matter. It's mostly just a collection of news items involving Kline, all of them nearly two years old or more, and a bunch of dead links. So it looks like we're stuck doing the research ourselves. At Rowley's campaign site we find:

There is precious little evidence of "outrageous statements, accusations and insults" on Rowley's campaign site, or innuendos or gross distortions either. Indeed, it seems that Kline's allegations of Rowley's dirty tricks are greatly overstated (fabricated?) in the hopes that sympathetic constituents will feel sorry for him and dig out their checkbooks. Not really what one would expect from a man who places a high value on "civility, respect, common decency and above all, honesty".

And while Kline has Rowley dead to rights with the Col. Klink photo --- it did appear on her website, with her approval --- even with this Kline isn't being honest with his donor base.

The Real Nazis

The Real Nazis

For one thing, they didn't graft Kline's face onto a picture of a Nazi, they photoshopped it onto a picture of a character from a bad 1960's sitcom. And while one could argue that although Klink is an ineffectual, bumbling toady, he is nonetheless an officer in the Nazi Army, "Nazi" is hardly the first thing which leaps to mind when you think of Klink.

Getting compared to Col. Klink is pretty much like getting compared to Dr. Evil of Austin Powers fame. There are a lot of reasons to be offended by the comparison, but not because of what it says about your politics or reputation.


Would putting Kline's face on this photo trigger another round of fundraising?


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