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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, November 17, 2006

Spin

John Kline defeated Coleen Rowley by a margin of 56-40. Why? Rather than seriously analyze that question, Paul Demko of the City Pages gives Kline's Chief of Staff an opportunity to spin furiously:

Even a tidal wave couldn't lift this leaking rowboat. Despite the best climate for Democratic challengers in more than two decades and an opponent who's been a staunch supporter of George W. Bush's disastrous policies in Iraq, the former FBI official-turned-9/11 whistleblower lost by 16 points. We'll let John Kline's chief of staff, Steve Sutton, handle the gloating on this one. "The reason she underperformed is, quite frankly, she's just a very weak candidate. Unorganized, uninformed, unprepared. I think voters were shocked at how little she knew, the depth of her knowledge, how thin it was on these issues. Even on Iraq, which was her number-one issue, she was unable to really articulate a coherent plan." All in all, a spectacular fall from grace for the 2002 Time person of the year, an honor she shared with two other publicized whistleblowers.

One more time:

What's really spectacular about this spin-as-analysis is that Demko goes on to blast Patty Wetterling because she allegedly "attempted to tar her opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal intent on liberating all sex offenders and providing them with government-financed lifetime supplies of crystal meth." I, of all people, am acutely aware that Kline used a very similar tactic in his campaign. I guess Demko gives Kline a pass because the attack worked in Kline's case.

The truth is, after an agonizing misstep in January, Rowley spent nearly 10 months running a clean, issues-oriented campaign. But her message was drowned out by Kline's relentless smear attacks on TV and in direct mail --- more than a dozen attack pieces in all.

Kline's campaigns consist of smear attacks and nothing else, and nothing is out of bounds to him. Whoever wants to run against him in 2008 needs to understand that. It would be nice if a few more voters in CD-02 understood it as well.

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