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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Sarvi: Another Blue Dog Democrat?

Category: John Kline
Posted: 10/04/07 18:41

by Dave Mindeman

It looks like we have someone willing to run against John Kline. Steve Sarvi has filed the papers and is beginning the long slog to November 2008.

I haven't formulated much of an opinion on this candidacy yet; I really don't know much about him. However, what I have seen so far raises a few questions.

My guess is that Sarvi is going to run a centrist to right of center campaign. Several months ago he made some comments on this blog... they were great comments, but when I tried to start up a dialogue, it was resisted. I heard he was interested in running for the seat in the 2nd and I sent him a questionnaire to get some basic thoughts on positions. I got the same response I always get from Kline's office -- no response at all.

Now Sarvi was still stationed in Iraq at the time and I imagine he certainly had to be careful about what and how he responds... so I will give him the benefit of the doubt about that.

But he has given an interview to Minnesota Monitor and one of his responses was a little troubling.

While Sarvi calls for a change in policy, he does not call for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. In an interview with Minnesota Monitor, Sarvi said, "I don't advocate 'cut and run.'"

I don't expect Sarvi to advocate for an immediate pullout... I wouldn't expect that to fly in a Second District campaign; but I find it troubling that he would use the phrase "cut and run" -- a Republican talking point, in his response. Nobody advocates "cut and run", Republicans or Democrats.... but Republicans like to use the term anyway as a means to denigrate any Democratic position. It is troubling to hear a potential Democratic candidate use that phrase on his own.

I don't know what Sarvi's overall positions are.... and they don't have to be solidly progressive; I understand the pragmatism necessary to run a campaign in a reasonably conservative district. But after watching Tim Walz and Amy Klobuchar say one thing and produce something else, I will tend to be more cautious in the future.

I understand that Sarvi would be an improvement over Kline. I also understand that he may have to run a less than progressive campaign to win. I understand all of that.

But my enthusiasm about another Blue Dog Democrat in the House is also less than stellar. If that is what it takes to defeat John Kline, I will accept it..... but I don't have to lead any cheerleading campaigns either.

In a district where progressive politics can often take a beating, maybe Steve Sarvi will be happier to keep progressives at arms length anyway. Maybe.... I don't know.

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John Kline's Telephone Town Hall That I Got to Read About

Category: John Kline
Posted: 08/22/07 18:27, Edited: 08/22/07 18:28

by Dave Mindeman

John Kline held a town hall meeting recently.... oh, not in person.. he uses the telephone. A conservative blog, Captain's Quarters, did some live blogging during the "event". He didn't go into depth but you get a pretty good idea of the themes.

The blog said that their were 750 constituents on the line... wow! That might be a little hard if everybody talks at once! But that won't be a problem -- these telephone town halls are carefully choreographed. If you disagree with Kline, your chances of having your say are...well, let's just say they are minimal.

It is worth noting that even conservatives are having a problem with the prioritizing of the Iraq War. The hard core immigration critics are peeling off as well... it would seem.

(By the way, if you read the CQ blog and are wondering what they mean by the North American Union "fringe", you can get a good explanation from one of the nuts themselves here)

The main points to take here is that Kline is still completely supporting the Iraq War:

On the Iraq war, he says a precipitous withdrawal would be a disaster for both us and the Iraqis. He wants to see what General Petraeus will report.

Kline always likes to use the vague talking points that seem to have some bigger meaning that we, as laypeople, can't possibly understand. It is not criticism of the war, its "micromanaging the war".... it is not withdrawal that is the problem, it's "precipitous withdrawal". I wish someone would ask him to give a concise clear definition of what he means by all that -- and for pete's sake, have a real plan to fix this mess.

Kline often contradicts himself when he explains things, too. On health care,he "acknowledges that costs are high", yet in the same breath he says "progress in surgery has greatly reduced costs just through making procedures far less invasive". Still, his answer is Health Savings Accounts so that consumers can lower the costs by their choices. Sure.....

The one statement that was a bit of a surprise: Increase in gas tax should not be our first impulse, although one may eventually be needed. Could Kline be open to a possible Federal gas tax? (Gasp!)

Anyway, looks like most of it was the usual blather....more chances to keep repeating the same talking points and give the "chosen" callers an opportunity to pat the old boy on the back.

I guess that is as close as I will get to hearing from my Congressman..... reading somebody's blog about a phone conference that I didn't get a chance to participate in.

Don't you love the way John Kline connects?
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