John Kline has been, for a couple of terms now, the Minnesota Second District rep in Congress. He’s a reliable and solid conservative, and therefore I support him unabashedly and without reservation. While I believe that “endorsing” a candidate would make me sound like a pretentious fop (I’m a blogger, not an institution of any importance at all), I actively encourage anyone who lives in MNCD2 to vote for Kline as many times as you are legally able.
Not to say Kline’s perfect – no politician is, and indeed none should ever try to be.
One of his most controversial votes was for the bailout bill. It’s a vote about which I’m of two minds. On the one hand, it does continue the national trend of socializing risk and privatizing gain; it will take the sting out of making stupid decisions for financial institutions; it is (or will be, without immense vigilance on the part of the people and their representatives) a socialization of the credit market. To a free-marketeer, the concept is noxious.
But I also agree with King; this is different from previous downturns in that it’s a meltdown in credit, not liquidity; without credit, the dip and the recovery will be much longer, much more difficult, and much more painful. So while I’m as dogmatic a free-marketeer as anyone, I can go along with the notion that government can try to spread a net over the abyss – provided that is combined with fanatical vigilance as the recovery gathers to make sure that the nationalization is reversed, and that we don’t repeat the mistakes that led us here. (This will require a huge leap in the economic and financial literacy of the American people, which will in return require a Republican administration).
Kevin Masrud, however, has taken umbrage at Kline’s support of the bailout bill, and is mounting a conservative Republican write-in campaign against Kline in response. He appeared with King Banaian on NARN III “The Final Word” yesterday.
On the one hand, I’m going to continue to support Kline in the coming election (for what little it’s worth; I live in the Fourth district).
I also believe that conservatives should fight like hell to (to use the metaphor I’ve been beating to death for the past year) “pull the party to the right” in the big tug of war I described in this piece, all the way through the caucuses and primaries – and then forgive whatever transgressions against pure Hayekian conservative orthodoxy the candidate holds onto, realize that “the best we can do” is better than “the next worst we can do” come November, and close ranks behind the candidate. It’s why I support the likes of Tim Pawlenty, Norm Coleman, and John McCain – none of whom are as conservative as I am or as I’d like to see in their offices in an ideal world, but each of which are light-years better than Roger Moe, Mike Hatch, Fritz Mondale, Al Franken and Barack Obama.
The discriminating reader will note that the caucuses were in February, and the primaries were last month.
And the bailout bill came after both.
The timing of Mr. Masrud’s quixotic campaign is both unavoidable and unfortunate. Given my tepid, conditional support for the bailout and my otherwise-unabashed support of Rep. Kline, who is absolutely correct on a formidable majority of issues and tepidly (I believe) correct on this one, I’d much rather Mr. Masrud had waited until after the election…
…when i would unreservedly support his push to drive Kline, and all elected representatives, to the right on all financial legislation, up to and including the 2010 caucus and primary season. This is an effort that can not end in 22 days; it is an effort whose urgency needs to redouble after the election, and to do it again after inauguration day, when the orcs will likely really be at the gates.
UPDATE: Brain fade. It was Kevin Masrud, not Jeffrey Williams, challenging Kline. Blah.