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.

8 thoughts on “Dissent

  1. I’m glad you see the impact of a lack of credit – people like Babs Davis who think we simply should have allowed more banks to fail were/are fools.

    The reality is the allowance of Lehman Brothers to fail, precipitated much of this loss of confidence. Notice they DIDN’T allow Bear Stearns, Wash Mutual, or Wachovia to fail, but instead, engineered buyouts, handouts really, but still they prevented the complete collapse of the stock and company.

    I will point out, though, that no more than 4 months ago you said this was just another ‘cycle’, so while I’m glad you’ve come round, it’s not quite the same as saying you felt a big problem was coming.

    That said, John Kline called me a traitor, and for that, I will never forgive him. If you like him, bully for you, or perhaps that should be Bully.

  2. If only there were some way to ease the credit situation without bailing out the mortgage seller & buyer who thought $40k/yr in income meant you could afford at $750k house.
    There probably was. But with Paulson looking out for his friends on Wall Street and Franks & Dodd looking out for irresponsible mortgage holders we’ll never know.

  3. Conservatives really need to start looking at the long game here. And I say that regardless of whether Obama wins or McCain miraculously pulls it out. If your long game strategy is to start hoarding food and guns or to move to a remote island then shut up and do it already and let the rest of us fight the fight. YOU may be a principled free marketeer but too many Americans apparently didn’t know enough basic economics to understand what an ARM was before they signed up for one. If things worsen, many many more people who didn’t make the initial bad decisions will lose their jobs and their homes over other people’s mistakes. The greedy and the stupid will be joined by the just plain angry that they are being harmed for no real fault of their own and together they will constitute a huge constituency.

    Here’s the problem for conservatives: when the going gets tough, the majority will exchange freedom for personal security and there are politicians who are ready to accommodate them. The first bailout was trying to at least confine the compromises to the financial system. Bailout II was worse. Objectively, if you voted for bailout I, you were voting for a better deal than II, if you assumed that something was going to get passed. And you’d be right.

    I respected Bachmann’s position on the bailout but I also respected Kline’s. In Kline’s case (and I don’t live in the district but admit that I have been a long time fan of his) he had an argument for why he voted for the bill that was consistent with conservative principles. Principles are where you start from, not where you end up.

    And since when did conservatives start using class warfare arguments? It must be a sign of the apocalypse.

  4. Gee, Terry, you think the President of the United States had anything to do with the bailout? You know, the leader of the Republican Party and the guy who appointed Paulson, pushed the bailout and signed it into law?

    I’m sure Chris Dodd forced him to do all that stuff.

  5. “And since when did conservatives start using class warfare arguments? It must be a sign of the apocalypse.”

    Class warfare was why so many Leftists opposed the bill. Concentration of power & government takeover of the free market is why Conservatives opposed the bill.

    I don’t think anyone will find much support in the Constitution for giving one unelected man unfettered power from the federal government to decide which institutions are saved from their bad investments, by doling out $700 billion of the taxpayers money… With the decision based on little more than this man’s whim.

    The people who wrote, debated & eventually ratified the Constitution did so in order to prevent such actions from happening. Over the last 79 years, we’ve been slowly pissing this gift away, and apparently nobody even notices.

    Fredrick Wood, A lawyer protecting a neighborhood butcher from the overreaching powers granted the National Recovery Administration, pointed out in a Supreme Court case in 1934:

    “It might be all right to go the way of Mussolini or Hitler, but a constitutional amendment is necessary for that, not just an act of congress”

  6. Mitch, I should point out that it wasn’t Jeffrey Williams I interviewed on Saturday. It was Kevin Masrud.

  7. But, Pernicious & Petulant Peev… you are a traitor.

    If you have his statement in a letter to you, why don’t you frame it? You could auction it off to anyone who might care.

  8. Of course Bush had something to do with this, Clown. It happened on his watch. He trusts the Wall Street Boys more than anyone should.
    I put the blame for this on the political class, D’s & R’s both. The Wall Street guys have one motivation: make money. It is who they are and what they do. The political class is supposed to represent the nation. They didn’t. As long as the interests of their narrow constituencies were served, they didn’t give a damn.
    I don’t feel betrayed by Wall Street, I feel betrayed by politicians.
    When I checked my 401K last Friday I was down about 16% since 30 June. Not bad, given the circumstances.

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