Friday night, Bill Maher ended his big-buzz Flip A District competition by announcing the misogynist toady for the 1% he would work to defeat in November: John Kline in southeast Minnesota (MN-02).
Democrats have grown unaccustomed to anyone holding any Republican Party leaders or committee chairmen, like Kline chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, accountable for their destructive policy agendas. That's because DCCC chairman Steve Israel has taken the entire GOP leadership, including all their committee chairs, even ones like Kline in vulnerable districts, "off the table."
About a year ago Keith Ellison introduced us to Mike Obermeuller, the progressive Democrat running for the seat Kline currently occupies. Ellison looked and the poll on the right and so did Blue America and we came to the same conclusion: this is a very winnable race.
The Steve Israel DCCC brain trust looked at it too-- and decided to invest their money with Blue Dogs and New Dems in much redder seats that don't have half the chance to be taken by a Democrat. Obama won MN-02 against McCain and against Romney but the DCCC is squandering resources in districts where Obama didn't even get 40% of the vote, while starving this one for funds.
Take a look at those polling results. Who would you vote for now, the Republican or a Democrat? Democrat wins 46-36%. That's big; it must have scared Steve Israel who thinks his job is to protect Republican committee chairs, not defeat them. Kline has a 42% to 32% unfavorable to favorable rating among his constituents. And a 40% to 31% negative to positive job disapproval rating. Then the key question-- "If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for Republican Congressman John Kline or his opponent, Democratic state representative Mike Obermueller?" Kline scored 38%. Obermueller scored 42%.
A DCCC chairman with even a modicum of competence would have started a crusade. Israel, instead, decided right on the spot to start bad-mouthing the poll, bad-mouthing the race, bad-mouthing the district, bad-mouthing the Democratic candidate… and telling naive and gullible Beltway pundits that it is an "unwinnable" district-- which led to this wrong-headed Washington Post headline Friday night: "Bill Maher Announced He's Targeting Rep. John Kline. He Picked THe Wrong Guy." The Post, which only took one factor into account-- the Israel's DCCC-- got it wrong; Bill Maher got it right: This is a swing district with an especially bad Republican.
Blue America has been slowly, steadily helping Mike build a war chest for his autumn ground game. We're cheered by what Bill Maher is going to do to make voters in MN-02 aware of what a reactionary mess they have for a congressman now. Maher won't be doing compare and contrast ads, just ads about Kline. So, we'd like to remind you of why we backed Mike Obermueller in the first place:
"I know," he told us over the weekend, "that Social Security is vital to the retirement security of all working Americans and that's why I will vigorously defend this vital program. To the extent solvency becomes a concern, it can be resolved by raising the cap for the wealthiest Americans. I'll stand up to those who are trying to weaken Social Security and decrease benefits through misguided policies like chained CPI."
OK, Blue America doesn't endorse candidates who don't take that stand. Nor do we endorse candidates who don't take this one:
"Access to affordable health care is a fundamental human right and that's why I've been one of the few Democratic challengers not running away from the Affordable Care Act. In Congress, I'll fight to improve the ACA and will lead a renewed discussion regarding expanding Medicare to cover every American."
Check three: "I'll be a champion for the rights of women and I will oppose any attempt to weaken the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, will confront the epidemic of sexual assault occurring in our military and believe that a woman’s medical decisions are between her and her doctor." That's completely at odds what John Kline on every count, the same John Kline who is currently single-handedly bottling up the Paycheck Fairness Act in his committee, making sure women still don't get the same wage for doing the same work that men do. It's a backward and venal position and it's John Kline's position.
"I also understand the importance of moving forward in a big way on renewable energy," concluded Obermueller. "We've given huge tax breaks to oil and coal companies for far too long-- and it's impact on our environment has been terrible. While we can't change decades of poor energy policy overnight, I will work to eliminate these tax breaks as part of comprehensive tax reform and focus on our efforts on renewable energy sources that will leave us with an environment that we are proud to hand onto our children."
Please consider helping Mike directly. You can do it here. Until Pelosi gets rid of Steve Israel, the DCCC will never take on John Kline or any other Republican policy-makers. It's the way he rolls-- which is why it's up to us.