Are proposed GOP endorsement rules a bid to protect Rep. John Kline?

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig
GOP leadership appears concerned enough to propose some pretty unpopular endorsement policies which can only have beneficial effects for one person — John Kline.

There has been some talk about Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey’s recent party endorsement proposals

Just to refresh your memory, here they are again:

A. Candidates seeking endorsement cannot have run as a DFL or Independence party candidate within the last two cycles.

B. Cannot have run a primary against an endorsed candidate in the last two cycles.

C. Cannot be endorsed if candidate has been a party officer in another political party.

It doesn’t take a huge amount of concentration to realize that Chairman Downey is looking to protect someone here — Congressman John Kline.

David Gerson

The MN GOP establishment wants John Kline to run again…and they want him to run as an endorsed candidate. The David Gerson challenge to Kline’s endorsement is at the very least going to be disruptive. And the louder the Tea Party grumblings get about Kline, the worse it gets for the long term Congressman.

John Gilmore, a long time party activist and blogger for Minnesota Conservatives, wrote about a foreign policy forum he was invited toin late December.

Aside from the usual pro-Israel positions that he took at the forum and talked about in the post, he also took notice of the Republican CD2 Paulite visibility:

In CD 2 they have fallen in behind the specious David Gerson, who seeks the republican endorsement which the Tea Paulers hope to deliver, thereby forcing Rep. Kline into a primary if he wishes to return to office. They pillory Kline for his record and large parts of it should come in for excoriation. That said, it’s folly to the point of political suicide to remove him from the ballot and replace him with some low rent demagogue who could be easily beaten by a competent, moderate democrat. 

The anti-Kline people like to hold up fatuous things like Freedom Works’ scorecards, which for Kline shows only something like a 42% rating….the Ron Paul followers are…..by no stretch of the imagination republicans in the traditional sense of the word. Consequently, those of us who want to win elections in order to change public policy have every justification for calling them out, for marginalizing them, for defeating them. 

It’s hard to say if Kline will be denied the endorsement. If he is, it’s hard to see how he would not win the primary and go on to win another term. If Gerson obtains the endorsement, it would be more confirmation that when the inmates take over the asylum, a recommendation from the asylum’s management is worthless. 

Mr. Gilmore’s assessments are probably valid. And while Gerson may not be a serious threat to Kline in the long run, it seems obvious that Chairman Downey has concerns — and is concerned enough to propose some pretty unpopular endorsement policies which can only have beneficial effects for one person — John Kline.

If Kline is denied the endorsement, it would be an embarrassment for the Congressman. And yes, he probably could win the primary easily against a stand-alone candidate like David Gerson. But what if Gerson doesn’t stand alone? What if Ron-Paul-like money does enter the race? At the very least, Kline might have to deplete some of that war chest of his to defend his own turf. And that is something Chairman Downey does not want Kline to be forced to do — especially when a state party cannot help.

Who knows how that would play out? Would Kline end up damaged? Would he be forced into Tea Party positions that would be hard to explain to a general election voter? Would he be forced into explanations about a Congressional record that is hard to explain anyway?

All of this raises more questions about Congressman John Kline. More questions that are getting increasingly more difficult to answer.

This post was written David Mindeman and originally published on mnpACT! Progressive Political Blog. Follow Dave on Twitter: @newtbuster.

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