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In an October 30th column, Ann Coulter excoriates conservatives who believe that Republicans do not do enough to fight for limited government. Even though she recently published a book about liberal Republicans, she could only identify one Republican who she thinks is liberal. That was John McCain. Needless to say, her list seems rather brief. While she is entitled to her opinions, some of her facts do need correcting.
Specifically, she uses Minnesota as an example of a place where Republicans are just too conservative. She praises Rep. John Kline as a “fantastic congressman” who should run for the Senate. It is true that Kline could be feasible as a candidate for the Senate. But is he “fantastic”? He reached his personal all-time low on FreedomWorks’ scorecard this year with a rating of 47 percent. His 2013 rating with Heritage Action is 53 percent, the lowest of any Republican in Minnesota. (The national Heritage Republican average is 68 percent.)
Kline’s score is a result of refusing to do basic conservative things like signing Rep. Meadows’ letter calling for Obamacare to be defunded. He also voted against Republicans on a number of occasions.
For instance, he voted with Democrats against a majority of Republicans in order to include people who were not actually women in the Violence Against Women Act, and to use it to give visas to illegal immigrants. He voted with Democrats against a majority of Republicans to pass $230 billion in stimulus spending, including $40 billion in green energy pork. He voted with Democrats against a majority of Republicans to expand the federal government’s land management efforts. In October, he voted with Democrats against a majority of Republicans to fund Obamacare.
Out of five opportunities in 2013 to vote against a majority of Republicans in order to pass Democratic legislation, Kline took four of them.
Kline is more liberal than his district. He could be a viable candidate for the Senate in Minnesota. Yet is he a “fantastic congressman”? That is for anyone to decide. Apparently he does meet Ann Coulter’s criteria for that adjective.
Ann also claims that Marianne Stebbins, the 2012 chairwoman of Minnesota’s delegation to the Republican National Convention, “helped lose the 2012 Senate election in Minnesota with a libertarian candidate.” Ann notes that the candidate, Kurt Bills, lost to the Democrat 31 percent to 65 percent, and refers to Marianne as “a Ron Paul fan.”
In this case, Ann simply gets her facts wrong. Marianne never endorsed Kurt Bills. Kurt Bills never asked for her endorsement. It is true that Bills had endorsed Ron Paul at one point. However, he endorsed Mitt Romney on August 23rd. (Romney won the party's nomination on August 30th.) Is this a case of “Ron Paul fans” losing an election? For Ann Coulter it may be, but she left out some critical facts necessary for readers to be fully informed.
Another interesting fact is that Bills lost the Republican primary in two of Minnesota’s eight congressional districts, the first and the seventh. Those districts elected three of the state’s only five delegates who did not support Ron Paul. (Aside from that, Minnesota Republicans elected 32 delegates for Ron Paul.) In other words, establishment Republicans spiteful that they were not able to get the most liberal candidate possible nominated worked against the candidate who did win.
Spiteful establishment Republicans often work against conservative nominees, and that often reduces Republicans’ electoral margins. Ann Coulter, with her skewed understanding of the facts, unfortunately sides with that spiteful establishment.