Congressman Cline was a guest this week on the radio show of Charlottesville-based right-winger Rob Schilling.
No tough questions, of course. Just some invitations to talk about how allegedly awful a candidate Joe Biden is (including the obligatory reference to “sleepy Joe”).
According to Cline, Biden is “gonna be led by the Left, by the antifas of the world.” (“Antifa” is the latest Republican scare word, deployed even more often than “Pelosi.”)
Schilling actually suggested that Democrats are desperate to ditch Biden as their candidate for president– perhaps having failed to notice that Biden is currently leading Donald Trump by about 10 points in the national polls and by substantial margins in many of the “swing” states.
Cline seemed to agree, saying incongruously, “There are always those who want to see democracy replaced with dictatorship rule.”
Cline writes that “Joe Biden has been nowhere to be seen for months – that is not the type of leadership America needs.”
In fact Biden appears regularly online and will speak to the Virginia Democratic Convention on Saturday. He traveled to Houston last week to meet with George Floyd’s family. But of course Cline can’t acknowledge a simple fact: that Biden, unlike Trump, is being careful not to endanger the public during the COVID-19 emergency, and this is to his credit.
Here’s the latest from the orange-skinned candidate Cline enthusiastically supports:
In non-response to my recent message to Congressman Cline about President Trump’s increasingly deranged and dangerous Twitter posts, I received the following form letter:
Frankly, Congressman, given your sycophantic support for Trump– regardless of his indefensible statements and actions– it is hard to assume “good intentions” by you. And if, as you claim, you have encouraged civil discourse from Trump, I haven’t seen the evidence.
This was Cline’s pathetic reply to Ken Smith, a Lynchburg Army veteran, who complained at a January town meeting about Trump’s insulting comments about the late Sen. John McCain, as well as other remarks aimed at top military leaders:
“Some of his rhetoric is that of a New York businessman,” Cline said in response to remarks Smith pointed to. “I am neither a New Yorker nor a businessman.”
Until Cline provides details of his supposed efforts to encourage more decent behavior by Trump, how can we take anything he says about civil discourse seriously?
Before Cline and other Republicans pop the champagne corks, they should be aware that according to the latest jobs report:
— Many people who have hung onto their jobs in the current crisis have seen their hours cut. The number of workers who want full-time hours but are working part-time because their employer doesn’t have enough work for them has more than tripled, from 2.7 million in February to 9.4 million in May.
— Roughly a fifth (6.6 million) of those out of work because of the virus are being counted as having dropped out of the labor force. This is because jobless people are only counted as unemployed if they are actively seeking work, which remains impossible for many.
— If all the 32.5 million workers who are out of work as a result of the virus had shown up as unemployed, the unemployment rate would have been 19.7% in May instead of 13.3%.
Food banks and other anti-hunger advocates have been pleading with Congress to increase food stamp benefits to make it easier for households to buy groceries, arguing it’s a much more efficient way to get food to the hungry while cutting down on the stress and stigma of waiting in food lines. But the program has become so partisan the idea of expanding it has been almost a nonstarter, even as Washington has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on other forms of aid like unemployment insurance and stimulus checks.
The gridlock comes as data increasingly shows the country is experiencing some of the highest food insecurity numbers on record, even with all of the aid Congress has doled out in recent weeks.
And of course the stock market is not the real economy, especially as it affects tens of millions of working people. That was true even before the COVID pandemic, and it will be true afterwards.
It seems that if you want to talk about anything with Congressman Cline these days, you need to make an appointment. I suspect that if it’s a matter he’d rather not discuss– such as the forcible dispersal of peaceful protesters so Donald Trump could have a photo op– an appointment is even more necessary (and harder to get).
Congressman Cline has issued a statement on the protests following the killing by a police officer of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis:
When are you going to call out Trump on his deranged and incendiary reactions to the protests– and about any number of subjects? That’s your necessary first step. Until you do that, everything else you say is beside the point
You express your respect and appreciation to those who protested peacefully. But you have nothing to say about the use of tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters outside the White House so Trump could have a photo op holding a Bible he has never read in front of a church where he was not invited. Or about the many other instances of unnecessary or excessive force by police. Until you can manage that, your denunciation of violence rings hollow.
You may want consider the the opinion of Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of only two African-American Republicans in Congress.
“But obviously, if your question is, should you use tear gas to clear a path so the president can go have a photo-op, the answer is no.”
Can’t you even acknowledge that?
Finally: It’s all very well to quote the Floyd family. I agree with them, as I hope most Americans do. I hope you will take a few minutes to watch a powerful statement by George Floyd’s younger brother Terrence.
The meaning of his words are clear enough. Not only is the Floyd family committed non-violence; it is committed to voting people like you and the president you so dutifully support out of office.