After searing police testimony, Cline’s silence resounds

Police detail violence, injuries at Jan. 6 hearing - Chicago Sun-Times

Let’s review Congressman Cline’s response to what Washington, DC, police officer Daniel Hodges correctly called the January 6 assault on the US Capitol by pro-Trump terrorists.

As the terrorists were brutally attacking police and minutes before they entered the Capitol, Cline (or someone on his staff) posted on Facebook trying to draw a direct parallel between the objections of a few House Democrats to the result of the 2000 presidential election (for which there were reasons to object) and the objections of Cline and 146 other members of Congress to the clear and convincing election of Joe Biden in 2020.

After the terrorists had broken in and rampaged through the Capitol, Cline condemned the violence and called for those who participated to be prosecuted. But unlike some other Republicans, he did not place the blame where it ultimately belonged: on then-president Donald Trump. He then voted against certifying the election of Joe Biden as president; that is, he did what the terrorists wanted.

Cline, of course, opposed impeaching Trump for his role in inciting the January 6 insurrection, denying the evidence of Trump’s culpability.

He has never acknowledged on whose behalf the terrorists were acting. As recently as this month he attended a CPAC conference in Dallas, featuring revisionist lies about January 6, where he shamelessly referred to “our great president Donald J. Trump.”

In May Cline voted against a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6. When asked about his vote by a reporter, Cline claimed it was “not a non-partisan proposal,” even though it was the product of an agreement between Republican Congressman John Katko and Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson.

So I suppose we should not be surprised at Cline’s utter silence on the harrowing testimony of the four heroic police offers who were brutalized by the pro-Trump mob at the Capitol on January 6– especially since they were willing to call out the people who deserved to be called out.

He has posted several times on his Congressional Facebook page since Tuesday’s hearing without mentioning it. Judging from the comments posted in response, I am not the only one who noticed this.

If he is asked (and I hope someone will ask him), he will probably say what other Congressional Republicans have said: that he was too busy to watch the hearing.

Someone also needs to ask Cline if he agrees with the chair of the House Freedom Caucus (of which he is a proud member) that two of the most conservative members of Congress– Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger– deserve to be kicked out of the House Republican caucus for daring to participate in Tuesday’s hearing.

Until we do hear from Cline, we have every reason to ask him: Whose side are you on?

Please don’t try to tell us you are on the side of the brave officers who testified– who put their lives on the line to protect you– or on the side of any other law enforcement officers. Because we won’t believe you.

For you, it’s party over country (and decency) every time.

Cline’s embarrassing CPAC speech

By all accounts, the recently-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, featured an appalling array of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and lies about the deadly pro-Trump insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6– most notably from the Big Liar himself.

One of the many lowlights was a truly awful speech by Congressman Cline– awful in delivery as well as in content. Even when it comes to rousing a crowd primed to agree with him, Cline is a failure.

See for yourself and be prepared to cringe. (I almost feel embarrassed for him. But then I remember it’s Ben Cline.):

The theme of the CPAC conference was “America UnCanceled,” so Cline began by proclaiming that Virginians like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Patrick Henry were “the original fighters against cancel culture.”

Well, maybe, although I doubt they and the other Founding Fathers saw the American Revolution in quite that way.

Moving to the present day, Cline asserted:

Virginia is controlled by a one-party liberal group, fighting to cancel freedom, to cancel liberty, to cancel those of us who are fighting each and every day for family and freedom.

If any group is trying to cancel anything in Virginia these days, it’s Republicans. The ginned-up frenzy over “critical race theory” is largely an effort to cancel teaching about the racial history of the US that might make anyone uncomfortable. The chair of the Republican Party of Virginia wants to investigate a professor at the University of Virginia for writing mean things about Donald Trump.

Meanwhile Cline and other House Republicans have done their best to cancel Congresswoman Liz Cheney– a featured speaker at CPAC 2020– for daring to speak the truth about Donald Trump and the 2020 election.

Cline congratulated Texas for delivering its votes last year “for our great president Donald J. Trump.”

Just two points, Congressman.

  1. Donald J. Trump is no longer president.
  2. Even when he was president, he wasn’t at all “great.” And he isn’t great now.

Cline then moved on to one of his favorite subjects: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of the so-called “squad.”

Here is where he really took leave of reality.

We know who really calls the shots in the House of Representatives. It’s the squad. It’s the liberal agenda of AOC and the squad that we are fighting against.

Surely even Cline knows that six relatively new Democratic members of the House, none of whom are in leadership positions and who don’t always agree among themselves, do not set the agenda for the other 217 Democrats.

But he wasn’t through.

They are trying to cancel family. They are trying to cancel faith. They are even trying to cancel the American flag.

I did find a photo of one member of the squad, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, with an American flag. But it didn’t look like she was trying to cancel it.

Rep. Ilhan Omar  holding a miniature American flag smiling and clapping

And she didn’t slobber all over it in an embarrassing and phony display of patriotism.

Cline then asked his obviously bored audience: “Are you going to let them cancel our American flag?”

After a smattering of half-hearted “No”s, Cline soon ended his speech– and probably his chance to become a leading figure of an increasingly radicalized “conservative” movement.

Cline again shows whose side he isn’t on

Congressman Cline’s first impulse is always to side with employers over employees. This tendency has led him to be a longtime hater of labor unions, among other protections for workers.

In a recent series of Facebook posts, Cline again revealed his contempt for everyday working people– suggesting that temporary unemployment payments make them too lazy to take any undesirable low-wage jobs on offer.

On June 15, Cline wrote:

As the economy rebounds from the pandemic, businesses are struggling to hire employees as a result of extended unemployment benefits from the Federal government. With 9.3 million open jobs in America, it’s time to get government out of the way and truly kickstart a long-term recovery.

And on June 24, he insisted:

The restaurant industry struggled to stay afloat during the pandemic because of government-mandated lockdowns, and now they’re struggling to keep their doors open because they can’t hire enough employees. This is the danger of extended Federal benefits.

On June 28, he linked to an article in The Wall Street Journal and claimed:

States that have discontinued enhanced federal unemployment benefits are seeing folks reentering the workforce at higher rates than states continuing them. I urge Governor Northam to help folks get back to work by opting the Commonwealth out of extended federal benefits.

In fact the Journal article said no such thing. The New York Times reported:

Work-force development officials [in Missouri] said they had seen virtually no uptick in applicants since the governor’s announcement, which ended a $300 weekly supplement to other benefits. And the online job site Indeed found that in states that have abandoned the federal benefits, clicks on job postings were below the national average.

So what produced the big increase in payrolls in June? It turns out to be something completely predictable that Cline has been loath to mention: higher wages.

President Biden grasps what Ben Cline misses: that carrots work better than sticks when it comes to creating an economy that works for workers.