Cline’s dangerous “demand”

In order to block what he calls the Department of Defense’s “pro-abortion agenda,” Congressman Cline is prepared to play politics with the military preparedness of the United States.

(As a commenter on this Facebook post pointed out, “respectfully request that you give consideration” is not the same as “demanded.” Even when he tries to sound tough, Cline undercuts himself.)

Cline is obviously inspired by Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama. The New York Times reports that Tuberville “has single-handedly held up promotions for the military’s senior commanders at least through mid-April as he attempts to pressure the Pentagon to change a new abortion policy created to ensure access to abortions for service members after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.”

According to The Times:

Mr. Tuberville, a right-wing freshman, began blocking the promotions of generals and admirals across the services in mid-February, after the Pentagon announced it would give U.S. service members up to 21 days of leave for abortions or fertility treatments and reimburse travel and transportation costs incurred while obtaining such treatments.

The Pentagon created the policy in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, which overturned the precedent that enshrined abortion rights nationwide and gave rise to a national patchwork of laws. That left Americans including military personnel — who are housed at bases throughout the country, sometimes with little control over where — with unequal access to abortion.

Under the new policy, a service member living in a state where abortions are banned or severely restricted would have time off and reimbursement to travel to a place where the procedure is legal and accessible.

The military’s health care plan covers abortions in cases of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother, but under the new policy, service members would be able to request travel reimbursement for any reproductive health procedure, including those not covered under the official plan.

Apparently it’s of little concern to Tuberville and Cline that the senior ranks of the military could be dangerously depleted due to their efforts to force service members to give birth against their will.

“It may not be his intent, but [Tuberville] is effectively accomplishing what our adversaries could only dream of: denying our military of its leadership and degrading our ability to fight and win the nation’s wars,” Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and the Armed Services Committee chairman, said during a floor speech this week. He accused Mr. Tuberville of a “profound assault on the professionalism of the men and women of the armed services.”

“Military promotions are not a political matter and they are not toys for political gains,” Mr. Reed added.

He noted that Mr. Tuberville’s blockade could affect not just the 150 to 200 pending nominations for generals and admirals, but potentially 650 more that are expected over the next eight months — including a replacement for the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“If this policy continues or this practice continues, we are wiping out the leadership of the Department of Defense,” Mr. Reed said.

Neither Cline nor Tuberville has served in the military. So they might want to pay attention to what Reed, a West Point graduate, has to say, based on his background.

He served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an Infantry Platoon Leader, a Company Commander, and a Battalion Staff Officer.  He eventually joined the faculty at West Point, teaching cadets about economics and international relations as an Associate Professor within the Department of Social Sciences.  He served as a professor at the U.S. Military Academy until August of 1979 when he resigned from active duty as a Captain.  He continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserves until June of 1991, when he left the Reserves with the rank of Major.  Over the course of his military career, he earned the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, and Expert Infantry Badge.

Cline targets Social Security and Medicare, but hopes you won’t notice

Appearing on Jimmy Failla’s Fox News Radio show, Congressman Cline admitted that he doesn’t really want to protect Social Security and Medicare, at least not for future recipients. (Pay attention to the word But at the beginning of the fourth sentence.)

He tried to obscure that fact under a blizzard of unrelated, hazy and unspecific language.

“We want to protect Social Security and Medicare. For those who are currently enrolled in Social Security and Medicare, they’ve come to depend on these programs. And we want to make sure that they can continue to depend on them as needed. But for my kids, they need to have a future and an America that is going to still stand for the great things that it stood for when you and I were growing up. And that’s going to have to come through prioritization of other programs where all of the stuff that’s out there is not going to be able to be continuing at the federal level. And whether it’s block granting to the states or whether it’s eliminating federal programs altogether, we’re going to have to start doing it. If we need to put in work requirements for welfare, we’ve been wanting to do that for a long time, but we’re going to have to rethink the way that the federal government interacts with its citizens and with the world, because we can’t just continue to, when you’re talking about foreign aid, we can’t continue to just be throwing American taxpayer dollars around the world. We’ve fought a war on poverty both here and abroad. And it’s been a war on poverty that we have not won. So poverty still exists. And we’ve got to figure out some smarter ways to fight it.”

Got that? Me neither.

Cline schedules constituent meeting in Botetourt County

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Wednesday March 15 at 5:30 p.m. in Botetourt County at Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders, 1176 Roanoke Road, Daleville. Register here.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Botetourt County will be given priority regarding comments during Coffee with Your Congressman. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

Please define your terms, Congressman

In recent days, Congressman Cline (or someone on his staff) has taken to posting simplistic slogans on his Facebook page. Like this:

Congressman: Please define, as precisely and specifically as you can, Big Government and Real America. Then maybe we can have a rational conversation.

For example:

Why are laws forcing 10-year-old rape victims to give birth, which you support, not an example of “Big Government”?

What parts of America do you consider “real” and what parts “fake” or “unreal”?

Cline schedules constituent meeting in Roanoke City

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Friday March 3 at 8 a.m. in Roanoke City at Golden Corral Buffet & Grill, 1441 Towne Square Boulevard Northwest. Register here.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Roanoke City will be given priority regarding comments during Coffee with Your Congressman. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

Cline schedules town hall in Frederick County

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Monday February 20 at 5 p.m. in Frederick County at West Oaks Farm Market, 4305 Middle Road, Winchester. Register here.

.According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Frederick County will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

“Bulldog” Cline takes a walk on the dark side with Steve Bannon

Congressman Cline sank to new depths last week when he appeared as a guest on “War Room,” the podcast of self-styled Leninist (“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too.”) Steve Bannon. (Bannon’s interview with Cline starts at 26:57.)

Bannon, former chief strategist for then-President Trump, was indicted in 2020 for collecting donations to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and using some of the money to enrich himself. Trump pardoned him on his last day in office.

Bannon opens his podcast by ominously proclaiming: “Pray for our enemies. ‘Cause we’re going to go medieval on these people.”

I can’t help noticing that Bannon favors the word “enemies” rather than “opponents.” I’m not sure who Bannon’s enemies are, but I suspect they include me and tens of millions of other Americans. And “go medieval” doesn’t exactly suggest inviting people for a civil discussion of differences.

If Ben “Mr. Bipartisanship” Cline had any qualms about this, he didn’t raise them.

Bannon began the interview by claiming that President Biden’s assertion that some Republicans want to cut Social Security is a “bald-faced lie.” (It’s not.)

Cline replied: “We have to put out a balanced budget that preserves and protects Social Security and Medicare and does not go after those essential programs.”

Bannon then asked: “What are your constituents telling you after they heard the State of the Union?”

Cline said: “They’re furious and so am I.”

(Earlier this month Cline said we were furious that DirecTV was no longer streaming the rightwing Newsmax channel because of a dispute over carriage fees. Does he think we live in a permanent state of fury?)

He continued: “[Biden] baits us by saying, ‘Oh you all want to cut Social Security and Medicare.’ Well, of course we’re going to object in the middle of his speech…When somebody lies to your face, you’re gonna tell them they’re lying to their face. And that’s what we did during the State of the Union.”

If Biden was baiting Cline and his fellow Republicans, he succeeded quite well. He got them to agree that there would be no cuts to Social Security or Medicare. And Cline is the one who is lying about wanting to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare. He is a member of the Republican Study Committee, which wants to slash Social Security and Medicare benefits for tens of millions of aging and retiring Americans.

Just this week, Cline told a meeting of constituents in Winchester that he thinks Social Security should be “means tested.” He said that “millionaires shouldn’t be getting Social Security.” Does that mean people who pay into Social Security all their working lives aren’t necessarily entitled to it? And how does Cline propose to determine who is a millionaire and who isn’t?

Bannon then switched the subject to Cline’s role on the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Cline’s friend Jim Jordan, who is purporting to investigate the Biden administration’s “weaponization” of the Department of Justice and the intelligence agencies.

Cline explained: “When the DoJ and when our intelligence agencies don’t respond, that’s when they bring me in. I’m the chair of this little rump subcommittee called ‘Responsiveness and Accountability Oversight.’ And so they want me to haul these people up to the Hill, read them the riot act and try and convince them that cooperating with the Judiciary Committee is better than the alternative, which is being held in contempt… [Jordan] needs a bulldog at the subcommittee level to make their lives hell, quite frankly. And so he’s tasked me with that responsibility.”

I can’t wait to see how that plays out. But on the matter of non-cooperation with House committees: In October 2022, Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison and a $6,500 fine after he was convicted for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He is free pending appeal.

Mysteriously, that topic never came up during the interview.

Cline schedules town hall in Salem

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Thursday February 16 at 12 noon in Salem at Lydia’s Italian Kitchen, 1713 Riverview Drive.

According to Cline’s website: “Citizens of Salem will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. One (1) ticket per registrant. Attendees will be responsible for any food and/or beverages purchased during the event. Signs and noisemakers are prohibited.”

Register here.

Cline schedules town halls in Alleghany County and Winchester

Congressman Cline will meet with constituents on Monday February 13 at 5:30 Alleghany County at Family Tree T’s Cafe 100 Old Church Street, Low Moor (register here); and on Wednesday February 15 at 12 noon in Winchester at Piccadilly’s Public House & Restaurant 125 East Piccadilly Street (register here).

There is no shortage of possible questions for the congressman.