Monday, April 11, 2005

Kline in the news

This time it's the L.A. Times, describing A Political Tornado in Kansas:
Kline had promoted the [gay marriage] amendment as a way to rein in "activist judges" who would "deny you the right to define family."

That troubled state Rep. Jeff Jack, a fellow Republican, who said Kline seemed to go out of his way to bash the courts. "It seems to me," Jack said, "he's gotten into some areas that you just wouldn't expect the attorney general to get into."

Clearly, Kline, 45, is no ordinary attorney general.

He travels the state preaching from church pulpits, with a firebrand charisma that has earned him a reputation as the state's best orator. He declares that some of the laws he's sworn to enforce are repugnant to him — especially a woman's right to abortion. He says he will uphold that right, but he interprets it narrowly.

The usual stuff. Also a nice critique of his legal theory.

"The arguments he put into his brief seemed to me not to come out of any legal doctrine, but instead to be designed for the headlines," lawyer James Esseks said.

That's a frequent rap on Kline, who is easy and articulate in front of the cameras, with an athletic build and a clean-cut, forthright face that shows well on TV. Certainly, he likes the big stories.

My question: Does this coverage help him? He's been profiled in some depth by the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. That's great press by any standard. But will lines about his legal logic seeming "not to come out of any legal doctrine" hurt his desire for national office? His Congressional loss will make it hard for him to run again here in the 3rd, and press from the coasts won't help him in statewide races. He has no shot at the presidency any more, he's lost too often and he's too far to the right.

Being in the news as an activist in office can't help him get a judicial appointment, a federal prosecutor's office, or any other appointed office out of D.C. So what's his angle? I guarantee he isn't getting this press coverage without courting the attention.