Comedian Bill Maher announced Friday night that he will personally target Republican Rep. John Kline (Minn.) for defeat in the November election — the culmination of his longstanding “Flip a District” contest in which the HBO host allowed his viewers to pick which Republican he would attempt to unseat.
Maher went on to tell his audience that he didn’t know too much about Rep. Kline, but he did joke:
“I’ve never heard of John Kline, but he sounds like he might be Jewish,” Maher joked.
Two problems with Maher’s ignorance. One, Kline isn’t Jewish and two, his race isn’t considered winnable by the DCCC:
But in targeting Kline, that money is probably going to be poorly spent.
That’s because Kline, quite simply, isn’t a Democratic target.
Yes, he comes from a swingy suburban district in the Twin Cities suburbs — a district that went by the narrowest of margins for President Obama in 2012 and by slightly more in 2008. On its surface, it would seem ripe. But Kline has never taken less than 54 percent of the vote, including when he was an actual target in the 2012 election.
As it happens, Kline faces a rematch this year with the same guy he beat by eight points in 2012, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller ((D). Except Obermueller this time is dealing with a much less favorable environment. And the Cook Political Report, which has rated 29 Republican seats as being potentially in play in the 2014 election, doesn’t even include Kline among the least-vulnerable on that list.
Said one Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to offer a candid take: “Sometimes money could be spent in a way that makes a difference or in a way that gets a headline. This is the latter.”
A “stunt.” But spend your money however you want, Bill. It amuses us:
There is nothing I love more the credulous liberal rich guys like Bill Maher running their $ through a shredder.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) September 13, 2014
Interpretation of Bill Maher picking John Kline to target vs. Mike Coffman: knows he's likely to lose either way, wants to avoid blame.
— Jessica Taylor (@JessicaTaylor) September 13, 2014
Bill Maher is targeting Rep. John Kline. He picked the wrong guy. http://t.co/qCr0ENLb6R
— Chris Cillizza (@TheFix) September 13, 2014
Bill Maher's only political donation in 2014 cycle was in October 2013 to Win Minnesota. Should be no surprise he selected John Kline.
— Mike Karbo (@MKarbo) September 13, 2014
— Erik Springer (@E_spring18) September 13, 2014
And then there’s this fawning praise from The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel:
Thinkin' Jon Stewart, Bill Maher savvier FP advisors than some of clowns parading in DC or those punditizing w/ ties to defense companies,
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) September 13, 2014
Exit question: If he’s so savvy, why does Bill Maher think Rep. Kline is Jewish?