A Democratic candidate considered one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq war was clobbered by one of its biggest supporters in a Minnesota race that’s received little media coverage.
Incumbent Republican John Kline trounced anti-war activist Coleen Rowley by double digits in their bid for the state’s 2nd congressional district. The blowout bucks conventional wisdom that anti-war sentiment worked in Democrats’ favor across the board.
Rowley, often compared to anti-Bush peace activist Cindy Sheehan, made a name for herself as an FBI whistleblower. Time magazine named her one of its “Women of the Year” in 2002, after she testified that FBI headquarters ignored her Minnesota office’s warnings about al-Qaida operative Zacarias Moussaoui.
Rowley, who scolded Kline for “blindly” supporting Bush and the war, blames her plain looks for the loss.
“For politics, you do have to have a certain amount of prom queen appeal,” she said.
“I’m never going to run for a political office again,” vowed the former FBI agent, who billed herself as the “Agent of Change,” a play on her former law enforcement experience and Democrats call for change of course in Iraq.
Backed by Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., Rowley called for withdrawal of troops from Iraq and an investigation into Halliburton and other reconstruction contracts. She also called for a review of the Patriot Act, warning that the FBI was abusing provisions that ease restrictions on eavesdropping on Muslim terror suspects.
In addition, she argued for national health care and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Kline, an ex-Marine, accused Rowley of disrespecting the military. Rowley, who was born on a military base, responded by pointing out her brother served with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan and her daughter is enrolled in the Naval ROTC on a full college scholarship.
However, knowledgeable sources say Rowley tried to talk her daughter out of signing her military commitment papers in 2004. She also forced her to read the anti-war book, “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” by Chris Hedges.
The author argues that war, no matter the cause, is “organized murder.”