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Category “2010 WI-08 Race”

Already a Classier Form of Congressman

Amazing, a White House Visit story from the 8th Congressional District that doesn’t involve bathrooms, wife’s being misnamed, and other aspects of tales told long, long ago.

Even before he arrived in Wisconsin Wednesday, President Obama was fielding personal reminders of the Chicago Bears’ loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday.

The President hosted a White House reception Monday night for new members of Congress, and when Reid Ribble was introduced as the congressman from Green Bay, he let out a soft groan.

“He said ‘Oh, no,’” said Ribble, who brought a present for Obama, a Packers tie. The President good-naturedly held it up over his own tie and posed for pictures, Ribble said.

‘He was a good sport,” said Ribble, a Republican.

Ribble actually brought two Packers ties. He left one with the President. The second one was signed by Obama and Vice President Biden. Ribble also signed it, and said he plans to have the state’s two US Senators sign it, then present it as a memento to a soldier recuperating  at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in D.C.

A slightly better idea would be to auction the tie off and use the money to buy gifts and other things for recovering soldiers from Wisconsin who are recuperating at Walter Reed.  A tie is nice, but the other idea puts a smile on more than one individuals face.

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Let’s Not Mince Words Here

From the WisPolitics blog covering the 2010 DPW Convention:

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen told delegates he ran for Congress to oppose a pair of wars being waged “a president who couldn’t think things through.”

He said he wants to stay to fulfill the promise of health care reform and help rebuild the nation’s economy. He stressed that he has voted “no to bailouts; yes to jobs,” and said he was proud to deliver on a promise of leaving no patients behind with the passage of health care reform.

But he also said that his constituents are “confused,” and he needs Democrats to help him in the 8th CD.

“They actually believe what they see on TV and think it’s reality,” Kagen said. “We have to work hard to get our message through.”

(Emphasis mine)

Translation: My own polling says I’m losing.

Never really wanted to say this, but I’ve been privy to a few polls — NRCC, that crazy McCormick poll, a poll from another politician running for another office in the Green Bay area — and they all pretty much say the same thing: Kagen’s re-elect numbers are bad.  Never really wanted to believe any of them because 1) the GOP Primary is still going on in WI-08 and generic numbers, even in the historically GOP-leaning 8th CD, are meaningless until the match-up is set;  2) Kagen’s been more than coy about his even running for his own re-election; and  3) While Kagen’s fund-raising isn’t great, he’s going to have an advantage in money in the bank and free media by September 15th, the day after the primary.  It’s just one of the pluses of being the incumbent.

That being said, I really wonder if Kagen’s ready to run a campaign without John Gard to vilify and a Democratic wave to his back.

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Scared Democrats Avoiding Constituents

So much for representative government…

If the time-honored tradition of the political meeting is not quite dead, it seems to be teetering closer to extinction. Of the 255 Democrats who make up the majority in the House, only a handful held town-hall-style forums as legislators spent last week at home in their districts.

It was no scheduling accident.

With images of overheated, finger-waving crowds still seared into their minds from the discontent of last August, many Democrats heeded the advice of party leaders and tried to avoid unscripted question-and-answer sessions. The recommendations were clear: hold events in controlled settings — a bank or credit union, for example — or tour local businesses or participate in community service projects.

And to reach thousands of constituents at a time, without the worry of being snared in an angry confrontation with voters, more lawmakers are also taking part in a fast-growing trend: the telephone town meeting, where chances are remote that a testy exchange will wind up on YouTube.

It should be noted, the only Wisconsin Representative who appears to have held town halls last week was Paul Ryan, who admitted to during an hour-long interview on “The Rush Limbaugh Show” when 1130 WISN’s Mark Belling was filling in for the recently-wed Limbaugh.

There are little reports of what Wisconsin’s Democratic members of the House did.

All I can find is a story last week about Steve Kagen going to Rhinelander where he was given the kid glove treatment by former State Superindentant of Public Instruction and WEAC puppet Elizabeth Burmaster at Nicolet College in Rhinelander, where Burmaster now serves as College President.

The newspaper in Rhinelander points out Kagen only spoke with the school’s administrative staff; not even the students.

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This Looks Familiar…

A press release this morning from the Roth for Congress Campaign.

Appleton— During his first run for Congress in 2006, Steve Kagen claimed he would “ stand up for true Wisconsin values by balancing the federal budget, putting an end to pork, and enacting strict new spending limits to bring down the record deficits we are inheriting.”

What a difference four years make.

“With two terms in office, Steve Kagen has helped push our national debt past the $13 trillion mark, championed hundreds of millions of dollars in pork barrel spending, and continually voted against the will of his constituents on major issues such as health care and cap and trade,” said state Representative Roger Roth, candidate for Congress in Wisconsin’s 8th District.

In the last three months, Steve Kagen has requested $113.7 million in special interest projects and helped add $230 billion to the national debt by ignoring the Democrat’s own Pay-Go standards and voting lock step with Nancy Pelosi and the Democrat Majority in Congress.

“Record debts, special interest projects and dishonest government aren’t ‘true Wisconsin values,’ and they certainly aren’t the values the people of the 8th District expect from their representative.”

State Representative Roger Roth is a lifelong resident of Appleton, Wisconsin. He has an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association, a 100% voting record with Wisconsin Right to Life, is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and participates in his family’s third-generation construction business.

The quote in the opening line, is clearing taken from this post I penned earlier this week.

Listen, I’ll tell the Roth Campaign the same thing I told the Ribble Campaign after they ran with a post I wrote last year regarding Kagen’s Congressional office spending: You can use whatever you want at anytime, but please, credit me or the blog as the source material.  It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine.

(By the way, that offer is open to all 8th Congressional Republican Candidates, I’m not endorsing anyone, I just want Steve Kagen gone.)

That, or tell Tom Erickson at the NRCC to get off his butt in DC and have them hire me as a Researcher.  Either will work for me.

Pro Bono is not really cutting it anymore after nearly five years of this.  Trust me, I’m not scolding, and I don’t mind being here to help; just a little courtesy would be nice.

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Kagen Transparency Bill Going No Where

Rarely a day goes by over the past month where the Gannett Wisconsin papers in Green Bay and Appleton salute H.R. 4700, the “Transparency in All Health Care Pricing Act of 2010.”  (There was an editorial in the Post-Crescent recently, see at link.)   The bill is authored by Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton), and after three, long years of being ignored by House leadership, he’s finally got a hearing on his top legislative agenda item: Health Care Transparency.

(Of course, never mind that still to this day, you can’t find what anything about costs on the Kagen Allergy Clinic, or it’s replacement, website.)

I will give Kagen credit, Health Care Transparency is a sound idea.  If I can go into a restaurant and see what something costs on the menu, auto body shop and get an estimate on my car, etc., why can’t I do the same with my health care.   However, Kagen’s bill is seen as two things: 1) His magic bullet to have some sort of actual legislative achievement under his belt, and 2) Likely not going anywhere under the current Congress even after having a hearing on it, and two other like bills.

Why is it going no where?  Well, the likeliest reason is because Democrats don’t want to have yet another vote on a health care bill before November.  Frankly, any fight, at any level has them running scared, and they seem to not want the hassle.

Healthcare reform fatigue has set in among Democrats, casting doubt that Congress will move much health-related legislation the rest of this session.

Measures in jeopardy include bills that would require more information on healthcare prices, empower federal regulators to sign off on premium increases and strip insurers of their exemption from antitrust laws.

Democrats in the House and Senate alike are eager to focus on vote-getting issues such as job creation as the midterm elections approach.

“I have said for the last year and a half that we should be doing more on job creation, and I hope that we do move on,” said Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.), a “no” vote on health reform. “I don’t think we’re going to be doing much more of anything on healthcare reform for the rest of the year.”

So what of the Kagen bill?  Why does he keep pushing it if everyone in DC knows it’s going no where?  Again, he needs it, thinking it can help his re-election chances.  But those who’ve actually read the bill; or have one of its similar bills, say something completely different than what “the good doctor’s” prescribing for the rest of us with his diagnosis…

The Energy and Commerce hearing focused on three bills that would require healthcare providers to unveil their prices so consumers can make informed decisions.

The main vehicle, sponsored by Rep. Steve Kagen (D-Wis.) and endorsed by 54 Democrats, is largely seen by lobbyists as having little chance of passing; it would require all healthcare providers — doctors, hospitals, drugmakers, pharmacies — to “publicly disclose, on a continuous basis, all prices.”

Kagen, who faces a tough race for reelection this November, has been touting the measure. But providers argue that forcing them to disclose their negotiated prices would drive costs up for consumers.

“I really don’t think anything like [the Kagen bill] is going to move because of the short time that we have to get anything else done this year,” Lipinski said. “I really hope there’s going to be a focus on jobs for the rest of the year.”

Two more modest bills sponsored by committee Republicans Joe Barton and Michael Burgess, both of Texas, may yet have a chance as they have bipartisan and industry support.

“I’m glad Congressman Kagen introduced [his bill], because it makes ours look much more responsible,” said Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), who has co-sponsored both alternatives.

Waxman and his Health panel chairman, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), have stopped short of committing to a markup.

Anyone can get a hearing.  Hell, most Congressional hearings are side shows anyway.  It’s getting the markup that’s the real kicker.  That’s the first legitimate step to getting a bill actually made law in the first place out in DC.

Boy, that quote from Democratic Congressman Green of Texas is a real killer for Kagen’s chief legislative agenda item.  Pity someone like me had to find it…

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Obey to Retire

Yeah, I’m late to the party on this.

Bone-tired and facing a tough political landscape at home, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election, ending a 41-year House career stamped by his unique talent and tempestuousness.

Rarely does a committee chairman of such power just walk away, and Obey’s decision is both a blow to Democrats and marks the passing of one of the last major leaders of the 1970’s reforms that reshaped the modern House.

“I am ready to turn the page, and frankly, I think that my district is ready for someone new to make a fresh start,” Obey said in an afternoon press conference in his committee’s meeting room.

Despite poor polls at home, he insisted that could win re-election in November but admitted he feared another reapportionment fight in the next Congress and a shift in the public mood against the aggressive public investments which have been his trademark.

“I do not want to be the position as chairman of the Appropriations Committee of producing and defending lowest common denominator legislation that is inadequate to that task,” Obey said, “And given the mood of the country, that is what I would have to do if I stayed.”

The chairman’s retirement is not entirely a surprise, but as of late Tuesday night, Obey’s staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff. Only Wednesday morning did a person close to him confirm to POLITICO that he was leaving, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was only informed then as well.

Let’s state the obvious here: This is huge news in Wisconsin, no matter what your political alignment.  Obey was a fixture (an angry, firebrand of a fixture) for over forty years and it will feel odd with him not being there.  It is odder still that he’s retiring, just like that.  A part of me always felt the only way David Obey was leaving Congress was in a pine box.

Let’s go over the basics of this new paradigm in Wisconsin politics shall we.

1) Mike Tate, please go change your pants.  No one will blame you if you need to.

Makes you wonder if the wunderkind best known for false robo-calls to the elderly was expecting both Doyle and Obey to step aside in 2010 when he was anointed last summer.

2) Duffy Campaign take the victory lap, you’ve earned it.

I honestly grew to believe as this campaign between Duffy was gearing up, that Obey had forgotten how to campaign over the years.  Then add in the new modern environment of campaigns with websites, blogs, social networking, and the like and you wonder how he was going to handle it all.  My friend Patrick Ruffini (a Duffy campaign consultant for his website and new media) told me at CPAC that the Obey campaign had finally set up its first campaign website in January and that prior to this cycle, Obey had never felt the need to put one up.

That fact alone, if true from what Ruffini told me, was itself telling.

3) If you know who the Democrats are going to run in Obey’s stead, please call me.

Going through the number of Democrats in the 7th, I look at who not only could run, but could win.  Logically, since he’s coveted the seat for years, State Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker (D-Schofield) would make sense…if it weren’t this year.  Now he’s got baggage from this past legislative session — $5 Billion in new taxes for starters — that would give off a stink and it will effect not only him, but all legislators from Northern Wisconsin as well.

My early guess of who runs? A mayor or village president from the district.

One does wonder if they’ll be a primary up there …

Democrats in the 7th — hell the entire state — are dealing with the loss of their Godfather.  It’s going to be odd to see once the grieving process is over.

4) Kagen Must Really Be Scared Now.

Admittedly, this demand by Marc Savard for Kagen to follow Obey’s lead and resign from Congress is about the dumbest thing I’ve read today, but the adding on from a number of 8th Congressional campaigns (WisPolitics links to press releases by Trager and Ribble) is just a reminder to Kagen that it’s going to be a tough year for Democrats on the Congressional level.

When you have Dave Obey bailing on re-election, what does it say about Kagen’s chances?

5) Duffy’s the Front-Runner.

That’s pretty much assumed at this moment by everyone, and it will be interesting to see what the various political handicappers (Cook, CQ, Rothenberg) now list WI-07 by the end of the week.  For now, Duffy has the cash, the name exposure, the good mojo, a new baby, and the Democrats are searching for a candidate or two to raise money for.

Not a bad month.

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Quote of the Day

From FoxPolitics.net, a businessman who attended a discussion Rep. Steve Kagen, MD (D-Appleton) held last week on the effects of the health care bill on small businesses.  (Reports from Fox 11 on Green Bay show it was not the event Kagen’s ego — or the state AP which just rehashed Kagen’s press release — made it out to be.)

Kagen has crossed the Rubicon. He’s helpless. He’s useless.

Some points from the meeting:

  • “If you are keeping score, it’s Kagen 3, Pelosi 0.” That line drew groans. And laughter from a couple.
  • CBO estimates are accurate according to Rep. Kagen. When pressed he just said, “we didn’t cook the books”. Uh huh. Right.
  • They are creating a marketplace for healthcare. Creating a marketplace? Jeebus.
  • Kept talking about transparency. WOW.
  • People that attended – all 12 of us were very unhappy about the information about the meeting. I found out at 8:30am today and most people found out Friday afternoon. When we asked Craig [Moser, Kagen’s in-state “Constituent Services Director], he said, “It’s in the paper today.” Dumb.
  • The good doctor was 25 minutes late for the meeting.
  • “Your health relies on your neighbor’s health”. He talked of limiting body mass index. I kid you not.

I am objective (or at least try to be) – all I see from this man is arrogance and lies. He has gone from representing the 8th congressional district to just another hack politician who represents the Democratic Party. He has no interest in debate. I don’t even think he believes what he says. Very contentious … once again.

‘Kagen 3, Pelosi 0?’  Note to self: See if I still have that Heller cartoon from 2007.  You know, the one with Kagen sporting the big head.

One thing I keep wondering; especially with the non-stop help the Cap Times seems to be giving Kagen in adoring editorials, Nichols columns, and sudden attacks on Rep. Roger Roth (R-Grand Chute), is when will John Nichols write the one thing everyone who’s watched the 8th CD dynamic for these past five years knows: The only way Steve Kagen wins, is if John Gard is running.

It was easy for Kagen to vilify Gard the past two cycles.  John’s may be a great guy, a good friend, and a wonderful family man, but his political career was a walking cliche.  Hell; I’m half wondering when our side does the same the Left did to Gard to Tom “Call Me Thomas” Nelson.  That guy is just, just…wow…

Kagen won’t have that help this time around.  Oh, he’s trying to turn Roth (through the Cap Times) into this cycle’s Gard for him if you believe the Kagen Campaign blog.  I’m sure he’ll do the same if Reid Ribble or Marc Trager win as well.  It’s the Kagen campaign M.O.; so full of projection and lies you wonder if even the reporters covering it believe them anymore.

(Really need to ask that of the N.E. Wisconsin reporters I communicate with on Twitter about that…)

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Costs Will Rise Under Health Care Bill

What was that line Rep. Steve Kagen, MD, (D-Appleton) said about the health care bill?  Something along the line of “It’s a great bill, and it keeps getting better” if I recall?

Funny, one could say that — getting better — about the chances to replace him this November.  He sure he read it?

President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law is getting a mixed verdict in the first comprehensive look by neutral experts: More Americans will be covered, but costs are also going up.

Economic experts at the Health and Human Services Department concluded in a report issued Thursday that the health care remake will achieve Obama’s aim of expanding health insurance — adding 34 million to the coverage rolls.

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.

The report also states that the Health Care Bill will explode the federal deficit.  No wonder the Roth Campaign’s been spending the last two weeks (with two more to go based on their countdown) pointing out the flaws in the bill via press release.

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Portents of the Fall

In 2006, the election of Larry Nelson in the City of Waukesha was seen by some as the first ripple bad things were coming for Wisconsin Republicans.  Nelson was a Democrat — an unabashed one at that — in what is one of Wisconsin’s biggest Republican-leaning counties and cities.

Last night, Nelson got crushed.

Political newcomer Jeff Scrima, who ran a scrappy campaign built on objections to Waukesha’s search for radium-free water at Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shore, unseated first-term incumbent Mayor Larry Nelson Tuesday by a commanding margin.

Scrima, who also came in first in the five-way February primary, won with 58% of the vote to Nelson’s 42%.

“Obviously the voters wanted a change in leadership, and I certainly accept their decision,” Nelson said. “I’m very proud of what I accomplished during the last four years. The feedback I’ve gotten the past few weeks has been very positive. It may just be a year when people give newcomers a chance and throw incumbents out.

Nelson said he thought the race would be closer.

Obviously, it wasn’t.

Lastly, I want to point out something from the Brown County Supervisors races.  In particularly, District 1.

District 1
W-Mark Tumpach, 916
Adam Warpinski (i), 804

For those unaware, Adam Warpinski (see salary data here from Legistorm.com) is a full-time for Congressman Steve Kagen (D-Appleton).  Apply all you want into that.

In other Brown County Supervisor/WI-08-related news, the Green Bay Press-Gazette doesn’t even mention Andy Williams vote total for his write-in campaign.

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Yeah, This Won’t Work

Sometimes, when you lose, you just need to admit it, move on and stop being a pompous jerk.

This is apparently is not one of those times for this guy.

Brown County Supervisor Andy Williams, who was defeated in the February primary election, is staging a write-in campaign to retain his seat. He registered Thursday as a write-in candidate with the county clerk.

Williams is near the end of his first term representing the 18th District in De Pere.

He was defeated in the primary by Jack LeDuc and Kris Schuller, who will be on Tuesday’s ballot.

LeDuc earned 164 votes and Schuller took 154 votes in the primary. Williams received 62 votes, and Troye Carter received 12.

Williams is also in the GOP Primary for the 8th Congressional District, but has pretty much become an after-thought in the race.  He has no money or has raised very little according to the Federal Elections Commission.

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