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Posts tagged with “Steve Kagen”

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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ABC News Blows Up Democrats’ “PAYGO” Pipe Dream

This is too beautiful not to share:

Long have I been attacking the Democratic idea of “PAYGO” for the smokescreen that it is to no real budget cuts and only a continual excuse to raise taxes and keep them high.  (See here, here, and here.)  Lead among the top spinners of PAYGO are Wisconsin’s own Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and Steve Kagen (D-Appleton) — Kagen going so far as penning a column annually on the topic in the Gannett Wisconsin papers in his district.

Of the campaigns going against either Kagen or Kind, the only one I have seen attacking the Democrats’ PAYGO scheme is that of State Rep. Roger Roth, who has put out two press releases out over the past week.  Hopefully others — especially State Sen. Kapanke out there in the 3rd Congressional District — attack these free-spending hypocrites for what they really are when it comes to be strong stewards with the government’s purse strings.

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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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Daily Quick Hits

Video of the Day

A quick capture by the NRCC of Kagen in full “Talking Point Regurgitation Mode.”

You know, the job of a Press Secretary is to be on top of things to make sure her boss doesn’t make a fool out of himself in front of a national cable audience.

By the way, it’s never a good sign when you have a White House Press Secretary tell the press at the briefing ‘The attorneys are looking at it.’

The “What the $^&*” Story of the Day

There’d be comedy in this, if it weren’t so sad given his addiction and how no one in Madison seems to give a damn about getting him the help he needs because Democrats need his vote.  Tragedy thy name is enabling.

Rep. Jeff Wood had more than eight times the “therapeutic” range of an ingredient found in cough syrup when he was arrested in September 2009.

A state lab test result, which was obtained by the Wisconsin State Journal through a state open records request, showed Wood had high levels of Dextromethorphan (DXM) in his system when he was arrested by the State Patrol in Marathon County in September.

The drug is an over-the-counter cough suppressant commonly found in cold medications, which is often abused by adolescents to “generate euphoria and visual and auditory hallucinations,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Illegal use of DXM, which is also known as “poor man’s PCP,” is often called “Robo-tripping” or “skittling.”

PPP’s Russ-Tommy Poll

I know a bunch of liberal bloggers in Wisconsin are over-joyed by it (The Chief, dude, seriously, language.)  But I noticed this; as did the state media, Feingold went from being up 9 last November to being up 3…in a Democratic Polling Firm’s poll.

(Maybe if they keep calling Tommy a lobbyist some more…)

USPS Requests to Go Five Days-a-Week

Congress must still approve the move; but the time has come, and kudos to the Post Office for either seeing its own likely demise because of technology ahead of time.

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That Talking Point/ High Point Didn’t Last Long

One of the talking points Democrats where hoping to campaign on as a benefit for the just signed Health Care Reform bill was the idea that within six months parents could finally get policies which could cover their children with pre-existing conditions.  The talking point was out quick, repeating continuously, and heralded by the media since Sunday.

One problem: That’s not how the bill is structured.

Hours after President Barack Obama signed historic health care legislation, a potential problem emerged. Administration officials are now scrambling to fix a gap in highly touted benefits for children.

Obama made better coverage for children a centerpiece of his health care remake, but it turns out the letter of the law provided a less-than-complete guarantee that kids with health problems would not be shut out of coverage.

Under the new law, insurance companies still would be able to refuse new coverage to children because of a pre-existing medical problem, said Karen Lightfoot, spokeswoman for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, one of the main congressional panels that wrote the bill Obama signed into law Tuesday.

However, if a child is accepted for coverage, or is already covered, the insurer cannot exclude payment for treating a particular illness, as sometimes happens now. For example, if a child has asthma, the insurance company cannot write a policy that excludes that condition from coverage. The new safeguard will be in place later this year.

Full protection for children would not come until 2014, said Kate Cyrul, a spokeswoman for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, another panel that authored the legislation. That’s the same year when insurance companies could no longer deny coverage to any person on account of health problems.

Obama’s public statements have conveyed the impression that the new protections for kids were more sweeping and straightforward.

So basically, any Congressman — say an allergist who bought himself a primary in 2006 and then rode two waves to Congress — who’s talking about this part of the bill like it happens, like say now, is lying.

OR, as the NRCC correctly points out, never read the freaking thing.

“Just one day after his government healthcare takeover was signed into law, it’s already clear that Democrat rubber-stamp Steve Kagen was walking the party line when he signed off on a 2,700-page bill without even knowing what was in it,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “After touting coverage for children as a reason to pass their runaway healthcare agenda, Democrats are just now finding out that this key provision isn’t actually in the bill. Wisconsin families are now left wondering how much more taxpayer money will be wasted on Washington’s incompetence. Kagen is probably searching for excuses, but he should be searching for a new job because voters aren’t likely to forget this ineptitude on Election Day.”

There’s also word there’s some confusion about the “Slacker Provision” for “children” covered by their parents until they are 26 years old as well.  Seems current policies are exempted from this change; it’s a loophole the reconciliation bill may or may not fix.  Makes you wonder if there’s an amendment by someone in the Senate to correct these errors.

Then it makes you wonder if Senate Democrats will vote to have them tabled so they don’t have to send the bill back to the House for their approval…

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Kagen Replies on Rangel

And to say it’s bizarre, is an understatement.  This, is the entire statement.

WASHINGTON, DC- Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. released following statement in response to the announcement that Representative Charles Rangel has temporarily stepped down from his post as chairman Ways and Means Committee:

“I’m working hard to bring jobs back to Wisconsin and responsibility back to Washington, and if that means leadership in the House of Representatives must change – so be it.”


On the other front I have going related to the Kagen-Rangel money angle, I’ve only seen a press release out from the Roger Roth campaign related to the Rangel money and Kagen.

However, after Kagen’s bizzare statement listed above, the Roth campaign issued a second statement. Here it is from an email I received from the campaign.

Roth: Yes or no please

In response to calls for him to return the campaign contributions from Congressman Charlie Rangel, Congressman Steve Kagen issued the following response:   “I’m working hard to bring jobs back to Wisconsin and responsibility back to Washington, and if that means leadership in the House of Representatives must change – so be it.”

Congressman Kagen does not address the campaign contributions nor does he say if he believes Rangel should remain as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  In response to Kagen’s statement, State Representative Roger Roth, who previously called on Kagen to return donations from Rangel, issued the following statement:

“Congressman Kagen’s non-response to calls to return the $21,000 he’s received from scandal-plagued Congressman Charlie Rangel is exactly why people in Northeast Wisconsin are so frustrated with Kagen and all of Washington.  People are hungry for straight talk and honest answers, and they are sick and tired of politics as usual.  They are tired of politicians like Steve Kagen saying he’s working to reduce government spending the same time he votes to increase the national debt to a record high.  They are tired of politicians like Steve Kagen saying he wants to reform Washington but voting for special-interest earmarks.  They are tired of politicians like Steve Kagen who can’t even answer a simple question.”

“Elect me as your congressman and I can’t promise you’ll always agree with me, but I can promise you’ll know where I stand and my door will always be open.”

“Congressman Kagen should tell us if he plans on keeping Rangel’s contributions and he should tell us if he thinks Rangel should be permanently stripped of his chairmanship of the most powerful committee in Congress.  A simple yes or no answer would suffice.”

The talk up in Packerland was that if they got their heads in the game, the Roth Campaign could be formidable. It is starting to look that way.

UPDATE: The Gannett Wisconsin newspaper report that a later statement by Kagen makes it clear he’s not giving a dime back.  They then reach a bunch of liberal or George Soros-financed (in the case of CREW) so-called “Good Government Groups” for a ruling on the what’s ethical in terms of Rangel donations.

Knowing these groups stances in the past, it’s hard not to laugh at their response.

In a brief statement issued Wednesday, Kagen suggested he has no intention of returning the contributions.

“No amount of money will ever be able to affect my vote, for I only have the best interests of my patients and my constituents in mind,” Kagen said.

The list of Democrats returning Rangel’s money continues to grow, with at least 17 having done so as of Wednesday, according to news reports. [Kevin – I’ve seen NRCC Communications Ken Spain on Twitter say it’s around $353,000 as of tonight at 7 PM ET.]

But campaign finance and ethics experts say they see no reason for Democrats to return the contributions.

“If members want to return Rangel’s money to distance themselves from him, that is one thing. But we don’t think that Rangel’s contributions to other members are ‘tainted’ in any way,” said Mary Boyle, spokeswoman for Common Cause, a campaign finance and ethics watchdog group. “There are no allegations or evidence suggesting that Rangel came by his campaign war chest in unethical ways.”

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that unless the money donated by Rangel’s committees came from ill-gotten gains, there’s no ethical lapse in keeping it. She suggested Republicans are trying to use the contributions for political gain in an election year.

“The money thing is kind of silly, really,” she said.

Funny, I don’t recall these groups ever saying anything similar to Republicans in 2006 about donations from Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, or Mark Foley.

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Bit Lost Here

So…Steve Kagen’s campaign (or more correctly, “Captain Scratch Test” himself) won’t comment on the Charlie Rangel-Donations issue because ‘his campaign does not yet have a spokesperson on staff,’ but he will comment to the Gannett Wisconsin papers in Green Bay and Appleton when he’s got Michael Maistelman trying to get the four television stations to pull an ad from their airwaves.

(And gee Mike, no letter to the editor this time around, you’re dropping the ball.  Or is that planned for next week?)

Think it might be time Diana Marrero of the Journal Sentinel to get back on the phone and ask why she was getting the stonewall from Kagen regarding Rangel.

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NRCC to Kagen: “Return the Rangel Money!”

Hey, I was ahead of the curve on this since last weekGood to see DC’s coming on board with me!

Now where are the 8th CD GOP Primary folks?

Republicans are calling on Rep. Steve Kagen to return $21,000 in campaign donations from embattled New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel.

The Appleton Democrat is one of 71 House Democrats being targeted by the National Republican Congressional Committee for taking campaign funds from Rangel in recent years. Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was admonished by a congressional ethics committee last week for violating House gift rules in relation to two Caribbean trips sponsored by corporations. Rangel is also facing allegations that he used his office to raise money for an academic center named for him and that he used his stature to rent out four rent-controlled apartments in Harlem.

“Charlie Rangel has been embroiled in an ethical storm for years, but that hasn’t stopped Steve Kagen from lining his campaign coffers with his tainted money,” Ken Spain, an NRCC spokesman, said in a statement.

Republicans are also pressuring Democrats to force the longtime lawmaker to step down from his committee post. They are asking Democratic leaders to schedule a vote on the issue this week.

So far, at least eight Democrats have said they would return the campaign donations back to Rangel or donate the funds to charity and some are joining the GOP in asking Rangel to give up his committee gavel.

Kagen could not be reached for comment. His campaign does not yet have a spokesperson on staff.

Word out of Politico is that the flood gates have begun to open against Rangel in at least one aspect: Vulnerable Democrats are starting to come out of the woodwork telling Rangel to at least step down as Ways and Means Chairman.  Kagen, so far, is not among them.

Also word is that GOP Representative John Carter of Texas will be introducing a resolution against Rangel tomorrow.

However, what makes Kagen’s silence about Rangel so damning, is the rank hypocrisy it shows on his part.  See, in June of 2007, Kagen — no doubt knowing that guys like me (if I could blog at this site at the time) would be calling him a “Pelosi Puppet” in his first re-election fight if he didn’t, not to mention other things Kagen campaigned on — was the first Democrat to come out against former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.  (He of $90,000 in his freezer fame)

In fact, here’s what his office wrote at the time.

“For our democracy to thrive, people must have faith in the integrity of our government institutions and the people who serve in them.

Serving in the United States Congress is a privilege bestowed by the people of this nation.  It comes with special responsibilities. I sought public office with a pledge to restore honesty and integrity to government.

While Mr. Jefferson is entitled to the legal presumption of innocence to which all citizens are entitled, all members of Congress must be held to a higher standard.  Congressman Jefferson should consider resigning for the good of the Congress and for the good of the nation.”

Oh, how has he changed in 33 months…

UPDATE: While I was typing the above post, word is starting to leak that Rangel is going to step down from his Ways and Means Chairmanship ‘pending outcome of ethical inquires.’  Pete Stark of California, who has his own ethical issues, will take the gavel until further notice.

This news still changes nothing in regards to Kagen.

UPDATE II: Politico reports that early leaks about Rangel stepping down are incorrect, and that Pelosi still stands behind.

UPDATE III: OK, it appears the first version is correct according to NBC’s Chuck Todd on Twitter.  Rangel’s still chairman, but he’s taking a break ‘until the ethical shadow lapses.’

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