Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Panic! Mark Kirk Has Not Left the (GOP) Reservation

That last comment string was getting a bit long, so I figured I'd report in on a conference call that Congressman Mark Kirk hosted tonight for 10th District Republican leaders - mostly precinct and township chairmen and committeemen (and women). Kirk realizes the 'firestorm' his vote on the 'Cap and Trade' climate change bill has caused, at least on the right side of the political spectrum, and understands that he need to explain his reasoning, clearly and simply, and (frankly) give people the opportunity to vent.

I think that many Republicans who were initially (and may still be) very upset with Kirk's vote in favor of the bill needed (and need) to: 1) vent their frustration and confusion; 2) hear Kirk's explanation as to why he cast the vote he did; and, 3) be reassured that Kirk has not walked off the reservation. I think the call accomplished those goals, and he will continue to reach out to his constituency in the 10th District in the coming days and weeks.

I won't repeat the entire call blow-by-blow, but a few points stand out.

First, for those folks who have wondered (not without some cause, perhaps) as to what the heck Kirk received in return for his vote from the Emanuel/Pelosi machine, the answer was nada, nothing, zip. In fact, Mark shared that on Friday, President Obama called him twice and Kirk refused to take the call (too busy reading the bill, I assume). Apparently, that was the very first instance The One ever experienced of someone in Kirk's position not taking his call. Hopefully it won't be the last. So, for anyone who was worried that Kirk had been bought by the Dems, that's not the case.

Second, Kirk pointed out that on every other major vote that has occurred in this Congress, Kirk has voted WITH the Republicans and against the Obama administration. On major legislation like the Stimulus, the budget, the Ledbetter Act, Kirk voted with the GOP 100%. Kirk is also gearing up to be a leader on the Republican alternative to ObamaCare, which has all the markings of being a far more important (and much bigger blow to the economy) than the Climate Change bill.

Mark talked a lot about the upcoming fight on health care, and the GOP realizes that you cannot fight something with nothing. While some might contend that given the resources of the Obama administration, and there is no way the GOP can come up with anything that will counter the Obama plan, Kirk begs to differ. He stated that he and his people have written about 75% of the GOP answer to Obama's health care takeover bill, so get ready for the next major battle in Congress to take place very soon. I'm confident that the GOP will support Kirk's position and understand that one vote does not a lost cause make.

Kirk admitted fully that the Climate Change bill was "imperfect." But, as an opportunity to support renewable energy and encourage technology-forcing change in this country that would finally begin to wean ourselves from foreign interests, it simply could not be ignored. While Kirk also acknowledged that the Dems had rushed the bill through, he also noted that even the GOP leader, John Boehner, has always said that people do not remember procedural issues months after a vote; it's the substance of a bill that resonates with the voters. Kirk also noted that the word from his constituents in the 10th was overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, and that serious opposition only developed in the final 48 hours before the vote. As Mark said on the call, in a situation where the will of the public seems to be in flux and somewhat capricious, you have to trust to your own best judgment, and as one of the few people who spent a lot of time reading the bill and meeting with folks like Midwest Generation (which supported the bill), Mark had to vote the way his heart and mind told him.

Mark reiterated that the financial impact on taxpayers would not be significant; especially here in Illinois, where we already have a more stringent renewable energy requirement (25%) under state law than is called for in the climate change bill. Mark also emphasized his commitment to developing domestic power sources such as nuclear energy. Try getting that from the Dems.

Kirk's primary goal with his vote was to show support for a plan to reduce dependence on foreign oil, which hardly anyone can argue with as a goal important for our economy and national security. In the end, you may not agree with his vote, but as we've said here time and again, we'd rather have a thinking Congressman that will vote his heart and mind (and agree with most of the GOP 90% of the time) than the alternative (imagine the Dan Seals perspective not just on climate change, but health care and other critical issues).

Kirk will continue to engage the voters of the 10th District until every constituent that wants to make his or her voice heard by the Congressman has had their say. He may not convince you, and you may not forgive him, but he still has my vote, and hopefully the vote of many thinking Republicans in the 10th.

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was on the call and was impressed. Kirk has been with Republicans on opposing Obama's budget, the Stimulus and the Democrat Government Health Care Takeover.

Kirk also did a good job explaining the $400B we send to the Middle East to buy nuclear weapons and terrorism. Cutting them off is a good long term policy for our national security.

I didn't like the bill but I still like Kirk.

Anonymous said...

Heartfelt thanks to you, TA for this posting. While I would not have voted for this Bill, I am not running into panic mode, throwing up my hands in despair and wanting to unseat Mark Kirk. Let's get a grip on reality, let's hear him explain what the bill is, what it is NOT and also realize that it has not, will most likely never become the law of the land.
Having said that, I think Mr. Kirk will go back to the format he was so successful in employing a few years ago when he spent time with his voters right here in this district. I don't think any of us can appreciate the life of an elected official, especially on the federal level. We have always known and respected the fact that our Congressman is an independent minded man who votes his conscience. I think it's good that he reminded those on his call tonight that his votes on key legislation, the Stimulus Bill, the Omnibus spending Bill, the pledge to not hand out earmarks, have been on what we like to think of as the right side of the vote. I for one will gladly continue to stand up, stand for and vote for Mark Kirk to represent me in Congress.

Anonymous said...

as someone who was with kirk in fall 99 and who was behind him at lovells whehn the media buried him, i gotta say hes good to go for senate.

frankens win means the gop is desperate for winners and the right will rally round kirk.

2 years from now hes gonna replace mccain as the gops top foreign affairs guy in the senate.

btw should we call peta for democat, i know someone that is gonna go nuts.

finally we need to start touting local candidates for state office. mark gallagher a new trier gop volunteer is young, sharp on the issues and would be a comer for julie easy to hate me hamos's seat

foklaes

Anonymous said...

I was upset. I was not happy that we were all left to digest this information without guidance from the Congressman. After hearing his explanation I am now relieved that we have our Mark back in the saddle. I hope our Congressman learned his lesson that communication is the key to a long career.

Anonymous said...

TA, thanks, thanks, thanks, but as my post yesterday evening stated, I'm over my anger, disappointment, have stopped venting and am now standing firmly behind the best Congressman in the whole USofA. I even went to KFC yesterday and did my usual weekly volunteer job!

Your post was timely and very reassuring although I had reached the conclusion that MSK knew what he was doing. The right wing needs to get over it and work hard for him again. I pray that they will.

I attended the Mark Sanford event last month and listened to his "isn't it better to hold to all your beliefs then to win" speech and look at him now. I would rather have MSK in elected office then someone like Sanford.

Baxter and Beau's Mom

Anonymous said...

I guess all that hate was even too much for TA.

Darrell Dvorak said...

Sorry, Kirk's rationale is bogus. The bill will do NOTHING to reduce dependence on foreign oil, which can only be accomplished in his lifetime by increasing nuclear and drilling & are aren't addressed in the bill. And I doubt that true 10th sentiment would have been "overwhelming" if the bill's details had been revealed by adequate debate rather than being rushed thru. The bill is not merely "imperfect", it's an economic abomination. Kirk should have been asked why so many dems voted against it and only 7 other republicans joined him; his answer would have revealed further intellectual confusion and obfuscation.

Anonymous said...

Hey Darrell, YOUR rationale is lost on those of us who are willing to hear our Congressman, cut him the slack he has earned as a great legislator these past 9 plus years. Why don't you take your negative and never ending criticisms over to that twisted thing on her Blog where Kirk bashing for just breathing is the norm. One vote on something that you and I both know has not been and never will be enacted into law isn't how we judge our Congressman. He voted against the Stimulus crap, the Omnibus disaster, he won't tolerate earmarks and he has a strong record on supporting the things we care about in this district. He's done more right than wrong.

Team America said...

Let's everyone take a breath, people. The most important thing for people who want to hang Kirk out to dry is that if Dan Seals had been in this Congress, he would have voted with Pelosi on 10 of 10 huge issues like Ledbetter, the stimulus, the budget, and the upcoming healthcare Armageddon. Even if you can't stand Kirk's vote, he's still had your back on 9 of 10. Try getting that from a Dem. And if you think the 10th District has any chance of electing anyone better than Kirk, you're simply a fool.

Lone Wolf a.k.a. RPT said...

This story shows that the bill that Mr. Kirk voted yes on, had at least $3.5 Billion in one ear mark alone! Even though Rep. Boehner spoke out harshly against this earmark during the debate on the floor, Mr. Kirk still voted on an ear-mark laced bill.

Mr. Kirk is a marked man on the national level with both parties. I have seen his picture and commentary on Fox, CNN and MSNBC. I listen to all of the local political talk radio around town and the right leaning ones and the ones in the middle or to the right of middle are all questioning this move.

All that this bill did was to make it more expensive for all of us middle class folks through round-about taxes that trickle down in various forms. Gas is going to be more expensive, making the fuel needed to harvest food and drive the food to market more expensive. Perishable goods and non-perishable goods alike are going to be impacted and the cost of living will be going up.

Tired of this.

Philippe said...

The Obama-healthcare issue is 100x more important than this recent bill. I hope and expect Mr. Kirk to be an effective leader in crafting a viable alternative to Obama-care.

I can stand to pay a $140 extra per year in energy if it helps to alleviate our reliance on oppressive dictator produced oil (hell I can recoup that by a 1 degree temp chance on my A/C & heater), but I cannot afford a $1 trillion junket that will impose government minions into my personal relationships with my doctors.

Its time for Republicans to rally with each other. 2010 is just too important. Another Obama mandate election would probably permit Obama to make his impact on our society irreversible. Is party purity worth that?

Darrell Dvorak said...

Well, some folks can't handle the truth, or at least any criticism of Kirk and his explanation. Just because virtually every blogger here supports Kirk shouldn't mean that they should also except his deceitful explanation. (But maybe that's because I think he's smart enough to know his explanation is ridiculous.) Also, just because the bill in its current form may not pass the Senate isn't an excuse -- you'll notice even Kirk's deceitful explanation didn't try to claim this.

My critics should be honest enuf to stop hiding behind their anonymity.

Darrell Dvorak said...

ooops! Of course in my posting above "except" should be "accept".

Anonymous said...

Again, if we had a state party chairman who had the heart and fight of a TA, mark wouldn't have to vote like a san fransisco hippie liberal.

Team Kirk is rallying around Bob Schillerstrom for governor where dave from, former deputy district director is leading the charge with former hastert gun brad hahn. STAY AWAY from these people.

I renew my call for more focus on winning local races than a daily kirk brickabat. Fightin tim stratton needs to off Karen May, we need to take out link and garret is gross.

FOKLAES

Team America said...

"Mark wouldn't have to vote like a San Francisco hippie liberal."

LOL, FOKLAES

Sometimes, you have to be able to sit back and laugh at some of this.

Anonymous said...

If the Republican party was strong here, Mark could be brought to heel here the way porter always was worried about getting a challenge from the right. There's no state party so Mark only has to cover his left flank.

FOKLAES

Lone Wolf a.k.a. RPT said...

For those who like to say that this doesn't matter, we should worry about Obamacare, etc., how many small things like this does it take to open your eyes?

Being a Republican doesn't mean that you have to walk lock-step with the far right or the RINO's. What it does mean is that on the one common ground that we all have, which is to limit the size of government through limiting taxation, we need to stand together. The cap and trade bill was probably the biggest incognito tax that we have seen yet, of which the full effects aren't known because as the restrictions happen on known and proven fuel sources, we will not know when the "alternative" fuels will manifest themselves in significant numbers to reduce the consumption of the traditional energy sources.

Mark could have pulled a John Kerry and said that he voted for it before he voted against it and used the crutch of the 300 page revision that was dropped in at the last minute to explain away why and STILL would not have had to face the firestorm that he is facing today.

BTW, there is supposed to be a townhall call with Kirk tonight, so if you would like to join it, give your number to their office at 847-940-0202. You may or may not be able to voice your opinion, but you might get some answers.

I just want to remind everyone, whichever way you think on this subject, that our elected officials are there to represent us. It is our voices that they must listen to and weigh their decisions on because it is us that votes them into or out of office. We all take calculated risks and measures in everything that we do, and I am sure that Mr. Kirk is not entirely invulnerable to those same risks. With that said, if you aren't happy, call the number above and express yourself. Before every vote comes, call his number and tell him which way that you would like him to vote. They keep track of the opinoin of the their constituants because they want to retain their voting base, whether it is Democrats or Republicans.

(Oh yeah, and while I was writing this post, Kirk for Congress called me (I told you I was a door knocker for him) and asked if I would be willing to join him in a July 4th Parade. I politely declined as I will be in the Arlington Heights parade with ROWT.) Besides, from some of the comments, I don't feel like being a body guard.

Anonymous said...

If the President called me -once-, I wouldn't refuse to take the call.
If a Democrat admitted to this under Bush, this would be deemed unpatriotic, to have lacked prudence, and to call into question the role the Democrat perceives Congress to have in Washington, D.C.

There is a tad bit of a double-standard here that I tend to call moral relativism.


There was a time when Americans were told to stand with the President, to not be so quick to challenge the President, and to 'give him a chance.'

Is there a new Testament, are these cardinal rules no longer in effect, or is it that some people refuse to give the current President a chance, refuse to hear him out (hard to do if one refuses his call), and forgot how to compromise no matter what John McCain promised to the nation on election night.


Speaking of double standards, Mr. Kirk claims that Obama isn't prepared to lead based on not having business experience. George Bush's business experience consisted of familial bailouts, multiple business failures, and an avoidance of military duty. Given Kirk's standard for being qualified to be President, I don't think the person Kirk voted along with about 80% of the time measures up.

Yet another double standard.


Sanford and one of his mistresses for President and Vice-President.

Oh yeah, one of them is probably not a citizen.

Is Ensign coming to the next Lake County GOP meeting?

tikkunolam said...

Anon 7:12-
What in the world did that accomplish? I get your point, and it's pretty valid, but I guarantee there was a way to phrase it that doesn't piss off everyone you're trying to convince.

Anonymous said...

It accomplished the same thing most GOP public officials have accomplished this year: nothing.

The nation needs economic stimuli, we are solely guardians of the Earth while we exist on the planet, and a modicum of regulation keeps a nation of law and order away from chaos.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.
Ferris Bueller

Anonymous said...

sorry the Kirk story is him covering his ass. He's good at all this and quick on his feet when he realized he screwed up.

Good news is he's toast if he thinks he's gonna run for Gov. But hey it take a lot of guts to be a leader that says I'll run for what ever Lisa doesn't.

Some people think it's better to have a bad republican than a bad democrat. Not on stuff like this.

Wonder why he's been ducking WLS since the vote? Guess he's working on getting his story down pat.

I've held my nose on other issues, but when he is one of two repubs that votes wrong on a bill, and now this, let him run for re-elect and then get redistricted out.

Anonymous said...

To Anon, and those of you pissed at Kirk. Some on this blog, protest my move to have Andy McKenna and his merry band of failed hastert operatives cashiered OUT of Illinois GOP politics. These are kirk people who have focused on saving bangladeshis while the area has turned blue. Even Mark's republican savior in 2000, Tom Davis, a former congressman from Virginia has admitted what is plainly obvious to most republicans, that the party has failed to win the suburbs and out of ideas.

Mark has a hodge podge of an agenda and no political will to back it. A real republican party would relish the chance to trash lisa madigan and bring that ellen-h--- down for doing nothing. A real republican would take his record and vision and say hit me with your best shot, babe. Mark won't do this, because McKenna is a wimp and the state party has done nothing the last few years other than watch democrats roll us. We like him because he's all we've got, but would we prefer a younger, hungrier face who's not afraid to go right after democrats.

FOKLAES

Team America said...

FOKLAES, you need to look at the big picture. In an hugely Obama district like the 10th, someone like Mark is not the foot soldier you send out to do open battle with the Dems. We're reliant on Independents and some Dems to keep getting him relected, and it's the simple (if unattractive) truth. Send someone from a safer district out to bash the Dems if that's your issue.

Having said that, I have a feeling you will be impressed with Mark's upcoming laser-like focus on the coming healthcare issue if you are concerned about a lack of clear political agenda. Mark will be a leader on this issue, even in the face of directly opposing the Obama Agenda (remember how Seals tried to use that statement against Mark?), which is looking fairly popular at this point according to the polls.

Give Mark a chance before you throw him to the wolves, and let's see how you rate his political chops after we see the healthcare battle come to the forefront. The push for the Cap and Trade bill will seem like amatuer hour compared to what the WH will unleash on healthcare. And Mark will be leading the resistance.

Anonymous said...

TA,

Because the IL GOP has been defeated so many times, we are used to losing and accepting of defeat. Thus Chairman McKenna's pathetic remark that 08 was a win because roskam and kirk did not lose.

The 10th is not a democrat district, it is a republican district that has become democrat because the democrats have made national efforts to win the suburbs and the gop has not. As I said, having worked in washington for the national party I can tell you that the GOP has been destroyed amongst the uppermiddle class pro-choice fiscal conservative, well educated suburban voters that largely make up the 10th.

That has happened because people like Mark and McKenna are wimps and afraid to put any serious political muscle into serious sustained party building and ideas factories. One of Mark's former staffers was hired in 2007, because his boss, Charlie Bass and the rest of the new hampshire gop suffered their worst beating in the history of that gop. That happened because dems in new hampshire said ENOUGH, came together and fought like hell.

McKenna and Mark feed you crap that beating dan is the best we can do. After 7 years of democrat FAIL in springfield the party should not have to wait and beg a single u.s. rep to run for senate.

TA, we've never met so I don't know if you have kids but this week we learned that 94 percent of kids in the city of chicago don't graduate from college. The party sent out at best maybe a press release on it, which my gerbil could probably have done. Our party can't run a campaign promising to get 10 percent of CPS kids to college?FAIL.

If you think I am nuts, watch the jeff berkowitz program this week where he has on, Republican Rock Star Jim Durkin who ran for senate in 2002 against Durbin. Durkin tells berkowitz, the best reporter in chicago, imho, that hastert told him to f--- off when he asked for help. Hastert you'll recall is the bum that blew our majority in congress, is mark's mentor, and has the nerve to run his dui-convicted son for his own congressional seat.


FOKLAES

Anonymous said...

Got an email from Kirk today that was impressive. Looks like he was 9 out of 10 for Republican issues including the military, Gitmo, health care, union voting and anti-spending measures.

Anonymous said...

propaganda to keep the Kirk-a-philes happy

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:58 - NO, just facts, not propaganda. Stop trying to throw the man under the bus, out the door, or imply that he's some sort or bad guy. Can you accept that today is another day?

Anonymous said...

FOKLAS, it is silly to think that one strategy (i.e. take it hard to the dems) works in every situation. You would be easy to defeat at chess because you would do the same thing every time.

More strategic thinkers understand that winning requires adaptation to different situations and circumstances. Fortunately, Mark is our congressman and not you, because if it were you it actually would be Dan Seals. And Dan Seals would, no doubt, be a leader on the Obama health care issue too.....

Anonymous said...

Anon,

How dare Republicans try and compete and win local elections! How dare Mark do what moderate democrats did in the 1980's and try to create a moderate Republican agenda! How dare Mark spend 5 less minutes on micro-finance in Morocco and 5 more minutes on local party building.

One of the reasons Doug O'Brien needs to run for Mark's seat if he leaves for senate is that his reign of leadership was the best in Mark's tenure. He wasn't caught off guard by challenges, buried Mark's political opponents and didn't let things slip. He also never helped a 30 year incumbent lose.

Again, watch the berkowitz program this week where Jim Durkin, a McCain state chair here basically says denny hastert and mckenna abandoned his senate race in 2002. Hastert you'll remember is the RINO who blew congress, and lost his own seat, and hasn't done squat to help the party rebuild here.

FOKLAES

Anonymous said...

Rep. Kirk says that he usually votes with Republicans, but, on major issues, he usually agrees with Democrats. His latest rating from Planned Parenthood is 100%, and his latest rating from Gun Owners of America is 0%. He says that he opposes congressional earmarks, but he ensured that the federal government spent money, in our district, for Metra, HUD, Headstart, and local police depts., although that spending isn't authorized by the Constitution. In May 2007, when 11 republican congressmen told Bush that they opposed the Iraq surge, Kirk was the group's leader.

Conservative Veteran

Anonymous said...

Well Conservative Veteran, go ahead and continue your diatribe against Mark Kirk who voted AGAINST the Stimulus, AGAINST the Omnibus and does oppose earmarks for things that have no real merit. Go ahead and back some right wing candidate who will lose this District in a heartbeat. I'm sure you'd love to have a left leaning Liberal be the Rep. for the 10th. I'm sure you'd have a field day enjoying all that such a Rep. who vote for on every issue. Do you understand this district? Do you even care? Or are you just going to continue beating the damn drum for the Conservative agenda which is LOST on the majority of voters in the 10th District in 2009
Those of us who appreciate the gem we have in Mark Kirk will marshall our energies and make sure that if he decides to hold onto this District in 2010 that he will, in spite of conservatives like you. You're a fossil in this district today. And you were even back in 1992 when Kathleen Sullivan tried to unseat Porter in the primary. Remember? Mark Kirk has done more good for this District and this country than you care to acknowledge. Stop the tirade against him.

Team America said...

I just deleted a commentor for nastiness and outing someone else.

Everyone needs to relax and enjoy the Fourth, and remember we're all Americans, even if we disagree on some points.

Anonymous said...

Anon,

Good pull on Kathleen Sullivan. Really glad to see some old school New Trier Republicans.

It's a fact that moderates have a very hard time getting elected to the senate. Mark is going to get heat like he's never seen before if he goes senate because the next justice to quit the supreme court could be a conservative in which case he'll have to vote Right or be taken out.

Mark wants to play in the big leagues, he can, but he better realize that he's going to be the most far left Republican senator and that will come with consequences.

FOKLAES

Anonymous said...

Foklaes, I am hardly an old school New Trier Republican! But thanks for the laugh. I just know the history of this district, I know a lot about what it takes to not only run in the 10th but to WIN.

Anonymous said...

In my mind there is nothing better than a warhorse committeemen who has campaign buttons older than congressional interns. If you had mentioned phil torf,we'd be in the biz.

Looking forward to seeing Congressman Seals in the parades. Apparently patrick mogge has built a monster parade organization this year.

FOKLAES

Anonymous said...

I don't accept the vague platitudes that Kirk and TA are giving us on his excuses for his vote. I am still upset about it. I am relatively conservative (but not overtly so), and I have made it a point to try to understand the impact of the bill. There is a great piece by Senator Imhofe in Human Events (link - http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32502) that underscores the idiocy of this bill. I have supported Mark in the past - but I cannot do so in the future. He has truly betrayed the people of his district. I realize most of the people on this blog are VERY pro-Kirk - so there is little point to my post...but I feel the need to share. I appreciate everyone's opinion...but he still voted for a bill that will hurt our economy. I challenge anyone to argue that point.
I think it would actually be better to lose the seat - and then have an opportunity to get someone better to fill it. I disagree with the notion that there needs to be a pandering to the Obama supporters in the district. These are the same people that voted for Reagan (OK - some of them may be dead...) and therefore will understand fiscally conservative issues.

TGM

Anonymous said...

Kirk did a good job on Don Wade and Roma this morning.

Anonymous said...

TGM, you can't be serious. It would be better to lose the seat to a dem -- could you honestly support a Dan Seals or Susan Garrett? I pray you will come to your senses soon. A conservative can never win this district and if a dem is elected we won't see another Republican in my lifetime. Get over your anger and disappointment. It took me three days but I did. That bill will never come to the light of day in its present form. Give the Congressman the benefit of the doubt and allow him to do the fine job he has been doing. One vote and you are ready to throw him to the wolves. Would rather have a dem. And you call yourself a Republican?

Baxter and Beau's Mom

Anonymous said...

How stupid. How short-sighted and dangerous, TGM. You want to advocate for losing the seat so we can get a real Representative in there. What in the world are you drinking or smoking. You're either new to this area or just remain cluless about the demographics of the 10th. So you're not happy with Mr. Kirk. A lot of us are not happy with your idiotic ideas of how to fix things.
Why do some of the posters on what used to be a fair Blog suddenly want to rip Mark to pieces, throw him to the wolves and bid him a strong kick out the door. Are you folks grounded in reality? I'm not happy with his last vote. Not at all. Having stated that, I AM more than pleased with 95% of all the rest that he's done over the past 9 years. I wish I could say that about other elected officials. I can't and you can't, I'm sure.
And why do we want to destroy our own? Is that really productive?
Major, far-reaching legislation is about to be unleashed on the American public on Healthcare. I attended Mr. Kirk's meeting in Wilmette. Were you there, TGM? Cap and Trade will not come back to the Senate until Fall, at best. Can we focus our efforts and attention on the healthcare discussions with our Congressman who is taking a leading role in helping ensure that we all continue to enjoy freedom of choice in selecting our doctors, in getting the care we want and need without a government run program. Can we help him help US in this more than critical time. The answer is up to each of us, you too, TGM. Look back at all that Mark Kirk has accomplished. I'll take his leadership and his dedication to his district, hands down. Happy 4th of July, TGM. Get out, attend a parade, clap when you see your Congressman out there. And please, stop your carping about him and your interest in having someone new as our Representative.

Anonymous said...

Independent = Intelligent

Conservative Replublican = Continues to Regress

Anonymous said...

What Republicans in the 10th congressional district don't get is that they are on the left wing of the party, which is a VERY small left wing seeing as how this is really aside from Delaware, the only bastion of moderate Republican politics left represented in the U.S. House.

Right or wrong, it's reality and this is nothing like what Mark will face nationally. There have been no new moderate republicans elected to the U.S. Senate in a long time, at least not with any credible agenda. In the democrat party these days they tolerate pro-lifers, the GOP doesn't tolerate pro-choicers and if mark screws up easy votes like the eniviornment, good luck on guns, abortion, or taxes.

FOKLAES

Team America said...

FOKLAES, I think your unspoken premise, which is that any Republican supporter of Mark Kirk agrees with his "left wing" politics 100%, is mistaken. As I've said before, I don't agree with Mark 100% on all the issues, but that doesn't mean I am going to jettison him because I didn't like one vote. I like his votes on a lot of other things, and frankly, he is simply a great Congressman who I am proud to have represent me in DC. I think a lot of 10th District Republicans share this view. It's mostly the hard-core right-wingers that can't see beyond their own ideology that can't get past this one vote.

Anonymous said...

TA,

I'm not suggesting people like you are left wingers, but if you look at the electoral map, Mark ranks 3rd behind castle of delaware and cao of louisiana in terms of house republicans who saw obama get the most amount of support in their districts. That means that this is the 3rd most liberal district held by republicans in the house, and puts mark on the end of one spectrum of the party. To those of us who have worked in national politics outside the district, that reflects the reality which is that Mark is going to have realize that most republicans are pro-gun, are anti-abortion, don't vote for this bill, don't support a lot of foreign aid, don't support the log cabin republicans, don't win endorsements from enviornment groups.

This has been why I've been so agitated with him and McKenna for not stepping up. Until the party here gets a solid message and mission going forward, this divide is going to keep people like him from really moving up. If you remember what happened with the democrats for 30 years where they couldn't win the south, it's just the opposite. Mark needs to learn from clinton, gore and obama, not in policy (there's comes out my ellen), but in political form in crafting and shaping a new republican identity so that the choice isn't been a far right republican and corrupt/liberal chicago democrat every year.

Also props on the daily herald, there are a lot of bloggers now in districts throughout the country like you now that have become what talk radio was 20 years ago in terms of becoming important forces in political communications.

Happy 4th.

FOKLAES

Team America said...

Thanks, and Happy 4th to you as well. But, if you need a downer, pop over to Ellen's and see her dreary and unpatriotic take on the 4th, since even Obama isn't left enough for her taste.

Nice to get the Daily Herald plug; too bad I can't afford to just do this full time, it would be fun!

Anonymous said...

If people support Kirk because of his 'Independent leadership,' why the surprise and disdain when he votes in a manner that is different than the GOP faithful?

Isn't Kirk voting in this manner independence defined?

Do most Repubs truly want their Members of Congress to display any semblance of Independence? (Probably not.)

Hence, the thoughtful, independent mantra is either not pleasing the GOP faithful or is a farse all together.

Anonymous said...

Geez, TA, I think she's finally gone over the top. Her idol in fact is NOT the guy she thinks/thought him to be. I can picture her cudding that cat of hers and bemoaning the fact that she's alone, all alone and likely to BE all alone. Now if that doesn't make you smile, I think you're dead.
Kudos on the Daily Herald comments. You've done yeoman service in providing everyone, friend and foe alike, a place to vent. You don't delete unless it must be over the top ugly. That's why more and more people come here to chat. Enjoy the 4th, TA, and I hope to see you at the parades tomorrow.

Team America said...

Thanks much- I plan to march with Dan Sugrue in the Vernon Hills parade if I can talk the kids into going, and maybe one or two others as well.

Anonymous said...

Congressman Mark Kirk for senator? Not according to the experiences of this District 10 citizen.

Voters need to know a few basic answers from Mr. Kirk, who wants to be an Illinois senator. I’m a constituent who has lived in Mr. Kirk's 10th District for 23 years. These are my independent observations, not those of any political party.

To start with some small, but important, stuff (see more, below): as of August 19, 2009, it's been 670 days and counting, waiting for a basic query . . . will Congressman Mark Kirk give a simple "yes" or "no" to announcing our town meetings on District 10's tax-paid website, a resource Congressionally mandated for district use?

I know it's hard to believe, Mr. Kirk (and any Illinoisans who may be reading this). I've taken a few minutes, every business day, to call both your Northbrook and D.C. offices, always courteous, always with the same bread-and-butter question.

That's every business day since January 2, 2008, which now extends to 670 calendar days.

Mr. Kirk, do you remember the starting point of this request? On October 20, 2007 (Winnetka town meeting), you shook my hand and said "Good idea" to my proposal: "Will you put District 10’s town meeting notices on District 10’s tax-paid website?" Your aide, Richard Goldberg, said "Excellent idea."

Are you managing this well? During 2008 and so far in 2009, Aaron Winters, Deputy Communications Director, has repeatedly stated he is not permitted to reveal if he has ever asked you this question.

Mr. Kirk, it's 670 days and counting. We need public notices on District 10's home page, at the top, ideally two weeks before each town hall meeting. Not targeted notices in e-newsletters to controlled lists of District 10 citizens. And not on "Mark Kirk's Blog" which in your nine-year tenure you've done a single time (a 2/5/09 two-day notice for a 2/7/09 meeting, since transferred to the new July 2009 website's "News Center Blog" as though it were originally a public notice). A new policy should be clearly stated on District 10's website at kirk.house.gov.

Will you give a publicly verifiable "yes" or "no"? While I continue to call for a reply, and for citizens who are following this story, here are four letters I'll copy below, sent to the Wilmette Life, exploring bigger stuff. Sad to say, the focus is on your honesty.

(See also "670 days and counting . . . will Mark Kirk say "yes" or "no" to announcing town meetings on District 10's website?" in Roll Call, at Congress.org: Issues and Actions: Read Americans' Letters to Leaders (mid-page): Illinois (map): Representative Mark S. Kirk)

Anonymous said...

DISTRICT 10'S NON-DEBATE ON IRAQ

(Letter to the editor, edited and printed in the Wilmette Life, May 8, 2008, slightly re-edited)

In April, 2008, General David Petraeus testified before Congress on Iraq. It’s a good time to ask: has anybody examined Congressman Mark Kirk’s e-mails and newsletters leading to the general’s last appearance in September, 2007? If so, you’ve captured Mr. Kirk’s stance. What does the public record reveal?

Most noticeable is what’s missing. We, the public. Aside from a June, 2007 mail-in survey (four questions), we’ve registered hardly a murmur.

Search District 10’s website. Ask town librarian, village trustees, neighbors: did Mr. Kirk during June, July, August 2007, running up to September’s decision-making time on the "Iraq surge," arrange a single pre-announced opportunity to debate by town, township or district, the Iraq war as a priority? This refers to all venues under Mr. Kirk’s control (not to the large anti-Iraq war rally held at Northbrook’s Renaissance Hotel, addressed by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Iraq veterans, and absent Mr. Kirk, on August 28, 2007).

Despite apparent unwillingness to schedule any debate, Mr. Kirk sent constituents a Congressional e-mail dated September 20, following (not preceding) Petraeus’s September 10-11 appearance. Mr. Kirk claimed he had made a “bipartisan effort to open a constructive, non-political dialogue on Iraq." Held September 10 (one day before spin-sensitive 9/11). Location, undisclosed.

The Chicago Tribune reported the host: Chicago Council on Global Affairs. The event took place at The Chicago Club, in Chicago. The Council’s website ("thechicagocouncil.org: Programs: Past programs: 9/10/07") states: “This complimentary event is exclusively for invited guests.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Kirk's e-mail: “I was grateful for the opportunity to lead this roundtable discussion about the most important issue before the nation.”

Anyone remember Mr. Kirk’s “roundtable discussion” on Iraq? Were we invited? Did Mr. Kirk grant any such debate to District 10? Before, not after, Petraeus's appearance?

All we, the public, got was an e-mail, after the fact, informing us of a dialogue in which we never took part.

(District 10 alone has spent 2.8 billion dollars for the Iraq war in total spending approved to date. Source: National Priorities Project)

Anonymous said...

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE INVISIBLE

(Letter to the editor, printed in the Wilmette Life, April 3, 2008, slightly re-edited)

Have an appointment with Congressman Mark Kirk’s staff? As I discovered, the journey can be a pain without a car. The public has access to the barest minimum of public transportation to Mr. Kirk’s office at 707 Skokie Boulevard.

Representing an area where rail service forms the all-important spine, the office’s nearest three stations are Northbrook, 2 miles away, Braeside, 1.5 miles, and Ravinia Park, 1.5 miles. A single bus route, Pace 626, runs on Skokie Boulevard during restricted hours. Northbound is limited to 5:40 a.m. to 9:25 a.m. Southbound to 2:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. Neither north nor southbound routes pick up passengers at any of the three train stations.

To confirm this, I called Mark Kirk’s staff. An assistant, inquiring internally, could not find any staff member who knew the hours of public transportation by train, bus, or any combination to Mr. Kirk’s office. She advised to check the Pace website.

When I arrived (by borrowed car) for my appointment, I found no public sidewalk leads to the building where Mark Kirk represents us. Mr. Kirk, eschewing numerous friendly village centers that populate the North Shore, has located his office in a steel and glass tower in a corporate parking lot. This tower borders, along with six other corporate islands, a major highway. The lot is surrounded by a spaghetti bowl of 6-lane, 5-lane, 4-lane, and 2-lane highways on four sides.

Facing the highway sits a large corporate sign. Absent on its impressive sides are both “District 10” and “Congressman Mark Kirk.” Non-existent is any nearby town infrastructure such as restaurants or coffee shops which might draw the inquiring citizen.

Getting a Congressman’s attention can be problematic in the 10th District. It’s more difficult if its headquarters, like its constituents, is invisible.

Anonymous said...

KEY TO DEMOCRACY IS MISSING

(Letter to the editor, edited and printed in the Wilmette Life, July 17, 2008, slightly re-edited)

One key to democracy -- and thanks to the internet, one of the most important keys -- continues to dangle firmly out of reach in Congressman Mark Kirk’s 10th District. That’s the notion of giving public notice of District 10’s town meetings on District 10’s tax-paid website (kirk.house.gov), a resource Congressionally mandated for district use.

Instead, the site has become a velvet glove that fits, web-tight, Mr. Kirk’s concept of “public relations.” Mr. Kirk’s photo and name proliferate alongside Kirk-friendly headlines on veterans, Medicare, gas prices, family planning, the emerald ash borer, even a “Kid’s Page.”

But a probe into the website’s slickness reveals a chilling lapse. Under “town,” “town meeting,” “town hall meeting,” “village,” or “village meeting,” the search engine routinely reports no public notices for upcoming town meetings in any town, on any issue, for any date, throughout District 10.

Mr. Kirk's batting average, 0 for 100, is no accident. Instead, town meetings are publicized with low-profile announcements in the local paper. For example, the only apparent public notice for Palatine’s February 21, 2008 town meeting was an 88-word announcement in that day’s Daily Herald, bottom of page 3.

Mr. Kirk also delivers automated calls, postcards, and e-newsletters to controlled lists of District 10 citizens. These do not conform to public notices of town meetings. Nor does Mr. Kirk divulge voter lists of citizens who are notified or the method by which names are selected. Call Aaron Winters, Deputy Communications Director, to receive a well-rehearsed “no comment.”

In a democracy increasingly reliant on the internet, how can we express ourselves to Congressman Mark Kirk if District 10’s website is kept clear of public meeting notices?

Mr. Kirk alone holds that key.

Anonymous said...

A YEAR OF SILENCE

(Letter to the editor, submitted to the Wilmette Life, January 16, 2009, not printed. This letter was not printed because those portions based on my interactions with Mr. Kirk are not public evidence. This prompts the question: if new evidence cannot be brought to light through the Letters to the Editor, how is the ordinary citizen to be well-informed?)

A modest proposal for democracy is pending. So far the answer has been a resounding "No."

Addressing one of the foundations of a democracy, the right of public notice of town meetings, Congressman Mark Kirk on October 20, 2007 (Winnetka town meeting), shook my hand and said "Good idea" to my proposal: "Will you put District 10’s town meeting notices on District 10’s tax-paid website?" His aide, Richard Goldberg, said "Excellent idea."

To follow-up calls the remainder of 2007, Mr. Kirk's aides gave non-responses. After two months, I decided, enough. Starting January 2, 2008, I called twice a day (to the Northbrook and D.C. offices), always with the original proposal, always courteous.

No one called ever me back. Every business day of 2008.

At the same Winnetka meeting, Mr. Kirk declared: “I’m in the military. I want to preserve our liberties. I’ll protect your right to exercise your freedom of expression and will fight for it if necessary” (accurate paraphrase).

Wouldn't putting town meeting notices on District 10’s tax-paid website be as easy as fighting for our liberties? Notices appear never to have existed at the site (kirk.house.gov). And Mr. Kirk's same-day press releases for town meetings, buried on page 3 of the local newspaper, are hollow in the internet age.

Mark Kirk's current practice of sending invitations to controlled lists of citizens does not satisfy public notice requirements. Nor does his debate-proof habit of springing snap "town meetings" via mass robo-calls. In fact, only three public town meetings, scheduled for public buildings, were held in all of District 10 throughout 2008 (none closer than seven months before the November election).

District 10's town meetings, however few, deserve public posting on District 10’s tax-paid website. Not Mr. Kirk's empty handshake.