Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Congressman Mark Kirk Gains Momentum and Exposure From Health Care Town Hall; Plus Senate and IL-10 Races

I didn't go to Mark Kirk's townhall myself yesterday, but from what I could see on the evening news, and what I've assembled in the print media reports, it seemed that our Congressman pulled off quite a media coup in the middle of a tough situation.

While many of our national representatives, such as Senator Dick Durbin, are running from health care town halls at the speed of light due to the controversy and contention that some of them have generated, Kirk chose to embrace the format as an opportunity to connect with voters in the district. In contrast, if you're a constituent of Melissa Bean or Bill Foster, you need to host your own town hall outside your congressman's office, since they seem to be in hiding.

Of course, we suspect Kirk ended up connecting with many voters outside the district as well, given that MoveOn.org attempted to take over the meeting by recruiting attendees to come, not to listen to Kirk with an open mind, but to lobby for their brand of health care reform. Here's the e-mail, which was passed along to me by Antoinetta "Ant" Simonian at the Lake County Republican Federation:

TAKE NOTICE - MoveOn.org has issued a Call To Action to its members to attend the Kirk Town Hall Meeting.

Dear MoveOn member, I'm a MoveOn member like you, and I'm working with the local MoveOn Council to organize an event tomorrow in Arlington Heights to make our voices heard for real health care reform. The event is on Monday, Aug. 24, 2009, at 3:00 PM in Arlington Heights. The location of our event is: Arlington Heights Village Hall.Here's the event description: Rep. Mark Kirk from IL 10th Cong. District is running for the U.S. Senate. He is having a town hall on Mon. Aug. 24 at 3 pm at the Arlington Heights Village Hall. Let's make sure Rep. Kirk knows that Illinois residents support a PUBLIC OPTION. Please arrive early and bring signs supporting the public option. I hope you can join me and other local MoveOn members. Thanks for all you do. - Amy K., MoveOn member

So, I watched the evening news with interest, and from what I could see of the news coverage, the town hall was not only mostly orderly, it was a runaway success, and Kirk's staff ended up extending the meeting so more people could enter and have their say.

Here's the kind of story that was being told at the meeting, the likes of which haven't really been heard too much in the mainstream media:

Linda Camodeca has been battling lung cancer for six years now. Doctors have given her only a 12 percent survival rate, but that doesn't scare her nearly as much as what she's hearing about health care reform.

"I am 67 years old, and if we go to universal health care, I wouldn't be here today," Camodeca said. She says the reason is simple.

"I'm afraid that they would consider me too old to do all they've done for me and save my life," Camodeca said.

Here's a roundup of some of the great news coverage for Kirk. Sun-Times, Tribune, Pioneer Press, Daily Herald, ABC-7 video. Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne also writes about Kirk's compromise health care reform proposal here.

I'd say all of this gives Kirk quite a boost for his already impressive position for his U.S. Senate race, as well.

SPEAKING OF U.S. SENATE: Political newcomer Pat Hughes, my law school chum, didn't have much of a honeymoon after his announcement last week that he intended to run for U.S. Senate as a conservative alternative to Mark Kirk. Serial litigant and fellow Senate candidate Andy Martin has already trained his gun sights on poor Pat, claiming that Hughes is no longer registered as an active attorney with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) and therefore falsely is representing himself on the campaign trail (and his development firm's website) as an attorney; Martin, who is no stranger to using court action as a campaign tool, said yesterday that he intended to file a complaint with the ARDC against Hughes. They're also duking this out over at conservative blog Illinois Review. Welcome to the cesspool, Pat.

MEANWHILE: In other 10th District news, as we first broke the story here last week (getting some national attention in the process), State Rep. Beth Coulson formally announced her candidacy for the 10th Congressional District. Sadly, I could not make that event either (work, work, work). Video here.

TA also heard that other candidates are continuing to make rounds as well, including attorney Bill Cadigan and businessman Bob Dold, who both showed up to the Libertyville Township Republican meeting last night. We'll have a profile on Dold here soon. Also at the meeting was Green Oaks resident Mohan Manian, who is officially throwing in for Kathy Ryg's 59th District race as a Republican, which means that current front-runner attorney Dan Sugrue has a little local competition for the GOP nomination.


Anonymous said...

I attended yesterday's event in Arlington Heights. Kudos to Mark Kirk, to Eric Elk and his team for a meeting that had both sessions jam-packed with relatively polite attendees. Nothing of what we've seen in other places was evident in the sessions Kirk hosted yesterday. Although the 10th Dems and the MoveOn 'movers' urged their members to take on Mark Kirk, they had little to no impact. Mark Kirk presented a very well researched, well developed alternative approach to reforms that all agree are necessary. When one attendee tried to slam Mark about the money he has taken from the Insurance industry I smiled at Mark's retort: he simply stated that his financial support from that industry was about 5% of what Mr. Obama received from the Insurance giants. The guy sat down. Who do they think they're kidding? Obama took money in the millions from every special interest group on this planet. Mr. Kirk's response was quick, and it resonated. It was a huge success for our Congressman, got him a ton of earned media, and I'd call it a win-win. Sorry, 10th Dems, you lose again, as do the others who try to tie Mr. Kirk to all the evils of the world.

Anonymous said...

How interesting about MoveOn.org but not surprising. Had any opponents to obamacare been bussed in they would have been called radicals, orchestrated, racist and everything else in the book. But that's not surprising either.

I attended the first session and with the exception of a few women it was orderly and cordial, even with those who were in favor of obamacare. I stood behind a women with a huge ball and chain attached to her wrist which said "premiums" on it. She was rude, interrupting speakers and was disagreeing with everything the Congressman said with her friend throughout the session. I later learned the two of them follow Congressman Kirk around to all the town hall meetings and behave as they did yesterday. crowd.

The Congressman's plan sounds good. I want to keep the Medicare I've paid into, my supplemental health care plan as is and my relationship with my doctors.

Anonymous said...

Yep, that woman and her friend attend every meeting our Congressman holds and always interrupts what he says. I've just learned that an additional few hundred people never got in for the second session so that means well over 1000 came to AH yesterday. The response was, as both posters have said, very responsible and respectful. I've now been told that there will be another Town Hall on healthcare soon. I would also like to correct the record that this was the first Town Hall on healthcare that our Congressman has held. Not so. A few months ago, in June, he had a healthcare Town Hall in Wilmette on a Saturday afternoon. Accuracy in reporting is sure in short supply.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for relating the story of Linda Camodeca here on your blog. And since you constantly strive for accuracy, tell us what portion of any proposed health care legislation would deny her coverage. Medicare? No, way. She gets every possible treatment option available even if she lives to be 120. In fact, if she were on medicare, she could travel to Lorma Linda Cancer Treatment Center in California (albiet at her own expense, but if she is undergoing outpatient treatment, her lodging would be reimbursed) and undergo the latest proton radiation therapy. If she were covered by Blue Cross, they would not pay for that treatment, nor would Humana, United, Sierra or 90% of private insurers. Her's isn't an informational anecdote designed to educate the public, it's just plain old fashion fear-mongering of the lowest form. Oh, and Ms Camodeca? Her family is one of the principals in an Arlington Heights insurance agency that sells health policies. So much for Kirk's integrity, and yours.

Team America said...

That's interesting, Anon 9:54. I guess under your view, CBS-2 has no integrity either, since they reported the story, which I linked to. This reminds me a bit of what the Obama campaign did to "Joe the Plumber" in terms of trying desperately to dig up so-called "dirt" in his background to obfuscate the real issue that was the subject of his original interview, which was Obama's economic policies towards small business. Dems don't have a lot of tricks in their bag, so they just keep reusing the same ones over and over.

Anonymous said...

This woman is Perry Camodeca's mother. He's the owner of Midwest Insurance Brokers. http://www.mibsga.com/index.html

Her husband was an executive in Blue Cross/Blue Sheild when it was a .....wait for it...........


In the early 60's, Equitable Life Assurance studied health insurance efficiency and customer satisfaction and found that the government operated Blue Cross was the most efficient insurer in the U.S. and had the highest customer satisfaction.

I'm so glad Kirk provided this forum. It's too bad that he couldn't resist putting ringers in the crowd. Kirk's just Glen Beck with a whinnier voice.

Anonymous said...

Right on, TA. That 'unbiased' post is totally and completely wrong. Medicare does NOT cover what this poster describes. And the fact that Ms. Camodeca's family is in the insurance business is irrelevant. Private insurace is NOT the villain as the 'unbiased' poster would have you believe. There are limits, to be sure, as well there should be. The guy who tried to nail Kirk with taking large insurance contributions was easily put down with the fact that Obama took and takes millions and millions more than Kirk could or would ever receive. Don't you just love their attempts to deceive? Americans are not stupid. They are now connecting the dots.

Team America said...

Anon 10:13/9:54, exactly what evidence do you have that Kirk "planted" this woman in the crowd? Kirk must also have CBS-2 news under his thumb to get her quoted in its news story.

It's pretty hard to have a rational discussion with people like you who see conspiracy around every corner.

Anonymous said...

Answer the original question, TA, before you start getting on my integrity. Tell me, counselor, is there any provision in any of the proposed legislation that would deny this woman coverage? Remember now; silence is an admission.

Your Obama reference is immaterial and irrelevant; objection sustained.

I know Perry Camodeca personally. He was my insurance agent for nearly 10 years. But that doesn't make the fact that he propped-up his poor suffering mother to voice a concern that has absolutely no basis in law or fact. It is both distasteful and deceitful and you gave further vent to this sham. But I like how typically you blame someone else.

Anonymous said...

TA, your question assumes facts not in evidence. I never said Kirk planted this woman. He simply provided the forum for insurers and their surrogates and others best upon reducing this debate to 'death panels' and other outrageously misinformed diatribes instead of the true provisions of the bills.

And it is relevant that this woman happens to be the mother and wife (or widow as I'm not sure if Perry's dad has passed) and comes to this forum to voice a concern that is utterly false. She can be presumed to have a greater breadth of knowledge than a plumber, as her family fortune is derived from the insurance industry.

Would it be fair of me to go to a Kirk rally and ask why he kills babies, abuses sheep, or poorly decorates his home? Absolutely not. There is no basis in fact for any of those things (that I'm aware of, to date.). This is the rank tactic of asking, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" And you, a supposed lawyer, should see thru that as easily as you take a breath.

Team America said...

Anon, you slung mud regarding "integrity" first, so don't get all high and mighty. And considering you have some personal involvement with the family of the lady quoted in the story, it seems to me like you might have your own personal axe to grind here.

As to the coverage issue, since there is no final bill and several different competing versions, who knows what the final Obama-endorsed proposal will hold. But I think it's pretty commonly accepted that the kind of system Obama advocates has to make some tough decisions somewhere and the European style system of making judgment calls based on the cost/benefit involved makes everyone scared. Obama has even admitted as much when he brought up the issue with his grandmother and her hip issue. So, please don't act like Kirk is making this stuff up. He's not.

And as far as the "plant" issue goes, you said "It's too bad he couldn't resist putting ringers in the crowd," so don't try to walk that back now, buddy.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. I did say that he put ringers in the crowd. Instead he provided the platform for the ringers. Not the shooter, buddy, just provided the bullet, and the gun, and the media.

As to your exercise in obfuscation, come on! Can't bring yourself to admit that the woman was singing the tune that has followed these townhalls around the country, can ya? Your paragraph said a lot of nothing. There is no provision, never was a provision, and never has been a provision that would prevent this woman from receiving treatment and you know it, buddy.

As to issues with Perry, why is that apparent? It is singularly distasteful to ask your mother who is battling cancer to stand before a public audience and raise an issue intended only to cast fear where no such limitation has ever been proposed or mentioned. While I liked Perry's service as a businessman, after this episode, I would have to decline any further business. The sleaze factor is just too great.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:55, sleeze factor? How dishonest can YOU be, buddy? Kirk didn't provide anything to anyone. He hosted a forum, had no idea who'd get in, who would not and you know that's true. Kirk is for reform, but he's for reform that does not cripple this nation into eternity and beyond. You heard one of the doctors say that reform is necessary. Was he bought off? You Democrats won't hear of medical liability reform. Without that we can't have real, helpful reform. But your side won't hear of it, especially Obama himself. You don't have to deal with Perry's company. My hunch is that you haven't dealt with his company for quite some time. Can we just agree to disagree about what transpired yesterday. It pains you, it totally had freaked out Gill based on her idiotic report of the event. Kirk scored a major victory in putting himself in front of over 1000 people with nobody being arrested, without a screaming match, without the rancor that other Members of Congress have faced. Point Kirk. And that's what's sticking in your collective 'craws'.

Anonymous said...

Mark didn't have to do this. Bean and Durbin, who ran obama's campaigns in contrast don't have the time to sell Obama's healthcare plan to his home state that voted for him. You tell me who the arrogant SOB is. You may disagree with Kirk, fine, but at least he gave voters a chance to meet with him and hear him,knowing that the democrats would send trackers-people with cameras to record his speech for use in ads against him next november.

Bean and Durbin however instead couldn't be troubled with town halls, saying that a state that voted for the president who comes from our state has too many crazies and that hearing from the people would be a waste of their time.

Ellen may hate mark, but at least she had the chance to hear from him. King Durbin of the land of arrogantcareerpoliticians and Queen Bean from the land of donothingpoliticians didn't give voters the same option.

That was an uninspiring start from coulson. hard to believe that a district that had rahm, biggert and mark in congress last term not to mention tons of people in high ranking administration jobs and has the best high schools in the state and family resources in the state can't do better than the current field. And the dems can't find anyone from the actual district-I really thought that 10th dem intern program was going to turn out a fresh batch of "progressive" leaders.


Anonymous said...

If the truth be told, Foklaes, Ellen doesn't just hate Mark Kirk, she is fixated on his total destruction. She is on a tear on yesterday's Town Hall meeting, even saying that someone tried to knock her down the stairs. She becomes a comic figure with nothing even coming close to being credible. She means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Soon, hopefully, she'll focus on some or all of the R's who will try to upset Hamos, clearly her choice. Dan, are you listening?

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/25, 10:37 am: I find it somewhat amusing that you've chosen to make some pretty "rank" and obviously untrue comments in that posting to try to actually support your assertion that your tactics are not "rank".

Anonymous said...

Still, Mark came out and did it and let her have her say. He also pays a lot more attention to his constituents than Durbin who is an empty suit and Bean who has a constituency of 2 (pelosi,chamber of commerce).

Staff (jodi anderson, Ed P. Kelly!)should get credit as he didn't get embarassed and I'm sure there were a few people who wanted to do that. Lee Goodman's group clearly seems to be off its game in health care, haven't seen them make a fool of the left yet.


Anonymous said...

...had the chance to hear from him....

FOKLAES, I do not know the person to whom you've referred, but generally, I think you've made an excellent point.

I can only hope that someday those who choose to attack Mark Kirk at a personal level will understand--and perhaps even be able to appreciate at some level--that Mark Kirk, without a doubt, has made a deep and ongoing commitment to actually defend not only their right to free speech but literally, their lives.

tikkunolam said...

As usual, I find myself annoyed with the tone of the Democratic commenters here, but agreeing with most of their substance. Our anonymous Dem is correct that there is no provision in any of the 4 post-committee healthcare bills that would deprive anyone of any care. All of the policy provisions that concern cost-benefit conclusions are for information purposes only, with absolutely no regulatory powers. Indeed, this aggregation of scientific analysis will only benefit care, as the recommendations will be based on individual care, and not societal or community benefits.

As for the town-hall attendee in question, obviously I have no information as to her specific motives, but I have no reason to doubt her integrity. However, I also do not question that insurance companies have a stake in the status quo, while most citizens of this country have a stake in reform. Therefor, while avoiding political boogeyman-ing, insurance companies' views on reform, just like any stakeholder's, ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

A grain of salt should also be involved when listening to, well, most people on the subject of health care reform. Polling has shown that majorities or pluralities believe in many canards that have been raised over this debate, including non-existent provisions for covering illegal immigrants, massive benefit cuts to Medicare, the institution of various shadowy "European" systems, and of course, the now-infamous "death panels." Even compared to most complex policy issues, there is a substantial amount of misinformation with a disturbing level of penetration on the issues of health care reform.

Also, didn't Bean have an event a week or so ago? I could have sworn I heard something about it.

Crazy4glf said...

I guess we elect hundreds of Members of Congress solely to hold daily press conferences and 'Pull off media coups.'
That's a low standard!

What comprehensive healthcare reform plan did Rep. Kirk propose?

Will it lower costs across the board?

Will it cover more Americans?

Will it clamp down on the private insurers who already arbitrarily limit (ration?) care, put caps on spending under policies most of us pay for, and retroactively deny coverage?

No. No. No.

Whoever said BC/BS is a governmental entity is mis-informed.

Doing nothing will bankrupt the country and most states.

Doing nothing is not necessarily moral or prudent.

The Lewin Group, flow-charts containing verbiage from irrelevant legislation, and out-right lies (an impeachable offense at one point), are not signs of bi-partisanship, compromise, and doing what America may need.

Do we have time to wait for better economic straits (especially if a McCain or Bush is elected to high office)?

Can we not respectfully debate? (Given comments here, with one exception, I don't think so).

Can we be honest about our motives: the healthcare industry having 3-4 lobbyists for each Member of Congress despite Mr. McCain being a 'reformer' against special interests?

Supposedly unorganized flocks of citizens speaking from the same 'scripts' and charts?

Those responsible for bipartisan reform vowing not to vote for the legislation unless its perfect.
When was the last perfect legislation passed, Mr. Grassley?

Anonymous said...

Democrats have no room to scream at mark anymore. You own government, chicago democrats run every lever, and I really don't think the white house is holding up health care over mark, health care comes down to comrade jan and how much the liberals will give up and people like foster and halvorson who have their political careers in the guillotine whether they'll be fired for voting for this the way all moderate democrats lost their jobs in 94.


Anonymous said...

Anon 8:00, you talk about honesty of motives? What are you talking about? Honesty from your side of the aisle? Our nation has never been more polarized, period. That's obvious from reading posts here and on other blogs. Gone are the days when we had leaders who honestly, sincerely DID reach across the aisle to work on behalf of the people in America. Kirk has always had a Democrat co-sponsor for every piece of legislation. That aside, we aren't going to get anywhere in what everyone agrees needs reform: healthcare. The issue is not an absolute HR3200 and whatever Harry Reid comes us with. What the American public are now demanding is compromise from both sides. If you can't see that they you're blind. Kirk says that reform is needed. It's called sensible reform that we can afford, that will be sustainable. To imply that the Town Hall audience was stacked in favor of what Kirk wants is just a bald face lie. That's why we aren't getting anywhere. If our legislators can't get over it's "my way or the highway" then we all suffer. Get over YOUR partisanship, understand what's good in the Republican approach just as Kirk is saying that some of what's in HR3200 has merit. Without compromise we are sure to keep on going with the status quo.