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The Mechanics
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Republicans Thu Jul 09 2009

Kirk Enters Senate Race; Can He Survive Primary?

Poor Mark Kirk (R-IL10). Conservatives aren't crazy about him, considering a defector on cap-and-trade and coloring him as a Democrat-lite--or worse, a "coward". But Democrats aren't exactly fond of him, as Progress Illinois argues, he's "no moderate". So which is it?

The open primary system makes the life of a moderate difficult, if not impossible. And given that Illinois' Republican Party has shrunk, particularly in the interior Chicagoland suburbs, it means that the more ideologically committed Republicans--the more conservative ones--are disproportionately (to the population) represented in the primary electorate. That's not necessarily bad; a primary isn't meant to get the temperature of the population, it's meant to get the temperature of the party. If the party's temperature is further right (or left) than that of the population, so be it. On the one hand, Kirk would probably be Republicans' best shot at taking the Senate seat; Kirk has a good reputation in his district for constituent services, and while he's no progressive he's no reactionary and probably in line ideologically with lots of Illinoisans. On the other hand, he would be instantly alienated by his party's conservative activist base, particularly the strong abortion activist organizations in the collar counties and central and downstate Illinois county organizations that may not be willing to ignore his carbon cap'n trade cap-and-trade vote and friendly posture to GLBT issues.

Pragmatically speaking, he's been raising federal money, which will give him an edge; and he will have instant credibility with the Republican establishment nationwide (if not their grass and netroots) and with the wealthy GOP givers in his affluent north shore and suburban district. The Illinois GOP should be focusing on capitalizing on the chaos in Springfield to take the Governor's office back; resources allocated to Kirk are resources that can be better used (what is a GOP Senator from Illinois going to accomplish in Washington, though it would be a psychological blow for Democrats.)

And GOP primaries are rough. If Kirk goes right, particularly if he's forced to constantly slam President Obama in his literature, debates, and in responses to hits from activists and opponents, it'll compromise his viability in the interior Chicagoland suburbs and some downstate population centers.

While I disagree with him on basically everything, I have to say I like Mark Kirk. He's a typical bourgeois politician; but he seems sincere, anyway. What some call his cowardice may just be his intellectual honesty. (Paul Kroenke would disagree). While I think he'd have a difficult road to beat any serious Democratic opponent (i.e., anybody but Roland Burris), he'd probably go down in noble defeat. It's the GOP primary where he'd likely get savaged (Cf. above, "coward"), and that'd be a shame.

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Good Luck / July 9, 2009 9:36 AM

Per Cap and Trade (Tax)

There is nothing intellectually honest about voting for a bill that would require citizens who want to sell their home to have a federal inspector come out and rate the property's energy efficiency, and then force the homeowner to retro fit the property if it didn't meet new "green" standards. Good idea, lets add to the transactional cost in the real estate market. Thats a good way to increase liquidity.

There is nothing intellectually honest about congress creating an arificial market for CO2 emmissions when they give away 85% of the credits to utility companies, petrolium companies, and politically connected organizations.

There is nothing intellectually honest about legislation that requires any project financed by the Waxman Markey provisions must implement Davis-Bacon wage rules, thus ensuring that unions get their snouts in the trough.

Kirk is just another congressman (party afilliation doesn't really matter on this) who doesn't bother to read the bills he supports. Illinois would not be served well with the leadership he has shown.

Andy Q. / July 9, 2009 1:25 PM

This argument,
rehashed as frequently as it is proved absurdly false, rears its head
each and every time the baby boomer generation is asked to sacrifice
their own wallets for the sake of their children’s ecological
inheritance. This shortsighted selfishness is really getting old.

Regardless of anyone’s refusal to accept it, the science on climate
change is clear. Cap-and-trade may not be ideal, but the 1990’s
successful experiment with capping dangerous sulfur dioxide emissions
proves that such programs can offer both political viability and
substantive success.

Kirk’s vote to advance this admittedly imperfect bill through the
legislative process acknowledges that action must be taken immediately
to protect America’s economic and environmental future alike. We can’t
wait for the perfect bill.

Paul Kroenke / July 9, 2009 4:16 PM

I think I've fairly well proved my point about Kirk's intellectual waffling. Taking one position when it's politically convenient within his district with the stimulus, and a diametrically opposite position when it's politically convenient in the district polling when it comes to an economically disastrous cap-and-tax bill is as intellectually dishonest as it gets.

How you possibly equate him flopping all over like the fish at the end of Faith No More's "Epic" video to being "intellectually honest" is beyond my comprehension.

Ramsin / July 9, 2009 8:30 PM

I should've made this clear in the piece, but while I like Mark Kirk in a "seems like a nice guy, I hope he doesn't get personally destroyed" kind of way, I have zero support for him as a politician, and I honestly don't know enough about either Cap'n Trade or his position on it to defend him or otherwise; my point was just that he would probably call "intellectual honesty" what others call cowardice (or refusal to stick to conservative principles). Not being a conservative or a Republican, I don't really care, to be honest.

In fact, that's why I made sure to link to Paul's piece in the first place, so people could see that while Kirk will likely defend his cap and trade vote in the primaries as being politically brave (or intellectually honest), conservative will just as likely consider it cowardice. Hate away, fellas.

Good Luck / July 10, 2009 12:46 AM

About Mechanics
Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans.

Yep, real diverse.

ramsin / July 10, 2009 3:01 AM

That's non sequitor. I'm under no obligation to be a Republican or conservative. But y'all are free to congregate, and there are Republicans and conservatives that contribute to the front page.

Just because my opinion isn't the one you prefer, doesn't mean our list of contributors isn't diverse.

Truth Hurts / July 20, 2009 5:46 PM

Mark Kirk is the best candidate for the US Senate Seat in 2010. He epitomizes integrity and is a true moderate, despite what the Democrats try to purport. Mark Kirk has received the endorsements of all major GOP leaders, nationally and statewide. We as citizens for Illinois need to demand real change in 2010 and elect Mark Kirk to the US Senate!

Tova / July 20, 2009 5:59 PM

We need Mark Kirk for the US Senate in 2010! For all you GOPers who are against Mark Kirk, just remember it was Kirk who spoke out in opposition to the $787 billion Obama budget and $410 Billion omnibus. One lousy vote (that will probably not even pass the Senate) does not erase 10+ years of great service to our country. For a Congressman who epitomizes fiscal responsibility, has sworn off earmarks, and is the model of integrity, Republicans and citizens of Illinois must rally around Kirk so we can restore the pride of this state. Go Kirk!

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It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...


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By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

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