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IL-Senate Campaign Tue Sep 15 2009

Kirk Wins The Battle But Stays Vulnerable For The War

Illinois Congresman Mark Kirk's explanation for his contradictory stance on climate change legislation is a good one but I don't think it's as good as some are saying. Basically, Kirk voted for a climate bill against the wishes of the Republican base because it was narrowly in favor in his district. He now says that if he's elected to the senate he'll go with the will of his party and vote against similar legislation. At the rally this little dance turned boos to cheers.

Meh. It was a pretty smooth move but now Alexi Giannoulias or whoever can easily turn this back around and paint Kirk as unreliable --who knows whose wishes he'll listen to next, especially as a senator over the overall liberal Illinois!

But I think there's a deeper problem here. The danger is that this campaign angle could work. Kirk could get elected thinking that as long as he pays close attention to public opinion and makes decisions with it in mind, he'll be a great politician. But crafting strong legislation takes a long time and requires a great deal of certainty by politicians for good policies to pass. In contrast, public opinion can (and often does) change in the blink of an eye. As I've said in the past, in theory it makes sense to pay attention to only their constituents in deciding what stance to take but in actuality that's not such a good idea. Public opinion is an incredibly undependable entity, good policy is not. Politicians need to be stubborn to a degree because even those who they represent will have doubts at moments.

If Kirk could somehow talk more about how he'll pay more attention to the actual policies that he needs to take a stance on as a senator and do it with the welfare of his constituents in mind then he'd really deserve cheers.

(Crossposted)

 
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Blake / September 16, 2009 9:33 AM

His excuse doesn't ring true. He had already decided (but not yet announced) his run for the Senate when he voted for Cap & Trade. Vote for Kirk if you want another Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

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...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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