Thursday, February 19, 2015

Can Mark Kirk Fight Off A Primary From Far Right Lunatic Joe Walsh?


Of all the Senate seats the Republicans have to defend in 2016, Illinois is probably the one they dread most. Mark Kirk is a weak candidate with an undistinguished, uninspiring record in a blue-leaning state. Although there are no party registration statistics available, recent elections gave the Democrats 40 seats in the Illinois state Senate to the GOP's 19 and 71 in the state House to the GOP's 47. Even after the Republican wave election last year, lllinois's congressional delegation consisted of 10 Democrats and 7 Republicans (of which 3 of the latter are considered extremely vulnerable in a presidential election year). In 2010, when Kirk won the seat, he beat a very weak Democrat, Alexi Giannoulias, 1,778,698 (48%) to 1,719,478 (46%). Obama beat McCain 3,419,348 (62%) to 2,031,179 (37%) and beat Romney 3,019,512 (58%) to 2,135,216 (41%). Illinois is expected to go very strongly for native daughter Hillary Clinton.

But things could get even worse for Illinois Republicans. Kirk is, essentially, a wishy-washy moderate. People don't hate him. And the Republican base doesn't love him. And he could lose a primary battle to one of Illinois's most extreme right, crazy politicians, former Congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh, now a WIND Hate Talk Radio host, served for one tumultuous term, amassed a bizarre extremist record and was maneuvered out of his seat by the GOP in favor of Randy Hultgren and forced to run against Tammy Duckworth, who beat him decisively in the open seat 54.7- 45.3%. He can't win a statewide general election in Illinois, but he could possibly beat a mainstream conservative like Kirk in a GOP primary, which, he says, is what he plans to do. He says he'll decide by early April. He's already insinuating Kirk isn't physically up to the job because he had a stroke in 2012 and now uses a wheelchair and a cane.
“I think that myself and any Republican voter in this state has questions about Sen. Kirk’s health, similar to if he were running a business and we’d want to know that he’s in condition to run that business,” Walsh said.

“...I think it’s up to him to provide whatever medical information he needs to provide to show that he’s capable of doing this job, that’s all.”

...While conservatives have their issues with Kirk-- a national security hawk and a social moderate who is willing more than most of his GOP colleagues to at times cross the aisle-- so far, until Walsh, pragmatism has trumped philosophical divides when it comes to Kirk.

That’s because Kirk’s moderate reputation helps him in general elections in Illinois.

The conservative movement is not monolithic. Walsh comes from the Tea Party wing. David McIntosh, the president of a major conservative group, the Club for Growth, told me they are not active in trying to dump Kirk.

They have other fish to fry.

In any case, “To my knowledge, nobody from Illinois has come to us,” McIntosh said when I asked him about Kirk a few weeks ago at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

I asked Walsh why he wanted to run against Kirk.

“Mark Kirk’s a liberal Republican and I’m a conservative Republican. We’ve always gotten along and the Republican party’s a big tent and all that, and I think last year was a watershed moment when Mark Kirk put his arms around Dick Durbin and refused to help Jim Oberweis, a fellow Republican, beat Durbin,” Walsh said.

What Walsh is talking about: Kirk said in March 2014 that he wanted to “preserve” his relationship with Sen. Durbin, D-Ill., and not engage in a “partisan jihad” against him because the two got along and worked well together. Taking a pounding from conservatives, Kirk reversed himself and said he would help defeat Durbin.

Kirk did end up helping Oberweis but did very little.

But it was enough that Durbin will not have to honor the nonaggression pact Kirk offered-- and took back-- in 2014.
Conservative Democratic congressmembers Tammy Duckworth, Cheri Bustos and Bill Foster all think they can beat Kirk and are all looking at the race. Walsh, of course, would be much easier-- and much less expensive-- to beat. The fear is that this whole thing is just a publicity stunt to help Walsh boost his radio ratings.

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At 11:59 AM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Pretty pathetic that the Dems lost this seat to begin with.

Frickin' sadsacks.

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's as ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© says.

So much disappointment about the Dems since they reclaimed the Senate majority in 2006. They gained a presidency for a man who not so long ago would have never had a chance to win, only to watch him open the door to letting the opposition run his administration.

They gained control over the House only to lose it again through no direct fault of their own.

And, they let egregious economic and war criminals escape any justice while going after small-time medical marijuana distributors and modern-day Paul Reveres exposing the crimes being committed against our freedoms and liberties.

I find it very difficult to raise any enthusiasm for any Democrat anymore. Too many of them run more left than they intend to serve. Immediately upon winning office, they become corporatists or worse, Blue Dogs, and work against the interests of the people who elected them over a heinous Republican.

I really doubt that the nation can be rescued from corporatism, and I don't see the Dems doing anything to slow the arrival of that fate. In this, they are like Joe Walsh, only they don't scream about their extremity over a 50,000 watt radio station.

So if Walsh does actually run, and is defeated by a corporatist Democrat, what really have the people of Illinois gained over retaining the non-entity Kirk?


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