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Kirk defended, criticized and over-exposed

Thursday, Jun 3, 2010

* Roll Call’s executive editor Morton Kondracke has written a super-strong defense of Mark Kirk on all points, including a somewhat uncomfortable topic. The Kirk campaign sent it around last night and posted it on their campaign’s website today. Here’s the beginning, but you should really read the whole thing

I confess upfront that I’m not neutral in this year’s Illinois Senate race. For numerous reasons I’ll stipulate, I’m rooting for GOP Rep. Mark Kirk over Democratic State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.

That said, the flap over Kirk’s misstatements about his military service is reaching ridiculous proportions — exaggerated into a mini-scandal by Democrats and both local and national media.

And now, the left is peddling sleazy allegations that Kirk is gay as payback for his vote — cast for defensible reasons — against repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

I’ve known Kirk for nearly 10 years, since his first term in Congress, and in 42 years in Washington, I’ve rarely encountered a Member with a greater range of expertise or better judgment.

* The FrumForum, which has been unabashedly pro Kirk, is not pleased with the way the candidate has been handling the military story and offers up some advice

There is just no way around it: Mark Kirk screwed up. He misstated his military record. He admitted this and apologized for it in a blog post but in that same blog post, Kirk did not come totally clean, and now the story continues to linger in both the blogosphere and mainstream media. Now his military record, which should be a strong point, is turning into a liability. Going into the Blagojevich trial, which should be huge positive for Kirk, the Kirk campaign must come all the way clean and stop the bleeding. This story is distracting and it should not be an issue. While some Republican strategists expressed reservations about Kirk’s staffing, the reality is that Mark Kirk is a professional politician and he should know better. The Kirk campaign needs to come completely clean, all at once, and move on. It is time to stop the bleeding.

* But instead of taking that advice, Kirk is sticking to his story, which isn’t wholly satisfying

Kirk also released a statement from retired Navy Capt. Clay Fearnow, who said he nominated Kirk for the Rufus Taylor award and thought it was “more specific to Mark and not his team.”

“The reality is, there would have been no team without Mark’s leadership and there certainly would have been no award,” Fearnow wrote. “I can certainly understand why he would have referred to his award over the years as intelligence officer of the year – it’s how I viewed the award.”

Kirk said the award was given in 2000.

“The skipper called me up and said, ‘Hey, get back to Washington, accept this award. It’s a big deal.’” There were “a lot of speeches – ‘Great work, Mark. It was your team,’” Kirk said.

The award clearly states what it is. Kirk is an intelligence officer, for crying out loud. His job is to deal with tiny details. But he got some very big details wrong for about a decade about something that pertained to himself and he ought to just admit it and move the heck along. To be dragging this thing out over semantics rather than putting it to rest and moving on is a little difficult to understand. All he’s doing by keeping this story alive on his downstate fly-around is prompting ledes like this one from WSIL

“If a man has to lie about his service record, he’s gonna lie to you about everything else,” [said Army veteran Marshall Freeman.]

It would also help if he would’ve made sure that his campaign website was scrubbed of all “Intelligence Officer of the Year” references. It wasn’t as of early this morning.

* And you can’t be an attack dog and legitimately claim you’re above the fray. Kirk looks ridiculous in Bernie’s piece today….

The Kirk campaign also issued a “fact check” on its website titled “‘Mob Banker’ Who Never Served Attacks Decorated Naval Officer’s Distinguished Service Record.”

In one of his radio interviews in Springfield Wednesday, Kirk referred to people digging to find out bad things from his record as “high-powered opposition-research goons.” To his credit, WMAY-AM host JIM LEACH asked if Kirk’s own oppo-research folks should also be called “goons”?

“I would say that our team, since they don’t come from Chicago, tend to be a little bit more by the Marquis of Queensbury rules,” Kirk said, referring to a traditional code of fair play. […]

Still, Kirk doesn’t help his claim of civility when he says he hasn’t used a certain characterization against Giannoulias, yet the same characterization is employed both on Kirk’s own website and by the party supporting him. The Marquis would not be happy.

* But he’s darned lucky that the media has decided not to count his “I command the War Room” comment as the first instance of Kirk’s exaggerations. Instead, they started with the “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award and moved on to “in” rather than “during”

Senate candidate Mark Kirk faced new questions Wednesday about inaccurate descriptions of his military service, this time over wrongly saying that the congressman served “in” Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It is the second time in less than a week that Kirk, the Republican nominee for President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat, has had to explain inaccurate descriptions of his record of service in the military.

Usually, three strikes and you’re out, figuratively speaking. The media is only giving him two strikes now. Like I said, he’s darned lucky.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

58 Comments
  1. - George - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 11:42 am:

    I think what people need to realize is that the problem here isn’t that “this is the story that will do him in.”

    His defenders and GOP flack sit around here and elsewhere and say “Is that all you’ve got?” or “Talking about Kirk’s military record just reinforces that fact that he has one and Alexi doesn’t”, etc.

    Kirk’s problem is that he just swift-boated himself. He cast doubt on his strongest asset.

    It won’t do in his campaign. But it provides a great counterpoint in those neighborly arguments:

    “But Mark Kirk has a strong military record”

    “You mean the one he lied about?”


  2. - just sayin' - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 11:49 am:

    That’s all well and good, but it’s no secret that Morton Kondracke is a Democrat, and a pretty liberal one.

    I think Kirk has now really gone too far by claiming he received a medal for his fight against the Germans when they were bombing Pearl Harbor. ;)


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 11:56 am:

    ===That’s all well and good, but it’s no secret that Morton Kondracke is a Democrat, and a pretty liberal one.===

    What does that have to do with anything? The guy defended Kirk.


  4. - right side - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 11:59 am:

    This whole flap will be forgotten soon. The bottom line is that Kirk has served his nation honorably in the military. And in the end, most people respect that.


  5. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:00 pm:

    Kirk is hoping the journalists are ineffective (incompetent) at digging for the full story.

    Or he feels entitled to be treated well by the media. Or he’s simply a coward, unwilling to face the consequences of his deceptions.


  6. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:03 pm:

    Has Kirk served honorably?

    If he’s served “honorably” why does he feel the need to mislead people about what he did and outright lie about parts of it?

    Is Kirk just massively insecure about who he is and how he’s gotten to where he is in life?

    And how is it “honorable” to lie about one’s military service?


  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:04 pm:

    RS, y’all have been saying all week that this would be going away soon. It’s Thursday, and it hasn’t gone away. I read the same comments about Jason Plummer here. That lasted weeks and hasn’t really gone away yet.

    Instead of just wishing things away, why not deal with them?


  8. - right side - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    Rich, most reporters have short attention spans. That is why Blago was able to survive so much scandal. It has been my experience that reporters are always chasing the next big thing. If Kirk has made any mistake in handling this it has been keeping it alive by continuing to coment on it. Sometimes being too accessable can be a bad thing.


  9. - Ghost - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    FrumForum makes an excellent point. Kirk had a great opportunity to just come clean, call it an error, fix it and draw the wind out of the sails on this. Instead he is digging in to defend on what could have been easily dismissed, but is now blossoming into a full blown scandal.

    Kirk now has Plummer problems of his own…


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    ===Rich, most reporters have short attention spans. That is why Blago was able to survive so much scandal===

    Um, that’s not why he was able to survive at all. Perhaps you weren’t around during 2003-2006, but there were tons of stories about his alleged criminality. People didn’t listen.


  11. - hawksfan - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    Luckily for Kirk I think the failure of Broadway Bank resonates much more with voters who have been hurting in the tough economy. Definitely agree he should just admit he screwed up and move on. He would be in more trouble if he was up against Hoffman.


  12. - just sayin' - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:18 pm:

    “What does that have to do with anything? The guy defended Kirk.”

    Well it’s evidence of what a lot of Republicans already suspect, i.e. that a lot of Democrats have no problem with Kirk. Alexi or Kirk, this race is pretty much a win/win for them in terms of policy position. It’s also why a lot of Republicans aren’t exactly doing summersaults over Kirk. Sure, most will still vote for him, but he doesn’t excite.


  13. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    BTW, I’d like to quote something I wrote in response to the QOTD “Mark Kirk is to ____ as Alexi Gianoulias is to ____? ”

    ==Mark Kirk is to Navy officer as Alexi Giannoulias is to bank executive.==


  14. - State Sen. Clay Davis - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:23 pm:

    One reason I think this is sticking is that most military leaders you see in the spotlight go out of their way to give all of the credit to the teams they command. It doesn’t ring true to see this guy tout how awesome he is because he was the only member of Congress to [fill in the blank] or the winner of the [fill in the blank] of the Year award.

    Kirk has indeed undercut his greatest strength and highlighted his greatest political weakness: his lack of humility in personal communication.


  15. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:24 pm:

    ===This whole flap will be forgotten soon.===

    Maybe it will, but only if this is an isolated incident. Why does this particular “flap” resonate so much? I think Marshall Freeman’s quote above demonstrates exactly why this is dangerous ground for Kirk:

    “If a man has to lie about his service record, he’s gonna lie to you about everything else.”


  16. - just sayin' - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    Another point someone else has probably made somewhere is that TWO of the GOP’s statewide candidates have been caught making up things about their military record.

    You’ve also got Plummer who recall said he was a Naval Intelligence Officer or something, but in reality had not been commissioned and in fact was just beginning training.

    Again, the truth would have been just as good. Very few politicos in Illinois have ever worn the uniform at all. They would have been way ahead if they could have been satisfied just sticking to the truth.


  17. - shore - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:36 pm:

    1. The conservatives whining about kirk are the same people whose traps are shut when southern prolife antigay members of congress take home tens of billions in pork. These folks will go gaga at cpac over david vitter because he’s prolife but ignore his prostitution. If moderates were good enough for Ronald Reagan, they should be good enough for you.

    2. Going by the 1990’s democrat theme that character does not matter and issues do, this issue is settled and it’s time to move on. If the state did not have a 10 billion dollar deficit, 48th in unemployment, enough people leaving it to cost a congressional seat, a national energy crisis, 2 unfinished wars overseas, a threat of international terrorism, and a chronic corruption problem that the state democrat party excacerbated rather than stopped, we might have time for this garbage.

    As Kondracke notes, Kirk is the exact opposite of what we’ve had here lately-a wonk (not the dan hynes kind), but a serious reformer who knows the issues and has brought leadership to them.


  18. - Are Ya Kiddin' Me? - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:41 pm:

    Seriously, how good of an “Intelligence” Officer could he have been, if he doesn’t know the difference between an individual award and a Unit award?


  19. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:42 pm:

    Yeah, Kirk is a wonk who can’t get the details right on his own military service.

    He’s saving his brain for important policy issues like finding Iraq WMD.

    Look, if it’s not obvious Kondracke feels strongly about Israel. And Kirk is one of the top recipients of Israel Lobby money.

    If Kirk wasn’t a kneejerk supporter of the U.S. government doing what Israel wants, Kondracke would be much less impressed with Kirk’s intellect and knowledge of policy.


  20. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:46 pm:

    His inability to straightforwardly deal with this is more revealing than the issue itself. The choice in the Senate race now seems as repulsive as the choice in the Gov race.


  21. - shore - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    The guy in Connecticut that actually never went to vietnam is now up 20 points.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/06/03/poll-shows-blumenthal-23-points-ahead-of-mcmahon-in-conn/


  22. - right side - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:01 pm:

    Shore, good comparison except:

    Blummenthal is a Dem in a dark blue state.
    Blummenthal was up 29 in March: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/publi
    c_content/politics/elections2/election_20
    10/election_2010_senate_elections/connecticut/toplines/toplines_2
    010_connecticut_senate_march_2_2010

    Mark does not have those advantages, still Alexi has a lot of baggage and Kirk has a huge fundraising advantage.


  23. - MrJM - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:03 pm:

    “the left is peddling sleazy allegations that Kirk is gay”

    1. Why are allegations that someone is gay “sleazy”?

    2. Did such allegations really originate on “the left”?

    3. If Kondracke has “rarely encountered” a member of Congress with “better judgment” than the guy who unnecessarily inflated his military record, then perhaps Mort needs to meet more members of Congress.

    – MrJM


  24. - been there - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:05 pm:

    i’m sure chicago has more than its share of goons, but does it have a monopoly? that’s a fairly gratuitous slur, kirk!


  25. - BigTwich - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    That WSIL piece, reported above, is . . . WOW!


  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:22 pm:

    –Rich, most reporters have short attention spans. That is why Blago was able to survive so much scandal.–

    LOL, yeah, Blago is sitting pretty right about now. Great success story.

    Kirk has been sitting pretty for a while because of Alexi’s Bright Start and bank negatives. I think Kirk’s biggest problem is that it’s the national press, not the local media, that’s on him.

    They’ll definitely pursue the military record angle to its end, and I think Mort Kondracke just put the gay issue front and center once more. It will have to be dealt with, although personally, I think the question is out of bounds.

    Kirk is in for an interesting month. This isn’t a North Shore race against Dan Seals. Every Senate seat is crucial. Some big players have a lot of interest in this race.


  27. - Deep South - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:24 pm:

    Yeah, the WSIL piece was good, but the reporter failed to point out that the claimed award was not issued by the U.S. Navy, but rather by another, non-governmental body.


  28. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:26 pm:

    ===and I think Mort Kondracke just put the gay issue front and center once more. It will have to be dealt with, although personally, I think the question is out of bounds.===

    I feel the same way, but Kirk sent out the story last night and put it on his website, so it needed to be posted.


  29. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:33 pm:

    It’s a dilemma for the Kirk campaign. Do they attempt to correct inaccuracies in reporting and risk keeping the story alive or let them stand and risk having the inaccuracies repeated and exaggerated?

    Channel 7 is now claiming that Kirk never served in Iraq at all, but he did. He served in Operation Northern Watch, flying on missions over Northern Iraq from as its states in his Fitness report “Deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey in support of Operation Northern Watch” where he was “Architect of the combat support team” he “Sacrificed valuable time from his campaign for Congress to meet the deployment requirements of his squadron. One of the most experienced combat-tested Aviation Intelligence Officers in the Naval Reserve. Completed required qualifications that enabled observation flights during combat missions in TAOR”

    I honestly don’t know what is the right answer. The politically expedient tack might be to let the inaccuracies go unchallenged but it might not be the right long term strategy.


  30. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    Kirk sent it IL Review too. Oof. Some of the comments there have been predictably brutal, along the lines of Kondrake being a Dem so it’s not a surprise that he’d be defending a Dem-lite like Kirk.

    Kirk is wearing milk-bone underwear these days. Everybody is taking a bite.


  31. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:38 pm:

    ===Sacrificed valuable time from his campaign for Congress to meet the deployment requirements of his squadron. ===

    Why would that be in a military fitness report at all?


  32. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:45 pm:

    It reads to me that he used additional time (not the 2 weeks a year/one weekend a month to take the qualification course? Would you consider it odd if a fit report said “sacrificed valuable time from his widgit business”?


  33. - A.B. - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:50 pm:

    Rich -

    I take a bit of exception at the three strikes comment. By that locig shouldn’t we revisit Giannoulias’ three strikes:
    Strike One - Bright Start fiasco
    Strike Two - Undervalues sale of Illinois properties
    Strike Three - Family bank and loans to less that reputable characters (could be multiple strikes here)
    Just seems that would be a more equitable comparison fo the race…


  34. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:55 pm:

    Gosh, Sister Scholastica would be appalled at the punctuation in my last post. I am. Talk about 3 strikes…


  35. - (618) Democrat - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    Mort Kondracke the ultimate Washington insider who works for FOX news writes a fluff piece for a Republican Congressman who is a Washington insider. If you want to know what is wrong with Washington this is it in a nutshell. A Washington insider standing up for another Washington insider, while totally ignoring the facts.

    Mort at the first of his column starts out by writing “I confess upfront that I’m not neutral in this year’s Illinois Senate race.” No kidding, you work for fox news!

    Mort goes on say “He’d join serious players such as Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine in developing nonideologically-driven alternatives to Democratic policy.”

    Give me a break! Every one of these Senators voted against the most of important bills President Obama has put forth, like health care and financial reform, purely on a partisan line.

    Hey Mort, Mr. Washington insider. The majority of the people in Illinois, who you know nothing about, support President Obama. The people of Illinois want a Senator who will work with our President not a Senator who will be against everything President Obama puts forward. We do not want a Senator, like Kirk, who would support anyone other than President Obama in the next Presidential race.

    Kirk lied. It’s no ones fault but his own. Nothing a Washington insider writes will change that.


  36. - shore - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:11 pm:

    1. I expect better from this blog than noting this gay witch hunt. Call us back when you have something better than a rumor. Otherwise it’s detracting from real issues and giving legs to a stump of a story.

    2. Kirk has been a more accomplished congressman than obama was a senator and unquestionably is better informed on foreign affairs.

    3. Backbench members of congress generally don’t get positive press followings. Heck I can’t think of a single member of the delegation not named Kirk that has a cheerleader at all in the national press corps and some of them have been around a very very long time. It’s ok to give credit once in awhile to people that show up, work hard and do their jobs.


  37. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:12 pm:

    === I expect better from this blog than noting this gay witch hunt===

    Take it up with your candidate, who emailed it out and posted the story on his own website.


  38. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:15 pm:

    ==Yeah, the WSIL piece was good, but the reporter failed to point out that the claimed award was not issued by the U.S. Navy, but rather by another, non-governmental body.==

    And you failed to point out that, while the organization giving the award is not the U.S. Navy, the award is given based on recommendations by those within the Navy. This isn’t some cracker-jack award that everyone who writes in is mailed.


  39. - Anon - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:26 pm:

    ==Mort Kondracke the ultimate Washington insider who works for FOX news==

    Yes, the former editor of The New Republic, and regular contributor to NPR and PBS shows is a flaming conservative lover. He’s a Chicago native as well, so to claim he knows nothing about Illinois is idiotic. Add to that the fact that he his career also includes a stint in the Army doing intelligence work, and I’d say Morton has a good deal of credibility when it comes to this issue.


  40. - shore - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:34 pm:

    Just because he was super stupid-this is becoming a recurring theme for him lately doesn’t mean you have to dive into the deep end.

    It’s his fault (I know-not yours) and good for driving interest to the blog, but it brings with it a lot of trash which I would think you wouldn’t want here and I certainly have no interest in reading or getting bogged down into.


  41. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:36 pm:

    ===This isn’t some cracker-jack award that everyone who writes in is mailed.===

    I suspect Kirk’s Navy Commendation Medal was typical given his rank.

    I’d like to the awards given to the O-4s (LCDRs) assigned to the Electronic Attack Wing in Aviano for the Yugoslavia bombing.

    My guess is that at least 70-90% got either a Navy Commendation Medal or a higher award.

    LCDRs are high enough up in rank that getting a Navy Achievement Medal (one down from a Navy Com) is kinda damnation with feint praise. And if an officer deploys to a combat operation and doesn’t get anything, that’s kinda a red flag that something wasn’t right about the officer in question.

    So, if a bunch of the LCDRs got MSMs (Meritorious Service Medals, one level higher than a Navy Com) that’s flag that Kirk was contributing less than a bunch of his peers, at least in the eyes of the chain of command.


  42. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:38 pm:

    I’d like to *see* the awards given to the O-4s (LCDRs)…


  43. - A.B. - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:48 pm:

    Carl -

    Thank you for our daily dose of partisan snark followed by unfounded speculation. We’d expect nothing less.


  44. - (618) Democrat - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 2:59 pm:

    @anon 2:26

    Mort, the ultimate Washington insider who works for FOX news has been reporting in Washington since 1968. A lot has changed in Illinois in the last 42 years.

    I never said Mort was a flaming conservative. I said he was a Washington insider who wrote a column about another Washington insider, Kirk, while ignoring the facts.

    I also said Mort was clueless about what is going on in Illinois. His column proves that. Look what the reporters in Illinois are saying.


  45. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 3:03 pm:

    Carl -

    You’re last comment helped clarify the problem I’m having with this whole hue and cry about honesty in portraying military service. There is a tone which suggests that the service itself is not meaningful that I find disturbing.

    Your conjecture that the Navy Marine Commendation Medal is just something typical demonstrates a disdain not just for Kirk which I suspect you intend, but a disdain for the armed services in general which I hope you do not.


  46. - votecounter - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 3:07 pm:

    I am not a kirk fan but I am a Marine. When I read what his commanding officer wrote I have to admit I was impressed! Commanding officers do not just heap praise without reason. I then read his fitness reports and they were outstanding.
    It is against the UCMJ to publicly and purposefully lie or deceive or embellish your medals and citations. If he is found to have done that he will be brought up on charges the military standards are much higher than they are in civilian life. Lets see what the Navy does. This could back fire on Alexi if the Navy does nothing. The Democrats are already seen as anti Military this could reinforce that view.


  47. - A.B. - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 3:13 pm:

    @ votecounter

    Thank you for bringing some informed perspective to this discussion.


  48. - MikeMacD - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 3:14 pm:

    It’s pretty clear that the Intel on Rep. Kirk was hyped and distorted to portray something that wasn’t. I remember a lot of that going on during the Bush administration, e.g., yellowcake, anodized aluminum tubes. So, who was the culprit propagating these flasehoods? It seems to me it was Rep. Kirk himself.


  49. - BigTwich - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 3:38 pm:

    “It is against the UCMJ to publicly and purposefully lie or deceive or embellish your medals and citations.”

    The award in question seems to be from a private organization, not be a medal or citation from the military.


  50. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 4:08 pm:

    Votecounter, I actually always heard that the military is notorious for over-inflating fitness reports and personnel reviews. The story I read was a few years ago, but so was the time period of Kirk’s reviews.

    I don’t think anyone expects the Navy to prosecute a congressman/senate candidate. In fact they notified him of the investigation.

    My sense is they need to show his exaggerations as a pattern of deception to make it really stick. My gut is if he lies about something he doesn’t need to lie about, he must lie about a lot of other issues.


  51. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 4:29 pm:

    I think Kirk may have just created a Gary Hart challenge to the press without realizing it.

    First, his vote against ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, changes the rules with many gay activists. He now is viewed as hurting the gay community and therefore IF he has engaged in homosexual activities can be “justifiably” outed.

    Second, I never understand the rules of the media, but now that he has recognized and legitimized the issue by posting the column, it opens the field for the mainstream media to research the issue and discuss it openly.

    I also don’t think it is a sleazy accusation because there is nothing wrong with being gay. I find it a bit offensive when people treat it like it is the most offensive thing possible.

    I also have to laugh that Kirk brought up an obscure reference to the the Marquis of Queensberry. He is known for two things, the rules for boxing and for pursuing legal action against Oscar Wilde that led to his imprisonment for sodomy.


  52. - Conservative Republican - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 5:29 pm:

    I think Kondracke’s column says it all.

    This is a non-issue and will blow over shortly, what with all of Kirk’s commanding officers rising to his defense.

    As to keeping the issue alive, doesn’t it work to Kirk’s advantage to not only constantly remind voters of his superior military record, but to educate them in excruciating detail (Kosovo, Iraq, Pentagon, Afghanistan) about it as well?


  53. - Team America - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 6:13 pm:

    @Objective Dem === I also don’t think it is a sleazy accusation because there is nothing wrong with being gay. I find it a bit offensive when people treat it like it is the most offensive thing possible.===

    That’s exactly the point - it SHOULDN’T be an offensive “accusation” but the fact that it’s being used as an “accusation” at all, with the express intent to try to hurt Kirk, is exactly why it’s “sleazy.” I personally think it’s majorly hypocritical that often these kind of attacks come from the left who claim to be the on-high protector of gay rights, but are quick to try to punitively use such allegations against a candidate (almost always a Republican) to try to hurt them. You should be complaining to THEM that it should not be a legitimate subject for such slander, and also offensive to the very constituency they claim to be supporting.


  54. - Objective Dem - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 8:15 pm:

    I don’t think Rich wants to turn this into a discussion on the ethics of “outing” someone so I will limit myself to this one comment.

    If someone really isn’t doing much to hurt my interests, I don’t care if they stay in the closet. But I think a closeted politician who votes and acts in a discriminatory and hypocritical fashion loses his/her right to privacy. I don’t view it as hypocritical on my part because I believe supporting the fundamental rights of a large number of people transcends the importance of a public figure’s right to privacy.

    Another part of the equation is through the years homosexuals some of the worse anti-gay actions have been championed by closeted gay men who are trying to compensate and cover up their homosexuality.


  55. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 8:17 pm:

    Back in the day, their used to a picture of Mort under the Dome in the pressroom recalling his time there.

    Tom Massey, Rich Millard, what say you?

    Mort’s a smart guy, but he’s not a liberal. FDR was a liberal. So was HST. And everyone else after them.


  56. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 3, 10 @ 8:48 pm:

    If the “issue” becomes whether or not Kirk is gay, I’ll vote for him just to stick to the yabbos.

    It’s 2010. Can everyone grow up now?


  57. - HatShopGirl - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 12:49 am:

    wordslinger, I’m with you! Time to shed some light on the sexual dark ages. I’m glad Kirk got out ahead of the issue, on his website. I don’t even remember his response, other than: I think he said it had NOTHING to do with his military service or his government service. That’s as it should be. There is no logical way to link one’s sexual orientation with one’s intellligence, integrity, and ability to perform a job.


  58. - Andy Martin - Friday, Jun 4, 10 @ 9:49 am:

    I told everyone the truth about Kirk in January. Hell, I broadcast it on radio stations from one end of the state to the other. Why weren’t you listening? Illinois Republican “goons” (Kirk’s word) are getting what they deserve.

    Andy Martin


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