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Question of the day

Monday, Aug 29, 2011

* On a scale of one to ten, with one being the worst and ten being the best, rate US Sen. Mark Kirk’s job performance. Take the poll and the explain your answer in comments, please.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Esquire - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    Kirk has been a welcome addition to the US Senate. His centrist views are much more in the political mainstream than those of the rabid partisan Durbin. Kirk is more representative of the people of Illinois.

  2. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    5. An average Senator, doing an average job.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:37 am:

    I can’t give the guy a grade. The farce he plays with the Naval Reserve makes my skin crawl. It’s like a spoiled kid playing cowboy.

    When he does one or two year-long tours, like many reservists have, I’ll take him seriously.

  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    I gave him an 8. He’s not in a real leadership role to make grand decisions, but he’s done what he’s said he would do, and has been pretty outgoing in terms of interaction with voters and pushing for legislation he’s proposed.

  5. - Irish - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    I gave him a seven. Didn’t care for some of the stuff that came out during the campaign and the “disremember” stuff. However, I have to say he is walking the walk of trying to work with the other party in getting things done.

  6. - amalia - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    I can’t rate him higher because he takes some positions I don’t like. But, even though he’s not my party, I do have to say that he conducts himself with dignity, accessibility, cooperation with Sen. Durbin, and he’s intelligent, well spoken. The repubs should use him more. the action so far is a refreshing change certainly from Burris, but I also don’t think Kirk is a speechifying grandstander like many we see.

  7. - bored now - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    a one. despite his promises that he’d go to washington and reach across the aisle (and work for all illinoisans), he’s consistently voted with mitch mcconnell. kentucky didn’t need a third senator (or is that a 47th senator?)…

  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:45 am:

    ==When he does one or two year-long tours, like many reservists have, I’ll take him seriously. ==

    So you want a sitting US Senator to do a two year stint? Yeah, ok.

  9. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    I agree with Cinci. Kirk is average at best. He isn’t doing anything that causes undue harm, but he missed a good opportunity to back the DREAM Act that should be right in his wheel house. Yes, I realize National GOPers frown on treating undocumented immigrants as anything other than cheap, exploitable labor, but Kirk is from Illinois and had plenty of political cover to stick his neck out and demonstrate some bi-partisan chops. He punted. I expect more of the same for the next 5 years.

    But average is better than I expected, so props to him.

  10. - in absentia - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:52 am:

    Freshmen members sit pretty far down the hall with little to no light provided. I give him a mega-blunder free 6 but agree that the reservist stories/experiences relayed in campaign season were gut wrenching.

  11. - Skeeter - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    3. He’s made minor attempts to play the role of the moderate (at least in talk) but has yet to stand up against the far right on any vote. I still think he has potential, but we might not see it until after 2012.

  12. - justbabs - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    I gave him a five. Middling. Not horrible but nothing to be proud of either.

  13. - Fan of the Game - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:01 pm:

    Considering the nature of freshman senators in the minority party, he has handled the office with aplomb. His issues while on the campaign trail are not part of my rating here. This is only about his job as a senator.

  14. - Fan of the Game - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:03 pm:

    And I rated him a 7.

  15. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:04 pm:

    Only cause we could not do zero and assme Commando Make It Up would issue a release saying is was rated #1 by Capt Fax blog

    He has done zip zero nada and embarrased IL worses than Bankey Fitz
    that should explain our vote

  16. - Loop Lady - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:08 pm:

    An erudite, moderate Republican who is a good addition to the IL delegation…I do think he was the best man for the job vs. Alexi…what’s Alexi up to these days Rich?

  17. - Dead Head - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:11 pm:

    I agree with those who have said he doesn’t do much to reach across the aisle, I have to agree with bored now.

  18. - LG - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:12 pm:

    3 — he hasn’t been completely useless. The misleading (being generous here) claims on his resume are impossible to ignore. If you lie on a resume, you are lying elsewhere. I’ve seen him have a temper tantrum and berate a professional person in front of peers. He is not the dignified honorable person that I, and many readers here, believed him to be. I’ve asked where his solutions are — he replies with more criticism of the democratic party. C’mon Mark Kirk — Lead like you meant to when you were first elected or move on.

  19. - shore - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    He’s been extraordinarily quiet in his first several months compared to what we’ve seen the last 5 years. Part of this has to do with the fact he’s spent 6 years running do or die campaigns and needs time to take a bit of a breath. He’s found his footing on foreign affairs first and I think you’ll see him pretty quickly rise as a national force on those issues. What remains to be seen are what his domestic issues and agenda will be and for those of you from outside the 10th-downstate most importantly what his focus in your areas will be on. Say what you want about him, but he’s a lot more knowledgeable on issues than Alexi or Burris were or would have been and takes the job a lot more seriously than many of our recent statewide officeholders.

    I give him a 10+, but you knew that was coming.

  20. - zatoichi - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    He shows up. As a freshman he has little clout so coming to work helps. Outside of that what has he actually done?

  21. - shore - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:22 pm:

    This isn’t a grade on alexi’s oppo dump to save his skin last spring this is a grade on his 8 months as senator.It’s also worth noting, I think that senate transitions take longer than house transitions. Most house members move into new offices day 1, senators take into the spring to get offices in dc set up.

  22. - DOWNSTATE DEM - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:39 pm:

    He hasn’t been in long enough to see what he can accomplish. I do think he’s a large cut above Burris.

  23. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 12:43 pm:


    –So you want a sitting US Senator to do a two year stint? Yeah, ok.–

    That’s the point, exactly. He puts the uniform on for perceived political gain, knowing full well he’ll never be called upon to make the same sacrifices as other reservists because of his clout.

    It’s disrespectful to the other reservists, including mothers and fathers, whose lives are disrupted and who are called upon to serve with what oftentimes has been the last full measure of devotion.

  24. - ANON - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==Outside of that what has he actually done?==

    Quite a bit in terms of some foreign policy issues, actually. He’s getting his feet wet in an areas he knows pretty well, which is smart. But they’ve been buried as news stories under all the other issues the last 8 months.

  25. - ANON - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    ==It’s disrespectful to the other reservists, including mothers and fathers, whose lives are disrupted and who are called upon to serve with what oftentimes has been the last full measure of devotion.==

    It’s nice of you to speak for all families of the military on this issue, but I know many cases in which you are flat out wrong. Many reservists and their families that I know wholeheartedly support and respect the idea of someone in the House/Senate who actually puts the gear on deploys with other troops for a while.

  26. - Bill Baar - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:09 pm:

    Kudos to Kirk for following events in Iran and Syria when most Americans aren’t paying any attention to Foreign Affairs and Nat Security.

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:10 pm:

    5 - He certainly hasn’t behaved recently like the “All American Boy” I thought he was–and that even makes me question his ability to apply all that “foreign policy” knowledge/experience to benefit the US in future. There are a few things that are making me question his ethics right now as well. It’s a shame, I once thought that he’d be able to pull an Illinois “twofer” like Obama did by becoming Veep or POTUS. (Truly.)

  28. - Hattie - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:15 pm:

    Kirk represents all that is wrong with government these days - grandstanding over working for real people!

  29. - wordslinger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:21 pm:

    –It’s nice of you to speak for all families of the military on this issue,–

    I did no such thing. In my opinion, he’s being disrespectful. I’ll speak for myself, and you can do the same for you.

  30. - 10th Indy - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:30 pm:

    Smart moves finding common ground with Sen. Durbin, establishing his offices/staff, continuing focus on constituent services and developing a solid reputation on foreign affairs. Better than most freshmen.

    His continuing service in the Naval Reserves is commendable. He won’t have the same experiences as many who serve in the military but as one of only two senators who continue to serve in the reserves he brings a much-needed perspective to congress. 10.

  31. - ChiPolCon - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    Senator Kirk had a real opportunity to be a voice of reason in the Senate and work for some real bipartisan solutions. Instead, he played to the most fringe elements of his own party. This will come back to haunt him eventually.
    He can’t hide behind his military service forever.
    In a Blue state like Illinois he should understand that a partisan wave will knock him out of office sooner or later if he doesn’t build a strong base of support outside his own party’s narrow political reach.

  32. - Ahoy - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:33 pm:

    Hard to rate him since he actually hasn’t done anything of substance except come out with a goofy proposal to privative our infrastructure, because it’s worked so well in Chicago?

    I gave him a 2, you get a low grade until you can prove your worth.

  33. - ChiPolCon - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:36 pm:

    Forgot to rate him. I would give him a weak three.

  34. - friend of a friend - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:43 pm:

    I gave Senator Kirk a ten because…he keeps the candy desk in Washington full!

  35. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===what’s Alexi up to these days Rich?===

    He’s not running against Alexi anymore, LL. Was that a poor attempt at “Oh, look…a kitty”, or just clamoring for positive reinforcement when constructive criticism might be required instead?

  36. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    ==Instead, he played to the most fringe elements of his own party.==

    Source? From what I read, he supported the “gang of six” proposal…a group that included Senator Durbin, and was opposed by the “most fringe elements” of his own party.

  37. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    ===and was opposed by the “most fringe elements” of his own party===

    That’s right keep the “ambiguity” thing going. That’ll serve him well with all parties in the long run.

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:17 pm:

    ==That’s right keep the “ambiguity” thing going. That’ll serve him well with all parties in the long run.==

    So are you asserting that he gang of six proposal, which he is on record numerous times supporting, was supported by the far right of the Party? If it was, that would’ve been the “deal” that passed

  39. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:18 pm:

    No. I was referring to your handle.

  40. - mokenavince - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:22 pm:

    6 he could get better,but he’s in the minority
    and junior senator.

  41. - Guy in the Glass - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:51 pm:

    I would give Kirk a 9. First of all, he has been very attentive to the needs of his constituents, far better than his two predecessors. While blatant partisanship seemingly remains the mantra of those in Congress, we’ve seen Kirk reach out across the aisle on many occasions and try to do what’s right in the best interest of his constituents. Additionally, we’ve seen Kirk take an authoritative lead on a number fo FP issues, his FP credentials manifesting themselves, for instance, in the new START Treaty discussion. As mentioned earlier, for a guy who isn’t exactly in a leadership position yet, he’s been adding a lot of great ideas to the national discussion. Not even a year into his first term, Kirk certainly gets a decent grade in my book and I dont regret voting for him in the least.

  42. - Deep South - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 2:56 pm:

    I give whatshisname a 1. I mean really….Who is this Kirk guy? You say he’s an Illinois senator but I haven’t heard anything about since he won the election. I’m just assuming he was sworn into office…

  43. - Niles Township - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:01 pm:


    I think these 1 to 10 spreads are too wide. You get similar results on mutiple polls. I’d go with 1 - 5, less of the bell effect.

  44. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:03 pm:

    Next year, NT. I’ve already thought about it. But I decided I couldn’t change after I did a few and then realized the problems.

  45. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:04 pm:

    …And I think it’ll be 1-4 so people can’t cop out by choosing the middle number.

  46. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:40 pm:

    Geez Rich, why not just make it pass-fail?

  47. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:44 pm:

    Umm… That would be a bit extreme the other way, don’t you think?

  48. - Judgment Day - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    I’ll give him an 8. I think this pretty much sums up his performance to date:

    “Smart moves finding common ground with Sen. Durbin, establishing his offices/staff, continuing focus on constituent services and developing a solid reputation on foreign affairs”

    After all the campaign issues, Kirk needs to sweat the “small stuff”. Get all that working ok, pay attention to IL needs first and foremost (and take the time necessary to accomplish that, for all our citizens), then worry about establishing a national voice later.

    IMO, what IL needs is a US Senator who is the second coming of Alan Dixon. Kirk, become that person for IL, because we have needed that badly (and haven’t had it), and right now, you are our best hope.

  49. - Rich Miller - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:53 pm:

    How so many hyperpartisans could give him a 1 is just beyond me.

  50. - ChiPolCon - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:54 pm:

    And like a good Tea Partier he supported the Balanced Budget Amendments. Why didn’t he support a balanced budget amendment when he was a congressman during the Bush years. The crzy Repubs only become budget hawks when there is a Democrat in the White House. Of the curent $14 trilion dollar deficit President Obama is only responsible for $2 trillion of it. The biggest contributors to the federal debt have been Ronald reagan and George H. Bush.

  51. - ChiPolCon - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 3:56 pm:

    W might have added more to the debt than his pappy.

  52. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:05 pm:

    Rich, I should have elaborated. I think the 1-5 system would work better. The middle score isn’t a cop out, it’s a C, as in average.

    But I agree that giving Kirk a 1 is ridiculous and that so many people have voted that way just shows they aren’t being serious and are simply throwing partisan bombs. Some thought, even for a few seconds, would demonstrate that a 1 is simply a partisan attack.

    If you can’t give this a level of seriousness that Rich’s time deserves, you shouldn’t vote at all.

  53. - Wensicia - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:13 pm:

    I’ll give him a three, he hasn’t impressed me with any action that’s non-partisan in nature and he takes the easy path pushed by political winds. It’s really too early to make a final decision, though.

  54. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:26 pm:


    Notice we agreed again. One of us should stop filling these out…

  55. - 47th Ward - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:34 pm:

    Nah, we don’t agree that often. At least we both try to add something to this instead of me just rating all Republicans 1s and you doing the same with the Democrats.

    And even though I don’t agree with you on much Cinci, I appreciate the fact that you spend some time thinking about this stuff before hitting the “Say It!” button.

  56. - Cincinnatus - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 4:48 pm:

    It has been uncanny about our agreement on these recent polls. We HAVE agreed on almost all of them! The other stuff, not so much.

    On a totally unrelated topic, anyone going to DuQuoin tomorrow?

  57. - Juan Pierre's Left Arm - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 8:00 pm:

    Why does Kirk send out multiple choice response requests for constituent input designed to affirm decisions he has already made?

    If Alexi wasn’t weaker than my left arm, no way does Kirk win in 2010. How much did the Giannoulias family contribute to Obama’s 2004 Senate race?

  58. - Dirt Digger - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 8:24 pm:

    7. Isnt my team but he voted for the debt ceiling deal so he’s all right in my book.

  59. - Bonsheik - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 8:30 pm:

    I gave him a 3. He is the kind of centrist/moderate we like here in Illinois but something about the bragging and his manner give me pause.

  60. - VanillaMan - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 8:42 pm:

    Compared to whom he replaced - 10.

  61. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 11 @ 10:49 pm:

    Awww…hello, V-Man. I’ve missed you. ;)

  62. - Meanderthal - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 9:12 am:

    I gave him an 11. He saved my life once while we were both serving in a hostile forward area pinned down by VC on all sides. I was shot up pretty bad. Kirk started talking to the enemy over a bullhorn about his suburban agenda, they all got bored and fell asleep and we were able to walk to safety. I may have misremembered a few things, it was a long time ago.

  63. - Conservative Veteran - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 9:57 am:

    I voted for “2,” since he voted for the debt ceiling deal. All Republicans should have voted no, since the cuts were too small.

  64. - JustaJoe - Tuesday, Aug 30, 11 @ 10:45 am:

    Gave a 5. Nothing terribly negative. Nothing proudly positive. If V-man’s comment is “10 compared to whom he replaced” I’d echo it; if he meant a minus 10, I’d really disagree.

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