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Mark Kirk should be so lucky

Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Hill

Controversial former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) is talking up a Tea Party challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

“I am very seriously considering challenging him in a primary,” Walsh told The Hill on Thursday. “Mark Kirk has got to be challenged.” […]

Observers speculate that Walsh is likely looking to stir controversy to boost ratings. Many think that he’s ultimately unlikely to run and is a longshot, at best, if he does. […]

Walsh argued that Kirk’s 2012 stroke, which has left him with slightly slurred speech and forced him to use a wheelchair much of the time, was scaring off other potential primary foes. But he said that the senator’s health is part of the reason he shouldn’t win another term.

“I think because of his overall physical condition I don’t know anyone else would consider challenging him and that’s just plain wrong,” he said. “If you privately talk to people who would ordinarily primary him, they’d all say ‘he’s got no business running, but I can’t challenge him, look at who he is, people are going to say I’m mean spirited because I’m challenging him.’ Because of sympathy for Mark Kirk I don’t know of a serious candidate who would challenge him besides me.”

* Kirk’s response

“Based on the polling, I’d say a Republican candidate would be very foolish to come up against me… that’d be a pretty stupid move,” he told The Hill.


  1. - Shore - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    “I think because of his overall physical condition I don’t know anyone else would consider challenging him and that’s just plain wrong,”

    If someone said that about Duckworth there’d be national outrage, but because it’s kirk-a Republican, the story is “Potential Right Wing challenge”.

  2. - Gooner - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:17 am:

    Kirk can tell us all day long that he’s not concerned, but we will have a real idea how he feels when we get his vote on the A.G. confirmation.

    She’s not exactly a controversial nominee but still, people will notice the vote. If Kirk votes for confirmation, we can get an idea that he’s trying to do a repeat of his last race and playing the role of the moderate. A vote against would tell us that he’s concerned about his right flank.

  3. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:18 am:

    So his plan is to attack Kirk’s health. What a dirt bag.

  4. - Tired of it all - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    No doubt in my mind the Governor is positioning himself to be Vice-President in the next presidential election. You don’t spend the kind of money he has spent and not have higher expectations. Trying to make a name for himself on the backs of the middle class.

  5. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    ===I don’t know of a serious candidate who would challenge him besides me.===

    Is he serious about being considered serious?

  6. - Under Further Review - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:27 am:

    Clueless Walsh.

  7. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    Kirk’s response shows a great deal of hubris.

  8. - walker - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    Shore: Walsh shouldn’t go there, and there are good reasons other wouldn’t do the same.

    But to equate physical challenges due to stroke, to disability from combat wounds, makes a false equivalency. Attacking the latter would capture much more public outrage, regardless of party.

  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:41 am:

    - there’d be national outrage, but because it’s kirk-a Republican, the story is “Potential Right Wing challenge”. -

    What on earth are you talking about?

    Last I checked Walsh is a proud right winger, and he’s the one making the classless comments.

  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Don’t settle for the primary Joe! IL needs you to run the Tea Party as a 3rd party in this one! YOU CAN DO IT!

  11. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:45 am:

    Aren’t his 15 minutes up yet?

  12. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:54 am:

    Walsh will run only if his bosses (dick Uline and rauner )think Kirk needs a spoiler to help him get thru the primary

  13. - Judgment Day - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    Joe Walsh: Just.Go.Away.

    Preferably, quietly.

  14. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:08 am:

    Come at me bro…

  15. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    When is this guy going to go away? I just can’t understand why there is still a space for him in any public arena? His capacity for self importance is simply astonishing.

  16. - MrJM - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:25 am:

    Joe Walsh reminds me of the ladies on Real Housewives, i.e. circumstances gave him a certain degree of celebrity which he has completely misinterpreted as talent and popularity.

    – MrJM

  17. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    =When is this guy going to go away? I just can’t understand why there is still a space for him in any public arena? His capacity for self importance is simply astonishing.=

    While Kirk certainly works contrary to the GOP platform most of the time and initially refused to endorse the Senate GOP candidate against uber liberal Durbin, and has a disability that makes serving in his elected position extremely difficult, I’d say he still has a right to put himself before the voters for re-election. You WERE talking about Kirk, right?

  18. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    Why won’t Walsh go away? Because dick Uline is paying him(WIND radio) to keep him around to bamboozle ‘tea party’ types into supporting rauner or whatever Uline wants. So your next question is ‘who is dick Uline?’ Right?

  19. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Who is dick Uline? Why does Uline give so much money to dan Proft? How did dan Proft just get the morning show at WIND radio? What is WIND radio? Why hasn’t William Kelly been banned for life yet? These are all good questions and they could all be easily answered if you would use that little google machine in your own head called a brain.

  20. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    == and has a disability that makes serving in his elected position extremely difficult==

    I see you’re on the attack his health bandwagon already. Said it earlier and I’ll say it again - that’s the strategy of a dirt bag.

  21. - Northsider - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    Please proceed, Joe.

  22. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 11:43 am:

    @Dem, there’s a serious question regarding how well Kirk can meet his Senatorial responsibilities and represent his constituents in Illinois. What he has isn’t just a physical disability, it’s a mental one as well. If a person has a head injury that affects his mental state, they can still be a productive citizen, but it’s probably not a good idea for him to be an airline pilot or neurosurgeon.

    His stroke may be just as mentally debilitating.

    Asking the question if his disability will adversely affect his ability to serve in the best interest of the people of Illinois is a valid question, not s slur against those with disabilities.

    I sincerely wish that someone had asked that question about FDR before Yalta. Of course the press hid his debilitated condition from the people, a heinous betrayal IMHO. If his condition had been addressed and action taken in negotiations with Stalin, perhaps Eastern Europe wouldn’t have suffered under four and a half decades of Soviet oppression.

  23. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    AB, you know absolutely nothing about the Yalta Conference, FDR, or Stalin.

    And I wouldn’t be raising any questions about others’ mental abilities, either.

  24. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    “There’s a word for people who think that everyone is conspiring against them.”

    “That’s right — perceptive.”

    or in the words of Dennis Miller ( I think)
    The big conspiracy is that there isn’t one….

  25. - D.P.Gumby - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    Walsh can only help Kirk by making him more sympathetic and moderate appearing.

  26. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    Kirk’s response just begs Walsh to run.

    He should be so lucky. Gift wrapped, free of charge.

  27. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 12:52 pm:


    If you have evidence that Kirk is somehow incapacitated to a degree that he cannot do his job then please provide that evidence. Otherwise this is nothing more than an attempt to smear the guy. Period.

  28. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 1:24 pm:


    =AB, you know absolutely nothing about the Yalta Conference, FDR, or Stalin.=

    Actually, being of Eastern European descent, I apparently know much more about it than you. As usual, we don’t get thoughtful disagreement from you, just insults. I guess simple insults are the last refuge of a scoundrel just as for religion.

  29. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 1:27 pm:


    Hey, Joe. What was the name of that guy from the book Tom Sawyer? Something Jim… can you help me out with that?

  30. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 1:33 pm:


    Verbal communication and oratory are key assets for a Senator. When has he last had a prolonged, convincing speech on the Senate floor or before the media for that matter?

    What major legislation has he moved since the tragic stroke? What leadership has he shown in committees? What have you seen with him “working the floors” to get keep votes for legislation? What evidence is there that he’s been able to move Durbin to the center from his far left perch despite their “friendly relationship”? What has Kirk proposed doing to stop Obama’s illegal immigrant “amnesty” EO? What has he done to suggest appropriate response to ISIS?

    I haven’t met with the man since his stroke, but the burden of proof is on you to show he IS an active and productive member of the Senate, not on me to show that inaction, for health or other reasons, disqualifies him.

  31. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    You’re right, AB, Roosevelt and Churchill were just brain-addled dupes.

    Maybe a “pretty please” at Yalta to a friendly fella like Stalin would have gotten the Red Army out of Poland, the corridor Germany had used to invade Russia twice in 30 years, resulting in tens of millions of deaths.

    The alliance with Russia had been one of necessity dictated by geography and the fact that Russia had an army of 6 million fighting the Germans in Europe for three years before the United States, Britain and Canada hit the beaches at Normandy.

    Roosevelt and Churchill were under no illusions of who they had partnered up with and the problems to come. Read all about it.

  32. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==but the burden of proof is on you to show he IS an active and productive member of the Senate==

    Whatever you say Bob. If you want to associate yourself with this type of sleazy strategy be my guest. It fits with your M.O.

  33. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    ==not on me to show that inaction, for health or other reasons, disqualifies him.==

    YOU are the one insinuating this. YOU are the one making accusations. You better have some ammunition to back up those accusations besides your moronic political accusations that he isn’t doing enough to hate on Obama and Durbin. Show me his inability to do the work. Can you do that Bob? Because if you can’t then you are pathetic for even suggesting such a thing.

  34. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 2:05 pm:


    Off topic I know, but . . .

    You aren’t likely to reason with Bob on history. This is the same guy that was hating on Abraham Lincoln.

  35. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 2:15 pm:

    Kirk has to make sure that guys with issues about his health are not listened to. Acknowledging that reality is his first step.

    Kirk wins reelection when he convinces the majority of Illinois voters, who have already sent him to the Senate once - to do it again. He does that by showing us and telling us what he has done since his election.

    That will get rid of those vultures like Walsh who think the Grim Reaper will cast their vote first - and get rid of those whisperers like Arizona Bob who are afraid that voters won’t find Kirk robust enough to be reelected.

  36. - Toby - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    Kirk only won because of Giannoulias. Period.

    That 22 year old Washington law School student has more intelligence and character than Alexi did.

    Has anyone asked Kirk where those WMD are?
    Anyone ask why he voted against unemployment benefits when he sat in a hospital for a year getting rehabilitated — not working, not doing his job but still collecting $175,000 a year?
    Has anyone asked Kirk how he voted against ACA when the taxpayers of Illinois and this country paid over 2 million for his rehab?

    In Kirks mind, poor people working class folks no health insurance and limited UI. Rich people like himself, let the government pay his salary and health care.


  37. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 3:06 pm:


    You need to study a little more history Word.

    Churchill proposed that the “second front” started by the Us and Britain should come from the Adriatic in the South instead of heavily fortified France. This would’ve given the free world “occupation” with the Russians so that they couldn’t take over any of the occupied nations without push back. Stalin, of course, wanted Britain and the US on the west so that they could destroy the resistance in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia before taking over. FDR looked so weak and fragile at the meeting that it emboldened Stalin to press his point.

    Obviously, FDR capitulated, and the Us and Britain went right into the teeth of the “Fortress Europe” with a heavy toll while Stalin consolidated his power in the Eastern Bloc. The US could’ve been the first into Berlin, but FDR held Patton up to wait for Stalin to take it.

    After Germany fell, Truman had the choice of demonstrating the devastating power of the A bomb to coerce the Japanese into surrender, but he chose to use it against the live targets instead. This had more to do with Stalin than Tojo.

    Because of the weakness FDR had shown, Truman was concerned that Stalin wouldn’t believe that the Us would use this terrible weapon against people. Truman wrote that he was worried that Stalin would say, “The Americans are such cowards they use this awesome weapon just to kill fishes!”

    Weakness and national leadership can have devastatingly bad effects on the people. We need to be diligent in ensuring those we elect and ensuring they are fit to lead. That’s my concern about Kirk. Anyone know when his next public speech will be? If he’s not having any, that may be a telling concession.

  38. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 3:13 pm:

    As my kids would say, Walsh is “totes cray cray”.

  39. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 3:21 pm:

    AB, I think I’m good on my history reading. You stick to your comic books.

  40. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    Demoralized, if you listen to WIND radio you would know that Walsh holds lincohn responsible for completely ruining the acting career of john Wilkes booth, please try to keep up!;)

  41. - Michael Westen - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 4:51 pm:

    Demoralized, you do recognize that even the most devoted Kirk sycophant (read:you) that Kirk has made some pretty dopey statements since the stroke, as recently as last week.

    Are you saying it is not a legitimate question to even ask about the competency of an elected official after they have a debilitating stroke?

    If that’s your position, then wow!

  42. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 5:00 pm:

    Michael Westen, in my opinion, Kirk made loads of dopey statements for years before he had his stroke, so that’s in the eye of the beholder.

    On what basis are you questioning his competency due to his stroke, specifically. Or do you just like writing “Kirk” and “stroke?”

  43. - Michael Westen - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 5:52 pm:

    I don’t disagree with your first statement, but they seem to have come with greater rapidity in the last year and a half or so. But actually I am not questioning either way. It is, however, a legitimate question, if done appropriately and respectfully.

    A stroke of the kind he suffered is a traumatic health event. U.S. Senator is a very important office. Whomever holds the office is not entitled to a presumption of any kind.

    Voters have every right to know, and inquire, if a US Senator is fully recovered enough after a debilitating stroke (there didn’t use his name in that sentence if that makes you happier).

    Trying to pretend it’s not a legitimate question will not make it go away.

  44. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 9:26 pm:

    The problem for Kirk is that strokes do permanent brain damage. His cognitive faculties may have survived intact. They also may not have-he and his camp have never come clear either way. And while Kirk can compensate somewhat with good staffers, some of us might be a tad uncomfortable with unelected staffers holding such responsibilities. Especially for a Senator.

    So yeah, Kirk’s health is an issue. Not because he may have another stroke, but because of the damage the first one wrought.

    I can understand why Kirk didn’t resign while Quinn was in office, but now that he has a Governor who is ideologically aligned with him, he really should be working with Rauner to find an ideal successor, and then resign to give said successor a head start on 2016.

  45. - Quizzical - Tuesday, Feb 17, 15 @ 11:33 pm:

    Mark Kirk could spend the next year fighting for ISIS and he’d still beat Joe Walsh by 20 points in the primary.

  46. - Creative Nickname - Wednesday, Feb 18, 15 @ 12:59 am:

    Anyone who has heard Mark Kirk speak live lately has questioned if his stroke caused damage to his mental faculties. It may be only his speech that was affected, making his communication more simple and slow, but look around the room at his next appearance, there is more than a few slightly concealed awkward expressions. It was even evident in the endorsement commercial he did for Dold.

    Strokes affect Brian function by definition. In spite of plenty of evidence to the contrary, it is important that US Sentors have well functioning brains. It isn’t out of bounds to ask, when a guy running for US Senate has a hard time communicating and has had a well publicized brain trauma, if he is functioning well enough to do the job.

  47. - Une - Friday, Feb 27, 15 @ 7:11 am:

    That’s why he should be primaries. He will vote along with McConnell to fund amnesty

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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