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Unclear on the concept

Tuesday, Dec 8, 2015

* I wonder if Sen. Kirk realizes that Cairo, Illinois is further south than Richmond, Virginia

Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk gave a lively speech boosting Illinois to the manufacturers group on Friday, but one attempt at a joke veered into stereotypes.

Kirk said he often asks employers why they operate businesses in Illinois, given the state’s reputation for “high costs and unions and corruption.” Kirk said one employer explained that in the states south of Illinois, it was hard to keep a business open, “because everybody was huntin’ on that day.”

The first-term senator, who is up for re-election next year, put on a southern accent as he cracked the joke, drawing a bit of laughter from the crowd. Illinois employees, Kirk said, “they just show up, they work all day.”

“My reason for this is our inherent Polish character,” Kirk continued. “The 2 million Poles that, you know, Poles just work all day long and don’t ask for recess. … We’ve got to make sure that we sell that. There’s no absenteeism during huntin’ season for us, unlike the southern jurisdictions. We sell the Illinois worker who is just going to work like crazy.”

Yep. No hillbilly hunters and a whole lot of Poles. That’s what makes Illinois so great.


But, hey, at least he’s saying positive stuff, unlike so many other folks in this state.

…Adding… Heh…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Big Joe - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    Mark Kirk….You never know what will come out of his mouth. And he thinks that he should continue as a senator from our state. Say something intelligent for a change, Mark!!! Not embarassing.

  2. - UIC Guy - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    Is it still racism if you single out one ethnic group (Poles, in this case) to make positive remarks about them? Yes.

    I heard about those remarks and thought them very bizarre. It’s not only his geography which he got wrong.

  3. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 10:58 am:


  4. - walker - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    Is the Senator Polish?

  5. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    You never know how Kirk will surprise when he goes off-script.

    But it’s rather simple-minded to claim that Illinois has an “inherent Polish character.” The immigrant experience is a lot broader than that, of course.

  6. - SO IL M - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    He is completely out of touch. And no Rich, I am sure that he doesnt know how far south Cairo is, or how far south Illinois stretches. Perhaps next year he could attend the Pope County deer festival or drop by a school in Johnson County during the first shotgun deer season and learn something about the people he claims to represent.

  7. - Spliff - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    Seriously? Did he replace any of the staff that quite to work for Rauner? Somebody get him to just keep his mouth shut.

  8. - Thoughts Matter - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    You don’t have to go clear to Cairo to find hunters. Plenty here on Central Illinois. Also not a lot of Polish people here. I think he forgets there is a whole lot of Illinois land south of I-80. Pretty sure we have a good work ethic too.

  9. - Served - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    When I was growing up in downstate, attendance at my high school was noticeably lower on the opening days of hunting season. So…..

  10. - LizPhairTax - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    With this state and all of its resources, we could sponsor a whole new class of potential innovators like Marie Curie and eventually have a class of Polish billionaires. That would really adjust income differentials and make the diversity and outcome of the state much better so that the Polish community is not the one we drive faster through.

  11. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    Once again, Mark Kirk is attempting to channel his inner Lindsey Graham. Lindsey Graham is close to John McCain. All three are buddies in ideologies and work together on many issues. Graham and McCain are not just senators, they are also killer stand up comedians. Kirk is definitely not. Yet, it seems that Kirk wants to copy their style. He can’t do it.

    Kirk just isn’t funny. He needs to stop doing this. He has put his staff through a lot over the past six years, the last thing he should be doing is embarrassing them on top of everything else.

    Senator - you are not Lindsay or John on the stump. Find a new style or you will be fired.

  12. - burbanite - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    He has become an embarrasment. Ugh.

  13. - Crack.pipe - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:11 am:

    Kirk as well as the majority of congress and the president have lost it. They don’t have a clue people live and WORK outside the corrupt Washington DC. They live in a bubble! We need common working touch with reality in Washington. We don’t need government leaches, turned career politicians.

  14. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    Liz, well done.

  15. - Stones - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    Serious question…did he speak in terms like this prior to his stroke? Sad, but I do think his health issues are affecting his ability to represent us in Washington.

  16. - vole - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:15 am:

    Downstate the much greater concern of employers relates to the working age population who can’t pass a drug test or that don’t have their driver licenses yanked for DUIs.

  17. - Lonely Centrist - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    OMG. I agree with ‘Stones’ — this must be related to the stroke.

  18. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:21 am:

    Kirk was saying goofy things long before his stroke.

  19. - What's in a Name - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    Why he doesn’t throw his hat in the ring for the Republican Nomination for President is beyond me. He would fit right in.

  20. - Downstate Mom - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    If you’re gonna sling stereotypes, at least don’t forget about one of the biggest ethnic groups in Illinois:
    And just to quote from Wiki: “German-Americans are somewhat better educated and more white collar than the general population, with one-third having at least a bachelor’s degree and about 40 percent are employed in management, business, science or the arts. They tend to be more settled in their communities and are happy exactly where they are.”

  21. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:25 am:

    I just had a Polish man in my que. They are tough. He lives in a garage with no heat. When I showed concern with winter coming on he said “Don’t worry about it. I’m used to it. I been doin this for years”.

  22. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:37 am:

    Everyone enjoys a festive pole you all,a nonviolent felony ends your Bambi killings

  23. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:53 am:

    Wow. Just wow.

  24. - Willie Stark - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    He’s addled. No longer fit to serve and the underlying troublesome tendencies in his personality and character have gotten worse since his serious health issues developed. Sad to see him running and shame on the people who are propping him up.

  25. - Cubs in '16 - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 11:59 am:

    Senator Mark Kirkski…

  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    To the Post,

    Agreed, that Kirk has said goofy things for a very long time, this would fall into that category.

    Are we hard-workin’ in Illinois? I think so. But I think so, no matter the ethnicity of our population or the hobbies Illinoisans enjoy, including huntin’.

    Kev, tighten the script, have Kirk stay on script. Thanks.

  27. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:07 pm:

    That feller who likes huntin’ and ridin’ but not governin’ must be from South Winnetka.

  28. - Joe Biden Was Here - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:08 pm:

    Census says 929,000 people in Illinois claim Polish ancestry. So one more thing Kirk is wrong about.

  29. - anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    Kirk doesn’t even realize there is the beautiful southern Illinois or that there are thousands that depend economically on coal ( that he just voted against ).

  30. - jdcolombo - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:20 pm:

    I grew up in Herrin, which is about 60 miles north of Cairo, and about parallel with Richmond, VA. Deep southern Illinois, which I define as beginning at Mt. Vernon, is as much the South as Kentucky. The Union Army stationed a garrison at Cairo during the Civil War, and it wasn’t there to recruit for the Union Army . . .

  31. - Leave a Light on George - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:27 pm:

    Well now, I just got back from mu duck blind and read this. Was going to work this afternoon but the heck with it. Will take the rest of the day off instead.

  32. - Daniel Plainview - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:29 pm:

    Kirk was always goofy off script, but at least before he could sometimes use a script.

  33. - Keyser Soze - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:37 pm:

    If you extend the Mason-Dixon line, it would cut across Illinois somewhere near Litchfield, ya’ll.

  34. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:41 pm:

    Cairo has been de-annexed. Finds out the RAUN Man has not only barred Syrians, but Egyptians too.

  35. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:45 pm:

    Mark, baby, don’t listen to these haters. Stay the course until Nov’16.


  36. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:46 pm:

    I grew up in Senator Manar’s area, and I remember classes, businesses and offices being quite a bit “undermanned” when deer season began. When deer season or duck season begins now, I see more comments about deer and duck hunting than I do about Thanksgiving or Christmas. So he was not 100% off base with that comment. But what the heck with the Polish comment?! Bizarre.

  37. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:47 pm:

    (agreed, Liz nailed it)

  38. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    Team Sleep, you got it backward. Kirk is as off-base and bizarre about the hunting portion of the remark as the Polish bit. His point was that people in IL *don’t* take off work. Like that’s a good thing.

  39. - South of 64 - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    Our women are barefoot and pregnant most of the time too. What a Senator! He won’t be much longer though.

  40. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:01 pm:

    From IDNR 2011

    ==The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) strongly impacts the economy of the State of Illinois. From State Parks to outdoor recreation to regulation and permitting, the economic benefits of IDNR activities reach statewide. Activities associated with IDNR support 90,000 jobs and at least $32 billion worth of economic impact annually.==

    Taking a day off to pump money into the economy is ok with me. Rich, your welcome to come down for deer season next year and see how this first hand.

  41. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    Crazy - he says a lot of goofy things.

  42. - 48 SD voter - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    Manar is going off the partisan deep end. He used to be a moderate downstate dem. Not so much anymore.

  43. - Ray del Camino - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    The pro-union SO IL Republicans are already pretty mad at Baron Von Carhartt. Maybe they ought to pay attention to Kirk’s snooty suburban disdain for them, as well.

  44. - Huh? - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    Last I checked, Cairo is further south than Louisville, KY.

    I sent the senator an email a few months ago telling him that I wasn’t going to vote for him. He just keeps putting his foot in his mouth and embarrassing the State.

  45. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===Manar is going off the partisan deep end. He used to be a moderate downstate dem. Not so much anymore.===

    “Moderate” downstate dems can win because they put up a fight. So if taking political advantage of the other party’s… eccentricities… is going off the deep end, my apologies.

  46. - Old Shepherd - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 2:45 pm:

    Sen. Kirk should visit the Casimir Pulaski Day Parade in Terry Deering’s old hometown of DuBois. He can drink a Stag with some Poles who also enjoy hunting. He better think twice about criticizing their lifestyles or calling them undependable workers, though.

  47. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    Keyser Soze
    “If you extend the Mason-Dixon line, it would cut across Illinois somewhere near Litchfield, ya’ll.”
    Culturally, you may be right. Literally, it runs through Springfield just north of Toronto Road. While the East West on this link is off, go East and it puts you just North of Toronto Road, go West and you’re in Panther Creek.′23.0%22N+89%C2%B040′41.0%22W/@39.7162445,-89.6910336,14z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0×0:0×0?hl=en

  48. - Hedley Lamarr - Tuesday, Dec 8, 15 @ 5:35 pm:

    Mark Kirk meet Charles Percy.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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