Jun 08 2010
By Laurie Higgins
With all the recent bad press about Mark Kirk’s prevaricating about his military record and his weaselly responses when confronted by the media about his prevarications, multiple people have made the argument that as bad as he is, it’s better to have a Republican elected than a Democrat. In the past I shared that view. I have never voted for a third-party candidate or refused to vote—until now. I have always been firmly committed to voting for the Republican candidate even if I had to hold my nose while voting—until now. Is there a limit to how bad a Republican candidate can get before Republicans will stand on principle? I’m beginning to think that Republicans have a limitless capacity for capitulation.
This is my thinking:
I think that it will be easier for a good Republican candidate to unseat Alexi Giannoulias in six years than it will be for a good Republican to unseat a semi-skillful incumbent like Mark Kirk. If Kirk gets in office, I fear we’ll have him for decades. I don’t think that’s the case with Giannoulias. The loss of the Senate seat to Giannoulias would provide Illinois Republicans six years to find a truly worthy Republican candidate. No matter which position Republicans take, it’s a crapshoot. We’re all speculating. Giannoulias could be an effective senator and, therefore, very difficult to unseat. Or he could be incompetent and, therefore, easy to unseat. With Kirk, we know we’re getting a skillful and experienced legislator who will be difficult to unseat.
Marc Ambinder, political editor of The Atlantic, writes this about the prospect of a Kirk win:
If Kirk wins the seat, he’s instantaneously the biggest name in the GOP. The seat, you’ll remember, was Barack Obama’s seat. Kirk would be bigger than Massachusetts’ lion killer Scott Brown, bigger than the presidential candidates for a while, and he can be a kingmaker.
He’ll have a huge donor list, he’ll own Obama’s seat, and then he’s faced with a choice. Does he moderate himself truly, work in a bipartisan way and be a leader in the Senate. Or, does he go with immediate ego gratification and position himself to be on the vice presidential short list for 2012? If Kirk doesn’t want to run again in 2016, he can bank on the fact that he’ll either be on the veep short-list then, or he’ll be a bona fide presidential contender in his own right.(http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/mark-kirk-the-next-scott-brown/56598/)
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