US Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) will be one of few embattled incumbents in Election Year 2016. Fiscally conservative and social moderate, Kirk is well-aware of his endangered status as a blue-state Republican running for reelection in a Presidential year. In addition to the political situation, Kirk’s health status has been under discussion, having suffered a debilitating stroke.
Notwithstanding the health concerns, Kirk returned to Washington a year later walking. He even called the stroke “a gift from God” for what he has learned from this trial, and has served in the US Senate since then. When asked if he would step down, he confidently retorted:
No frickin’ way am I retiring!
As an Illinois Congressman, Kirk won an upset for Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in November, 2010. In a contested primary, he faced pressure from the right as well as the left for key votes on the environment and the Iraq War. Justifying those votes based on the will of his constituents, Kirk backed away from some votes, and courted the support of Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin.
After the election, Kirk was immediately seated to represent the state of Illinois for a full six-year term. Kirk understood the rank backroom wheeling-and-dealing which had revolved around the senate seat. A corrupt governor, widely coiffed Democrat Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Barack Obama’s US Senate seat to the highest bidder (“I’m not givn’ it for f—king nothing!”) Following the sudden and brief appointment of Roland Burris, he declined to run for a full term because the controversies surrounding his elevation came to light.
Since his election to the US Senate, Kirk has pressed his fiscal conservative credentials. He even celebrated with Arizona Senior Senator John McCain about killing a pork-laden omnibus bill in the US Senate. A loyal opponent of Obamacare, he just supported the Keystone Pipeline extension, even though it failed to overcome cloture by one vote.
Following Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner’s 2014 upset over Democratic Governor Pat Quinn this year, Kirk shared:
With Rauner’s victory, it showed a pro-choice Republican can be nominated by the party and go on to win. As a social moderate, fiscal conservative, you are likely to win in Illinois.
True, this analysis will frustrate conservatives. Standing up for life, limiting abortion to extreme cases, is not an extreme position. Senator Kirk’s support for gay marriage may trouble conservatives, too. So, what makes Kirk an appealing choice for US Senate, despite his different stance on key issues in the GOP? Kirk’s take on Rauner’s victory shined the light on one of junior senator’s worthy points as a Republican:
The National significance of this race for governor is that the toxic left will look at, like what happened in Wisconsin, as a Gotterdammerung for their cause.
Public sector unions were bleeding Wisconsin into bankruptcy. They lost three times to unseat the fiscal, collective bargaining reformer Scott Walker (who is mulling his own Presidential run).
And they will do almost anything to make sure that Illinois stays safely in the dull grey, union-controlled, dumb economy that we have.
Wow! Did Kirk just say that on live TV, in an interview with the Chicago Sun Times?
I would particularly say that there is one union that has run the state of union, and that is called the SEIU, a particularly corrupt union. It’s no mistake that Rod Blagojevich wanted to leave his job as governor and work for them. It’s because he saw them as more powerful than the state of Illinois.
Now, Illinois social conservatives may still see no reason for supporting Kirk’s reelection bid The should consider the following and reconsider their opposition to Kirk:
The SEIU supports Planned Parenthood, engaging in the hollow attacks against Republicans and their (now debunked) War on Women. SEIU also supports pro-abortion candidates. The union promotes gay marriage. They support Cap and Trade, and this group urged passage of that legislation in 2009, which Kirk repudiated in his campaign and his vote for Keystone. They also support gun control.
Kirk despises the public sector unions, which have corrupted his home state, where they retain excessive influence. This international collective’s revenue stream props up the extreme, socially liberal agenda nationally. One politician propping up offensive views is bad, but immoral public sector unions funding this agenda nationally is worse. Break the power of the SEIU, and much of the funding for these extreme agendas will die with it.
Other points worth considering about Kirk’s US Senate record including his latest demands for background checks on the illegal immigrant youth who have flooded this country’s southern border. Partisan Congressman and amnesty advocate Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois) shamed Kirk for this common-sense request. The voters of Illinois should applaud Kirk’s expectation.
So, even if voters oppose Kirk’s views on key moral issues, his strong stance against the SEIU is a plus. If Kirk stresses fiscal discipline and states’ rights, if he focuses on pushing back against progressive Barack Obama’s aggressive agenda, he stands a better chance of winning a heated primary and carrying through to the November 8th, 2016 general election.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.
Twitter — @ArthurCSchaper