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/)
There is too much at stake to risk letting Kirk get into the Senate. I’m willing to pay a relatively small price now by letting Giannoulias get elected rather than pay a huge price in a few years by letting Kirk get his nose in the Senate tent.
In addition to Kirk’s wholly indefensible embellishment of his military record, there is the significant matter of his sexual predilections, about which, thanks to homosexual activist, blogger, and “outer” extraordinaire Mike Rogers, there is less doubt. Behind the scenes, many people on both sides of the political aisle have long claimed that Kirk is homosexual, but it took Rogers to give wider exposure and greater credibility to those rumors.
Rogers, who “outed” Kirk last week, has the dubious honor of being reliable when it comes to “outing” politicians. For those unfamiliar with Rogers, click here to see him when he appeared on the View a year ago to promote the “outing” documentary Outrage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsOJwVmFozs&feature=player_embedded .
Why did he “out” Kirk now? Rogers “outed” him now because Kirk did not vote with the “gay” lobby on the recent vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As long as Kirk toed the “gay” line—which he has consistently done—his secret was safe with political lefties. A thrill goes up the legs of homosexualists whenever the “Republican” Kirk endorses yet one more assault on sexual norms and families. They will tolerate many things, including both open and secret sexual deviance, as long as they get the votes they need. According to that paradigm of virtue, Mike Rogers, there is one thing they will not, however, tolerate, and that is “hypocrisy.”
Here’s yet more skin-crawling information on Kirk’s voting record:
Kirk voted against the ban on the barbaric procedure euphemistically called “partial birth” abortion; he voted against restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions; he voted against making it a crime to harm a fetus during the commission of another a crime; but he voted in favor of embryonic stem cell research.
For those Republicans who foolishly dismiss the “social” issues and character, there’s always Kirks infamous defense and fiscal votes. Kirk stunned his constituents by first voting against the troop surge in Iraq and then voting for cap and trade, which Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence describes as “the largest tax increase in American history under the guise of climate change.”
Some Illinois Republicans have described my decision not to vote for Kirk as “misguided,” arguing that with Giannoulias’ youth, we risk having him in the Senate for decades. Well, Kirk too could serve for decades. While my Republican compatriots think even six years of Giannoulias is too high a price to pay, it’s a price I am willing to pay in the hope of preventing a two or three-decade reign by a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and deceitful “Republican.” It’s a price I am willing to pay to prevent Kirk from getting a shot at the White House.
These same Republicans argue that the Republican Party desperately needs Kirk’s vote, but what are the crucial upcoming legislative issues for which we desperately need a win and for which we can rely on Kirk for the right vote? We know we won’t get the right votes on any legislation pertaining to the rights of the unborn or the family. Yes, Kirk threw conservatives a bone on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but as we all know that vote was an anomaly, perhaps motivated by his need to appease social conservatives. And as his vote for cap and trade and against the troop surge prove, we can’t rely on his votes on fiscal or defense issues.
These same Republicans reveal their own deformed moral sensibility when they express more moral outrage about my refusal to nose-hold than they do about Kirk’s support for the slaughter of the unborn. They argue that the battleground was the primary, and now it’s time to rally around the Republican candidate. Some say that in six years, we can try to field a better candidate to run against Kirk in the primary. Really? Do they actually believe that in six years any Republican challenger to an incumbent Senator Kirk would have a shot? Do they actually think the Republican Party would support a challenge to an incumbent Republican senator?
For years I’ve heard Republican strategists and party operatives tell voters that it’s imperative that we do what we’re told, that for the good of the party and the state and the nation, we must vote for the Republican candidate no matter how offensive his positions and no matter how unethical his personal life. And we do. Like obsequious little minions, shamed by being labeled “naïve” “ignorant” or “misguided,” we support with our money and our votes any lousy candidate the Republican establishment parades before us. What have we gotten in the bargain? Mark Kirk.
The IL Republican party and the national Republican Party keep telling us to be good little team players and go along. Not me—not any longer. It strikes me that there is an important difference between justifiable political compromises and wholesale selling out. Voting for Kirk represents the latter. I think that if all the disgruntled IL Republicans would band together and say with their votes “no more. We’re mad as h*** and we’re not gonna take it any more”—even if that means we’re stuck with Giannoulias for six years—the powers-that-be might finally get the message. They might then busy themselves with the important task of finding good candidates.
The right to vote is a precious right, and I’m not willing to squander it on someone who refuses to protect the unborn, who refuses to defend sexual morality, and who, in his desperate and unholy quest to advance those views, lies to Illinoisans. For once, I’m following my moral principles rather than the political dictates of those who have given us Mark Kirk.
Laurie Higgins is a writer based in Deerfield, Illinois.