Don’t Count on a High-Minded Slugfest

January 6th, 2010 at 5:00 am | 9 Comments |

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It’s difficult to dispute anything John Guardiano said in his recent post encouraging the GOP to welcome vigorous primary challenges since it is all so obviously correct. Of course its important that Republicans recruit independent, innovative thinkers and encourage coherent and substantive debate on “the issues.” In fact, I would imagine that Mark Kirk would welcome any showdown on issues like Iran, failed states, trade policy. In that sort of showdown, Kirk might finally be able to mention the fact that in October, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1327, the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2009, which was sponsored by Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) The bill would authorize state and local governments to divest from firms with investments of $20 million or more in Iran’s oil and gas sectors. He might also mention that Kirk’s focus on Iran is not a new development. Kirk also has pushed for H.R. 2194, which was modeled after Kirk’s Iran Sanctions Enhancement Act of 2007 and Iran Diplomatic Enhancement Act of 2009. The bill would extend current sanctions to companies that supply gasoline to Iran. During such a debate, Kirk might disseminate a few op-ed articles that he has penned on the topic of Iranian nuclear proliferation like this one from the Jerusalem Post or this one from back in 2007 from the Washington Post.

In a substantive debate on the issues that Guardiano highlights, Kirk would welcome a primary “battle” to focus on which candidate has the best ideas and which candidate is the most qualified to serve in the United States Senate. In five terms in Congress, Kirk has more than displayed his bonafides and his leadership skill on the most important issues of the day… like opposing Iranian nuclear proliferation. I don’t oppose a primary fight because it would focus on substantive issues but, on the contrary, because opposition to Kirk has nothing to do with the issues. The Tea Partiers opposing him don’t care that Kirk is the most qualified based on experience, the most intelligent, the most fit to win a general election, the best on Iran, the best on defense…..they care that he had the audacity to disagree with them on the bailout and on gun control — all issues which only primary voters disagree with him on. Guardiano calls for innovative and independent policy thinkers, yet it is Kirk’s refusal to toe the far right’s version of the “party line” that so upsets some conservatives.

If the debate were about issues, Andy Martin would not be running radio advertisements which mention a so called “solid rumor” that Kirk is gay. If this race were about issues, Lake County Republican leader Ray True would not publicly observe that Mark Kirk has “surrounded himself with homosexuals.” If this race were about issues, the rightwing blogosphere wouldn’t be buzzing about how “gay” Mark Kirk is. But this debate isn’t about issues. This debate is about how a small group of conservatives are upset that Kirk appeals to a more moderate group of voters. The opposition to Kirk doesn’t have a thing to do with issues.

Guardiano is right that we should encourage intelligent and substantive debate but he is wrong if he thinks there is even the slightest possibility that the GOP is capable of civil debate within the party. Mark Kirk would handily win in a substantive discussion on the issues. John is certainly right about the importance of what he refers to as “issues” but he is wrong to believe that a primary race in the modern GOP is going to focus on them. This primary battle is about a small group on the right attempting to derail an intelligent, popular candidate who will appeal to a broader base during the general election and potentially emerge as a Republican leader capable of pushing the party to adopt a big tent approach. It is not, unfortunately, about issues.

Recent Posts by Jeb Golinkin

9 Comments so far ↓

  • sdspringy

    You offer rather slim credentials for conservatives to support Kirk.
    Other than Iran what do you have to offer?

    Kirk voted for Cap & Trade.
    Kirk’s record on partial birth abortion is squarely alongside Pelosi.
    Kirk votes against every gun rights legislation.
    Kirk supported various stimulus, squarely alongside the Dems.

    You slander the opponents of Kirk as homophobs and provide nothing of Kirk’s voting record.

    If you want to support Kirk and if you want conservative to support Kirk try some actual reporting and supply information on his entire voting record instead of cherry picking.

  • aDude

    If Kirk’s opponents are being slandered, then I would just ask two questions: Are they in fact spreading anti-gay rumors? Or are they limiting themselves to Kirk’s stance on the issues?

    If Martin and company are arguing that Kirk’s priorities are wrong, then that’s fine. That’s what the Republicans in Illinois should be debating. The voters will go into the general election knowing very well the positions of whoever wins the primary.

    If they are pushing homophobia, then they will keep the seat in the hands of the Democrats.

  • franco 2

    I would really like to know other than being a fresh-faced little schoolboy what Jeb here has studied and any credentials or life experience he may have to help explain why anyone should listen to him any more than say, sdspringy above. I would say he might have a leg up on commenters here if he was being paid, but I doubt even that. He is an “intern”. Welcome to the new economy Jeb! brought to you by a coalition of politicians you yourself support.

    First, I don’t care what Kirk does as long as he is up-front about it. I don’t think his opponent is a good or viable candidate.

    But it is time we had the courage to talk about these things as they stand and dispense with this charade of high-minded political prudery.

    If Kirk IS in the closet, the Democrats will be the ones to out him once he is elected OR once he crosses them, so it is an issue of sorts. It is a political reality. If he is gay he should come out of the closet so the voters know he can’t be blackmailed. Democrats have no trouble attacking gays – when they are Republicans who don’t vote the gay agenda – that is a FACT. So it is an issue, and it is quite ugly, again Democrats have made it so.

    Have you noticed how much Democrats love to ridicule gays? You haven’t? Did you hear Kathy Griffith on CNN, that champion of gay rights say to a heckler ” I don’t go to YOUR job and knock the cocks out of your mouth” Oh that’s righ,t it is only a certain TYPE of gay person. They use the idea of hypocrisy to ridicule, but they are really ridiculing their gayness. They have zero compassion when someone they believe should be on their side ( a long list of political requirements) isn’t. The gloves come off. You see hypocrisy jokes aren’t nearly as funny as GAY jokes. That is when they promote every stereotype, every crude reference, every bigoted meme. The fact that they themselves are being hypocrites is lost on them. It is as though a gay Republican opens the floodgates of repressed feelings of loathing, and they feel justified indulging in the most base attacks. So I don’t buy their outrage. It is targeted and feigned, and the quicker that myth gets exploded the better off everyone will be including gays.

    “In fact, I would imagine that Mark Kirk would welcome any showdown on issues like Iran, failed states, trade policy.”

    Oh, yes he would…. and he’d like to avoid a debate on cap and trade, his votes for bailouts, his belief in climate change and AGW, gun rights and so much more.

    If Americans lose their rights, if our economy is ruined IT WON”T MATTER WHAT IRAN DOES!!

    The Statist wing of the Republican party is living in a beltway cocoon. They can’t understand why people are upset with the kind of Republican who sells our rights down the river. They need to pretend they know more and are more sophisticated, all the while they are dupes of people much smarter than they. They advertise their ignorance daily. We see what is happening, and these idiots are concerned with Iran of all places, while our Constitutional right sare being taken from us daily by Democrats and clueless Republicans. Jeb and his ilk believe we are living in a vacuum, a steady state of wellness and freedom in America. News flash: It is our own who are bigger threats. Yes, Iran and terrorism are threats, but threats to what exactly? Some of our lives? Or power? Yes. Democrats and craven Republicans are assaulting our freedom. That which MAKES us powerful, that which makes America WORTH defending.

    Lastly, anyone who uses the term “teabaggers” is fair game in my eyes. There are people supposedly respectable people…news anchors and hosts who commonly use this crude double-entendre and get a pass from the likes of Jeb Golinkin …. sooo concerned with the level of debate they are.

  • bondwooley

    Things will straighten out for the GOP when they put this new re-branding strategy into action:


  • WillyP

    politics is rough and tumble business.

    plato’s philosopher king never existed.

  • Stewardship

    franco 2, do you really define yourself as a conservative, or are you a populist/libertarian? Russell Kirk, the man who truly defined the modern American conservative movement, the man who Ronald Reagan turned to for conservative philosophical underpinnings, said, “Nothing is more conservative than conservation.” Reagan, himself, is the one who’s administration developed cap and trade as a conservative approach to addressing atmospheric pollution.

    Cap and trade worked wonderfully when George H. W. Bush signed it into law to deal with acid rain. Our economy went on a 20 year bull run, and the free markets had free rein to reach the goals, which they did in one-third the time originally estimated.

    Cap and trade will spur innovation, technology, new investment (utility companies alone have publicly stated they are sitting on nearly $2 trillion of capital for investments that need to be made in the next 10 years), tens of thousands of new, high paying jobs, increased exports of this technology, and energy security for our nation; it will lower our trade deficit, build a stronger dollar, vastly improve national security as we stop sending money to OPEC nations and reduce the impact of climate change where our own military expects volatility due to the effects; it will allow the free market to decide how best to meet the goals; lower mercury levels in our air and water; satisfy the millions of members of faith based organizations that have established ‘creation care’ efforts; and it will do this without raising taxes a single cent.

    In my mind, cap and trade (as Mark Kirk, Lisa Murkowski, Dick Lugar, or Lindsey Graham would write the bill–without the favoritism of one industry over another and without pork in the Pelosi bill) has all the hallmarks of good conservative policy. Even if a person believes climate change is a farce or that man certainly has no impact on climate change, the result of that policy is almost entirely conservative.

    Unfortunately, it sounds like you’ve listened too often to our RNC leaders, John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity who have adopted the strategy of “oppose anything and everything Obama/Pelosi/Reid/Gore want to do” as our 2010 election plan. If those people had encouraged Mark Kirk and others to roll up their sleeves and help craft the House bill, it’d be a far cry from what it turned into; ditto (no Limbaugh pun intended) in the Senate. Instead, Kirk, Bono-Mack, Graham and others get caught in the scorched earth mantra’s from the populist talking heads.

    The Tea Party movement cuts across both parties. Any Republican who isn’t working to solve problems with solid, innovative ideas is going to risk getting dusted in November. American voters, especially Tea Partiers, have had enough of the gamesmanship–they want solutions now.

  • sdspringy

    It is my opinion Stewardship that you have over simplified the SO2 cap and trade to minimize the CO2 trading costs. In respect to SO2 allowances and whether the trading of such allowance accounted for the reduction of SO2 actually is not historically correct. The major player in the reduction of SO2 in the electrical generation industry was access to low sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. This coal was made available via the deregulation of the railroad industry in the late 1980, early 1990s thus reducing the delivery cost and making this coal available at more distant electrical generators. Actually prior to the 1995 implementation of Phase I of the ACT, monitored SO2 levels were already dropping as a result of access to PDR coal, not SO2 allowance trading.

    Another major difference between SO2 and CO2 is that while SO2 affects were easily documented CO2 affects are not. And another major difference is that while SO2 regulations were limited to electrical generation CO2 regulation will not. Those countries in Europe which implemented Cap & Trade as a result of Kyoto Accord saw major increases in cost which were shouldered at the consumer level.

    In review SO2 allowance trading did not in its self reduce SO2 emissions.