It was hard going for the first 60 minutes of Congressman Mark Kirk’s Cap$Tax apologia session at NTRO Saturday in Kenilworth. Lots of explanation of man-made global warming and foreign oil (blah, blah, blah), lots of amateurish pie charts (yawn), and no questions from the scores of voters who dropped in on their way to their Saturday date night activites (filibuster?). Bottom line, Kirk figured that his YES vote was safe (even though it was one of eight that won the day for Democrats) because: 1) it would only cost 10th District voters $117 (or so) per month and 2) it was going to die in the Senate (fingers crossed) anyway.
When he finally found time during the third half hour to hear from the voters, things got more interesting, if not clearer. Here are some random Kirk quotes:
- We have to make imperfect decisions … This bill was so unpopular, so quickly!
- If the price of energy goes up, I will be taking at harder look at drilling in ANWR.
- The good news is the energy bill is dead in the Senate.
- If I run for the Senate, I’ll be representing the whole state of Illinois, so coal will be important to me then.
Audience members asked things such as:
- Since you voted YES, and are now touting the fact that it will die in the Senate, does that make you happy or unhappy given your vote?
- Since you were one of only eight representatives who made it possible for the bill to pass in the House, how can conservatives be confident that you will not be number 51 to pass Democrat bills in the Senate?
- If the bill comes up again, will you be voting NO?
Most of the answers were unrelated to the questions, so things were left pretty murky. During the health care discussion, Kirk did insert the news flash that American obesity is the result of our gluttonous English and German heritage. And he worked in a half-hearted defense of free markets in response to a question about losing Illinois jobs overseas (missing the opportuntity to criticize Illinois’ hostile environment to business, what with high corporate taxes and regulations, as well as excessive tort litigation.)
When asked the BIG question about his on-again, off-again run for the Senate, Kirk put the onus on state GOP Chairman Andy McKenna - if McKenna creates the cost of a primary run, Kirk is out; if McKenna states out, Kirk is in. Seems that GOP primary challenges in Illinois have the terrible effect of moving candidates to the right. Sorry, Mark. Go Andy!