Mark Kirk v. Alexi Giannoulias: Who sucks less?

Mark Kirk v. Alexi Giannoulias: Who sucks less?

After the Illinois primary season was over and we were left with Alexi Giannoulias versus Mark Kirk, I knew for whom I'd vote- with absolutely no reservations. I was ready to get a Mark Kirk bumper sticker and put it on my car. I was ready to go door to door singing the praises of Mark Kirk. I was ready to shake hands like I was Congressman Kirk: "Hello, nice to meet you, did you know Mark Kirk is running for senate and he's the only quality candidate running for the position in Illinois?"


Then, he couldn't shut his mouth.

First, we learned that he completely embellished his military record on his campaign website. Embellishments- not mere mistakes. He knew he did not receive the Military Officer of the Year Award as claimed, but rather that his entire division won the award. When I heard that one, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I allowed him that one embellishment.

Then I learned his statement that "the last time I was in Iraq, I was in uniform flying at 20,000 feet and the Iraqi Air Defense Network was shooting at us" was "misremembered."

Misremembered? Misremember something with the IRS and let me know how that works out.


Then the true story about Mark Kirk's conversion to public life at 13 years old came out. Remember the story Kirk told: that at 13 years old, he was on Lake Michigan a mile or two from shore when his boat capsized. He was forced to attempt to swim back to shore- but in the eight hours he was in the water, he was never able to make it to shore. He was about to give up as the sun set west of the frigid lake waters when the Coast Guard miraculously plucked young Mark Kirk from the water, saving his life. According to Kirk, the doctors had a difficult time warming his 82 degree body temperature back to normal. This near death experience is what made Mark Kirk want to devote his life to public service.

Then the Coast Guard and eyewitnesses let us know Kirk was in the water for maybe 15 minutes. And it was the middle of the day when he was rescued. Doctors told the media that a human would lose consciousness when the blood temperature goes below 90 degrees. Far warmer than what Kirk claimed doctors stated his temperature was when rescued.

The last three months has been a string of falsehoods coming out of Mark Kirk's mouth almost faster than Geraldo Rivera can keep up. Even Rod Blagojevich is watching the news shaking his head thinking he's a big fat liar.

Remember that Saturday Night Live skit with Jon Lovitz played Tommy Flanagan, the pathological liar: "Yeah, that's the ticket" was his tag line? That's Mark Kirk!

Most recently, on Monday August 9th, Mark Kirk announced that he would vote for a $26 billion jobs bill that will reportedly prevent 161,000 teachers and 158,000 public works employees from being laid off. On August 9th, Mark Kirk told the Chicago Sun-Times he was going to vote for the bill. Kirk stated that "as a Republican moderate, my view is we should not add to the deficit. This legislation does make a number of cuts... that make it deficit neutral. And it would keep teachers in the classroom."

On August 10th Kirk vote no on the legislation.

After the vote, Alexi Giannoulias campaign hit fast, stating:

After today's vote it is clear that Congressman Kirk didn't just lie about being a teacher, he lied about supporting them. I am stunned that he would vote against an emergency bill to keep teachers in the classroom - a bill that is completely paid for and will save at least 5,700 teaching jobs right here in Illinois. Congressman Kirk's vote today proves he is a typical Washington politician who will always side with the corporate special interests and against Illinois families and Illinois teachers. 


And now the guy who has little, if any, qualifications for the office of U.S. Senator other than being friends with our President is looking like a better candidate than Mark Kirk. Sure, the only professional experience Mr. Giannoulias has is helping run the family bank- the same bank that failed miserably after the family took $70 million in dividends. And his major effort in the office of Illinois treasurer, Bright Start, only lost Illinois families that participated over $85 million from high risk investments.

Now THAT guy is looking like a better risk than Mark Kirk. At least Alexi Giannoulias is not lying to me.

So now, my Mark Kirk bumper sticker is off. The yard sign is down. I'm not doing my Mark Kirk elevator speech anymore. And now Illinoisans are forced with the tough decision between candidate A, who says a whole lot and NOTHING turns out true, or candidate B, who has no resume other than playing basketball with President Obama.

Only in Illinois can Roland Burris look like a good senator.


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  • Alexi was lying to you when he claimed he was the loan officer, but then denied it when the loans went bad.

    Alexi was lying to you when he said that he would do a better job managing Bright Start than Judy Barr Topinka did, but you acknowledge that he lost $85 million for Illinois families.

    Undoubtedly, all politicians are liars, but you are a complete fool if you think Alexi hasn't lied.

  • In reply to jack:

    How can you tell a politician is lying? His lips are moving.
    Term limits are the only way to change Washington and politics overall and get us back to a representative gov. I'm not just talking about term limits in a specific elected position. I'm talking about limiting the total amount of times you can be elected to anything period. Win 7 elections, and you can even run for dog catcher.

  • In reply to emtser:

    Except, of course, that there is no incrumbent [sic] running in this race, unless you are saying that Alexi's one term as Treasurer is enough to disqualify him from any other office.

    Of course, your first sentence is correct (except for any politician who is a ventriloquist).

  • In reply to emtser:

    I completely agree with term limits. I could not agree more-- other than placing a limit on type of office. I would distinguish municipal offices, like dog catcher, city mayors (even Chicago) from state and federal legislative offices. POTUS would also be distinct as the constitution (by amendment) allows only for two terms.

  • In reply to emtser:

    Term limits won't help - public funding of election campaigns will. In any case, we already (at least in theory) have term limits - they're called elections. And if big money sources (like corporations and, yes, unions) were unable to influence elections with expensive ad campaigns it might improve the system.

    But thanks to the Citizens United decision and the GOP's refusal to support transparency by requiring funding sources to be disclosed, things are just getting worse.

    As was pointed out to me by a lobbyist, term limits will make lobbyists more powerful. This is because with term limits we will always have elected representatives with less experience than the lobbyists who are trying to influence them. Will that improve the system?

  • In reply to emtser:

    "In November 2009, after the Illinois primary season was over " mmm... this is indeed curious since the Illinois Primary election was held on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. I find it a bit troubling that you suggest your knowledge of all things political in your reflections of the U.S. Senate race, yet you do not even know the date of the primary. That being said, what else don't you know or have you not fully researched, fact checked and looked beyond the headlines. You are of course entitled to share you opinion but if you insist that candidates have their facts straight then so should you.

  • In reply to oregon:

    You are completely right. Thanks for pointing that out! My apologies as I misremembered. Mistakes happen-- and that was the point of today's post on Mark Kirk. After the first "mistake" (or mismemory) came to light I gave him a pass. Then there was another and another and another and more that I did not mention (google "mark kirk teacher" and you'll find that he may have also overstated his teaching experience). Once is a mistake, however, with Kirk we've seen a pattern. He was my candidate, but because of this pattern, I'm taking a second look.

    Really thanks for bringing my mistake to my attention. Please feel free to keep reading and point out others!

  • In reply to oregon:

    Kirk's lies are alarming but he's harmed very few people by his selective memory and actually has shown some competency in his career. Alexi has a been a complete flop as a banker and then backpedaled from it instead of taking responsbility, his bank was a dishonest, corrupt failure. The state's budget is in shambles, and most of the state's investments were ridiculously risky. Both are turds but Kirk is the least smelly of the two.

  • In reply to oregon:

    What if they gave an election and nobody came?

  • In reply to maciric:

    This is what conservatives want - fewer people voting. That's why they are so obsessed with "voter registration fraud" (like when ACORN is defrauded by people they hire to register voters) instead of actual "vote fraud" (like voting machines with no paper trail whose results are contrary to what exit polls would predict).

    My evidence for this conservative desire for fewer voters is a 1980 speech by Paul Weyrich, a "founding fathers of the conservative movement" in which he said that conservative electoral success goes up as the number of people voting goes down.

    I believe this is why the GOP is less concerned about making government work than in bloviating about how it doesn't work (even when they're in charge). If they can get enough people to believe that "they're all the same" and so "there's no point in bothering to vote" then they believe they will win elections and maintain power.

    And for them, it's all about power, not about doing what's good for the country.

  • In reply to CrazyLiberal:

    Then what about all the liberal Democrats that run Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois. Is Todd Stroger that interested in getting government to work, or in squeezing the suburbs to pay for his do nothing friends and family?

  • In reply to jack:

    I will not defend Todd Stroger, et al. They are certainly interested in getting government to work for them, not their constituents.

    My reply was to a question about "nobody" voting. Reducing voter turnout is a technique admittedly used by conservatives because they believe it increases their ability to win elections.

    While some of our local Dems might have the same goal as some national GOPhers (personal gain rather than good government) the local Dems go about gaining power by increasing rather than decreasing turnout.

  • In reply to CrazyLiberal:

    True, but I guess vote early and often still resonates in Chicago, regardless of who is qualified to vote.

    You can add gerrymandering to everyone's plate, both Dem. and Rep., except that the Dems. believe that they can run outside of their districts. Since Dan Seals can't vote for himself, I sure hope he votes for Pollak.

  • In reply to CrazyLiberal:

    Anyone but Mark Kirk

  • In reply to emtser:

    There is no need to try to decide between the lesser of two evils. You do know that there are more people running for that Senate seat than Kirk and Giannoulias, don't you? What about Randy Stufflebeam? Democrats and Republicans BOTH got us into this mess. It is time for something new.

  • In reply to jack:

    Opps... that's CAN'T even run for dog catcher.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, I agree with you about Alexi. Mildly put, I am not an Alexi Giannoulias fan. Going into the summer I thought I wasn't even going to watch this race and vote for Kirk as the better candidate, but the summer has proven me wrong. Neither cadidiate looks good to me. Today, Giannoulias looks better. I'm shocked I just wrote that-- that's how disappointed I am in Mark Kirk.

  • In reply to bthomas314:

    I'll accept your position on the jobs bill. Personally I believe that only the federal government can print money, and when interest rates are at 0%, that may be the only other remedy.

    However, whatever your personal feelings, I don't accept that resume inflation is commensurate with losing $85 million of the people's money. I might reappraise that if it is proven that Kirk was never in the Naval Air Reserve. In that you bought that, you essentially bought all that the Giannoulias campaign has to offer, as you acknowledge that Alexi has nothing to offer himself.

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