Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Changing the Subject: Mark Kirk May Answer Press Questions

Like just about anybody who could possibly be considered an influence on public opinion (and you can be sure they defined that *very* broadly), I received a ***Media Advisory*** from Kirsten Kukowski last night at 6:13 PM. It declared:

Kirk to Discuss U.S. Senate Race

Congressman Mark Kirk will discuss the U.S. Senate race Tuesday, highlighting his vision for creating jobs, renewing economic growth and tackling the important issues facing our state.

Given my frequent observation that Mark Kirk won't take questions from average voters, let alone the media, you'd think that I'd be all excited. You'd think.

However, the press conference is not in Chicago, but in Northbrook, an area in which Kirk feels very comfortable. And this location limits the opportunity to those news organizations that can send a van or car out there. Press credentials are required, as determined by Kirsten Kukowski. The fact that I get all the Kirk campaign's releases (sadly, none from Alexi) doesn't allow me the opportunity to ask any questions.

The big kicker: the press conference is being held two blocks from Kirk's office, and provides a quick getaway -- just in case the questions get too uncomfortable.

Given the location, I suspect not too many journalists will show up. This will probably limit the number of questions Kirk answers, since Kirsten will pull her candidate if a journalist starts asking too many questions.

So, although I was invited, they didn't really mean it. I guess I was just "informed." Nonetheless, here's some questions I'd want to ask if I had the opportunity:

1. Why would you (Kirk) exaggerate about your solid military record?
2. What political activities were you (Kirk) engaged in while on (reserve) duty that the Pentagon felt the need to counsel you?
3. Why did you (Kirk) exaggerate your duty station during the Iraq war?
4. Why did you (Kirk) exaggerate your duty station at the Pentagon (war room)?
5. Why did you (Kirk) exaggerate (first) Iraq's threat, and (then) Iran's threat to its neighbors, including Israel?
6. Why did you (Kirk) exaggerate the intelligence on Iraq's possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction?
6. Why did you (Kirk) exaggerate your college experience as a part-time nursery aide, claiming to be a teacher?

Of course, there are other questions I'd like to ask Kirk:

1. I'd like to ask about his unconditional support of Bush's selective (and distractive) invasion of Iraq
2. I'd want to ask about his defense of Rumsfeld's belief that Iraq was the center of al-Qaeda activity
3. I'd like to know more about his falling for Saddam Hussein's giant con that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction
4. I'd also like to ask about his comments about how the American government shouldn't be trusted while he was visiting abroad
5. I'd like to ask about his "micro-solutions" to so-called suburban issues that would expand the reach of government into our homes

But, then, Mark Kirk would never answer these questions. He won't "lower" himself to answer questions from voters or the Illinois media in the capital, or downtown Chicago, or anywhere else other than his "home" or safe district. He can always duck out and run to his office (which is two blocks away).

I get it. Mark Kirk needs to change the story. The fact that he's unavailable -- to the press or the electorate -- won't change with a *rare* press conference or public appearance. Kirk's "Rose Garden Strategy" is attractive, as long as no one notices that you won't leave your safe place and mingle with the "small" people. But everyone's noticed. Republicans are now awaiting Mark Kirk's second act. Democrats are licking their chops...


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