Mark Kirk

Dangerous and Unadmired

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). (Detail of photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Follow the bouncing Crapo:

Of all the congressional Republicans who’ve struggled with Donald Trump’s candidacy, arguably no one’s story is funnier than Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R-Ill.). The Illinois Republican endorsed Trump, then un-endorsed Trump, then endorsed David Petraeus, then endorsed Colin Powell, then un-endorsed Powell, then said he no longer wanted to talk about it.

But if Kirk’s story is the most amazing, Sen. Mike Crapo (R) of Idaho is a competitive second ....

.... Yes, the Idaho Republican initially endorsed Trump. Then Crapo un-endorsed Trump. Soon after, the incumbent senator, up for re-election this year, said he’s an undecided voter. Yesterday, Crapo came full circle, re-endorsing the presidential candidate he un-endorsed two weeks ago.

(Benen)

This is important: Of all the unbelievable insanity we have witnessed through the 2016 electoral cycle, just how much of it is unbelievable, and why?

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Futility, or, Senator Mark Kirk

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), circa 2016, in uncredited photo via campaign website.

It was easy enough to feel at least a little badly for Mark Kirk, the incumbent U.S. Senator from Illinois whose seat is among the most vulnerable the GOP must defend this year, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked his opponent, a legless veteran, for “not standing up for veterans”. There is, however, a limit to any sympathy, especially when the embattled Republican manages to do it to himself:

Sen. Mark Kirk’s campaign falsely asserted on its website that the Illinois Republican was a veteran of the Iraq war, a misstatement that comes six years after exaggerations over his military record nearly cost him his state’s Senate seat.

The Republican, now battling for a second term in a tight race in Illinois, stayed in the United States during the Iraq War when he served in the Navy Reserves. But on a public webpage on his official campaign website touting his record on veterans’ issues, Kirk was listed as a “veteran of the Iraq war.”

While Kirk campaign officials said it was a staff error, the issue resembles the controversy that nearly caused his 2010 Senate campaign to implode. Moreover, Kirk is now running for reelection against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs during combat in Iraq.

(Raju)

This is important: Neither is this the first time Mr. Kirk’s name has circulated in this context during this cycle. Apparently, the Illinois Republican and his team just … what? Couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the lie again? Can’t be expected, in this hectic modern world, to guard against known exposure?

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Image note: U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), circa 2016, in uncredited photo via campaign website.

Raju, Manu. “Mark Kirk campaign site falsely calls senator ‘veteran’ of Iraq war”. CNN. 21 September 2016.

Yilek, Caitlin. “GOP tweet accuses double amputee Dem of ‘not standing up for veterans'”. The Hill. 8 March 2016.

The Ben Carson Show (The Value of His Values)

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks to the media before addressing the Black Republican Caucus of South Florida at PGA National Resort on 6 November 2015 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Warren Rojas of Roll Call makes the obvious point:

Whether Ben Carson fudged a bit on that offer of a “full scholarship” to West Point or it’s a question of “semantics,” as he told reporters on Nov. 6, it wouldn’t be the first time a politician misrepresented their military experience.

Thus begins a brief review of Missouri congressional candidate Ron Dickey (D), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), former Rep. Wes Cooley (R-OR), and former Rep. Bruce Caputo (R-NY)

And in some cases it’s worse than others, but we should note that getting caught making stuff up about military service and honors is not necessarily the end of a politician’s career.

And perhaps Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson ought to take a look through these sordid histories. And while it is true the good doctor really does need to work, generally speaking, on how he responds to revelations of exaggeration and fabrication about the telling of his inspiring life story, a candidate who wants us to believe he is “not a politician” faces additional challenges when trying to walk, talk, and play the game like a politician.

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Just Another Day in Conservative Insanity

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in undated photo by Susan Walsh/AP.

Sigh.

A brief summary, via Steve Benen:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) looked a little silly when he argued Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) may face criminal charges because he disagrees with the White House on Iranian policy. Yesterday, however, he quickly discovered he had some company among Republicans who were equally eager to appear foolish.

Yesterday morning, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) suggested he’s sympathetic to the conspiracy theory, too ....

.... By yesterday afternoon, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) went even further ....

.... Conservative media figures from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal are on board, too.

The point-by-point is actually kind of excruciating, but mainly in the context that someone actually needed to say it.

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