We have known for quite awhile now that Rep. Mark Kirk, aka "He Who Shall Not Be Nominated" to conservatives in Illinois, has been the darling child of the left and the Republican establishment. Sen. John McCain came out very early and endorsed Mark Kirk. As did Rep. John Shimkus (Republican - 19th US Congressional District Illinois) and others. They endorsed before anyone else had officially declared their intention to run for the open US Senate seat, let alone had petitions turned in. Now Rep. Aaron Schock (Republican - 18th US Congressional District Illinois) has also endorsed Mark Kirk. At least National Chairman Michael Steele backed off his Kirk endorsement. "Conservative" candidates backing a candidate who is no where near conservative? But hey, we got to get to that magic "41" in the US Senate by any means necessary, right? I guess we're just supposed to ignore the fact that Mark Kirk is pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, anti-2nd amendment, and voted for Cap and Trade. Conservative? Not by a LONG stretch of anyone's imagination.
So what happens when Mark Kirk decides he wants to be a conservative all the sudden? He reverses his stance on Cap and Trade. He tried to get Sarah Palin's endorsement -- unsuccessfully. He signed a promise to not support increasing taxes because of Cap and Trade - after he had already voted for it. These moves to try to shore up his non-existent conservative credentials have earned him condemnation from the very people that have supported him and spent large sums of money on his behalf.
Back in November, the Homer/Lockport Illinois Tea Party and the Will County Illinois Alliance held a Illiinois Governor candidates debate where everyone but Andy McKenna and Jim Ryan showed up to face some hard hitting questions. I have to hand it to the organizers, they did not softball any of the questions. The next night, ALL the Governor candidates showed up for the debate at the Chicago Hilton which was organized by the Illinois Republican Party - no surprise they all showed up. The questions at this debate were about as hard as "if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why'. But at least there were two televised debates, even if you had to log on to a computer for one or attend a "viewing" party for the IL GOP debate. Now, the Illinois Republican Party is hosting an Illinois Lt. Governor debate in January. Noticeably absent from all these debates? A Republican US Senate candidate debate.
Give credit to Homer/Lockport Illinois Tea Party again for organizing and internet broadcasting a US Senate debate this Wednesday. All the Republican candidates have agree to participate - except Mark Kirk. You can all but guarantee he would have showed if it was hosted by the Illinois Republican Party!
If you take a look at the Illinois Republican Party website under their events page, you'll notice that there are no US Senate debates scheduled which the conspiracy theorist in me tells me that the state party is quietly trying to protect Mark Kirk from the other GOP candidates and Illinois Republican primary voters. Meanwhile, the other GOP candidates are running around the state trying to get at Mark Kirk, but Kirk gets to play hide and seek from scrutiny by running to hide behind his mother's skirt (the Illinois state party). Unfortunately, the new Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, Pat Brady, seems more than willing to protect Kirk. Remember, Kirk was all but anointed as the Chosen One to run against the Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. Chairman Brady and other members of the Country Club Illinois Republicans know that the natives are restless and they don't like Mark Kirk. Why else protect him from the very people they need to vote for him?
We here in Illinois have less than 2 months until we head to the polls to decide who will be the Republican nominee for US Senate. In my opinion, there's time for 2 debates, or at the very least 1. This author has asked Chairman Brady twice about a US Senate debate, especially downstate outside of Chicago to no success. Emails to Chairman Brady and the Illinois Republican Party organization regarding a US Senate candidate debate have received no response.
After reading this, you tell me if the Illinois Republican Party is protecting Mark Kirk, officially or unofficially.
**Cross-posted from www.downstateiladvocate.com and edited for content**