Monday, September 7, 2009

Mark Kirk in the BullsEye

Lake County favorite son and US Senate Candidate Mark Kirk picked up some more earned media but probably not the sort he was looking for. Last week Illinois Immigrant Action unveiled some attack ads -- which are reproduced here -- against Kirk. The ads are in Spanish and intended for newspaper and radio. They take issue with Kirk's stance on immigration, which according to their author, advocates "sending condoms to Mexico as a fix to the immigration system."

Being a firm believer that there cannot be too many condoms ever -- regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin -- the ad, for your LakeCountyEye at least, falls on deaf ears. Still, the ad is just clever enough to remind Kirk's FoxNews-echoing base that he is soft on immigration and a proponent of family planning. At the same time it suggests to the reasonable & undecided voters who will be his margin of victory or defeat in Nov 2010 (and who don't know Kirk from Andy McKenna), that Kirk might be a loose cannon. This is not something that ought to unduly concern team-Kirk, though. The ads are targeted at Spanish speakers, who probably won't be voting for Kirk anyways in either the primary or the general election.

Now, an attack ad that isn't seen by anyone except the target's opponents is the political equivalent of a tree falling in a forest that no one hears. It doesn't exist. This slippery distinction must have been lost on team-Kirk, because Kirk lawyers jumped the gun and discharged a threatening letter to Univision Radio to pull the ads. (The CapitolFaxBlog has a copy.) Given that no one, including the MSM, was paying much attention to the ads, an action like this all but ensures they are now.

The letter points a finger at the ad's wording: the ad says that Kirk advocates the use of condoms as a solution to illegal immigration, but in fact Kirk never used the specific term. However Kirk's legal guns may be ignorant of a Reuters story about a 2007 Foreign Aid Bill:
Kirk, who attended college in Mexico and holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics, may have offered an idea that might appeal to some fiscal conservatives. Shipping condoms to the poor in Mexico could be cheaper than the multibillion-dollar fence being constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Lawmaker urges condoms for border control
The bill, HR 2764, which Kirk laudably voted for, removes the Bush era barrier on contraceptives and condoms with regard to foreign aid.

Technically speaking, Kirk may never have uttered the word condom. Politically speaking, perception is everything. Your LakeCountyEye thinks the meme may be out of the toothpaste tube.


Team America said...

BB- I'm no huge fan of Obama, but he ran a hugely successful campaign in no small part because he learned from the mistakes of John Kerry, which was that when you get hit, you hit back, hard.

Matt said...

Kirk always comes across as a whiner, not a fighter.

Nicki said...

TA, I don't completely agree. There are times when you hit back hard and there are times when you consider an attack to be beneath your notice, and it's often a very tough call. In this case, because the target audience is relatively small (although not negligible), I'm surprised Team Kirk did decide to respond.

By the way, Barney, nice photoshop work on the condom packet!

Team America said...

Nicki, that condom packet is part of what has been floating around on the smear campaign and is not a BB original. That's one of the reasons Team Kirk needed to hit back on this, although I agree that you always need to weight that judgment very carefully in these kinds of situations.

Crazy4glf said...

Hmm, if my calculations are correct, Kirk is not necessarily in favor of age-appropriate health education, he's not in favor of spending funds on family planning counseling or services, but Mexico should use more condoms?*

There's some sort of logic here, I just can't seem to find it.
Couldn't he have been a bit more consistent -all along- and been in favor of keeping the government out of family planning decisions and/or being in favor of family planning resources at least in moderation?

Also, doesn't Kirk want the far Right's support who despise any sort of family planning to the point of APPARENTLY preferring unwanted pregnancies and STD's to a little education?

Also, it is unique that Kirk is quick to threaten a law suit and already has lined-up a DC law firm while also talking about the importance of tort reform to lowering health care costs. Doesn't tort reform mean fewer frivolous law suits (regardless of the industry)?

Due to recent allegegations of my being off-base or crazy:

Project Vote Smart:
House Bill 5522 Kirk voted to continue ban on spending for abortions.
Kirk has not acted to question President Bush's Administration's abstinence only education program which puts our kids at risk for the aforementioned reasons.

Kirk's record continues to be inconsistent (voted against initial cash for clunkers appropriation then voted for additional appropriation when it was 'safe.' Leadership?

Barney Baxter said...

Hi TA--
Aye, the Powell Doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Good grief - what a way to ruin a good mood for romance: Kirk's photo on a condom.

IllinoisJim said...

The anti Kirk ads, as I remember, were sleazy in themselves. Relating birth control to national health and prosperity is policy in India, in China. Hell, relating birth control to getting your existing kid's college paid for is good policy.
the ads related birth control to "we don't like Illegals and this is a way to keep them down". I will not vote for Mr. Kirk because he dodges and weaves too much and can't be trusted. Let's have a contest. Let's see if the guys who produced those ads can be trusted more, or less, with the truth than Mr. Kirk.