Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2010

MARK KIRK MAY HAVE A PROBLEM.... Usually, when we talk about political candidates with a "problem," we're talking about issues that may cause trouble for their campaign. When I refer to Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in Illinois having a "problem," I mean there might just be something wrong with him.

Kirk, the Republicans' U.S. Senate nominee, has described himself to voters as "a former nursery school teacher." His campaign has said Kirk worked "as a nursery school teacher." In reality, Mark Kirk wasn't a nursery school teacher.

A leader of the church in upstate New York where Representative Mark S. Kirk of Illinois claims he worked as a nursery school teacher said on Friday that he had overstated his role there.

The leader, Sally Grubb, a member of the administrative council at Forest Home Chapel, a Methodist church in Ithaca, N.Y., said Mr. Kirk had a limited role while working part-time in a work-study program while he was a student at Cornell University nearly three decades ago.

"He was never, ever considered a teacher," Ms. Grubb said in a telephone interview after researching the history of Mr. Kirk's association with the nursery school. "He was just an additional pair of hands to help a primary teaching person."

Apparently, the school had a play group that met in the church basement. Kirk helped out, but he "did not have major responsibilities at the play group, like creating lesson plans, and he was assistant who played with the children."

As a substantive matter, what Kirk did as a college student in 1981 seems to have no relevance today. The point, though, is that Kirk keeps making specific claims about his background -- using his experiences to impress voters -- that fall apart under scrutiny. He's saying what he did as a college student in 1981 is entirely relevant -- he referenced his nursery school background with the Illinois Education Association, in the hopes of getting an endorsement -- but Kirk's version of events just isn't true.

More importantly, it seems Kirk can't seem to help himself when it comes to telling tall tales. When describing his military service, Kirk has made at least 10 specific false claims. When describing his views on foreign policy, he's made several more false claims. Now we learn that Kirk's claims about having been "a nursery school teacher" aren't true, either.

How voters are supposed to find Mark Kirk trustworthy going forward remains a mystery.

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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Perhaps as an imaginary gambler who has made a fortune betting against the likes of bloody bill and his merry men , another form of commitment can be dredged up for the loquacious cap'n Kirk . As long as it translates into something as reliable as the stout hearted polymath , cap'n Kirk , it seems a fair deal . He can keep spinning his wonderful tales of derring do , and we can thank the many elements that keep us sane that we are not him , and unlikely to become a part of his expanding web of wonder .

Posted by: FRP on June 19, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Wow. Imagine what would happen to Davey Crockett if the blogosphere were around to fact check his stories? We would never have been overrun by coonskin caps, that's for sure;>

Posted by: martin on June 19, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Seems Kirk is eager to weave a narrative of the "common man" what with his teaching background at "dangerous" schools and his military background of constantly dodging bullets.

Reality of course is that he's much closer to an "elite". Growing up in a wealthy neighborhood attending some of the best public schools in Illinois, and then later, Cornell and Georgetown. His adult professional experience amounts to working for a politician and then a law firm...oh and joining the reserves as a 30 year-old intelligence officer in 1989 which gives him his "strong foreign policy experience".

It's hard to connect to the mob with that resume. I'd be spinning the shit out of it too.

Posted by: Oh my on June 19, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Seems apparent he flunked 'How to Fluff Your Resume 101' all those years ago.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on June 19, 2010 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Jackie Gleason , Art Carney and the Royal Order of Raccoons , will survive a time traveling outing of Davey Crockets imaginative dissembling . Just like William Shatner will survive cap'n Kirk .

Posted by: FRP on June 19, 2010 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

nothing to see here. LOL

Posted by: andyvillager on June 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Something in the water served at New Trier High School - Actors start believing in their roles.

Ralph Bellamy, Bruce Dern really killed John Wayne, Hugh O'Brien of "Wyatt Earp". But, Charlton Heston really really was Ben Hur and Kirk really really was many things.

Ah, but, at least we can watch re-runs of movies with Ann-Margeret, so, New Trier, well done.

Posted by: berttheclock on June 19, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Stay tuned for next week, when Kirk will proclaim he was the inspiration for the young lad kicking his father's highly expensive race car into the gully in "Ferris Buehler's Day Off". Or was he the real "Ferris"?

Posted by: berttheclock on June 19, 2010 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

All politicians lie.Big whoppers are a way of life with the ruling class.

Pick a friend. Any friend. Catch him/her lying all the time. How long would they continue to be your trusted pal? Would you ever feel comfortable when they speak to you? Not long.

Now take a known liar and elect him to office. You'd never, ever, know when he was telling you the truth. Launch this ass hole pronto while there is still a chance of keeping him away from our wallets.

He'd lie to his mom if it would get him to the goal he's trying to achieve. No question.

Posted by: stevio on June 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

I was the State Commissioner of Education.....

No wait....I was the District School Superintendent

No...I misspoke...I was a school principal....

Oh my bad....I was head of curriculum......a teacher.....an assistant.

Oh alright......I molested children that summer!!!!!

Posted by: dweb on June 19, 2010 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Mark Kirk and Pee Wee Herman:


Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Kirk is *right* - his "base" is indeed a nursery-level bunch of noobs, and his outreach and campaigning to them is "teaching" in a vulgar, propagandistic sort of way.

Posted by: Neil B. on June 19, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

This all happened almost 30 years ago. How many of us can remember whether we were an airline passenger or an airline pilot from that long ago?

Posted by: qwerty on June 19, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't it just be easier to elect Jon Lovitz's Tommy Flanagan character? Think of all the research time we could save if we just knew everything he said was a lie.

Morgan Fairchild. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Posted by: biggerbox on June 19, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

As a Democrat, I love it when Republicans embarrass themselves, but this time, let's cut the poor guy some slack. I remember everyone describing Princess Diana (Lady Diana Spencer, as she was then) as a "schoolmarm" and a "school teacher" when in fact she was simply an assistant at a nursery school. When you're dealing with preschool children, most people, both kids and their parents, don't make a very clear distinction between the people working with the kids whose job description is officially "teacher" and those who are assistants.

Posted by: T-Rex on June 19, 2010 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but would they really want to put a college-aged Mark Kirk in charge of a bunch of gun-toting toddlers?

Posted by: MikeT on June 21, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK



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