Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 21, 2010

THOSE SHY SENATE CANDIDATES.... Over the weekend, we talked a bit about a) the fact that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has trouble speaking about any subject without telling demonstrable falsehoods; and b) a growing number of Republicans, especially GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate, have decided to run away from political reporters rather than answer questions about their beliefs and agenda.

Why not combine these two threads in one amusing package?

The Democratic and Republican nominees for the U.S. Senate, Alexi Giannouilas and Mark Kirk, gave their views on planning and environmental issues to a Metropolitan Planning Council lunch on Monday.

But the news was what happened afterwards: Mr. Kirk literally ran out the hotel door, rather than answer questions about a host of recent reports that he repeatedly has exaggerated his experience and credentials.

The Peter Cottontail moment happened at the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel, where about 1,000 folks were on hand for MPC's annual big do.

It was the first public appearance Kirk has made in three weeks, but he entered through a side door -- again to avoid political reporters -- and bolted after his speech through a back door.

Reporters followed him -- journalists know that when a politician is running away, it's best to stay in pursuit -- and Kirk eventually "raced through a Hyatt kitchen and into the back seat of a black SUV ... which instantly pealed out."

I don't imagine Kirk is interested in my advice, but this strikes me as a truly awful strategy. The more he literally flees from the press, the more Kirk looks like a candidate afraid to talk about his own record in public. It's June, and such an approach is unsustainable. If Kirk is going to have to talk to reporters eventually -- and he will -- it's better to rip off the bandage quickly now.

For the record, Giannouilas was only too pleased to chat with reporters before the event, and while he left for a fundraiser afterwards, I talked to a campaign aide today who said the Democratic candidate was available for press questions later in the day.

As for the bigger picture, Kirk joins Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Sarah Palin as Republicans who are simply too afraid (and/or too embarrassed) to talk to professional news outlets. It's really not a healthy development.

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

These upstanding, patriotic Republican public servants would just rather not have to endure harassment and gotcha journalism from today's liberal, lame-stream media. You "progressives" are always wining about what this or that "disenfranchised" group (to whom our nanny-state government actually gives plenty, out of hard working American pockets) is enduring, so you of all people should sympathize.

Posted by: Al + on June 21, 2010 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

He should also be asked if he agrees with Joe Barton on the escrow fund. I have been calling several republican congress critters about the Joe Barton apology. You can sense the staff's discomfort talking about the subject.

Fellow citizens, please call these reps from the party of BP. Keep the pressure. Huff Po says Joe Barton is on his way out from his leadership position on the energy and commerce committee.

Posted by: Hopemonger on June 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Does the public care?

Posted by: 6079smithW on June 21, 2010 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Mark Kirk, Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Sarah Palin... didn't they all serve together in the same unit in Desert Storm? You know, dishing out some of those 2nd Amendment Remedies?

BAH-HA-HA-HAA-HA!!!

Oh god, what defective gene makes idiots so blind to self-awareness?

Posted by: Rochester on June 21, 2010 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"Peter Cottontail moment -- lol.

Perfect.

Posted by: June on June 21, 2010 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, ReBPublicans, tough on terrorism, WATBs when it comes to journalists.

I guess the pen really is mightier than the sword.

Posted by: puravida on June 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

This is all well and good that I am reading this on TWM, but why is this not the story on the MSM? Political candidates are avoiding real, legitimate reporters/journalists from the major networks and cable news outlets and there is virtually no comment on this. Of course, I don't partake of any of those outlets, so am only speaking from what I read here and on other "liberal" media. Is there any pushback from CBS, ABC, NBC, XYZ about this avoidance of coverage? Where are the OpEd pieces decrying the anti-transparency of the mostly Republican candidates?

I am committed to Oneness, Justice and Transformation.
peace,
st john

PS: Why does the title still say: By Steve Benen and featuring Hilzoy (?)

Posted by: st john on June 21, 2010 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

snark alert: "avoiding real, legitimate reporters/journalists from the major networks and cable news outlets and there is virtually no comment on this..."

Posted by: st john on June 21, 2010 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

The masculine drive to run the fastest , furthest , smartest post scpeechification race in Amurica is not fer jestin' . Jes say'n .
I have ingested deeply at the Tim James gala .

Posted by: FRP on June 21, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow I think the Chicago TV media isn't going to be so kind to Kirk. If he's running out hotel kitchens, they're going to say so and show it on the news. We hope.

Posted by: Molly Weasley on June 21, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Now if only someone captured this moment on video...

Posted by: KTinOhio on June 21, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Editorial curmudgeon alert.....

whoever wrote the line about the SUV "that instantly pealed out....."? Was that SUV some sort of bell, ringing out at the sound of Kirk slamming the door....

or was it PEELING out....racing away at a high rate of speed and PEELING rubber from the tires in the process? I suspect the latter.

You may now resume your normal attacks.

Posted by: dweb on June 21, 2010 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Press: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Kirk: [turns, runs for his life]

Posted by: Dan on June 21, 2010 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

When the Pope begins to "unload" pedophile priests, pedophile hiders/movers of same, Obama hands Bushit over to the Hague for war crimes, and MSM follows up on the Kirks of the world who are exposing MS journalist for what they are, corporate hacks, then I'll start believing in: God on "earth", justice, and journalist integrity. It ain't gonna happen. Never, ever. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on June 21, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

@ dweb

Thanx. Because you released your inner pedant, I don't have to.

Run, Kirkie, run...

If only Mike Royko and Studs Terkel were here to see this!

Posted by: efgoldman on June 21, 2010 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

@dweb:

Back in the early 1990s, as a cost-saving measure, newspapers got rid of copy editors - the guys who would be doing your job for you before you see the mistake, and straightening out the article. Drop the safety net and then add in the fact your average mid-30s reporter comes from the generation that never really learned to read or write back in the late 80s/early 90s) (sit the boy next to a Great Book, he'll absorb it by osmosis - and BTW, phonics are bad), also add in that they're mostly too stupid to know that while spell checker will tell you if the word is spelled right, it won't tell you if it's the right word, and you have the common-language-impaired otherwise-unemployable that the MSM loves to keep (plus the fact all the smart ones have had the good sense to get out of the dying business of newspapering, leaving only the shallow end of the IQ pool in the reporter's room).

Posted by: TCinLA on June 21, 2010 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Editorial curmudgeon alert.....

While you're at it, it's Giannoulias, not "Giannouilas."

Posted by: shortstop on June 21, 2010 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

Makes me wonder about the future of political debates. Are they all going to try a Palin and will the networks and moderators let them get away with it?

Posted by: Maddie11 on June 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I find it mind boggling that the republicans keep lowering the bar for their candidates that this game of political limbo is going to result in some snapped right wing spines.

Posted by: Liam J on June 21, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Makes me wonder about the future of political debates. Are they all going to try a Palin and will the networks and moderators let them get away with it?"
Posted by: Maddie11 on June 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Yes and yes, respectively (though clearly not respectfully).

SASQ, h/t:a
&c

Posted by: smartalek on June 21, 2010 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

What magical fantasy world do we live in now where Republicans are being held responsible for their public statements? There's plenty of history for all of these candidates for the media to expose them if that was the goal. But no, the media has to "report both sides," so they just need to get the candidates' spin to set up an equivalence with the truth. Without that, they could never report a fair story!

Remember: It's Okay If You're A Republican[tm].

Posted by: Chris D on June 21, 2010 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, don't forget about Meg Whitman here in California. Sure, she's not running for Senate, but in her bid for Governor, she's already made quite a name for herself avoiding the press and the general public. We're ever so proud of her.

Posted by: Prospero on June 21, 2010 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

PROFILES IN COURAGE.

Pretty bad when you're afraid of the ignorant wimps in the mainstream media.

Posted by: Speed on June 21, 2010 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, of course he ran away. Kirk knows that the only way to deal with Gotcha journalism is to run away, preferably shouting "You ain't gotcha me!" over one's shoulder.

Posted by: josef on June 21, 2010 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please, oh please, the next time Orin Hatch is on the TeeVee will the interviewer ask him how he's coming with his lying-about-your-military-record legislation.

Posted by: Oh my on June 21, 2010 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

Believe it or don't, but in Illinois the general election campaign officially begins during the state fair. Each party gets its own Day at the Fair, and Kirk is going to have to show his face there. And it's impossible for an SUV of any color to peal or peel outta the place. IOW, he'll have to face the press then. That's when people in this state pay attention.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on June 21, 2010 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

... He never ever learned to tell the truth so well,
But his SUV pealed out just like a-ringin' a bell!
Go, go! Go, Marky, go! ...

Posted by: Raven on June 22, 2010 at 7:10 AM | PERMALINK

Jeebus. What is it with Illinois Republicans running for Senate and their spectacular flame-outs?

Remember how Obama got that seat in the first place? Jack Ryan was the Illinois GOP golden boy and he flamed out when details about his ugly divorce from Jeri Ryan became public. And so Obama got to fight against Alan Keyes instead.

Do you think they could get old Alan back for another stab at the brass ring this time around?

Posted by: NonyNony on June 22, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"SUV instantly pealed out":

Recent headline in my hometown paper:

LOCAL REAL ESTATE SALES SORE

No doubt from too many wedgies.

Posted by: Red*cted on June 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I got such a visual on this:

Guys in black suits stuffing him in and screaming "Go! Go! Go!" to the driver who dutifully floors it.

Kirk then sits up in the back seat as they race away, straightens his suit and leans back with his hands clasped behind his head saying, "Damn, I'm good."

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 22, 2010 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK
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