Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 18, 2010

MARK KIRK'S VERACITY BACK IN THE NEWS.... The good news for Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican Senate hopeful in Illinois, is that he's gone a few months without new revelations surrounding his exaggerated record and background. The bad news is, there's a new one.

Kirk -- if that is his real name -- has experienced a humiliating year when it comes to dishonesty. He's been caught lying repeatedly about everything from his military service to having been a nursery-school teacher. He's made a wide variety of false claims about foreign policy issues, which is supposed to be an area of expertise for him, and has even been forced to literally flee reporters trying to get Kirk to reconcile his stories with reality. In July, we learned that one of Kirk's favorite stories -- the one about being inspired to enter public service after the Coast Guard rescued him from drowning in Lake Michigan as a teenager-- wasn't entirely true, either.

Today, it appears yet another example has emerged.

Rep. Mark Kirk claims credit for being a driving force behind a bill signed into law this year that requires the president to crack down on companies doing business with Iran.

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Howard Berman, says Kirk is guilty of "exaggeration" when he says the "Kirk bill" became the "Berman bill" so it could pass the Democratic Congress.

"We didn't even look at his legislation at the time," Berman said. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."

Last month, Kirk told the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times that it was his bill on policy towards Iran that was advancing in the House, even though Berman was taking credit for it.

That, like most of Kirk's claims, doesn't appear to be true. Berman, the committee chairman, explained that while Kirk has worked on sanctions related to Iran, "The bill that I was involved with, we didn't even look at his legislation at the time." The final bill that advanced went much further, and was far more expansive, than Kirk's initial effort.

Taken in isolation, this may seem largely meaningless. Kirk claimed credit for work he didn't do, but this this isn't exactly unprecedented on Capitol Hill.

The point is the larger pattern -- Mark Kirk tells a lot of stories, asks voters to believe those stories, and then we find out that those stories aren't true. In some instances, Kirk's tall tales are demonstrable lies with no basis in fact, but more often, the Republican embellishes reality, giving the truth a more dramatic spin that makes him look better.

If it were just an anecdote here or there that was exaggerated for effect, this would be entirely forgivable, even expected for a U.S. Senate candidate. But Kirk has done this repeatedly, with a wide variety of subjects over the course of many years, as if he has some kind of uncontrollable urge to mislead those around him about his own life.

That this latest example came in September -- after he vowed to speak with more "precision" about his record -- suggests Kirk just can't help himself when it comes to telling tall tales.

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

Steve Benen 12:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Comments

IOKIYAR, etc.

Posted by: terraformer on October 18, 2010 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

None of this will matter. He'll still get the republican vote. Hell, the republican voter would vote for Satan over a liberal/progressive democrat any day.

This is what is so maddening about the right wing in general; they are so incredibly close-minded that common sense and reason will not prevail over their pre-conceived notions of the parties, which is a natural result of 30 + years of the vilification of the democratic party, combined with democratic spinelessness and failure to fight back.

My big question mark about all this is how the so called 'conservative christian' can reconcile their supposed faith with following a political party whose platform is basically anti-christian.

Go figure.

Posted by: citizen_pain on October 18, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like Mark Kirk channels Sharron Angle.

Posted by: ChrisNBama on October 18, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"We didn't even look at his legislation at the time," Berman said. "Our bill did so much more and went so far beyond his bill, I would have to put it in the context of an exaggeration."

let me get this straight. Rep. Howard Berman offers an even more reactionary, rightwing sanctions bill than GOP Rep. Mark Kirk, one that passes easily, and we are supposed to be concerned with Kirk's exxageration? But let's not worry too much, even though Berman is supporting Kirk's opponent he still has time to find some love for Kirk:

Berman said Kirk accurately described his role in helping get Israel into America's satellite program.

"Kirk also pushed to get Israel integrated into the U.S. radar and satellite grid -- that's true. Mark played a big role in that," Berman said.

Posted by: some guy on October 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, Kirk's bill had "Iran" in the title too!

Posted by: Daddy Love on October 18, 2010 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

let me get this straight. Rep. Howard Berman offers an even more reactionary, rightwing sanctions bill than GOP Rep. Mark Kirk, one that passes easily, and we are supposed to be concerned with Kirk's exxageration?

No, we're not. Kirk's potential constituents (that is, Illinois voters) are supposed to be concerned about whether they want to vote for a liar so pathological that he lies when he doesn't "have to."

Posted by: Daddy Love on October 18, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

All he has to do is refuse to answer any questions and promise the voters he'll tell them after the election and he's "In like Flynn" or Arnold (wonder what happened to that investigation he promised), Or Vitter,or Angle or Miller ...... the way Repubicans get elected these days is to pound the other guy and refuse to answer any questions. It's a bonus if you can avoid a debate or arrange only interviews with Sean Hannity.

Posted by: atlliberal on October 18, 2010 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Kirk's in trouble with the RWNJ vote here in Illinois because he voted for Cap & Trade. Yes, he was for it before he was against it. And his True Believers always respond to stories about Kirk's lies with, "At least he didn't loan money to the Mob!"

Which tells you about the high level of discourse in our Senate race. Sigh.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on October 18, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Aren't I grand?" says Kirk (to himself every morning while looking in the mirror).

Posted by: anon on October 18, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

The good news for Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican Senate hopeful in Illinois, is that he's gone a few months without new revelations surrounding his exaggerated record and background. The bad news is, there's a new one.

Posted by: payday loans online on October 18, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Keeping track of GOP lies -- be they from Kirk, Rove, Paul, McConnell, Cheney, Palin, ad nauseum -- is a full time job for a staff of 10, maybe 20...

Posted by: nemisten on October 18, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

And many of the same people that are willing to ignore Kirk's entire litany of lies and enthusiastically support him... were also willing to listen to the Truthboater's attacks on John Kerry be debunked one after another after another, and then say that the only one of them that even sort of held up (Kerry couldn't have been listening to Nixon's Christmas speech while in Cambodia) proved that Kerry was a lying weasel who couldn't be trusted and who's military service (including the Silver Star) was irrelevant.

Posted by: tanstaafl on October 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

That's awesome, Daddy Love, good for you. The fact that Democratic Rep. H. Berman is offering even worse, more reactionary bills than Mark Kirk is of minor importance to you. Go team!

Remind me again how much better the Tweedledee Party is than the Tweedledum Party?

Posted by: some guy on October 18, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Has he ever claimed to be Asian? No? Hey, I know an even bigger liar.

Posted by: Mark on October 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Is it even conceivable that any of these compulsive liars and literally delusional baggers would be refused a seat in the House if they happened to get elected?

Posted by: Tomm Undergod on October 18, 2010 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

What? Mark Kirk wrote a piece of legislation??????

Posted by: athena on October 18, 2010 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Everything will be explained by his wife, Morgan Fairchild.

Posted by: hamletta on October 19, 2010 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

TY a ton for blogging this, it was very informative and showed me quite a bit

Posted by: laer dansk on November 3, 2010 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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