Now that Mark Kirk has won the Republican primary for the Illinois Senate seat, it behooves Tea Party organizers in the Land of Lincoln to rally round the (moderate) Republican. A Kirk victory helps reduce the strength of the tax-and-spend party in Washington. That said, Kirk should not take their support for granted. In the next week, he should sit down with representatives of the movement and listen to their concerns. He needs show that he recognizes the energy of its adherents and the sincerity of their small-government convictions.
The choice now is no longer between a more conservative Republican and a moderate, but between a moderate Republican who voted against the “stimulus” and Obamacare and an Obama loyalist. Unlike Dede Scozzafava, Kirk won a contested Republican primary fair and square. The election may now well be between Lame and Lamer, as Michelle Malkin put it. But, Lamer will vote for big government any chance he gets and Lame only occasionally. But, should Republicans win back control of the Senate, a possibility which grows with each passing day, there will be fewer such occasions.
Republicans are solidly ahead to take at least five seats now held by Democrats – in North Dakota, Delaware, Nevada, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Five more are now considered winnable – Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and even liberal New York. Two other races, in California and Washington, are tightening daily.
Right now, Illinois conservatives need register their disappointment with Mark Kirk’s imperfect voting record, but they also need realize that Alexi Giannoulias has a far more left-wing, big spending platform than he and is a product of the same political machine which brought us Barack Obama.
And maybe, just maybe, if tea party leaders approach Kirk in the right way, they may well win him over.