Senator Kirk Already on Track to Vote Against GOP Interests

-By Warner Todd Huston

I said it during the primary, Mark Kirk is a 45 percenter. His record in the House pretty much shows that he will only vote with Republicans 45 percent of the time if left to his druthers. True to my worst fears, Kirk seems to be right on track with my predictions. The man hasn’t even taken his seat yet and many are assuming he’ll support one of the Democrat’s favorite issues: the DISCLOSE Act.

The Hill is reporting that Kirk is coming under pressure by the left to vote “yes” on a watered down version of the DISCLOSE Act, ostensibly a campaign finance reform law. The Hill also correctly points out that Kirk has in the past been a proponent of changes in campaign finance rules even as he voted against the Democrat’s DISCLOSE Act in the run up to the election.

“I broke with my party early. I think we should continue with further reforms,” Kirk said. “Federal candidates should disclose all of their campaign contributions within 24 hours on the Internet. I hope we can get that done in the next Senate and Congress. Also, for all of these outside groups we don’t want to silence any political voice … we should have them disclose all of their donors, both from the left and the right.”

The DISCLOSE Act is yet another attempt by Democrats to force non-governmental political advocacy organizations to disclose donors names and is meant to discourage contributions to advocacy groups. Naturally, Democrats mean to exempt unions and others of their favorite constituents from these rules. This act is little else but a thinly disguised weapon for Democrats to use against conservative advocacy groups and is a clear attack on the First Amendment.

Kirk’s vote against the act in June, while he was still a member of the House of Representatives in this now winding down session of Congress, cannot be trusted as a marker of his possible future vote as a Senator. We have but to look at his “yes” vote for cap and trade to see that he has few moorings ideologically.

Early in 2010, for instance, Kirk voted “yes” on cap and trade but it soon became a vote he found worth apologizing for and backtracking from as he ran for the Senate when he wanted to seem more conservative during the election. That he voted against the DISCLOSE Act is meaningless in light of his other flip flops. It is quite likely that his previous “no” vote on DISCLOSE was meant to make him seem more conservative just prior to the election and now that the election is over and he’s fairly won, he’ll return to his left of center voting habit.

So, will Kirk vote with the Democrats on the DISCLOSE Act? He just might. Then again, he might not. There really is no way to tell until the final vote is cast. Kirk is entirely unreliable ideologically. The only thing one can say about his voting record is that he votes with the far left far more often than he should as a Republican.

This is the problem that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell will find when dealing with Kirk. The man is all over the map. He’ll vote with the left until someone back home notices and raises a stink. Then he’ll do a 180 and vote with the Republican leadership.

Mark “finger in the air” Kirk will be a major thorn in the Republican’s side as the junior Senator from Illinois.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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