Mark Kirk is trying to win Obama’s old Senate seat by running against Obama's health care bill. And he doesn't just oppose it. He's vowed to “lead the effort to repeal this bill” if he’s elected to the Senate.
That’s not just a policy difference. That’s condemning the cause that defines Obama’s presidency. As a senator, Kirk wants to undo his fellow Illinoisan’s legacy.
“I support health care reforms that decrease costs and boost access without tax increases or cuts to Medicare,” Kirk said in a statement yesterday. So, not this one.
Republicans plan to make the health care bill the central issue of the November elections. It may be an effective tactic in Tennessee or Colorado. But in Illinois?
Barack Obama has a 65 percent approval rating here, according to the most recent Gallup poll. Electing Kirk will add another senator to a Republican caucus that has been unyielding in its efforts to thwart Obama’s agenda. That could be a difficult vote for Obama’s home-state supporters to cast.
With that in mind, Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias has blasted Kirk for protecting his "special interest friends." That's flush with David Plouffe, who told ABC’s This Week on Sunday that the GOP's "siding with the insurance companies over people who are denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, siding with the insurance companies over saving seniors money.”
The shorthand version of this argument: are you on the side of Ebenezer Scrooge or Tiny Tim?
Before health care reform passed, it was easy for opponents to claim that the bill would ruin the world’s greatest health care system. Now, Republicans who want to repeal reform have to make the case that we should go back to letting insurance companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
Can Mark Kirk sell that to the Land of Lincoln?