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Democrats to Rep. Mark: Now Who's Un-American?


During the Bush era, it was Republicans who often hurled charges of un-American sentiments at their Democratic rivals. Now the tables have turned, and Democrats are hammering Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) for a comment he made on a recent trip to China.

In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Kirk said he told Chinese officials "the budget numbers that the U.S. Government has put forward should not be believed." He went on to say that Congress will wind up spending even more. (Here's a link to a video of the speech put on YouTube by Talking Points Memo.)

Democratic operatives aren't letting this one go. They're fixated on Kirk's declaration that the U.S. budget numbers "should not be believed." In other words, Democrats charge, Kirk is calling his own country a liar.

"After helping get us into this current economic crisis by supporting President Bush's failed economic policies, Congressman Mark Kirk went to China and told Chinese officials that the American government was not to be trusted," says Ryan Rudominer, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "Congressman Kirk's questioning of America while representing our government in China is incredibly irresponsible and endangers the American economy."

We asked Congressman Kirk if he really meant that America cannot be trusted, as Democrats are charging. Without directly answering the question, here is how Kirk's spokesman, Eric Elk, replied:

"Congressman Kirk said what American and Chinese readers see daily in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. As China lent more and more to the U.S., its leaders are getting used to watching Congress spend much more than expected. What is changing is China's willingness to keep lending. The Congressman is very concerned about the government's spending and growing deficit.

We know that Standard & Poors and Fitch rating agencies have informed the British government that their spending and debt have jeopardized their AAA rating. Loss of a. AAA rating would push mortgage interest rates up. The congressman is working to ensure the United States does not suffer this fate family savings are founded on the soundness of the U.S. dollar. Since World War I, the dollar served as the world's reserve currency, insulating Americans against inflation and the volatility of foreign currency markets."

Kirk, who announced earlier this month that he and his wife of eight years, Kimberly Ann Vertolli, are divorcing, is a prime target of Democrats in the next election cycle. The congressman has hinted he may run for either governor of Illinois in 2010 or for the Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris.

Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a potential future rival of Kirk who has already declared his candidacy for the Senate seat Burris now holds, is also attacking Kirk as un-American.

"In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, Mark Kirk is essentially telling China, which holds more U.S. debt than any nation on earth, not to trust the American government, and by extension, the American people," Giannoulias said in a statement. "This puts the full faith and credit of the United States at risk and threatens to permanently wreak havoc on the credit markets that are essential to our recovery and our economic future."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 11, 2009; 3:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

Geez Mary, the Elk-quote part of this piece is a mess! Missing quotation marks, a period inserted where it doesn't belong, a sentence that totally doesn't make sense, etc.

Doesn't the Post prefer good, clean writing -- even for its blogs?

Posted by: MikeK3 | June 11, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

"We know that Standard & Poors and Fitch rating agencies have informed the British government that their spending and debt have jeopardized their AAA rating."

Considering how valid Standard and Poor's ratings of corporations were, their meaningless ratings of Government securities, which ARE backed by Government's ability to tax and to coin money, neither of which are available to private corporations are mostly the political posturing of out of it (power, i9nfluence, economics, or ability to tell the truth about corporate securities) conservatives.

If anything, we may interpret the willingness to down grade the Federal Debt as a conservative offer to ignore the XIV amendment and, should the conservatives ever get the chance, to default on that federal debt. It has no bearing on any actual ability of the Government to back its commitments.

Posted by: ceflynline | June 11, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Rep. Kirk isn't saying that the United States is lying, he's saying that the current administration and Democrats are lying---Big Difference. Democrats repeatedly charged the Bush administration with lying about Iraq and took offense when they were called un-American for saying such things with troops in the field. Now they are pretending to take offense to Kirk's truthful comments about runaway budgets as some sort tit-for-tat.

Posted by: Paddy1 | June 12, 2009 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Kirk for President. A politician who tells the truth? Finally. We all know that the Obama Budget is BS. His budget is based on max unemployment of 8%, and that has already reached 9.4%.

Thank you congressman Kirk for saying what we all know is true, and for speaking honestly. Amazing that Congressman Kirk is doing a better job informing the people from China than the Washington Post is doing for D.C.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | June 12, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Un-American? By telling the truth? Democrats, after their own excoriation of the Bushies for lying to the world about WMDs, would now suggest lying to our largest creditors in order to finance their unprecedented expansion of government in health care, energy, and education. Bravo to Kirk, a longtime budget hawk, for setting them straight. The only way for the US to get out of this cycle is to cut spending, NOW, not encourage more debt.

Posted by: mrt80 | June 12, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

What chutzpha. The Exhalted One goes to Cairo and accuses the US of everything imaginable and the MSM is mum. Kirk goes to China and tells them that they should be concerned with the Administration's free spending ways and he is accused of all kinds of things. Stop this crap. The current God of the Socialists is the culprit and all you idiots out there better grow up. He is a liar and a disgrace. This is a terrible example of politics at play. To paraphrase that Indian philosopher, "Kimosabe, I got mine, you're on your own." It is disgraceful what these people are allowed to write.

Posted by: Raylene | June 12, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Comparing Bush's waging a major propoganda machine to invade Iraq and thereby causing the deaths of thousands of U.S. soldiers (and imprisonment and death of millions of innnocent Iraqi's) to Mr. Mark Kirk's comments is outlandish in itself, but to defend his negative representation of the US (you say Democrats) as liars is absolutely un-American. If he has a problem with Democrats don't complain to the Chinese and PLEASE don't defend Mr. Kirk by saying "Finally, an 'honest' politician."

That's the problem with Republicans right now...they are known only for pointing fingers and placing blame instead of working to find solutions.

Oh, and the REAL cost of Iraq (not just the war budget, but the cost of healthcare for wounded troops, etc.) is going to be around 10 TRILLION dollars over the next 10-15 years. So saying Mr. Kirk is known for being "hawkish" is hypocritical when it only applies to Obama's term or a budget proposed by Democrats. Some of that "budget" was given to Obama by Bush. At least Obama would rather spend money on healthcare than on a war that lines the pockets of politicians and their "cronies". :)

Posted by: tgialmostjanuary | June 12, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Kirk for President. A politician who tells the truth? Finally. We all know that the Obama Budget is BS. His budget is based on max unemployment of 8%, and that has already reached 9.4%.

Thank you congressman Kirk for saying what we all know is true, and for speaking honestly. Amazing that Congressman Kirk is doing a better job informing the people from China than the Washington Post is doing for D.C.

Posted by: Cornell1984 | June 12, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

-------------------------------------------
Where was this clown when W was publishing budgets that didn't include his folly in Iraq ?

Where was this clown when his fellow retards, er, Republicans were busy handing out a budget with NO NUMBERS ?

Jesus, you think this clown is anything BUT a clown ?

All he's doing is what the rest of the retards, er, Repubs are doing, absolutely NOTHING to help get us out of the mess that they created.

Posted by: dennissuper | June 12, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Actually, he's calling the Democratic majority in Congress liars. But if you're already a Democrat, I suppose you could spin it to show he's calling 'America' a liar, but most Republicans know what he's talking about and most Democrats don't like him anyway, so I doubt this article wil have much bearing on the world.

Posted by: SUMB44 | June 12, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Considering the miserable failures of ratings agencies leading up to the mortgage credit fiasco, I really wonder how it is that their oracular estimations of credit-worthiness should STILL be relied upon to set interest rates.

How does this work, anyway? Are there government regulations that mandate a link between these agency ratings and the rates that lenders can charge...or must charge? Or do the lenders just follow the ratings of their own accord, lock-step, because that is what they have always done?

Why would big money rely on something so clearly proven to be unreliable? I hope someone here can explain the mechanisms at work, because this makes no sense.

Posted by: Observer44 | June 12, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"What is changing is China's willingness to keep lending. The Congressman is very concerned about the government's spending and growing deficit."

What I get from that is that it's not that he's saying that America can't be trusted. Rather he thinks that China might not keep lending us money because of high deficits. So what does he do? He tells them that the deficits will actually be even higher!

Isn't that undercutting our country? He's not merely calling us liars, he's trying to sabotage our economy! Maybe he'll go ahead and defect while he's over there and save us the trouble of jailing him.

Posted by: mbmclaughlin | June 12, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"Big Difference. Democrats repeatedly charged the Bush administration with lying about Iraq" said paddy1. I doubt you could find such a statement by a D Congressman before the troops, and while In Iraq.
Saying statements that jepordize our fragile economy on the floor of Congress, is reckless, making statements like that IN CHINA is potentially treasonous. Its the equivalent of a D Congressman going on al jazirah and disclosing troop movements. What would you be saying if Tim Geitner or Bernake went to China and made such an irresponsible statement? How would you then feel if China decided to use that statement to alter their currency, or stop lending to us, oh its just politics? I hope someone has the guts to call for this clown's impeachment. Is anything sacrosanct by this crowd of Rs?

Posted by: leichtman | June 12, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Kirk is a treasonous fonda! He is a tool of the Chinese Communists! He is an unpatriotic nitwit for the Reds! Impeach him. Imprison him. America cannot stand by while its politicians travel to a Communist country and call their own nation liars. I bet you can find pictures of Mao in his home. Tap his phone! He is divorcing his wife, so he must be a closet homosexual! He is obviously against the traditional family! [wow, it's tiresome trying to sound like the petulant right wing]

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | June 12, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

What is treason? I really have to wonder where that line is currently. Under the Bush Administration, any dissent was tagged as treasonous, even in the face of facts, e.g. no WMD. Even Mr. Cheney would not have tolerated former VP Gore going around saying that Bush had left us less safe by not pursing Al Qeada after the Cole investigation was concluded. Dissent on our own soil is one thing, but actually saying to another government on foreign soil not to trust the United States (yes, President Obama was elected by the majority of Americans) seems to me treason. You may disagree with the numbers, but what does Mr. Kirk gain by such talk? Brownie points with the Chinese? Making the Chinese even more skittish about the dollar? Contributing to the rising interest rates which in turn increases the debt and chaos in our finances? Or did he just want bragging rights as in "I told you so." Either way, Mr. Kirk was not acting out of patriotism or for that matter in the best interest of the country.

Posted by: ddzeke | June 12, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Who paid for Rep. Kirk's trip? Is he in China spending some of that borrowed money?

Posted by: half_smoke2000 | June 12, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Kirk was just following Obama's example and apologizing. To be certain do we know if he bowed or smooched any butt of the Chinese government while he was there?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | June 12, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I live in the 10th congressional district and Kirk is my congressman. Frankly, I'm very proud of how he's serve my district and represented us in Congress. I don't see anything wrong with what he's said. "The budget numbers... should not be believed." What's wrong with that? Congress sometimes doesn't abide by what's passed in the authorization bills... I wouldn't even think that this would be controversial at all.

Posted by: meepster | June 13, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Hey meepster, you need to go online and look at his voting record - straight line with all the crazy repugs (but maybe your one too). You can't understand why it's controversial to go to another country (supposedly representing the USA) and tell them that they cannot believe what the govt of United States of America is saying?????? Going to the country that holds most of our debt and telling them that the USA is lying to them is OKAY??

Kirk should be tried for treason - taking petty internal political arguments to another country and attempting to undercut the government is quite unacceptable! Fortunately, I hope the Chinese are smart enough to know he is a nobody who in reality knows nothing and is just trying to act important - all he did was make himself look SUPER DUMB! I believe my mother used to say, "Don't cut off your nose despite your face".

Add to this the comment about shooting the Govenor and Kirk is just another ignorant Bachman type republican looking for attention. It's just embarrasing because I too live in the 10th district.

Posted by: skimom27 | June 13, 2009 3:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey skimom, don't be a sore loser because you're guy lost this november... again.

And what about SCHIP, the surge, repealing tax cuts to oil companies (HR 6), increasing the minimum wage to name a few? Sure he votes with the GOP 86.7% of the time, including those procedural votes that are typically party line. But he's broken with his party on many significant issues. So maybe YOU need to go online and look at his voting record before making outlandish statements. (And yes, I'm a Republican.)

Posted by: meepster | June 13, 2009 3:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: roverfind | June 13, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

It looks like the Republicans are serious when they say they want this government to fail. If a Democrat said something like that, the right would be out for his head.

Posted by: vzd1s415 | June 13, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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