Mark Kirk: Bucking The Trend

Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) does not appear to be adopting the "Democrats are the devil" meme:
In March, Kirk and Democrat Robert Menendez offered a Senate resolution suggesting a no-fly zone over Libya. In early August, Kirk joined Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand and independent Joe Lieberman to introduce a bill that would punish foreign companies doing business with the Syrian energy sector. Soon after, he spearheaded a letter signed by 92 senators asking the president to impose sanctions on Iran’s central bank. And, in early September, he and Menendez put forward an amendment that would stop the Export-Import Bank from assisting foreign companies that do business with Iran.

These moves have brought Kirk to the attention of the GOP’s rather beleaguered foreign policy establishment. One GOP Senate aide told me that Kirk has the potential to be a thought-leader on international issues; in an e-mail, Bill Kristol described Kirk to me as “very knowledgeable” and “already a serious player.” Kirk would appear to be the logical successor to an older generation of Republican foreign policy mavens, such as John McCain, who are now in the twilight of their careers — if, that is, the GOP still has room for a foreign affairs obsessive with a penchant for reaching across the aisle.
I would certainly hope that the polarization -- particularly in the Republican party -- will be short-lived. My guess is that in times of economic turmoil and unease, the partisan name-calling and metaphorical bomb-throwing reaches a fever pitch. BUT, once there is a shift back to a positive outlook, the rhetoric and bickering will simmer down.

At least, I hope that is what will happen.

Photo: AP