Monday, January 23, 2012

EXTRA: Kirk to get character test in coming days on health issues

I must confess – I gained a significant amount of respect for soon-to-be former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in recent days.
GIFFORDS: Soon-to-be former

The Congresswoman who was shot in an incident a year ago says she’s giving up her seat on Capitol Hill. She wants to focus her attention on long-term recovery from the gunshot wounds she suffered.

NOW IT’S NOT that I never had objections to Giffords. But it’s just that many political people I have encountered would have gone out of their way to hold onto their political position for as long as humanly possible.

Even if they weren’t capable of fulfilling the duties, they would have wanted to keep the post – which in Giffords’ case would have run through the end of this year and early into January of 2013.

Even if they decided not to run for re-election (which Giffords would have had to do in the Nov. 6 general elections), they wouldn’t have wanted to resign.

Yet that is what Giffords is doing. By the end of Monday, she is to have completed her last duties as a member of Congress from the Tuscon, Ariz., area. She is expected to submit her letter of resignation later this week to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (a Republican) and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

I’M SURE THERE are Democrats who would have wanted her to stay in office – even though she would be an absentee member – just to keep the congressional seat within the party – instead of boosting by one the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

It has me wondering how we, in Illinois, would handle the same situation. Which could very well happen if circumstances take a turn for the worse.
KIRK: On road to recovery

Yes, I’m referring to the situation involving Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who checked himself into suburban Lake Forest Hospital during the weekend and was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital – where on Monday he underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain.

He has been diagnosed as having suffered a stroke.

NOW I DON’T have any evidence that this is a life-threatening situation. For all I know, the statement from Kirk’s office that he is expected to recover in full is completely true.

A part of me certainly hopes that he’s being truthful, and can claim to being as noble as Giffords has been in recent days.

But if it turns out for the worst, I’d like to think that Kirk could contemplate making the same high-ground stance as Giffords did. Even if I can already hear the rantings of the Republicans about Pat Quinn “stealing” away a seat from them.

Avoiding that kind of rhetoric may well be the best reason to hope for a full Kirk recovery.


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