I'm still on vacation and Mrs. TA refused to let me bring my laptop, so I can't provide any links, but TA readers probably have learned by now that perrenial candidate and muckraker Andy Martin is trying to make waves by airing radio ads proclaiming a rumor that has long circulated among detractors of Congressman Mark Kirk, namely, that he is a homosexual. The rumor itself, though unfounded as far as TA knows, is nothing new. Believe me, if I had a dollar for every time someone Googled something like "mark kirk gay" and ended up hitting TA, I'd have a nice retirement fund. In any case, since I'm updating my blog from my Blackberry, I can't provide any links.
Suffice it to say, Martin is being widely denounced for trying to leverage such unworthy tripe as a legitimate campaign issue. Even Patrick Hughes has denounced Martin's tactics. But, what I wanted to check in with everyone to point out is that Martin has inadvertantly done Mark a favor by raising this now, plenty of time before the primary, and more importantly, before the general election. If you thought the DSCC wasn't going to try to leverage this in some way, you're not too swift, as my fifth-grade teacher used to say. By bringing this up now, and in such an ugly way, Martin has set it up so that every Republican candidate that aspires to legitimacy must denounce any association with such garbage, and it also effectively removes the issue from the Dems backroom whisper campaign.
Well done, Andy, even though you weren't planning on giving Mark a boost. More on this when I return.
UPDATED 12/29/09 2:30 p.m.: I'm back home now, but I'm a bit busy, so we will do more of an update later. But for now, I wanted to note that Rich Miller over at Capitol Fax Blog appears to be agreeing with me that the fact that this whole issue was brought up by Andy Martin gives Kirk invaluable political coverage just because it was brought up by Andy Martin:
Imagine, for a moment, that a vicious rumor has been circulating about you for years. Pretty much everyone in politics has heard it at one time or another. Many don’t believe it, but it’s still out there and, like a zombie, refuses to die.
Well, what better way to have to confront it and flatly deny it than when a perennial and often outrageous candidate whom the entire political/media establishment views as a complete leper airs out the rumor via a tiny radio buy during the zero awareness zone between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? [snip] From here on out, if anybody ever brings up this rumor again, Kirk and the media can just associate that future comment with the “discredited” Andy Martin. Case closed.
Rich also places blame on the two 'sources' cited by Martin in the radio ad:
The fact is that [Jack] Roeser and [Raymond] True got busted outside their little ultra-conservative comfort zones. And instead of owning up, they ran away from their own comments. That was probably predictable. But what bothers me far more is that nobody in the media has yet bothered to press Roeser and True to come clean. After all, without those comments, Martin couldn’t have run that radio ad. They are as responsible as he is.
Roeser and True are both longtime Illinois political players. They regularly make endorsements and contribute money to campaigns, whether directly or through their respective organizations. So while we’re all publicly bemoaning Andy Martin’s little ad, perhaps we should also be focusing on the source of this hateful nonsense - and on the candidates those two guys support.
Rich doesn't mention it specifically, but Roser and True both support conservative candidate Patrick Hughes.