We suspect [Giannoulias] senses what many voters are asking — not him personally, but themselves — about his professional maturity:
• Which of these two candidates will weigh, and decide, questions on national security and other crucial issues more on the merits than on the politics?
• Which would we want as the senator who could eventually make the extraordinarily sensitive selection of U.S. attorneys — the top federal prosecutors, such as Patrick Fitzgerald — for Illinois?
• And on the issue that most roils American politics this autumn, out-of-control federal spending, would Giannoulias or Kirk make unpopular, potentially career-ending votes for restraint?
That last question will dominate much of the next few years. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Congressional Budget Office now projects spending on the big three entitlement programs alone — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — to rise by 70 percent, 79 percent and 99 percent respectively …over just the next 10 years.
We want the most capable senator protecting the U.S. from its enemies abroad and its unsustainable finances at home. Mark Kirk will be that senator.
The Trib editors also hit Giannoulias for his embarrassing performance during his editorial sit-down, when he couldn't specify a single spending bill he'd have opposed as a Senator:
Between the Tribune endorsement and the candidates' MTP exchange, Mark Kirk just won the weekend in a major way.
[Giannoulias does not] pretend to be independent of party orthodoxy, from health care regulation to tax hikes to Big Labor's beloved "card check." Ask Giannoulias what federal spending bill of the last two years he would have opposed and, after some painful-to-watch evasion, he cannot name one. Ask him where he most strenuously disagrees with his party's policies and watch his intellectual gears grind as he grasps for anything controversial on which he disagrees at all.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography