The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

April 22, 2013

Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

They also worked together on what Kirk calls the "crown jewel" of Illinois appointments: the replacement of the U.S. attorney in Chicago. Patrick Fitzgerald, who resigned from the post last year, indicted and convicted the previous two Illinois governors, a Republican and Democrat. It is, to put it mildly, a politically sensitive post.

Durbin and Kirk, with the help of a bipartisan group of advisers, submitted four names that were acceptable to both senators. The president is expected to make his choice soon.

Their relationship had been cordial before. Durbin was chairman of the campaign of Kirk's 2010 opponent. After the election, they agreed to wipe the slate clean.

The trauma of the stroke deepened their professional and personal bonds, both men said in interviews. "We now have a close relationship, which I value very much," Durbin says.

"We put our state ahead of party," Kirk says.

Displays of personal compassion in politics aren't entirely uncommon. Vice President Joe Biden has written about the kindness he was shown by some colleagues when, shortly after he was elected to the Senate, his wife and young child were killed in an automobile accident. In 2003, when the son of Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon committed suicide, one of the first people to come to his office to console him and talk about loss was Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy.

Yet with comity so rare in Washington these days, the Durbin-Kirk experience is noteworthy. There were others who rose to support the afflicted senator.

The lawmakers Kirk cites include his "best friend" in the Senate, Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican. Kirk appreciates the special support from Durbin because they're from the same state and because, as a party leader, the Democrat has clout.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video