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Distinguished pol of the week

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ran away with the week, personifying in his filibuster tour de force the phrase “hitting above your weight.” And in rebuking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with class and graciousness  (“I treat Sen. McCain with respect, I don’t know if I always get the same in return”) he highlighted how lacking in both was the senior senator from Arizona.

Sen. Mark Kirk continues to warn us about the Iranian nuclear threat; a portrait of late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, with former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. (Ruhollah Vahdati/Associated Press)

But since we  have spent much attention on Paul, I want to call attention to a very honorable mention — Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who continues his heroic recovery from a stroke. At the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference, he said he had a message for the mullahs: “I’m back.” During the filibuster he dropped off a thermos and apple for Paul. Paul describes the scene:

At about 6:30 p.m., something extraordinary happened. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who has been recovering from a stroke, came to the floor to give me something. I was not allowed to drink anything but water or eat anything but the candy left in our Senate desks. But he brought me an apple and a thermos full of tea — the same sustenance Jimmy Stewart brought to the Senate floor in the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” That was a moment I will never forget.

And, with all that, Kirk managed to put out a video warning of the Iranian nuclear threat. His respect for his fellow senator and moral support for a filibuster waged against an imperious White House did not conceal the wide gap in the two senators’ foreign policy views. But it did show that courtesy and kindness, not to mention constitutional respect for the legislative branch, can co-exist with deep policy differences.

So in addition to Sen. Rand Paul, we say well done, Sen. Mark Kirk.

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