The Illinois GOP Congressman fretting over whether he wants to run for Obama's Senate seat (only if Lisa Madigan doesn't run, demonstrating his great political courage), went to China recently to tell top Chinese bank officials that they shouldn't believe what the US says about its financial stability.
Undercutting Secretary Geithner's efforts to calm Chinese fears about their sizeable investment in US Treasury bonds, Kirk has taken it upon himself to represent "the truth."
"We heard across the board -- in private -- substantial, continuing and rising concern," Representative Mark Kirk said after a trip to China that included talks with government officials and central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan.
"It's clear that China would like to diversify from its dollar investments," the lawmaker said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank.
Kirk's assessment differed with that of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who said last week on a separate visit that Chinese leaders had expressed "justifiable confidence" on the future of the recession-hit US economy.
If not exactly treasonous, isn't this at least unpatriotic, for a minority Congressman to pretend he can speak for the American government and, in doing so, sabatoge our nation's efforts to stabilize the global economy? Specifically:
He said he told the Chinese that the budget deficit could be even bigger than predicted, due in part to the rising costs to the US economy of health care.
"One of the messages I had -- because we need to build trust and confidence in our number one creditor -- is that the budget numbers that the US government has put forward should not be believed," Kirk said.
"Congress is actually going to spend quite a bit more," he said.
"Building trust and confidence" by saying that we should not be believed?
Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen accompanied Kirk on the trip and he had a different story:
"The Chinese leaders that we met with were very interested in seeing the United States be successful," Larsen said.
"They were not looking to themselves to lead the global economic recovery; they were looking to the United States to lead that recovery," he said.
So, why wasn't Kirk censured? He has a right to his opinions, but when he speaks with foreign leaders who have a big influence over our economy, he has no right to misrepresent America's interests.
And he wants to be a Senator?