Hard to say whom Mark Kirk offended more.
When he referred to an unmarried Senate colleague on Thursday as a “bro with no ho,” he did a magnificent job of offending women.
But when he added, “That’s what we’d say on the South Side,” he did an equally terrific job of offending African-Americans.
And, of course, Kirk offended everybody else who has a problem with a woman being referred to as a “ho” — slang for a prostitute — or with the assumption that South Siders — read black people — talk that way.
He sure offended a lot of people.
Is this all about political correctness, as Kirk’s apologists are saying?
No. In 1915 it might have been, but not in 2015.
Thoughtful people just don’t make Polish jokes anymore, or Helen Keller jokes, and they don’t say what Kirk said Thursday. They are above that. Their thinking is above that.
In 2016, when Kirk seeks reelection, the voters will have much to weigh about this man. He is to be admired for the way he fought back from a devastating stroke in 2012. He has a reputation in Washington for working hard. His conservative views on fiscal issues and more moderate views on social issues sit well with many in Illinois.
But Kirk’s unclever quip won’t be forgotten, nor will similarly injudicious remarks. He once called for the mass arrest of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, pulling a crazy number out of a hat. He once said a black neighborhood is the “one we drive faster through.”
Kirk has no announced opponent in the March 15 Republican primary.
That could change.
Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @CSTEditorials