Some political analysts have tried to cast the NY-23 special election results as a disaster for Sarah Palin, but not everyone has ignored the obvious power and momentum she brought to a previously-obscure candidate over the course of two weeks.  The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza confirms that Rep. Mark Kirk has written to Palin asking for her endorsement in the upcoming Senate race in Illinois for the seat now occupied by Democrat Roland Burris:

Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk penned a memo to Republican poobah Fred Malek hoping to secure an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his Senate candidacy, according to a copy of the memo obtained by the Fix.

After noting that Palin will be in Chicago later this month to appear on “Oprah”, Kirk writes that “the Chicago media will focus on one key issue: Does Gov[ernor] Palin oppose Congressman Mark Kirk’s bid to take the Obama Senate seat for the Republicans?”

Kirk goes on to write that he is hoping for something “quick and decisive” from Palin about the race, perhaps to the effect of: “Voters in Illinois have a key opportunity to take Barack Obama’s Senate seat. Congressman Kirk is the lead candidate to do that.”

Kirk hasn’t exactly made himself a darling of the conservative movement lately.  The boss has written extensively on Kirk’s support for cap-and-trade and his vote for Waxman-Markey, as well as his back-and-forth on running for the Senate seat at all.  It doesn’t make for an auspicious start.  The excuse that he did it to pander to his district doesn’t help his cause, either:

Specifically — a video of Mr. Kirk’s speech is posted on YouTube — a congressman known for his pro-environmental stances said he voted the way he did on this issue because, “It was in the narrow interests of my congressional district.

“But,” he quickly added as some in the Republican crowd booed, “as your (senator), representing the entire state of Illinois, I would vote ‘no’ against the bill coming up, and that’s because we are manufacturing, agriculture and coal state.”

Not exactly a Profile in Conservative Courage, there. And his letter can be interpreted as less of a request than a demand or a dare, but even that only exists if Kirk acknowledges the power of Palin and her ability to create momentum for a candidate. Kirk obviously wants her endorsement to establish credibility with the Tea Party movement, where the energy of the national party exists. That makes hash of the argument that Palin somehow diminished herself by endorsing a conservative in a Congressional race that resulted in forcing a liberal Republican to withdraw at the end.

Will Palin endorse Kirk? I’m guessing that he’ll have to do a lot more groveling on the cap-and-trade issue first.

Update: Well, perhaps even more groveling, as DoublePlusUndead notes:

For starters, the guy isn’t just vaguely pro-choice like a few GOPers, the guy is rabidly pro-abortion, he’s got a 100% rating from the ghouls of NARAL and similar high ratings from Planned Parenthood.

On top of that, he’s also a gun-grabber, and has a D rating from the NRA. I remember reading that he was endorsed by the Brady Fascists at one point, so there’s another thing.  (Actually, I’m seeing elsewhere he now has an F, but I don’t have anything solid, if anyone wants to confirm this, that’d be great)

On energy, Kirk voted to allow more refineries, but of course knocked down any efforts to actually tap for more oil and gas, voting to bar drilling in ANWR and offshore.

Actually, a lot more groveling.