ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN LAMENTS ‘IDIOTS’…. The prospect of transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a maximum-security prison in Thomson, Illinois, generated an interesting response from a Republican state lawmaker who represents a neighboring area.

Representative Jim Sacia of the state’s 89th District accused Republicans in Washington — including Senate candidate, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) — of risking thousands of local jobs in their demagoguery of the detainee issue.

“My thinking on this is extremely positive,” Sacia told the Huffington Post. “If we lose this opportunity. All I can think of is we literally are idiots. I mean that sincerely.”

“I understand I’m on different pages of music with others in my party. First of all this should not be a partisan issue in anyway. If President Obama brings the detainees on U.S. soil and we sit here with a brand new state-of-the-art, max security prison, sitting vacant for the last eight years, and pass on an opportunity to sell it to the federal government, which we would fill it with 1,500 regular prisoners and 800 detainees, what is the problem? The building was designed to do that.

“The only reason we have rhetoric now is because of the closing of Gitmo,” Sacia concluded. “It makes no sense at all. This is a tremendous opportunity and we would be idiots to waste it.”

As Sacia, a former law enforcement official, sees it, the proposal could bring thousands of jobs to an area that has “suffered unbelievable economic hardship.”

Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), meanwhile, is taking a different tack. Kirk, hoping to generate support for his 2010 Senate campaign, is grandstanding on the issue, arguing without evidence that locked up terrorist suspects would endanger Illinois residents.

In other words, as far as Jim Sacia is concerned, Mark Kirk is the “idiot” who wants to waste the economic opportunity.

The congressman’s cheap tactics may end up costing him support and credibility. The Chicago Sun-Times editorialized this week, “Kirk’s scare talk might do him wonders with the GOP base, but it won’t convince a single terrorist that this nation has a backbone.”

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.