Sunday, August 29, 2004
In case you haven’t figured out by now, I take an irrational pride in chiming in at least two weeks late on all major stories. So, let’s talk Alan Keyes, recent benefactor/goat after the mother of all non-scandals.
Here’s the quick back story. In Illinois, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan is forced from the ballot in a sex-charged smear campaign. Desperate for a candidate, the Illinois GOP asks Maryland resident and radio host Alan Keyes to run against Democratic candidate Barack Obama. Keyes, a vehement critic of Hillary Clinton’s move to New York for a Senate run, moves to Calumet City, IL and thus becomes a carpetbagger himself among other flip-flops. So now he’s running a hypocritical campaign with slim odds for victory against a popular and heavily-favored opponent. This makes it all the more politically stupid that some idiotic Illinois Democrats tried to deny Keyes ballot access, but that doesn’t change the fact that Keyes is fighting quite the uphill battle.
(Side note: check out the winners of the Loop Carpetbagger Deflector Contect and pick out your favorite sound byte for overcomming allegations of carpetbaggery.)
While Obama will enjoy widespread support for generally being a Clintonian centrist, Keyes is more than a little bit to the right on issues such as Second Amendment rights. Prominent Republicans such as former Illinois Governor Jim Thompson seem less than enthused about supporting Keyes. Even the authors at Townhall.Com — about as conservative as it gets — have conflicting opinions of Keyes. While Thomas Sowell argues that Keyes has common sense that contrasts well with Obama’s image and rhetoric, Kathleen Parker contends that Republicans with aspirations of inclusiveness do themselves a disservice by picking a candidate largely because he’s black and smart.
Quick thoughts? The fact that Jack Ryan had to resign because the Tribune forced open sealed divorce records and publicized a he-said/she-said that, even if true (which is still unproven) wasn’t even adulterous or illegal, is an entirely pitiful excuse for a scandal. I acknowledge that Ryan’s off the ballot primarily because he told the state GOP there was no dirt in the divorce papers — and anything less than spotless counts as dirt when you’re a Republican — but my point remains valid. However, I wonder if the GOP was better off running a lesser-known candidate and chalking the loss off as bad luck, rather than turning Keyes and Illinois into such high-profile Senate losses and party embarrassments. It’s great that at least Illinois will be electing a rare black senator. Unfortunately, while I hope Keyes will pose enough of a challenge that Illinois actually gets to learn something about Obama, somehow I doubt things will get past an offense/defense of carpetbagging. Stupid scandals.