August 02, 2004
Hoping to add real electricity to the U.S. Senate race, Illinois Republicans have been secretly talking to former GOP presidential candidate Alan Keyes about taking on Democratic nominee Barack Obama — a move that would pit two eloquent, nationally known African Americans against one another.Keyes is a familiar figure to me beyond his presidential campaigns 1996 and 2000 — he unsuccessfully ran for Senate in Maryland twice, against Paul Sarbanes in 1988 and against Barbara Mikulski in 1992.
And Keyes is thinking it over, GOP officials said today.
“What a home run that would be,” said state Sen. Dave Syverson, a member of the panel looking for a candidate to go up against Obama.
“It would be a classic race of conservative versus liberal. And they would be enjoyable debates. It would make an exciting race. It would put this race on the map in this country — just for excitement.”
Keyes is a far-right conservative who's opposed to women's rights. He believes that free speech and a free press are OK as long as it leads to people behaving according to his religion. He's a fundamentalist fixated on a hyperreligious interpretation of the Declaration of Independence, of all things, and implicitly questions the patriotism of any American who doesn't subscribe to this reading.
So, yeah, big home run there, GOPers. A guy who's way out of the mainstream, will turn off moderate, undecided Illinoisans, and doesn't even live here, but you're going after him because he's black. How cynical can you get?
On the other hand, he does represent what Republicans has become — dragged into pending oblivion by religious fundamentalists and "starve the beast"ers — so, like I've said before, it makes sense to run your true ideologues when you know you're going to get your butt kicked, just to get your issues out there. And in the frenzy that would ensue should Keyes get the nod, they can be sure of an attentive media.
It's all academic right now; we'll find out one way or another tomorrow.