Friday, August 06, 2004


It looks as if Alan Keyes is going to accept the GOP's nomination for the U.S. Senate in Illinois.

Longtime visitors here know that I'm an unabashed Keyes fan; I think he's one of the most impressive and brilliant people in politics today.

But Keyes will face some criticism from both sides for running, since he evidently criticized Hillary Clinton as a "carpetbagger" when she ran for the Senate in New York. This opens Keyes to charges of hypocrisy, since he now has a bit of a problem in this area: I've been in his home, and it's in Maryland.

Still, I think there are some major differences between the candidacies of Clinton and Keyes which mitigate (to some degree) the inevitable charges of carpetbagging and hypocrisy against him.

Whereas Hillary set her sites on the open New York Senate seat and exerted all of her condsiderable influence bring her party into line behind her, Keyes is being essentially drafted by his party in a crisis. Hillary moved heaven and earth for her Senate seat, shoving other worthy Democrats out of the way; Keyes is being prevailed upon by his party to run in an emergency situation where they can't seem to find another candidate.

Until Keyes was drafted, there was a very real possibility that Barack Obama was going to run unopposed. The Illinois GOP was in a disasterous situation, and my guess is that Keyes will argue that providing a viable opponent in the Illinois race is so important to the democratic proccess that it outweighs the negative of "carpetbagging."

Though I'd love to see him win, there's little doubt that Keyes is going to lose. He's a smart guy, and he knows this. But if Obama were to sweep into the Senate unopposed after the media orgasms over his convention speech last week, he'd be a monster. By running a real race, the GOP can at least put a few chinks in his armor before Obama heads to Washington.

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