Yay! We have our very own carpetbagger!
Buckle your seat belts.
Former presidential hopeful Alan Keyes has told Illinois Republicans that he will take on Democratic Senate nominee Barack Obama -- setting the stage for a three-month debate between two gifted, Harvard-educated orators from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Members of the Republican State Central Committee insisted the former radio and television commentator from Maryland make the promise before they would vote to offer him the nomination Wednesday night, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday.
"So he went back into the room and basically said, 'If you offer, I will accept,' " said a source close to the negotiations.
This is really just so very sad. (Leaving aside the fact that it makes me snicker.)
The Republicans are running a man who couldn't win for senator in his own state -- one that is, one might add, trending gently Republican. They're now trying to run him here, in a state that is trending Democratic, where he couldn't reach 10% of the Republican vote in two presidential primaries. The Republicans wanted name recognition to bring attention to their candidate; well, yes, one must concede that they've achieved that much. Of course, the downside to that name recognition is that it's been pretty clearly demonstrated that the Republican voters ... don't actually like him. For some reason, they also seemed to think it was important to "neutralize the race issue" by throwing it into sharp relief -- after all, by noting (repeatedly) that it will be the first time that two African-Americans have ever run against each other for senator from the same state, that manages to thrust the race issue, such as it is, into everyone's face. The problem is, of course, for all the Republicans' insistence that Illinois is a sincerely conservative state, it's actually pretty much moderate. Keyes' stance on most issues is pretty much appalling.
The thundering irony of all this is that the extremely conservative voters who would appreciate Keyes' somewhat reactionary views are pretty likely to be appalled not only at the way in which the GOP politburo selected him, not only that he hasn't lived in this state at all ever, but at the fact that he's black. (He is, by those terms, a slight improvement over Andrea Grubb Barthwell, who was not only black, but a woman.) So they'll have managed to alienate a significant chunk of the extreme right that they would need to win this election. The question is, will they feel that with a president that's unpopular with the right for not vigorously and visibly supporting some of their issues, and a senate race they find quite distasteful, will they still hold their noses and vote the party line?
If nothing else, assuming that Keyes does in fact make this official on Sunday, the next few months promise to be vastly entertaining, if not precisely informative.Posted by iain at August 06, 2004 06:19 PM