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Thursday, September 23, 2004  

Politics: Keyes chases his tail in Illinois

Is there any good news for Alan Keyes? Yes. Far Right supporters paid off thousands in tax debts so he could move to Illinois and engage in a political battle royale there. However, that appears to be the only development Keyes can brag about. Any hopes that prognosticators were wrong about his ability to compete with Democratic senatorial hopeful Barack Obama have proven unfounded. Obama's popularity has grown, if anything. His campaign doesn't ignore Keyes, but is treating him like one does a very determined gnat. The Baltimore Sun reports that the polls tell why.

At the moment, if you believe the polls -- Keyes does not; he recently termed them "manipulative and degrading" and "the work of a biased media" -- Illinoisans aren't buying it. A Bloomington, Ill., Pantagraph-St. Louis Post-Dispatch poll conducted last week found Obama favored 3-1, with 22 percent of voters reporting a favorable impression of Keyes.

Oh, those plots by the 'liberal media!'

But, let's go back to taxes. Keyes, a chronic tax deadbeat who resides in a $750,000 home, says neither he, nor others, should have to pay them.

He called for government to get out of people's private lives, and for an end to the income tax: "Not to cut the income tax, not to manipulate people by talking about how much of their own money we will let them keep so that they fall down on their knees and thank 'massa' government. ... We must be liberated from tax slavery."

Seems that, left to his own devices, Keyes takes the initiative in that regard.

Analysis of issues has not been the focus of Keyes' curious campaign so far. His jeremiads about them have. He says a proposed plan to match Individual Retirement Fund monies with government contributions is Communism. The movement to extend marital rights to homosexuals is pandering to "selfish hedonist(s)." According to Keyes, domestic terrorists are not Right Wingers who might blow up a federal building or maim and murder health care providers, but doctors who perform abortions. Barack Obama? He's a Marxist.

The big picture one garners from reading about the Keyes campaign is of a megalomaniac eager for attention, not a political hopeful with plans to solve the country's problems. Mike Murphy, a Republican political advisor may have summed him up best.

"The Illinois Republican Party is so beat down," he added. "My theory is that Keyes has a small but very vocal following, made up mostly of people from the pro-life movement, and when all else failed, some of the grassroots activists started agitating for Keyes," Murphy said.

. . .Murphy thinks any number of in-state Republicans, including the tainted [Jack] Ryan, would have been a wiser choice than Keyes.

"My view was they should have found some nice young state representative. He could have lost with honor. That would have been better than bringing in a man from another state who jumps from entertaining oratory to madness in about a nanosecond."

I find myself watching Alan Keyes for the same reasons I watch my neighbor's puppy chase cars. The spectacle is entertaining. And, perhaps both Keyes and the puppy will wise up.

9:00 PM