Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Fun with Alan Keyes

Is there anything more fun than watching Alan Keyes campaign? He’s like a carnival barker with a PhD. He gets so fired up and on such a verbal roll that I imagine him waking up some mornings, looking at newspaper reports from the day before and saying, “I said THAT?”. First, his excuse for why he’s not a hypocrite for doing what he said he “deeply resented” when Hillary Clinton did it in 2000:

Well, I think I have addressed the issue of the very deep differences between what I am doing and Hillary Clinton. She used the state of New York as a platform for her own personal ambition.

I had no thought of coming to Illinois to run until the people here in the state party decided there was a need. Just as people faced with a flood, or people in the case of 9/11, would call on folks, firefighters and others to help them deal with the crisis that they were faced with.

The people in Illinois have called on me to help deal with what they regard as a crisis.

Uh, yeah, Alan, you’re, uh, just like the firefighters after 9/11, racing into the burning buildings to save lives. You were asked to come to Illinois by a small group of Republican party leaders who thought they needed a black candidate to run against a black candidate. At least Hillary moved to New York and set up permanent residence, as opposed to you just renting an apartment on a month to month lease. She also, by the way, ran in the Democratic primary and won the vote of a majority of Democrats in that state to run, then won the general election as well. Oh, and by the way, the “people of Illinois” that you think called on you in a time of crisis….according to the recent polls, they’re voting for your opponent over you by about a 3:1 margin, an almost unheard of margin of victory in major electoral contests. And remember, what he said he resented in 2000 was “the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there”. In 2000, Hillary’s willingness to go into a state she doesn’t live in and pretend to represent the people there amounts to the “destruction of federalism” that he “deeply resented”. He further declared, “I certainly wouldn’t imitate it.” Apparently the word “certainly” means something different in Alan’s world than it does to the rest of us. Anything that can be rationalized away, no matter how stupid the rationalization, works just fine.

Then he came out and admitted that he’s running for office in an election that he doesn’t think the people should be allowed to vote in. Yes, he wants to repeal the 17th amendment and go back to having Senators picked by the state legislatures rather than by popular election by the people of the state:

Alan Keyes said Friday he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to the pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

“The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected, because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level,” Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio’s “At Issue” program. He said it was one of the reasons for “a steady, deleterious erosion of the sovereign role of the states.”

And now he’s come out and done a major flip flop and said that we should give reparations to blacks because of slavery by making them not have to pay taxes. No, I’m not making this up:

Prompted by a reporter’s question, Keyes gave a brief tutorial on Roman history and said that in regard to reparations for slavery, the U.S. should do what the Romans did: “When a city had been devastated [in the Roman empire], for a certain length of time–a generation or two–they exempted the damaged city from taxation.”

Keyes proposed that for a generation or two, African-Americans of slave heritage should be exempted from federal taxes–federal because slavery “was an egregious failure on the part of the federal establishment.” In calling for the tax relief, Keyes appeared to be reaching out to capture the black vote, something that may prove difficult to do, particularly after his unwelcome reception at the Bud Billiken Day Parade Saturday.

The former ambassador said his plan would give African-Americans “a competitive edge in the labor market,” because those exempted would be cheaper to hire than federal tax-paying employees and would “compensate for all those years when your labor was being exploited.”

Now, let’s contrast that with his past statements on slavery reparations:

In 2002 on his short-lived MSNBC show, “Alan Keyes is Making Sense,” he argued with one of his guests, an advocate of reparations, asking, “You want to tell me that what they suffered can actually be repaired with money? You’re going to do the same thing those slaveholders did, put a money price on something that can’t possibly be quantified in that way.”

And in a 2002 column titled “Paid in Blood,” Keyes called lawsuits on behalf of slave descendants against large corporations an “effort to extort `reparations’ for slavery from their fellow citizens” and said that “the truth of the Civil War is that the terrible price for American slavery has been paid, once for all,” when Americans gave their lives on the battlefield to end slavery. “The price for the sin of slavery,” Keyes wrote, “has already been paid, in blood.”

Why the sudden change of heart? Well it may have something to do with the fact that Keyes himself is in the midst of some major tax problems:

Keyes still owes $524,169 from his two presidential bids, according to federal elections records. He also owes $7,481 in unpaid state income taxes in his home state of Maryland, according to court records.

2 more months for Keyes to keep saying nutty things on the campaign trail. Stay tuned!