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Why Alan Keyes?, Prof. Ken Bode Asks in Weekly Op-Ed

August 13, 2004

August 13, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - In his weekly op-ed column, published in today's Indianapolis Star, Ken Bode examines the decision by Illinois Republicans to make conservative radio talk show host and Maryland resident Alan Keyes their state's candidate for the U.S. Senate. "Who would vote for Keyes because they think he would be a good senator for Illinois?," Bode, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University, writes. "What does he know about the state? How much can he learn in 10 weeks? Does he know how many jobs have been lost in Illinois during the Bush presidency? The percentage of inflation in the cost of health care? The state bird? (It is not the Baltimore Oriole.) The real question here is why the Illinois GOP leadership passed over every potentially available Republican in the state and reached for Keyes."

Keyes will face Democrat Barack Obama in November. Both men are African-Americans. Dr. Bode writes, "Race was not a factor in the GOP calculations, Keyes insists. It could not have been because now both candidates are black and therefore racists have no choice so race is off the table. Keyes offers these interlocking propositions with absolute self-assurance. The Illinois GOP leadership agrees. Civil rights leader Roger Wilkins sorts out the logic differently. Picking Keyes, he insists, was all about race. It reminds him, says Wilkins, of a scene from Ralph Ellison's book, Invisible Man, where a white crowd puts two black boys in a ring and makes them fight each other. He adds, 'With Obama soaring, the Republicans decided to get a black machine gun in to mess him up. Keyes will say anything, as he did the first day when he accused Obama of a slave master's mentality for supporting abortion.'"

Bode, former CNN senior political analyst, concludes, "My guess is that the Republicans can put a Cubs hat on Keyes, but he is going to say or do something to embarrass them before this is over. The Obama-Keyes race may prove only to be a guide to how many Illinois voters care about gay marriage and abortion but nothing else. If they debate, I would buy a ticket."

Read the essay in its entirety at College News.org. Access other recent columns by Ken Bode here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Source: Indianapolis Star

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