III. ALAN KEYES:
Alan Keyes is a Maryland resident and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Social and Economic Council under Ronald Reagan. He earned a Ph.D. in government affairs from Harvard in 1979 and is also the host the radio call-in show, “America’s Wake-Up Call: The Alan Keyes Show.” He launched his first bid for the Senate in 1988, But lost to incumbent Democrat Paul Sarbanes. In 1992 he ran again, this time losing to Democrat Barbara Mikulski. During this campaign Keyes ran up still un[paid campaign debts while he paid himself a salary of $100,000 out of campaign funds. He counters that the debt is that of his campaign and that he is personally not responsible for it.
Though he has sought the GOP Presidential nomination twice before and is quite charismatic, Keyes is also enigmatic and in some circles considered an "extremist." Another issue of concern is whether or not Keyes can be a "loyal" Republican, as it was reported by the Washington Post in 1992 that Keyes called the party "racist", adding "Beyond a certain level blacks need not apply...If I can work out in the fields, I think I ought to be allowed to come into the house for dinner."
As a Presidential candidate Keyes often lamented the fact that many of the questions asked him were centered on race and he found such questioning disturbing. He believed the media did not portray him as an equally capable candidate, and emphasized his race more than his stands on the issues. Slate's Jacob Weisberg said that "the racial factor works mildly in Keyes' favor" because, if he were a white Republican, and thus less of a novelty, the press would portray him more directly as a fanatic. Ignoring Keyes is the kindest thing the press can do for him."
Keyes is stringently anti-abortion, writing in 2002 "The violation on [sic] innocent human life is the same whether you commit terrorism or commit abortion.” (“The Vocabulary of Terror: Anti-abortion politics since 9/11,” April 10, 2002). Keyes added, “”What distinguishes the terrorist from the ordinary warrior, is that the terrorist will consciously target innocent human life. What is done in the course of an abortion? Someone consciously targets innocent human life.”
During the January 6, 2000 Republican Presidential debate he revealed that his stand on homosexuality is even more biting: “It’s about time we all faced up to the truth. If we accept the radical homosexual agenda, be it in the military or in marriage or in other areas of our lives, we are utterly destroying the concept of family. We must oppose it in the military. We must oppose it in marriage. We must oppose it if the fundamental institution of our civilization is to survive. Those unwilling to face that fact and playing games with this issue are doing so irresponsibly at the price of America’s moral foundations.” (Meanwhile, few know that Keyes’ daughter Maya is a lesbian, a lifestyle he has condemned as “selfish hedonism”).
During the 2004 Illinois Senatorial debates Keyes was asked, “What would you say to your child if one of your children was to come to you and to say that he or she was a homosexual?” Keyes’ response was “I do not say that homosexual relations is an abomination, the Bible says so. And many people in this state believe the Bible when it says so…Marriage–traditional marriage–is based upon heterosexual relations, because they are connected to procreation. In every society and civilization, marriage is connected to the business of regulating the consequences of procreation. And that is the fundamental argument, in a civic sense, against something like homosexual marriage. It is irrelevant. It is not needed, and the idea that one should have legislation that is regulating private friendships for no reason at all strikes me as a fundamental degrading of those private friendships…and to institutionalize that, it seems to me, sets us on a road toward our social self-destruction.”
The eloquent Keyes believes that America needs a return to its morally-based roots. Such viewpoints make him sound “preachy”, but Keyes contends that the lack of moral fiber in this country is one of the causes of the problems affecting the inner cities. Keyes has a a strong following among conservative Christians, but not to the point where he has a realistic chance of ever being elected to anything. He says that abortion provides women “a choice to move against that life in her womb is a violation of the fundamental premise that makes America what it is…it’s about our commitment to what defines us as a people and a free country. I think it’s the most important issue of our time.” Still, others have trouble with his opposition to the constitutional clause allowing for the separation of church and state.
Keyes believes the 17th Amendment, which provides the direct election of United States Senators, rather than their election or appointment by a state legislature, unfairly diminishes the power of state legislatures. In 2004, Senator Zell Miller introduced S.J. Res. 35, that would repeal the 17th Amendment, believing it gave too much power to Washington’s special interests and was an attack on federalism. Also supporting that idea was Libertarian Lew Rockwell.
Keyes argues, “Senators were originally chosen, under our Constitution, by the state legislature–for the simple reason that the Senate was supposed to represent the state governments, not geographic entities, but the governments that are empowered to take care of the affairs of the states, as sovereign entities that, under our Constitution, retained the residual powers of government not delegated to the federal government…our laws, in the state of Illinois, are passed by the state legislature. In the passage of those laws, are the people of this state “disenfranchised”? Of course they’re not. When the legislature makes a decision, puts a criminal law on the books, it is “The People v. So-and-So” when that law is violated, because the legislature is presumed to represent the people. That is the meaning of our Constitutional system.”
IV. KEYES ON THE ISSUES
In 1996 Keyes sought the Republican Party Presidential nomination, but the prize went to Bob Dole who was throttled in the general election by Bill Clinton). In 2000 Keyes tried again. He “…was invited to join the two remaining major candidates, John McCain and George W. Bush, in a number of nationally televised debates. Many viewers were more impressed by Keyes than McCain or Bush, and commentators on Fox News Channel and MSNBC went as far as declaring Keyes the winner of the debates. FOX News Channel analyst Dick Morris said, ‘Bush has no place to go but down. Keyes had an original message and it registered’.”
In 2004 when the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois had to resign due to a sex scandal, Keyes was recruited to answer the bell. Some saw him as a carpetbagger and worse, as a hypocrite for denouncing Hillary Clinton’s New York Senate bid after a brief residency in that state. Keyes said, “I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness go into a state she doesn’t even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn’t imitate it.” He blamed this hypocrisy on running at the Party’s request and to the unique circumstances under which his participation had been solicited. Nevertheless, the final results were Barack Obama won 3,524,70270 votes to Keyes’ 1,371,88227.
Keyes is an advocate of the death penalty and during his failed Illinois Senatorial campaign was asked, “How does your support of capital punishment, and opposition to abortion, conflict with your Roman Catholic faith? Keyes denied a conflict, stating “Abortion and capital punishment are at different levels of moral concern. Abortion is intrinsically, objectively, wrong and sinful, whereas capital punishment is a matter of prudential judgment which is not, in and of itself, a violation of moral right. There are certain issues that objectively violate the most fundamental canons of moral decency, and abortion, for instance, is one of them–the taking of innocent life…But if you take a position that effaces the distinction between innocent life and guilty life, then you not only violate a moral canon-you destroy the fundamental basis of the law, and that is the ultimate disrespect for human life.”
Keyes opposes the CAFTA, NAFTA and GATT agreements. Furthermore, he supports the 23% sales tax, which his Senatorial opponent Barack Obama called, “One of the most, potentially, regressive tax systems that we could have.” Keyes believes that such a flat-rate tax “Would be a net gain for a lot of taxpayers, right there. You would also see an enormous expansion of capitalization of the economy, expansion of jobs and productivity, and the most important thing is that the individual in their spending patterns would determine when they paid the tax. Every Fair Tax proposal also includes measures to make sure that the poor and those willing to live with frugality will not be paying the tax.”
Obama countered with a study backed with research from a University of Chicago economist. “After you had all the exemptions in place (the tax) it’d be around fifty cents to seventy cents on the dollar, on every purchase, if you made some of the exemptions that you suggest. (This tax is) on top of the state and local sales taxes that already exist.”
Keyes also stands strong against abortion citing the following figures: “Did you know that something like thirteen million black babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade, as a result of this holocaust of abortion? Did you know that the black population today is something like twenty-five percent less than it would otherwise be, because of abortion? Did you know that black women are disproportionately likely to have abortions, that more black babies are being aborted today than are being born, and that, as you project these kinds of tendencies into the future, the black population becomes a negligible factor in American politics and other things, over the course of the twenty-first century? I look back on black Americans with a heritage of oppression and slavery that, unfortunately, is involved in this question as well, because seventy-eight percent of the abortion clinics that are provided by the most numerous provider of abortions in America, Planned Parenthood, are located in or near the black community. Blacks are thirteen percent of the population. They account for over a third of the abortions. So I think that, on these important issues, we have to look for the patterns that still target people on the basis of race-and they’re targeting people in the womb.”
More recently Keyes opposed the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, writing “Many conservatives cannot understand why President George W. Bush has taken the stealth approach in his selection of nominees for the Supreme Court. If the Democrats trash highly qualified nominees because their thinking reflects the president’s judgment instead of the Democrat Party platform, it won’t be hard to convince the public that they are simply trying to achieve through intimidation what they couldn’t achieve at the ballot box in the last presidential election.”
V. WILL CONDI RUN?
Dr. Condoleezza Rice, named by her mother after the Italian musical notation “Con Dolcezza” (meaning to play “with sweetness.”), was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1954. During this time Birmingham was the center of the Civil Rights movement, but her family was not the demonstrative type, choosing to emphasize hard work and education as the means of “overcoming.”
B. Denise Rawlins writes, “As the only child of educators, the importance of learning was impressed upon Rice from day one. She learned to read when most children were still struggling to walk and by the age of 3 had begun lessons in a wide range of areas: Classical piano, figure skating, ballet, French. Rice was in eighth grade by age 11, entered the University of Denver at 15, and went on to earn her doctorate in international studies.”
She is idolized by little black girls across the country and in the eyes of some is the darling of the Republican Party. She has the President’s ear, briefing him each morning and speaks to him throughout the day. Former Clinton aide Dick Morris predicts that either she or Hillary Clinton will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States in January, 2009. He and co-author Eileen McGann believe, “There is one, and only one, figure in America who can stop Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza ‘Condi’ Rice. Among all of the possible Republican candidates for President, Condi alone could win the nomination, defeat Hillary and derail a third Clinton administration. Condoleezza, in fact, poses a mortal threat to Hillary’s success. With her broad-based appeal to voters outside the traditional Republican base, Condi has the potential to cause enough major defections from the Democratic party to create serious erosion among Hillary’s core voters. She attracts the same female, African-American and Hispanic voters who embrace Hillary, while still maintaining the support of conventional Republicans.”
It is doubtful that if she were to run for President Rice would get widespread black support. Many blacks do not embrace her, seeing her as the front for an administration that is indifferent to the concerns of blacks. This started with George Bush’s snubbing of an NAACP invitation during the primaries, to the upholding of Michigan’s anti-affirmative action statutes (on Martin Luther Kings birthday no less) to the slow reaction to those left stranded by Hurricane Katrina. In all three instances, Rice was criticized as a “Bush apologist.” A recent article in The Black Commentator declared Rice, “…the purest expression of the race traitor. No polite description is possible.” The article goes on to say, “…the Republican Party adopted a strategy of selective, high profile minority appointments. This approach allowed the GOP to continue to cultivate its core racist base…Of decidedly secondary importance was the possibility of finding substantial support among Black voters.”
Before Rice became a part of Republican politics she was a student at Stanford University. During this time she was influenced by Czechoslovakian diplomat Josef Korbel, the father of soon-to-be Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Rice first drew notice when during a 1984 faculty seminar she challenged Brent Scowcroft, who was the head of President Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Strategic Forces. After a talk on arms control, Rice questioned the wisdom of the administration’s policies. Scowcroft later admitted that Rice was, “somebody I need to get to know. It’s an intimidating subject. Here’s this young girl, and she’s not at all intimidated.”
Scowcroft began inviting Rice to various government events, and when he became National Security Advisor in 1989, appointed her to the National Security Council, as an authority on Soviet policy. In 1998 she met then-Governor of Texas, George W. Bush for a meeting on the campus at Stanford University. A year later she resigned her position as provost of Stanford to lead Bush’s team of foreign-policy advisers. In 2000 Dr. Rice was chosen to address the Republican National Convention in 2000.
While her strength is foreign policy, it begs the question of how she might fare on domestic issues. Rice’s economic acumen might best be illustrated by her tenure at Stanford, where she had to make unpopular budget cuts. Two years later the school was back on solid economic footing, impressing the school’s benefactors.
On the war on terrorism Rice says that the Bush administration, “…acted swiftly to unify and streamline our efforts to secure the American homeland. The president and Congress, through the USA Patriot Act, have broken down the legal and bureaucratic walls that prior to Sept. 11 hampered intelligence and law enforcement agencies from collecting and sharing vital threat information. Those who now argue for rolling back the Patriot Act’s changes invite us to forget the important lesson we learned on Sept. 11.”
However, some see her as nothing more than her playing “Checkers” to Bush’s Nixon. During her Senate confirmation hearings (for the Secretary of State position) California Senator Barbara Boxer said that her loyalty to George Bush, “overwhelmed your respect for the truth.” Boxer also criticized the Bush administration (and Rice in particular) for failing to develop an exit strategy for Iraq and being unwilling to acknowledge mistakes.
As Bush’s right-hand, her policies might emphasize the same ones the President has stressed during his second term. This might include partially privatizing social security, revising tax laws and addressing the issue of immigration. Like Alan Keyes, Rice considers herself a deeply religious person, meaning she is more than likely against abortion and gay marriage, but there is no proverbial “paper trail” in which can be attributed to Rice. Nonetheless, there are Condi detractors such as Grugyn Silverbristle who writes, “As I began to investigate Condoleezza Rice, the first irony that I noted was an almost complete absence of original writings. Her important books and papers are almost always co-authored. In fact, almost the only original ‘work’ by Condoleezza that I could locate was her Class Day speech of June 12, 1999.”
In this speech Rice utters the line, “Our common border is no longer a line that divides us, but a region that unites our nations, reflecting our common aspirations, values and culture…” It has been alleged that this line was lifted from a previous speech by Colin Powell. The accusation that Rice may not be “an original thinker” would probably do nothing to hurt her on the campaign trail. And while Rice is “flattered” by the “Draft Condi” websites, she has no desire to be President, unless it is of the National Football League. (I’m serious, folks).
Rice did however pen an essay titled, “Promoting the National Interest,” which focused on the need for changing the U.S. foreign policy of allowing our allies to have say in U.S. foreign policy. Rice wrote, “…the U.S. should return to the core principle that ‘power matters’.” This was written a year before Bush launched his 2000 bid for the White House. It has now become the cornerstone of Mr. Bush’s foreign policy.
Some candidates have declined to run for the Presidency because they don’t want to subject their families to the invasiveness of the media. In the case of Condoleezza ice’s case she would have to fend off unsubstantiated rumors of her being a lesbian. The question was spawned in all places, in a comic strip called “The Boondocks” and the statement, “Maybe if there was a man in the world who Condoleezza truly loved, she wouldn’t be so hell-bent to destroy it.”
The Washington Post pulled that version of the strip citing its policy of not commenting on the personal lives of political figures. Democrats won’t be so nice, as we saw the attacks on Mary Cheney during the 2004 campaign. Sarah Warn asserts, “Of course, being called a lesbian shouldn’t be any big deal, but the reality is that for women (particularly single women) in public positions of power, these kinds of rumors can be very damaging. (It is) the use of lesbianism as a slur that is so disturbing, since it’s based not only on the assumption that a strong, confidant woman must not be a “real” (read: heterosexual) woman, but that only women in heterosexual relationships are ‘real’ women.”
The politics of destruction are more than a fancy catchphrase, but a distinct reality. When is the last time a presidential campaign was truly about issues? Since the Bush-Dukakis debacle (the political nadir in my book), personal attacks have been launched under the guise of “who has the stronger family values.”
If Condi does run, she will have access to some very deep pockets, “having served on the board of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, The Carnegie Corporation, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, and KQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco. She was also on the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan, and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors.” (Wikipedia). Again, this might cause black voters to be leery of her, believing she (like most GOP members) is beholden to big business.
In August 2004 and 2005 Forbes magazine named her the world’s most powerful woman. So should Condi run? The consensus is she is the administration’s most intelligent member and has an excellent chance of winning. Her popularity cuts across racial lines. Even as the Vice-Presidential nominee she makes the GOP formidable when coupled with Jeb Bush, John McCain or Rudy Giulani. Furthermore, a Rice-Clinton campaign might bring politics back to where it should be: A discussion of the issues between two astute individuals–and may the best woman win–assuming it comes down to that.
COMING UP” McCain, Bush, Giuliani