Unchain Keyes?

Hmm... (Maybe I should have titled this post "Defending the Indefensible.")

As most readers know, I am anything but an Alan Keyes supporter. Not only do I disagree vehemently with the "Declarationist" philosophy that he espouses, I have written a number of posts sharply critical of him, and I think the Keyes wing of the GOP does the party more harm than good. (Needless to say, his remarks at the debate at Morgan State University did nothing to win me over.)

But fair is fair, and unfair is unfair, and right now I have come to the conclusion that Keyes is being treated unfairly. It is too early in this multi-candidate race to be excluding candidates, and whether you like Keyes or not, he has a number of supporters who have every right to sound off and be heard. Plus, he's a barometer of just how strong the fringy Keyes wing is.

In his inimitable drunk-blogging of the October 9 debate, Stephen Green characterized it as the Mitt & Rudy Show, and I'm sure that this is exactly the way Mitt and Rudy see it.

Thus, it is not surprising that Mitt Romney would have the most to gain by seeing to it that Keyes is excluded. It appears that's precisely what happened:

In the wake of the exclusion of presidential candidate Alan Keyes from next week's Dearborn, Michigan, Presidential Debate, conservative leaders in the Wolverine State today criticized Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, whose neutrality in the presidential race has been repeatedly called into question. (See footnote.)

"I think it is shameful that someone with Dr. Alan Keyes' experience in government and credentials in the conservative movement is being kept out of the debate," said Judy Zabik, Genesee County Republican Party Board member. "Voters in Michigan and across the country deserve to hear what this man has to say about where this country is and where it's going. He brings a principled, moral perspective to this race that nobody else brings."

Anuzis, the guy responsible for the hastily made-up "rules" that kept Keyes out, was criticized by one of McCain's people as a "cheerleader" for Romney:
A source close to McCain said that his top political advisers, including John Weaver, are aware of and endorse the campaign to remove Anuzis. They view Anuzis as a quiet cheerleader for Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), who is likely to base his presidential campaign from MI's Oakland Co.

One McCain ally noted Anuzis's "ties" to the Sterling Corp, which is assisting Romney in the state and whose consultants managed Mike Bouchard's Senate campaign. "There's no way Saul can be with the Sterling Corp., which is running Romney, and still be neutral in the presidential race." Anuzis's executive director, Jeff Timmer, is a former VP of the Sterling Corp, and the party has paid the group more than $1M this cycle, making it one of five vendors to recieve state party contracts.

Something smells funny about this. Why won't they let the moral conservatives battle it out?

I mean, Ron Paul is running around making libertarians look like anti-war activists, right? If a pro-war libertarian decided to run and the Paul people pulled strings like this to stop him from being in the debate, I'd be screaming bloody murder, and I suspect a lot of bloggers would. The only reason I can see for Keyes being kept out is that Romney is trying to corner the moral conservative market for himself.

And if Soren Dayton is right, Romney may actually be afraid that Keyes will attack his position on gay marriage as opportunistic and phony:

A number of friends have stumbled on the question: Who is actually going to attack Mitt Romney and expose him? None of the candidates can really get away with it. Alan Keyes may be the answer.
I have no dog in this race, as I support neither Romney nor Keyes. But there's something I don't like about a candidate as well known as Keyes being excluded purely for the convenience of a one candidate.

I say, let Keyes run and debate like anyone else, and let people make up their own minds. He'll never be president, but I'd like to know how strong the support for him is.

Let the fringe be heard.

If Romney's goal is to crush embarrassing dissent, shouldn't he at least get elected first?

UPDATE: Alan Keyes is the only Republican candidate endorsed by Oliver Willis. Because Keyes, claims Willis, "expresses the true values of the Republican party."

So let's unchain these true values!



(What I'd really like to know is why the left is so hell-bent on ignoring the flying Rechimplican sex scandal that I carefully documented yesterday....)

posted by Eric on 10.11.07 at 05:05 PM


I think Willis is right. Keyes seems to personify everything our popular conservative pundits promote. Keyes has the right blend of religion, bigotry, and rugged individualism. And he ain't no Goldwater Liberal. :)

Alan   ·  October 11, 2007 8:20 PM

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