Alan Keyes has upset the liberal game plan to crown Illinois State Rep. Barack Obama, a Democrat, as the new leader of blacks in America. Democratic U.S. Sens. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York like Obama because he imitates their votes, but Americans like Keyes because he is straightforward about issues we care about.
The Keyes-Obama race for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois, being vacated by Republican Sen. Peter A. Fitzgerald, reminds locals of a similar contest in 1950. Then, a conservative Republican traveled the Land of Lincoln and toppled one of the most powerful liberals of the time, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas.
The victor in that race, former Sen. Everett McKinley Dirksen, a Republican, played to the grass roots rather than to the media. His upset showed that voters were ready to break with New Deal liberalism and join the Republican landslide in 1952.
Dirksen, the greatest orator of his time, won because he articulated public opposition to the follies of the Democratic administration of President Harry S. Truman. Dirksen was equally persuasive, whether he was negotiating with a small group over an arcane section of legislation or declaiming broad themes without a microphone to voters assembled on southern Illinois hillsides.
This year, Illinois voters have the opportunity to hear Keyes, perhaps the greatest orator of our time and a man with a fund of knowledge about issues to match his eloquence. His biggest obstacle is neither that he recently moved to Illinois from his home in Massachusetts, nor that he is black, but that the media have already anointed Obama as the winner after viciously destroying his other opponents.
Obama had demanded six debates with his previous Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, a businessman unaccustomed to political argument. Reminding us of history's famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Obama confidently said the people of Illinois are owed these debates because they deserve more than packaged television ads and rehearsed sound bites.
Now that the Illinois GOP has replaced Ryan with Keyes as its nominee, Obama wants only two or three debates. Did the history of the Lincoln-Douglas debates change between the time of Ryan's resignation and Keyes' nomination?
The media were touting Obama's Harvard degree, but Keyes's Harvard doctorate is more accomplished than Obama's law degree. Besides, we already have too many liberal lawyers, such as U.S. Sens. John F. Kerry and John Edwards, running the Democratic Party for the benefit of the trial lawyers.
Keyes is a walking encyclopedia on a variety of subjects, including the Constitution, the proper role of government and foreign policy. He was ambassador to the United Nations during the Reagan administration and we can count on him to address the important issues that were conspicuously missing from Obama's keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in July.
Obama is one of the most left-wing Senate candidates Illinois has ever seen, a me-too vote for Kennedy and Clinton to raise taxes and toady to teachers unions. Obama supports abortion rights, socialized medicine and affirmative action. He opposes private gun ownership.
Obama voted against a "live-birth abortion" bill designed to protect live babies born of botched abortions. Obama voted "present" on an Illinois bill to ban partial-birth abortion and voted "present" on a bill to notify parents when their minor children seek an abortion.
Obama wrote a letter to the Windy City Times, Chicago's premier gay news source, to promise his support for gay marriage. "I opposed DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) in 1996," Obama wrote. "It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying."
Keyes, on the other hand, is the country's most eloquent defender of the right to life. He is supremely ready to tackle the cultural issues that will be the key to victory in the 2004 elections - abortion, traditional marriage, parental control over education and supremacist judges inventing "rights" such as abortion, sodomy, same-sex marriage licenses and sending pornography into your children's computers.
Bill Cosby recently made headlines by decrying the decline in education for blacks. Keyes is ready to take on teachers unions and hold them accountable for failing to teach youngsters how to read.
Bush-haters rally behind Obama, not because his father was African, but because he can be counted on to protect teachers unions, abortion and gay marriage. Democrats had hoped to elect Obama by simply playing the race card, but the nomination of Keyes has checkmated that strategy.
Obama's campaign contributors tell you what you need to know about his liberalism. His donors include George Soros, Hillary Clinton's Leadership political action committee, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights League, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and Progressive Choices.
Keyes has exposed the lie that the Democrats are the party for advancing minorities. Those who want a leader, regardless of race, one who will speak up for traditional values, such as marriage, life, and education choice, will vote for Alan Keyes.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Phyllis Schlafly‘s column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.