Monday, November 22, 2004

Keyes is staying...

reports the trib. so, i'll have to figure out what to do with the counter.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Asking a pointless question

is the Illinois Leader in a continuation of an interview of Phyllis Schlafly:
She also answers a question that was circulating in Illinois at the time of the interview - whether Mrs. Schlafly would have considered entering the race to be the Republican U.S. Senate candidate.
Although now that they've asked it, I'm actually wondering what that Senate race would have been like. Update: Sorry for the earlier typo.

Currently on

Is an article entitled: "How and why Dr. Keyes won in Illinois."
"It's great about Bush getting re-elected," my conservative friends have been saying to me these days, "but, hey! You must be bummed about Keyes' big loss in Illinois." "What 'loss'?" runs my somewhat testy reply. "The one where he got, like, a quarter of the vote." "That," I inform them, "was a loss for Illinois, and for the Republican Party, and for the country as a whole, not for Dr. Keyes." And though this may sound — coming from an avowed Keyester — like sour grapes, it is not. In fact, the course and outcome of the senatorial election in Illinois reveals a self-inflicted wound on the cause of conservatism in America, which deserves careful reflection before we will be able to recover, as well as evidence of a growing Declarationist movement in the Land of Lincoln and elsewhere, from which we can draw great hope.

Yes, a new blog is coming

From the letter Eric Zorn posted yesterday:
I have purchased and will hopefully be live on Monday. I'm aiming for a two-part site. A 5-step plan for helping Democrats turn their evangelical friends and family members Democratic blue--complete with resources on specific issues, a history of evangelicalism; and directions on how to find an evangelical if you don't know one. A blog (probably less frequently updated than the Keyes blog was) that tracks the current issues being discussed by the religious right. As for my qualifications for offering an insider's view on the religious right: I am a Wheaton College grad; the daughter of a Bob Jones University grad and the daughter of Christian bookstore owners. I took every class on the history of evangelicalism that Wheaton had to offer and worked at a place called the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals for 3 years. Eventually, I became a Democrat myself, which makes me feel qualified to explain how to convert someone. Finally, as I have had to explain my background to every single friend that I've made since moving to Chicago, I feel qualified to explain American evangelicals in lay language. There might be people more qualified than me on any of these topics, but since I was having fun blogging, I thought I would keep it up
I will definitely have the site up on Monday, maybe before. You can also hear me ramble about the site on this NPR story about the religious left. As a bonus, if you listen to the story, you discover my true identity (which is rather pointless, because I'm really just an anonymous, random face in the crowd). Actually, I'm a little embarrassed--I have modest qualifications, but there are definitely people with more. Anyway, the new site is Come by on Monday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

The most complete round-up

of the values and evangelicalism links is by Ted Olson at Christianity Today's Weblog. He titles them:
Links to more than 422 (really!) other news articles and opinion pieces, including some not about how stupid evangelicals are.
Remember this, liberals, they're watching you. Don't call them stupid--they'll remember. And they aren't stupid. Update: Austin Mayor points out that there are stupid people in all demographics. I stand corrected.

Monday, November 08, 2004

If this is true, I still don't care...

I'm aware that there is still a very good argument that exists as to whether it was really values that won Bush the election. But, here's the deal: I don't care. As long as the notion of Christian values is dominated by the right (whether or not they won the election), I'm going to be a thorn in the side of the religious right. To those of you who have emailed me, I appreciate your stories. We will work together to combat the religious right. We'll be in touch.

Blaming the media, yet again.

Is the Renew America staff:
So why didn't Illinoisans elect Keyes? Because they never were permitted to hear Keyes' message undiluted and unperverted by the state's powerful liberal media. They were deprived by the media--in utter violation of the public trust--of the chance to get to know Keyes for themselves, without intentional distortion.
And I love this attempt at a slam on Chicago:
As a result of this disturbing fact, Chicago's Cook County stands out above all other counties in the U.S. as disproportionately alien to bedrock American values in a 3-dimensional graph posted by CBS. Are the people of Cook County really that uninformed and liberal? Perhaps. But if you took away the control of their minds by the Chicago media, it would be interesting to see how they would respond to important truth of the sort that Alan Keyes articulated throughout his campaign. It's not fair to cynically generalize about so many people when they plainly have little access to correct information.
I'd prefer to think of it as informed and liberal. Perhaps Keyes should remember that there's a reason some of us like to live in a city, things such as a liberal and diverse environment. We're happy with our "blue state" (or at least city) haven and anyone who thinks that the media could change our mind is clearly delusional. (But we knew that already.)

Oh...isn't this cute

From his notebook:
Eric Zorn would like Keyes to stay here primarily because Truth Girl, an anonymous lawyer who started up the "Truth About Keyes" blog when he became a candidate, has said she will quit her blog when Keyes quits Illinois. And Eric Zorn has developed kind of a thing for Truth Girl.
So, far no need for tears, Truth Girl has received no word that Keyes has left the state.

Why we can't give up on white evangelicals:

The Archpundit comments that conservative white evangelicals are a lost cause. I may agree to some extent, but the reason that we can't give up on them is because they are the fastest growing churches. If we give up on conservative evangelicals, we will lose. Their numbers are growing faster than ours. He's also bothered because Democrats lost "a significant chunk of overservant Latinos." My guess: 37% percent (pdf) of Latinos identify themselves as born-again (both Catholics and Protestants). I think James Dobson had a Spanish version of his periodical long before major politicians were practicing their Spanish on audiences, and he ran ads this year urging Hispanics to "Vote por Sus Valores". The evangelical community is continuing to expand its influence beyond the traditional white Protestant. We can work all we want to change the media's message, but we are going to have to deal with this at its core--the conservative churches themselves. (Of course, I have no great plan how--only fledging ideas.) And it as has been pointed out to me, I have been too quick to refer to evangelicals as white only. According to one poll, at least 57% of African-Americans consider themselves "born-again," yet 88% of African-Americans voted for Kerry. Although this columnist expresses concern that African-American voters will be ignored while the search to reach white evangelicals reaches full-force, it's my hope that the dialogue over the interplay between religion and politics involves all religions and all races. A final comment, in case you ever wonder why conservative churches are the fastest growing, compare the website, particularly the weekly events, of an evangelical church with the website of a mainline church and think about it from a marketing perspective. Which set of events lends itself best to bringing new people in?

Abortion--an explanation

Here's something that I'm not sure enough people on the left get. Maybe we're getting it now, but I'm not convinced. Thomas Frank's book, What's the Matter with Kansas, expressed shock that people are willing to vote against their own economic interest. I'm not surprised, and I'm not surprised this election by these types of stories. Here's why (and I feel like with all the insight that What's the Matter with Kansas offered, it missed this point): for conservatives, abortion=murder. I'll leave it to the George Lakoff's to explain how the language came to be used in such a fashion and to historians and theologians to debate how and why the connection was made. But what I want to remind us is how well it works. For once abortion=murder, then

  • Criminalizing abortion is a logical conclusion;
  • Civil Disobedience is justified;
  • The death penalty for doctors who perform them is appropriate;
  • Comparisons to the Holocaust seem reasonable;
  • Voting for a politically inept individual makes sense;
  • Voting against your economic interests is considered admirable; and
  • Voting against your own personal interests is the norm.

(As an aside, I don't get how gay marriage has been elevated to the same level. No matter how much the religious right spins it, it's still not "murder.") So, as we ponder all of this values stuff, I think we have to back way, way up in our conversations about abortion. As much as we would like to think that using new language, new frames, new energy, we can beat conservatives, this abortion=murder meme is really tough to conquer. As clarification, I want to remind everyone that I'm not saying that abortion is murder and I certainly think that as Obama said on Meet the Press yesterday, we should all be able to agree to working to reduce the number of abortions. But as long as conservatives are convinced that abortion=murder, they will never lose their energy and focus.

Friday, November 05, 2004

He's an ass...

Via Eric Zorn's notebook, the Trib, NPR and Renew America, Keyes finally conceded:
Two days after his record loss in the U.S. Senate race, Republican Alan Keyes conceded defeat during a radio interview Thursday. But he said he would never congratulate the winner, Barack Obama, because the Democrat stood for "a culture evil enough to destroy the very soul and heart of my country."
Apparently, even Dan Proft was apologizing for him:
Earlier, Gibbs had told the Tribune that he talked five times on election night with a top Keyes staffer who was trying to get his candidate to concede. The Keyes aide, Dan Proft, apologized repeatedly for his candidate's behavior, Gibbs said. Proft confirmed that he had spoken to Gibbs on Tuesday but said the conversation was private and declined to discuss it.
And it sounds like he's still planning to stick around, so the counter will remain up:
Keyes has said he expects to stay in Illinois, and several Keyes staffers and volunteers from out-of-state have said they also may stay.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

My own take...

So, everyone and their dog has blogged about the values debate today. But I feel the need to weigh in. And my thoughts best summarized by Rahm Emanuel via Bull Moose Blog:

"Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter got elected because they were comfortable with their faith," said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a former Clinton aide. "What happened was that a part of the electorate came open to what Clinton and Carter had to say on everything else - health care, the environment, whatever - because they were very comfortable that Clinton and Carter did not disdain the way these people lived their lives, but respected them." He added: "We need a nominee and a party that is comfortable with faith and values. And if we have one, then all the hard work we've done on Social Security or America's place in the world or college education can be heard. But people aren't going to hear what we say until they know that we don't approach them as Margaret Mead would an anthropological experiment."

And this is what bothers me about this use of "faith-based" v. "reality-based" community. By using the phrase "reality-based" we imply superiority. In order to win evangelicals over, we must speak their language. We must remind them that abortions have gone up under the Bush administration, that just-war doctrine is a Christian doctrine abolished under the Bush administration. So, for those of you like me, who speak evangelicalese, drop me an email at I want to know how you changed your mind. How did you become liberal, how did you become a democrat. It took me 10 years--did any of you get there faster? We have to work on American evangelicals. And so for those of you who know what a "praise and worship" band is, who have read Left Behind, or its predecessor, a Thief in the Night, for those who remember Ralph Reed before he hit it big, drop me an email. Let's talk about a strategy for converting evangelicals.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I'll leave when he does...

Counter on the right. Update: I meant that I would leave the blogosphere. I'm not leaving Illinois.

What an ass...

He insisted on speaking second. He hasn't called to congratulate Obama. He's an ass. Now leave. Archpundit says it best.

Kos on Values

Favorite Kos post ever:
Values by kos Wed Nov 3rd, 2004 at 12:35:44 PST It wasn't the war or the economy that killed us. It was the notion of "values". Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, yet Kerry was bad because he had "Massachusetts values" or other such nonesense. We need to retake the language. We need to reframe the notion of "value". That's why Obama's speech below is so brilliant. He speaks of God in a way that not just fails to offend this atheist, but inspires me. It's faith used for the purpose of living a good life, rather than faith wielded as a weapon against a whole class of people. The wedges: gays, abortion, and guns. Democrats have abandoned guns as an issue, and over the next three or four cycles it will prove an increasingly ineffective wedge. The NRA won. Good for them. That leaves the two "faith based" wedges -- gays and abortion. And with great skill, the Republicans have equated those two issues with the word "value". That's going to have to change.

Keyes said it best

The primary reason for depression today is that people everyone claimed to have voted on values:
And tonight, whatever else may seem to be true, this we know: there are those who are willing to lie to the American people, to lie to the people of Illinois, and to say, “Alan Keyes stands for traditional marriage, and stands outside the mainstream of public opinion in America.” But I have news for them all, which we have seen before, and will see again: in every state where this issue is before the people tonight, they stand with Alan Keyes. They stand with the Republican Party.
The reason for hope today: I live in Illinois. A blue beacon in a sea of red. Where we remember that values aren't about hate, but about love.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Well, okay it's not a big surpise, but it is still fabulous!! Now, the interesting part...what will the margin be?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Our worst nightmare

Keyes was on Channel 7 earlier this evening threatening to stay in Illinois after the election. Here's the quote:
"There is no way on this earth that I would leave the good people of the republican party I've met, some of the leadership I've seen that is corrupt, lack integrity and has betrayed their best values and best interest. They are history," said Keyes
Click on "video clip" to listen to see Keyes say the words himself, a transcript never does him justice (and I think WLS left out a few things).

Has he quit sleeping??

After an 8 p.m. rally in Marion, Obama is headed to Kentucky for a midnight rally for Dan Mongiardo, then back for a 9 a.m. rally in Granite City.

a voter turn-out story

I was waiting in line to turn in my absentee ballot. Guy behind me was very nervous. I said "Don't be. Take your time, you'll be fine." He replied with, "I have voted before, it's just been a really long time."

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Why I voted for Obama

I'm sure I've told this story before, but a few days before the election, it seems appropriate to repeat it. It took me years to leave the Republican party. Although skeptical of the religious right for almost 10 years now, my libertarian roots made me think that I should vote Republican. Then, as I've described before, the war changed my mind. I could never trust a Republican again. And combine that with the destruction of any "small government" values that I might have had--that is, both the poor fiscal policies and the Patriot Act. There was no reason for me to vote for a Republican again. So, since we have a two-party system, I turned to the other party. And I wanted to care about a candidate. The presidential race wasn't exciting me, so I turned to the IL Senate race. An open seat, a bunch of millionaires--this was going to be fun. But who to pick? A friend suggested that I come listen to her former law school professor speak. So, I paid $35 and went to a backyard fundraiser for Obama. He had me at "hello." O.K. Not really. He gave a nice speech, apologized for asking for money and then took questions. In his speech, he gave the first good defense of government that I had ever heard. Now maybe I hadn't been listening before. Maybe I had to open my mind, but the way that Obama explained when government intervention is needed to fix problems that individuals and private enterprise can't fix alone just made sense. Then, he took questions. As a religious person, I was still skeptical of Democrats. But Obama spoke of his religious faith and he complimented those of other faiths and beliefs. He even stated his respect for members of the pro-life community (a respect that I hope Alan Keyes didn't cause him to lose). So, in sum. My reasons for liking Obama: 1. His ability to foresee problems in Iraq when so many others were sucked in to the Bush rationalization. 2. His articulation of the need for government--where it works and where it doesn't; where it is needed and where it isn't. 3. His respect for those who disagree with him. 4. His humility (I hope it hasn't disappeared post-DNC, but he certainly seemed to have it the first time I ever met him). 5. His looks and charisma. 6. His defense of personal liberties. 7. His ability to make me care about people in poverty, children who need education and senior citizens with high prescription costs. He made me care about politics again. He made me care about social issues again. He made me optimistic about the world I live in. And that's why I voted for Obama (absentee ballot--I'll be in Wisconsin).

Keyes Radio Ads...

do suck. Seriously. It sounds like they got a "praise and worship" band from a Willow Creek knock-off church. And here's the lyrics:
Family--Keyes Morality--Keyes He's all about you and me--Keyes We can win this fight We know what's right Alan Keyes
Update: In case the Willow Creek reference is too obscure, here's a link. Update 2: So, how do I download the song? It belongs on the iPod that I don't have. Update 3: Cool--the ads just arrived via email from the Keyes campaign.

Keyes ad

doesn't suck. But notice that his campaign is afraid to let his voice be heard on TV. Perhaps we've heard it one too many times already. Obama's is still better. I've watched it about 50 times. Love that speech.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Still Delusional...

are the columnists at the Illinois Leader:
If we are to believe the pre-election polls, it will take every last one of us, every single conservative voter in the state of Illinois, to turn out and vote for Alan Keyes and President Bush in order for them to carry the state of Illinois. And, you know what, I believe the polls. This state is near hopeless, from a conservative standpoint. But “near” hopeless is not the same as hopeless. Until 7pm Tuesday, I will hold out hope. I will hold out hope that Republicans in this state will, in fact, vote for the Republicans in these races.
And the secret to the success:
All Republicans? All Conservatives? All Christians? Add them all together and it spells victory in Illinois for Alan Keyes and President Bush. However, according to the polls, if even one Republican, just one conservative, even a single Christian votes for John Kerry, we’ll have to live with the possibility of a Kerry Presidency (although other states may let us off the hook). But, if even one Republican, just one Conservative, even a single Christian votes for Barack Obama, then we will find ourselves in a situation where the conservative Senator from Illinois is Dick Durbin.
Well, first, the problem with the argument is that "all Republicans, All Conservatives and all Christians" are separate groups with no overlapping. The first and second are not enough to win it for Keyes. But, maybe, all Christians combined with "all Republicans and all conservatives" would be enough. But, since Scott Thomas says that it will take all Christians voting for Keyes, I have to say... Scott Thomas, I'm a Christian and I've already voted for Obama. (And Kerry, too.) So, it's over. over. over.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The 14th Amendment

O.K. I was looking for a simple explanation of the 14th Amendment and the incorporation doctrine. It doesn't exist. Or I'm too lazy to find it. But the point to remember, Keyes didn't address the incorporation concept at all. He completely ignored the argument (and established Supreme Court jurisprudence) that the 14th Amendment incorporated the First Amendment, including the principles of separation of church and state, upon the states.

Federal Spending on education

So, I can't back track the source of their information, but this website says, contrary to Keyes' statement tonight that:
Keyes says, “Federal K-12 Education Policy should respect the authority of parents, communities, and the States. The Federal Government should cease funding & regulating K-12 education.”

Religion and politics...

Nightline is covering it tonight. Tony Campolo was on Air America earlier today. I know this may be bad to say, but "liberal" evangelicals need some new voices. Wallis and Campolo have been the voice of "liberal" evangelicalism for the last 20 years. They do a good job, but I think sometimes they get discounted because evangelicals have heard them so many times. For an interesting essay on "not voting for president" at all, see this by Mark Noll. And for the tracking of some other Wheaton College types, see this Sun-Times article. The issue of religion and politics isn't going away with Keyes or this election. In my personal opinion, Democrats don't win over evangelical voters by arguing about abortion. Rather, we have to work to remind evangelicals that issues of life extend beyond abortion, that issues of justice are not about judging people, and that compassion is an important public and private value. And since these messages are best articulated from the inside, perhaps this means that I need to start attending an evangelical church again...

One more thing...

After the debate, there were Jerry Kohn supporters outside. I hadn't seen a Kohn gathering before. I may have missed Kohn himself:
Tuesday, October 26th WTTW Debate (pending invitation to participate/will attend regardless)
He apparently decided against pulling a Keyes, since I didn't see him crash the TV studio/stage.

News Coverage

How sad is it that the last two debates have been relatively unimportant stories on the 10 o'clock news. Well, not really that sad--since it means that Obama's lead holds. And there has been other important news stories. At least the debate didn't follow a story on "which TV remote is best." But, I was able to see the top of my head in a crowd shot on Channel 7. That, I fear, is the closest I come to my 15 minutes of fame. Update: I apparently have no C-Span 2 at night. Instead, I have a Chuck Norris infomercial. That's just wrong.

More debate comments...

On the issues: So, I seem to remember the fun stuff best. I remember that Keyes continues the Iraq meme that the war in Iraq is connected to terrorism. (well, is now...wasn't originally). I should have submitted this question to Eric Zorn's list of questions, but I'm curious if Keyes thinks that the Iraq war met the requirements of a just war under the traditionally developed Catholic doctrine of just war theory. I'm sure he does, but obviously I disagree and I think that attempts to justify it as such were remarkably strained. What I remember best about the Isarel/Palestine discussion is the person saying "amen" next to me. On free trade. I cracked up when Keyes said that he didn't want to start a "tariff war." Well, of course, he doesn't, but it seems an inevitable result of using tariffs. The debate over the role of government may have been the most interesting and most insightful. Obama does a great job of presenting a defense of role of government. Coming from a conservative/libertarian background, it is important to have Democrats who articulate the role and purpose of government well. I was very skeptical of "liberals" 18 months ago, but Obama's picture of what government can and should do won me over. A comical moment was when the candidates were to to give "yes/no" answers. Somehow Obama heard the question wrong or was thrown off by the structure. Obama was asked about drilling in ANWAR? He answered "yes." Fortunately, the audience and the moderator were so surprised that Obama got the chance to correct his answer and provided a little laughter along on the way. So, there's this line in America, the Book that summarizes Bush and Kerry positions on various issues. On gay marriage it says Bush- "Agin'"; Kerry: "For (really); Against (publicly)." Shall we speculate as to which category Obama would fit into? He definitely argues far more passionately for rights, than he does against gay marriage. By the way, on the issue, good use of Bush's latest flip-flop by Obama. And then the best part might have been Obama's calling out of Keyes on the "inevitable result of incest" in gay adoption. Keyes decided to use his favorite line when trapped by an argument, "well, I'm smarter and better trained than you, so I know best." Seriously, I can't do it justice. If you didn't watch it live, be sure to wait around for Keyes to tell Obama that Obama knows nothing about logic and reason. Keyes lecturing someone on logic and reason was just too comical.

Why does Keyes hate single people??

So, this has troubled me for awhile, but when someone builds up marriage so much, the effect to make single people feel disparaged. Same result tonight. Keyes said that single people were poorer, less economically stable and implies that marriage is the solution to everything. Then add the fact that if single people having sex, they are selfish hedonists. And I really start to feel poorly about myself. O.K. except that I don't because it's Keyes. Apropos of nothing, I'd like to share with Keyes my favorite quote from the Simpsons, "I'd like to help, but all that's in my bag is disposable income." Episode FABF03, Marge vs. Singles, Seniors, Childless Couples and Teens, and Gays Update: Austin Mayor via comments at Archpundit reminds us that there was also a random comment about being a porn star. And somehow I swear it was a slam on single people. Maybe not. It actually made no sense at all.

Worst web ad ever

Is Keyes new web ad. It would have been far better if they had kept with the voiceover and never cut to Keyes.

Post-debate blogging

One of the best uses of $100 in my life was attending the Obama/Keyes Debate #3. It was highly entertaining. I wasn't taking notes or anything so this round of comments is mostly about atmosphere and perception. The campaigns are already on the rapid response missions, but I'll add my comments on specifics later. The crowd was clearly Obama supporters. As proof? Keyes walked in first to little more than whispers. The crowd applauded when Obama walked in. Afterwords the crowd gathered Obama, wanting to shake his hand. Keyes walked out unhindered. I think it's worth noting that the extended blinking thing that Keyes does during the debate or press conferences, he does it all the time--even while waiting on Obama's lighting check. In addition, Keyes did seem to be praying for several moments before the debate, which I don't disparage him for. There were numerous Illinois politicians present--although after my Chris Heinz meeting, no one else has really measured up. And, as I'm sure this will excite Chillinois, so was Maya Keyes, although they hadn't saved a chair for her, so it took some last minute adjustments of seating arrangements. The crowd laughed outloud at a few crazy things that Keyes said and applauded a few times at Obama comments (much to the dismay of Phil Ponce). There was a religious right type to my left who kept saying "amen" during Keyes comments about Israel. As for all of you whining about the "ums" by Obama, I think there were less this time, but I never really noticed them to begin with.

An autograph

So, I'm thinking that if I "get" to meet Alan Keyes tonight that I should take my Bible for him to autograph. Afterall, he did write it, didn't he? Or perhaps I should just take him clippings of the sections about mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

Final Debate Tonight

So, the final debate is tonight. I'll be there in person and report back later. The details (according to Keyes' website):
The debate will begin at 7 p.m. Central Time and will be carried live on PBS station WTTW-11 in Chicago. C-SPAN 2 will rebroadcast the debate at 11 p.m. CT. The cable network will also provide streaming video during the rebroadcast, for those who don't get C-SPAN 2. WTTW-11 will also rebroadcast the debate at 12:00am and 3:30am CT.

Monday, October 25, 2004

a waste of money

Or perhaps I should say a good use of money. Did the National Republican Senatorial Committee really give Keyes $35,000? Well, good for us; it kept them from spending it somewhere that it might have really mattered.
NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE425 SECOND STREET NE . WASHINGTON, DC 20002 Election: GENERAL Date Contributed = 09/15/2004 Line #:11C Amount This Period = 35000.00 Year-To-Date = 35000.00

a wagon train

Perhaps this is what Keyes should continue west after he leaves Illinois. Or maybe it's what he's already doing; Illinois is just a stop along the way:
STRATEGY FOR A POSSIBLE CROSS-COUNTRY TREK Doc Taylor Ambassador Keyes has already shown a degree of interest in the idea of a "wagon train" to bring media, grassroots, and establishment attention to the cause of American Renewal. In the absence of other opportunities that would give his cause sufficiently wide public attention, a well-conceived wagon train could fill the need. The idea would be to stage a meaningful show of original Declarationist values through a rustic trek that would capture the imagination of the public... Suggestions for a cross-country wagon train follow: The trek should go from east to west, mimicking the migration of our nation. It should follow one or more of the classic old highways, enabling the trek to avoid major thoroughfares. It should stop at least a day or so at each major city along the route--perhaps making 25 such stops altogether--where a significant speech would be scheduled far in advance. At least half of these speeches should be at relatively large venues, if possible. The trek should run two to three months in early or late summer, when the weather is relatively mild. Its itinerary would need to be very carefully planned, to avoid surprises or miscalculations. One serious blunder in the planned route could spell disaster. The length of the trip, and the time planned for it, would depend mainly on the funds available to stage it. If funds are tight, the trip could begin in the midwest (perhaps near the Mississippi River) and end in Idaho, Utah, or Arizona. Otherwise, it could go virtually coast to coast. Again, the bigger the trek, the greater its impact on the nation. Ambassador Keyes would lead the trek. But he should be supported by a sizable company of other national and state leaders, all of whom would spend a day or two with the train, in rotation. Dr. Keyes himself would not need to stay with the train constantly, but could merely join the excursion on selected weekends, to accommodate his TV show and other obligations. In his absence, at least two or three nationally-prominent political, social, or religious leaders at a time should be scheduled to lead the train. Various principled sports, entertainment, cultural, and other celebrities could also be lined up to lend their support. The train would be overseen by several veteran outdoor and livestock specialists. The entourage should include about 15-20 horse-drawn wagons, a couple dozen riding horses, 30-50 regular support people, several motor homes (with cars in tow), a police escort (as much as possible from each city or region), and support equipment like a good PA, generators, cooking facilities, medical supplies, tents, etc. Appropriate permits would need to be secured in advance to avoid snags. Adequate insurance would also need to be arranged. ... The most challenging problem in staging a nationwide trek would be security, especially with the very real threat of terrorism. ... State National Guard units could even be called in to protect vast open areas. A logistical challenge, to be sure. But if this monumental hurdle of security can be solved, the event would take on added public importance because of that security--drawing interest far beyond what we can imagine. The American public will have never seen anything of its kind. To justify the exceptional security, the event should invite the participation of as large a contingency of patriotic public servants and celebrities as possible. It should also be billed as a proud display of American idealism in the face of terrorist fear.
Update: Winning the bad joke of the day contest is So-Called Austin Mayor:
The entourage should include about 15-20 horse-drawn wagons. They might as well make it a mule train since we know it will have at least one jackass.

A poll

So, it appears that the Obama supporters got here first (or are "freeping" it, in Daily Kos language:
How does Obama's support of the Gay Rights agenda affect your vote? More Likely to Support 58% Less Likely to Support 35% Makes No Difference 7% 1374 Votes

WLS Poll

WLS poll has Obama up by 50%:
Illinois voters are a bit less divided on the senate race, which can only be described as a landslide. Democrat Barack Obama is trouncing republican Alan Keyes by 50 percentage points. Obama 70-percent, Keyes 20-percent with 8-percent undecided.

Going for 50...

Finally catching up on my email, I see that the Obama campaign is going public with their desire to hit 50%:
Finally, in case you needed any more motivation for a huge Obama victory, check out this website: Together we can make history on November 2 with the "Push for 50 Points." It's our goal to win this election with a 50 point margin of victory!!!!
So, in case you are one of a million people going to a swing state to work next Tuesday, here's the information on in-house absentee voting from the Chicago Board of Elections. Go do it now, get Obama to 50%, then head to Wisconsin, Ohio or Iowa Oct. 30-Nov. 2. (You can also go the 8th Congressional District, but in Illinois you have to say that you will be absent from your county to vote absentee, so make sure to follow the law.)
In-House Absentee Voting Schedule For the November 2, 2004 General Election Monday, October 11,2004 Through Monday, November 1, 2004 Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. Saturdays 9:00a.m to 4:00p.m. Sundays 9:00a.m. to 1:00p.m. Monday, November 1, 2004 8:00a.m. to 7:00p.m. Location: Board of Election Commissioners 69 W. Washington Lower Level

Top Ten Conservative Idiots

Alan Keyes made the list this week for his comments about adoption and incest...oh wait, I meant gay adoption and incest:
With the polls showing him about 45 points behind Barak Obama, there's not long to go before Alan Keyes becomes nothing more than an unpleasant memory in the minds of Illinois voters. We'll be sorry to see Alan go because he's provided us with such great material these last few months - but fortunately it looks like he's got some left in him. Last week Alan told a campaign rally (in attendance: two homeless people, three passers-by, and a stray dog) that incest was "inevitable" for children raised by gay couples. "If we do not know who the mother is, who the father is, without knowing all the brothers and sisters, incest becomes inevitable," he said. But... doesn't this means that incest is inevitable for any adopted child, whether their parents are gay or straight? And considering Alan's extreme pro-life views, does this mean that he now thinks adoption should be outlawed? What's he going to do with all the unwanted pregnancies? But don't confuse yourself thinking trying to figure this out, there's actually a very simple explanation: Alan Keyes is a homophobic nutcase who'll literally say anything to slam gays.

Google Stats

In their endorsement of Obama, the Rockford Register gives us these statistics:
Type the words "dynamic" and "Obama" into the Google search engine on the Internet and you'll get more than 5,700 hits; replace it with "charismatic" and you'll get more than 2,000 hits.
Which reminds me that immediately after the primary, I spent the day googling stories about Obama's win. And I think I read all of them. Now, even if you limit the search to "charismatic" and "Obama", you get too many hits to read. Cool. Update: By the way, the overall google numbers are 95,000 hits for a search "Barack Obama"

Sunday, October 24, 2004

afraid i'm going to laugh

So, I'm giggling listening to Keyes insane statements such as
And that is an area where Catholics, as others, have the right to debate, to disagree, and to exercise their judgment and common sense, which of course is what I do.
(That is, I'm not laughing at the notion of Catholics exercising common sense, I'm laughing at the notion that Keyes does.) However, as I attend the third and final debate on Tuesday, I'm very afraid that I'm going to laugh out loud at one of these insane statements.

Debate video up on Keyes website:

If you missed it, decide for yourself who won. Seeing it now for the first time, I have to say, "Keyes wins the shouting match, but clearly Obama wins the speaking rationally match." I'm personally entertained by the Keyes description of each segment.

a heartfelt endorsement

from the Trib:
The Tribune today offers a heartfelt endorsement for Barack Obama in the race for the U.S. Senate. ... Obama has made a career of converting doubters into believers. There were the women of the Altgeld Gardens public housing project who, two decades ago, didn't believe the fresh-faced community organizer who came calling could help them get their apartments inspected for asbestos contamination. There were the South and West Side ministers who told Obama when they first met him that they didn't need any "high-talking college-educated brothers like yourself" to help them solve community problems. People have been won over by Obama's sincerity and persistence. "He conveys a sense of calm assurance," said Martha Minow, one of Obama's professors at Harvard Law School, where he was elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. "There's an integrity that just shines through, a sense of looking above the small and petty differences." When Obama gets up to speak on the floor of the General Assembly, "the place quiets down," said Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, who served in the Senate with him. People listen, partly because of his eloquence, and partly because opponents know they are about to hear the best argument the other side has to offer. "And often because he's right," Madigan said.

the polls

I thought Keyes didn't believe them, but yet:
Remember, all we need to do is break through during the next two weeks to undecided voters in the expensive urban media markets of Chicago, Springfield, and St. Louis. This is money well-spent, because news "reporting" and the unreliability of the media's polling notwithstanding, a recent media survey reveals: In the "collar counties" (Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Will, Kane), the race is now a dead-heat (47-46 Obama).
You mean the poll from the Trib?
In the Senate contest, Democrat Barack Obama maintained a commanding lead over Republican Alan Keyes--66 percent to 19 percent, with 9 percent undecided. If there's any glimmer of good news in the numbers for Keyes it is that Obama's sizable advantage actually was slightly bigger in the September poll... In the race for Senate, Obama's 47 percent lead in his effort to take the seat of outgoing Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald signals what could become the biggest Senate blowout in state history. After passing a constitutional amendment, Illinois began direct election of U.S. senators in 1914. Since then, the most lopsided race in Illinois was in 1920, when Republican William B. McKinley defeated Democrat Peter Waller by 67 percent to 27 percent. The biggest Senate landslides in more recent years were in 1986 when Democrat Alan Dixon defeated Republican Judy Koehler by 31.4 percent of the vote and in 1990 when incumbent Democrat Paul Simon held onto his seat by 30.2 percent over GOP nominee Lynn Martin. The Keyes campaign clearly has had difficulty gaining traction. Even the losers in Illinois' historic election routs generally have managed to snag about 30 percent of the vote. The poll suggests Keyes may be on track to get much less than that.
Then, there's the open letter to Keyes' supporters that says "Great news for Keyes supporters" which shouts:
GREAT NEWS -- Alan EXCEEDED the already high expectations of viewers in the second candidate debate for U.S. Senate from Illinois!!
How are we supposed to know, because Bill Pascoe tells us so:
Keyes 2004 campaign manager Bill Pascoe, reacting to Alan's clear win in Thursday night's first televised debate against Barack Obama, released the following statement: "The first televised debate is history, and the result is as clear as it was after last week's radio debate: Alan Keyes won this debate hands down.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A Response to Wally Haas

Wally Haas from the Rockford Register Star wrote this article on Alan Keyes. Some points I could not let go unaddressed...

"Keyes has an impressive background. He worked for the National Security Council and was one of the U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations when Ronald Reagan was president. He has run for the U.S. Senate twice in Maryland and has taken two shots at the Republican presidential nomination."

I don't understand how any of these achievements by Keyes gives him a free pass to blatantly criticize those who disagree with his own personal moral judgments; to allow Keyes to decide what is right or wrong in anyone's eyes.

Haas goes on to write:

"It was unrealistic for people to expect out-of-stater Keyes, who was a late replacement for primary winner Jack Ryan, to speak about Illinois-specific issues before he had a chance to examine them."

Wait...Keyes did accept the nomination for United States Senator from Illinois. Are you telling me and the rest of Illinois voters that Keyes had no opportunities to research the issues most important to Illinois voters? And if he does have other ideas to share that will help Illinois, he has been given multiple opportunities to discuss them. Instead, he has chosen to spout his opinions on the evils of homosexuality and abortion, and accuse Obama of holding a slaveholder's position. Why make excuses for Keyes' behavior? Hass concluded his piece with:

"He's done his homework. Voters need to do the same."

I guess I am not exactly sure what Haas was implying, but here's my thought. Keyes has maintained a constant assault against those people who are different from him and his ideas. Keyes arrived in Illinois and was given further fortuity to spread his message that his beliefs were those of God. Keyes turned his back on the principle of separation of church and state, and he attempted to spread his negativity towards certain groups. Voters did their homework everytime they had to listen to something hate-filled Keyes said, and on November 2nd the lessons learned from their homework will show.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Obama and Keyes Piece on the Daily Show

In case anyone missed last evening's show, there was a funny piece on the race between Obama and Keyes.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Closing Debate Statements on a 1 to 10 scale (10 is high)

Yes, I am aware this rating was completely lop-sided, but I would have given Keyes some points if he had at least used some of his fantastically descriptive vocabulary this evening. But, there were no mentions of smelly toads or gooses laying golden eggs. Obama 10--reminded voters he focuses on the issues that we need to address, said Keyes focuses on morality and this in itself was immoral--nice. Keyes 0 ---Stuck with his moral foundations as the solution to everything, such as the rising tide of crime, and I can't recall for sure if he said abortion and homosexuality or not, but we all know what he was thinking. He said the breakdown of the family caused all problems, he knew it and we knew it too. Don't tell me what I know Mr. Keyes.


7:25pm---I believe Keyes said tonight that he believes in educating the heart and soul of people to make the community a better place. I guess in his own hypocritical thought process this is achieved by saying negative things about gays and lesbians, labeling people who disagree with him as sinners, and saying certain views are slaveholder positions. November 2nd cannot come soon enough. 7:30pm---Did Keyes really just say that Obama does not read the newspaper? He is desperate... Obama certainly took Keyes, on Keyes' questioning of sex education for children. 7:39pm--Ah, Keyes got the question what would you say to your child if he/she came to him and said he/she was gay/lesbian. Keyes said the bible says homosexuality is wrong, and that the same sex marriage debate is "irrelevant." Obama "would love that child." Obama shows his humanism again. Keyes still is a jerk. 7:46pm--Well, Keyes has managed to relate pretty much all of the questions back to the evils of of being gay. Obama got it right when he said he did not need Keyes lecturing him about Christianity, nor did the people of Illinois. 7:50pm--Obama calls Keyes out on his tax exemptions! Fantastic. 7:53pm---Are these statistics Keyes keeps reciting on African-Americans and abortion accurate?

Obama vs. Keyes II

6:51 pm-- Okay, Truth Girl's "paying job" has her preoccupied at the moment, so I'm filling in just in case Keyes says (we all know he will) something crazy, and better yet if he does something crazy. So feel free to add any thoughts ! 7:02 pm--Nice stars in the background. Notice that the ones behind Obama are bigger and brighter than the ones behind Keyes. Hmmm... 7:07pm--Keyes started off a little nervous, but he appears to be getting into his righteous groove now. Good question to Obama about holding his own against the Daley administration. Obama answered good. 7:11pm--Keyes starts in with "the trade crisis" as a major issue (No mention of tariffs yet). 7:15pm--Nice comeback by Obama using his meeting with law enforcement to demsonstrate the dangers of assault weapons. There are not many deer in bullet-proof vests--go Obama.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Keyes has officially bored me...

not to death, but perhaps comatose level. So from now until election day, posts may be a little light. I'm spending my time canvassing and studying my "election day manual" materials from the DNC (and perhaps a little of the paying job). There will be live-blogging of both Obama/Keyes debates, so check back Thursday! Oh, and check out the Obama campaign's handy link to all the newspaper endorsements.

Buying O (the Oprah Magazine) so you don't have to...

So, for those of us who have read the autobiography and heard Obama speak a few times, it starts with the autobiographical sketch that many of us have heard before. But as it's an interview with Oprah, it's actually worth buying just to read her gushing over Barack and Michelle. For example, Oprah says that she was "alone in my sitting room cheering and saying 'I think this is the One.'" Barack responds:
"That's so nice. I think I'm one of the ones. I fight against the notion that black can have only one leader at a time...I want to be part of many voices that help the entire country rise up."
And there was a little Barack gushing back...
Oprah: I think the name is working for you now. Barack: Absolutely. You're turned out okay for you, too.
Oprahs asks "what do you want to do with your politics?" The answer was nice:
Barack: Two things. I want to make real the American ideal that every child in this country has a shot at life...For my second and companion goal, I'm well situated to help the country understand how we can both celebrate our diversity in all its complexity and still affirm our common bonds."
And in a moment that makes every person with student loans smile there's:
Barack: The hardest thing about the work I do is the strain it puts on Michelle, and not being around enough for the kids. Then there are the financial worries after you've come out of Harvard Law School... Michelle: It's Harvard, Princeton and Columbia combined.
Anyway, I actually do recommend the article--it's a nice combination of the personal, political and inspiration. Although the pictures of Oprah with the Obama family were overwhelming--too many beautiful people in one picture.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Does he never learn?

From the Sun-Times:
Keyes says incest awaits kids of gays October 17, 2004 BY CHERYL V. JACKSON Staff Reporter Advertisement U.S. Senate candidate Alan Keyes told a rally Saturday that incest was "inevitable" for children raised by gay couples because the children might not know both biological parents. "If we do not know who the mother is, who the father is, without knowing all the brothers and sisters, incest becomes inevitable," Keyes told the Marquette Park rally held to oppose same-sex marriages. "Whether they mean it or not, that is what will happen. If you are masked from your knowing your biological parents, you are in danger of encountering brothers and sisters you have no knowledge of."
This is particularly ridiculous coming from an abortion opponent when adoption has been pushed heavily by anti-abortion groups as part of the solution to abortion. If you want to make a ridiculous statement, Keyes might be well-served not to make one that can be used against his other pet issue.

Coordination Efforts

A story on the alleged coordination efforts between Keyes and Jack Roeser:
Also Thursday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an FEC complaint alleging that Keyes current Senate campaign had improperly coordinated with a group running ads that target his opponent, Democrat Barack Obama. Keyes campaign manager Bill Pascoe dismissed the accusation as "poppycock," saying "To suggest otherwise is to treat the truth as a harlot."
In the spirit of Keyes, I thought a little word history of "harlot" would be appropriate:
Word History: The word harlot nowadays refers to a particular kind of woman, but interestingly it used to refer to a particular kind of man. The word is first recorded in English in a work written around the beginning of the 13th century, meaning “a man of no fixed occupation, vagabond, beggar,” and soon afterwards meant “male lecher.” Already in the 14th century it appears as a deprecatory word for a woman, though exactly how this meaning developed from the male sense is not clear. For a time the word could also refer to a juggler or jester of either sex, but by the close of the 17th century its usage referring to males had disappeared.
But back to the allegations:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics argues that Roeser's subsequent donation to Empower Illinois suggests his actions were coordinated with the Keyes campaign. "There's a relationship there, a communicative relationship," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. ... She argues Empower Illinois amounts to a political committee and is barred from accepting such a large donation. Federal law also says it cannot run attack ads within 60 days of the election, she said.

The wig guy is still around...

and seems to be quite clueless.
Daniel Vovak isn't quite ready to throw in the wig. The 32-year-old powdered wig-wearing U.S. Senate candidate said he plans to appeal a recent federal court ruling dismissing his case to appear on the Illinois ballot Nov. 2. He'll be driving to Washington this week to file the case with the U.S. Supreme Court in person.
And in case you were wondering:
The former political writer wears a George Washington-style white powdered wig to gain attention, but only when campaigning, he said.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Keyes' buddy Roy Moore is still up to no good...

Remember Roy Moore, the Alabama Supreme Court justice that first installed the Ten Commandments outside the Alabama Supreme Court, then fought it's removal? And then he and Alan Keyes went around doing Ten Commandments rallies. Well, now he's fighting removing segregationist language from the Alabama Constitution.
But the amendment ballot has opponents, including former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is suspicious of a possible hidden agenda: a huge tax increase. "This is the most deceptive piece of legislation I have ever seen, and it is simply a fraud on the people of Alabama," said Mr. Moore, best known for his refusal to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
What kind of language are the people Alabama voting on?:
Amendment 2 is a measure to remove three pieces of language from Alabama's 1901 Constitution: a requirement for separate schools for "white and colored children," a requirement for a poll tax, and language that specifies that publicly funded education is not a right of citizenship.
It's the last line that Moore has a problem arguing that "removing language specifying that public education is not a right would open the door for the Legislature to enact a massive tax increase for schools." More progressive Republicans are arguing for the change:
Republican Gov. Bob Riley and others concerned about the state's image are urging voters to approve a constitutional amendment on Nov. 2 to strike the long-unenforceable language from the state constitution. They say such laws are a painful reminder of the South's divisive past, and make Alabama look bad when it comes to attracting new businesses.

Sounds like dinner with my friends...

CHICAGO - Go to dinner with Alan Keyes, and you might end up discussing the motivations of Iago in Shakespeare's "Othello" or how Napoleon could have won the Battle of Waterloo. Not on the menu: Light banter about football scores or the latest celebrity gossip. "He really doesn't want to make much small talk. Whether it's politics or Shakespeare or something else, it can tire you out," said his friend Richard Ferrier, who has known Keyes for almost a decade. "He's really amazingly intelligent and articulate."
AP story on Keyes (via Miami Herald)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Sun-Times Gives Thumbs-Up to Obama

The Archpundit pretty much sums this one up.

Keyes' Supporters...Please Conserve the Duct Tape

About eight months ago, Tom Ridge advised Americans to buy duct tape and keep it on hand in case we need to give ourselves a false sense of security. I'm a little concerned that there won't be enough to go around for everyone as the threat level is raised ahead of the election, so could you maybe reinforce your signs with other adhesives, such as stickers...I have some extra Obama ones if you need them.

Friday Night Fun

Although I will watch the Keyes/Obama debate at some point over the weekend and encourage you to as well, I do have limits to my enthusiasm. There is apparently no limit to the enthusiasm of certain Keyes' supporters:
I also suggest people be advised to strap a Keyes sign of some sort on their back and chest. As I have already written, I will make up some signs for this purpose for Monday, using Keyes yard signs reinforced with cardboard, with straps of blue duct tape. I may not have enough cardboard to create many wearable Keyes signs, so, if you think this is a good idea, please make some yourself.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Keyes 2000 Campaign must repay $118,302

From the AP Wires (and also the 10 o'clock news), currently on San Jose Mercury News (registration required).
FEC Fines Keyes' 2000 Campaign Associated Press WASHINGTON - Illinois Senate candidate Alan Keyes' 2000 presidential campaign has been fined $23,000 for campaign finance violations including taking excessive contributions. The Federal Election Commission also ordered Keyes' presidential campaign to repay the federal government $95,302. Keyes accepted partial government financing for the 2000 presidential primaries, in which he competed unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination against President Bush and others. In all, Keyes' 2000 presidential campaign must pay the government $118,302, the FEC said Thursday. The campaign admitted accepting $168,200 worth of contributions over the individual donation limit, which in 2000 was $1,000 per person. It also acknowledged it had taken at least $15,000 in anonymous contributions, among other violations. Keyes is now a Republican candidate in a race for an open Illinois Senate seat. He faces Democrat Barack Obama in the Nov. 2 election.
Don't believe the story, check out the FEC's website:
(a) Keyes 2000, Inc.,
Excessive contributions; excessive contributions in the form of stale-dated checks; failure to dispose of cash contributions over $50; excessive cash disbursements
(a) Conciliation Agreement: $23,000 civil penalty* Respondents will remit $95,302 to the United States Treasury.

a fun daily kos obama thread

can be found here. The introductory paragraph:
Usually, when I write about Obama, I add the little "IL-Sen" code on the title. But Obama is no longer running for Senate. He's got it by popular acclaim. He's now set his sights on helping Dems take back the White House and Congress.
And quoting from the USA Today story, Kos adds:
No doubt. And ideological purists take note -- check out where Obama has placed his money. He's going to be far more effective in a Democratic-controlled Senate than in one run by Frist. He knows it. Everyone else should as well. With all these favors he's collecting, he'll be Majority Leader in no time.

a Truth Girl high point

O.K. So, Truth Girl just returned from her first Obama fundraiser since before the keynote address. Tonight there was a "young professionals" fundraiser for Obama and Kerry at the Chicago Theater. It was so incredibly cool. First, the outside of the Chicago Theatre had Obama's name in huge letters. The side said something like "welcoming the next U.S. Senator from Illinois." I forgot to take a camera, but I'm trusting that the campaign will have some fantastic pictures of the sign. Then, of course, Obama was fabulous. It's largely a new speech since before the primaries. It reminds me of that movie about Jerry Seinfeld when he tosses out his old material and has to begin anew because everyone has already heard it. And Obama's speech was great, as usual. But we must skip to the end when Truth Girl and friends met Chris Heinz. He was so sweet, so nice, a good speaker and does his job fabulously: building up his stepdad. He also says the cutest things about his mom. Truth Girl and friends assured him that they are excited for the day when an intelligent, outspoken women returns as First Lady. Oh, and Truth Girl would be incomplete if she did not mention: Chris Heinz is attractive. And wealthy. And as a p.s. Truth Girl must mention how excited her straight male friends and lesbian female friends were to see Alyssa Milano tonight. The most humble audience line of the night was "I am so honored that Alyssa Milano is nervous to be speaking to me." More on the speeches in the a later post... Update: Changed first fundraiser after primary to after keynote address. I forgot I attended at least one fundraiser after the primary, while Jack Ryan was still the opposition. But it was definitely the first event after Obamania hit. And it was definitely the last $50 fundraiser that Obama will ever have.

To the Illinois Leader reader

who wants to read Obama's issue statements without giving her email address and zip code, just click on the line that says "Skip and Continue to Obama for Illinois." but what a waste of money:
I was so proud of Alan Keyes, and so won over. I made another donation to his campaign tonight.

USA Today story

on the Keyes/Obama race. Some fun quotes:
This could have been a meaningful race. It's the first time two African-Americans have faced off for the Senate; the winner will be only the third to serve since 1881. Instead, it's so one-sided that Obama is spending some of his time campaigning for colleagues out of state. ... "He's a player," says Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. "He's a national figure. ... People don't want to 'be like Mike' anymore. They want to be like Barack."

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Kerry's answer on faith

I really liked Kerry's answer on faith:
KERRY: I respect their views. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many. I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith. I believe that choice is a woman's choice. It's between a woman, God and her doctor. And that's why I support that. Now, I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade. The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to. I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade. Now, with respect to religion, you know, as I said, I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me. And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, "I'm not running to be a Catholic president. I'm running to be a president who happens to be Catholic." My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, "What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead." And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people. That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith. But I know this, that President Kennedy in his inaugural address told all of us that here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own. And that's what we have to -- I think that's the test of public service.
So, this year, for as extreme as the politics has been, has I think aided the debate over the role of faith in politics. Democrats have been unwilling to cede the world of faith to Republicans. From Clinton's speech to Obama to Kerry's comments tonight to Amy Sullivan's articles appearing in nearly every periodical, it's been a good year for exploring what the role of religion and faith should be. Now, in my opinion, it's time to start working on that evangelical base. Surely, little by little, we can make them a little less Republican...

Families that pray together, don't stay together

The Archpundit is right. I loved his post and links challenging Keyes statement that:
They found that the change in family structure, the move to single-parent households, the decline of our family structure was the main contributing factor to the lack of affordable housing.
In sum the Archpundit concludes,
So saying that more conservative faith leads you to more stable families is demonstrably false.
The links that he had were interesting:

Religion (% have been divorced) Jews (30% ) Born-again Christians (27%) Other Christians (24%) Atheists, Agnostics (21%)

I think it's worth noting that these numbers comes from The Barna Group, a conservative Christian research group. In fact, a description advertising for careers states:
Is there a career for you at The Barna Group? Would you like to serve the body of Christ by working with the premiere marketing research company in America that is dedicated to assisting God’s people to do the work of the kingdom? Located on the coast of sunny, southern California, an hour north of Los Angeles, we are seeking individuals who want to distinguish themselves as professionals who are helping ministries fulfill God’s vision. We conduct primary research to help them identify ministry opportunities and challenges.
So, we're not talking about a left-wing conspiracy group out to attack evangelicals. More from Barna's website:
Overall, 33% of all born again individuals who have been married have gone through a divorce, which is statistically identical to the 34% incidence among non-born again adults.
And on economics:
Income appears to be inversely related to identifying oneself as a "born again Christian." We found that only 26% of those who earn at least $60K a year call themselves born again, while 44% of those who earn under $60K a year identify themselves as born again Christians. (2001)
On a personal note, which you don't really care about, but I think I believed Keyes. I'm still adjusting from my fundamentalist days and the moral framework that it offered. I just forget that there are a lot of people who are very moral, including a commitment to marriage, without a fundamentalist, or even any, religious framework.

Single Women: Vote

So, I had no idea that single women were such slackers when it came to voting. I first clicked on the Archpundit's ad earlier today. But I have to admit the overwhelming pink was too much for me. Then, a little research found this story on labelling single women as the next potential "soccer moms" or "Nascar dads." I'm so fascinated. I didn't realize there was that difference in voter turnout between single and married women. And it extends to how they vote:
the fact is most married women say they'll vote for President Bush. By nearly 2-to-1, unmarried women say they support John Kerry.
The first poll said that women were voting for Obama 74 percent to 21 percent for Keyes. I'd be curious how that plays out married/single. I'm not really surprised, it reflects the women I know, but I'm still intrigued. But the most compelling editorial encouraging single women to vote came from...who else? Oprah. While browing her site looking for the link to the Obama story, I found this excellent editorial:
...I cast a ballot for everybody who came before me and gave their life's energy so that yours and mine could be a force that matters today. Emancipated slave and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth, speaking at the Women's Rights Convention in Akron in 1851, said, "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!" We'd see amazing changes if women took to the polls en masse. The most recent statistics are embarrassing and disrespectful to our female heritage—to every suffragette, to every woman who didn't have a voice but hoped someday her daughters might be heard. There was a time not so long ago in this country when unmarried women held no status, other than as old maids. Our opinions and choices didn't matter because we needed a man to bring us value. Now we have the power and have chosen not to use it. In the 2000 presidential election, 22 million unmarried women who were eligible to vote stayed home from the polls. While 68 percent of married women voted, only 52 percent of unmarried women did so. If single women voted at the same rate as married women, millions more ballots would have been cast. Remember, 537 votes decided the last presidential election. We owe more—we ought to do better and respect ourselves enough to be counted. Vote.
So take Oprah's advice, vote.

O, the Oprah magazine

From the comments:
There's an excellent interview with Barack in the new O magazine. There couldn't be a better article if Jesus wrote it Himself. It really shows Barack as the thoughtful, more-than-competent, freakishly intelligent person he is. And it's OPRAH, so it's a gazillion times more important than a radio debate. # posted by Anonymous : 10:18 PM
I think I've purchased every magazine with an extended article on Obama. I've never purchased O, the Oprah Magazine before. This will be a first. And as a bonus I get to learn about "Oprah and the Really, Really Good Sandwich."
It was a miracle on rye—no, make that on homemade white pepper-Jack bread. It wasn't just the curried chicken sandwich that bowled Oprah over, but a local California cook, a quirky cafĂ©…and an opportunity to help keep some local home fires burning.

Even if not as crazy...

I listened to most of the debate before bed last night and even though many people is saying Keyes was pretty normal, his tone was still condescending, he still made no sense and he still interrupted the moderator (drink for that). So, I guess it's sort of the George Bush standard, if you aren't as terrible as expected, you did well. Anyway, Archpundit has the rebuttal and commentary to the specifics of the debate. Comments on atmosphere here. Foreign policy here. Domestic policy here. On Keyes' attitude here.

Comments on the ads

1. Obama answered the BAIPA nonsense, as Archpundit calls it, well at the debate, saying:
OBAMA: Well, you know, this is apparently the entire basis on which Ambassador Keyes decided to contradict himself with respect to his views about federalism and not carpet-bagging and not running in other states. According to Ambassador Keyes, this was the reason, this bill. And unfortunately, it's premised on a falsehood. You know, if Ambassador Keyes had called me up, he could have saved himself a trip because existing Illinois law mandates that any infant that has a chance for survival is provided life-saving treatment. Not only that, you've got to have a second doctor there to certify that in fact that is the case. That continues to be the case, that is current law today, as it should be. Now, the bill that was put forward was essentially a way of getting around Roe vs. Wade, which is why 21 other senators, Democrat and Republican, why the Illinois Medical Society objected to the bill. At the federal level there was a similar bill that passed because it had an amendment saying this does not encroach on Roe vs. Wade. I would have voted for that bill.
Since the ads are coming up (although fortunately not in Chicago, yet), let's all be on top of our personal "rapid response." One source is the Obama website, at "Just the Facts about Obama." 2. Does anyone else find it a little odd that RenewAmerica is publicizing the ads?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

MP3 of the debate is up

on Keyes' website. Might as well listen to it using his bandwidth.

How much did you drink?

Took down the original post b/c I couldn't find the delete comments option fast enough for my taste. Anyway, here's the game again: A drinking game for the Obama/Keyes debate. 1 drink: Every time Obama mentions an ordinary Illinoisan by name. Every time Obama mentions outsourcing. Every time Obama mentions factories closing. (And yes, 3 drinks if all three of the above come in one answer.) Every time either candidate mentions John Kerry. Every time Keyes says "slaveholder's position." Every time Keyes says "infanticide." If Keyes says "Marxist" or "socialist." Another drink if he adds "hard-line." Every time Obama mentions the rising cost of health care or uninsured workers. If Keyes responds to a health care question by talking by tort reform. Every time Keyes rips on the media. If Keyes uses the phrase "selfish hedonist." If Keyes uses the phrase "haunted by the possibility of a child." Every time Keyes mentions his "experience" during the Reagan administration. If Keyes references being Catholic. If Obama references his personal religious beliefs. If Keyes mentions tariffs as the solution to everything. If Keyes mentions the Dred Scott case by name. 2 drinks: Every time Keyes interrupts the moderator. Every time Keyes interrupts Obama. Every time Keyes tries to challenge Obama to additional debates. Every time Keyes says that the polls are false, that he doesn't believe the polls, etc. Every time they agree on something. At the end, a toast: To yourself for listening to a radio debate. It was so retro, afterall. To Obama for putting up with Keyes. So since abortion and gay marriage didn't come up much, many of the suggestions weren't relevant. But it doesn't seem like there was still room to get a little tipsy by drinking for mentions of Kerry, as long as you were drinking something stronger than beer.

Seems like I didn't miss much...

Many thanks to the truth tornado for filling in to allow my social life to be unhindered by Alan Keyes. It appears that in the end, I didn't miss all that much. In fact, according to Eric Zorn, the big question was:
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ALAN KEYES? That, in a nutshell, seemed to be the main thing reporters wanted to know tonight during Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate Alan Keyes' post-debate news conference here in the Old State Capitol building. "What happened to `Jesus wouldn't vote for Barack Obama?'" asked Daily Herald State Government Editor John Patterson, grilling Keyes about his surprising shift during the debate away from the aggressive tone and personal attacks that has so far marked his campaign. " I don't understand," said Keyes, affecting a "moi?" pose. "What change of tone?"
The Sun-Times summarizes portions of the debate as:
Getting his first chance to debate front-runner Barack Obama face to face, Republican Senate candidate Alan Keyes suggested his opponent lacks the foreign affairs experience to make wise decisions about fighting terrorism but generally stayed away from direct attacks.
And I like this quote from Obama:
Keyes has said Obama's opposition was the key factor in his decision to move to Illinois and enter the Senate race. "Unfortunately, it's premised on a falsehood. If Ambassador Keyes had called me up, he could have saved himself a trip," Obama said.
As for this talk of spaghetti, Christmas trees and bayonets, I'll have to wait for the transcripts.

WGN's debate footage

I don't get what the purpose of a radio debate is if the media is allowed to tape the radio footage. Anyway. WGN just showed video of Keyes telling the moderator that he was going to finish his statement (which was the most heated moment of this debate), but stay tuned for the next two debates!

The Radio Debate is Over

Well, there were no outbursts for this round. I have to say I think the radio format probably didn't capture some things that might have been interesting, but such is life. Obama was well-spoken as always, and Keyes managed to blame the problems of our world on a tariff shortage, crumbling traditional notions of marriage, ignoring the danger of WMDs, and golden eggs. Oh, and I think that Christmas trees or their decorations were also placed in an unfavorable light, but that might of just been my interpretation.

only 10 minutes left...

I guess the abortion and gay marriage issues will have to wait for the next two debates, and really I think the exchanges and responses on those issues will be better captured on television--so fair enough. Update: I guess I was wrong. The moderator had to get in the abortion issue. Oh and Keyes even squeezed in the traditional family argument in his closing.

More than half way through...

I think Obama is doing well and offering solid responses. Keyes just got a little short with the moderator, but I guess he just has to finish every thought. As for the issue of prescription drugs and health care and using generic drugs, Keyes has offered another classic statement, in that this would be, "killing the goose that lays the pharmaceuticals egg" Obama did well with the story of the Galesburg father who needs expensive medicine for his son. Of course, Keyes blames this problem of high priced drugs on free trade agreements. I think this is the start of his pro-tariff argument. And did Keyes manage to infer that these free trade agreements are slave like?

Bayonets and Spaghetti Noodles

Hmmm...I suppose since the issue has been raised it may be hard to eat spaghetti noodles with a bayonet. Deep thoughts.

The Debate has Started...

Well it only took Keyes about 2 seconds to slam Kerry. Has he already forgot that he is debating Obama? Obama answered the Iraq question with actual insight. Keyes just repeated the Bush administration's scare tactics of WMDs and the necessity of pre-emptive wars. A third of the debate is over. I wonder if they will get to any issues concerning...I don't know...Illinois? Wait.. .did Keyes say he thought we could work with Iran? Fun.

Obama vs. Keyes

I don't normally expect to be huddled around a radio, but in mid-October I suppose I might consider it for a baseball game (if my cable went out)...but since my team is out anyway the next best thing has to be the hour ahead. Let's see what transpires between Obama and Keyes tonight.

Monday, October 11, 2004

My favorite quote

As you listen to the debate tomorrow, keep in mind my favorite quote from the Obama camp:
In Keyes' campaign literature, he refers to himself as the greatest orator of the 21st century. He lists Abraham Lincoln and Everett Douglas as the greatest orators of the 19th and 20th centuries." Certainly somebody billed as the greatest orator of the 21st century will do quite well against a state senator from Hyde Park," Obama spokesman Gibbs said, adding: "My tongue may be planted somewhere near my cheek."

Just watched the City Desk video...

as posted on Keyes website. A few thoughts:
  1. After watching the tape, I have to say, if I were Obama, I would want out of the debates. Why would you want to be in the same room as Keyes? Calling you names and talking in his condescending voice.
  2. Keyes says that the debates don't exist to serve him. Whatever. Then he rambles about serving the people and how the people need to know how all 4 candidates stand. But Keyes/Obama "undecideds" have to be even more confused Kerry/Bush "undecideds." There is absolutely no way to not know where these candidates differ. The "undecideds" exist because there are Republicans who don't know whether to stay home or vote. But it's not because they don't know where the candidates stand.
  3. Keyes spends his time attacking Kerry on the War on Iraq. He made a quick comment about "the wisdom of hindsight" being easy and how "John Kerry and Barack Obama run around now..." Then, he switched to Kerry, perhaps remembering how Obama had foresight.
  4. As to terrorism and the war, Keyes is still confused about what Iraq was (integral part of the global infrastucture on terror). And then becomes very hostile, arguing that exit strategies are not appropriate: "What do we call somebody who when you get into a battle immediately starts thinking about how to get out of it. What do we call these people? You know what we call these people?" He says that an exit strategy is not a victory strategy. O.K., but I can buy that but Bush didn't seem to have a victory strategy either.
  5. Then, he goes with the "I have more experience than you" on the war. He claims that every night while on the National Security Council, he went to bed thinking about terrorism. I can't decide whether it's better or worse to go to bed with people thinking how to kill you, or to go to bed haunted by the possibility of a child. Either way, it's a fraught-filled existence for Alan Keyes.
  6. With all of Keyes' experience on terrorism and national security, I would have thought that he would have been called to testify before the 9/11 commission.
  7. He refused to answer the question of preemptive strikes for Iran or North Korea, arguing that it's a hypothetical question.

Like the debates, I'll save the domestic issues for another day...

Illinois Leader Poll

is quite humorous:

Illinois U.S. Senate debate, Part I. What is most likely to occur during the first debate between Keyes and Obama on Tuesday night in Springfield?
  • Try as he might, Sen. Obama will not be able to resist engaging Keyes in verbal sparring
  • Alan Keyes will reveal that not only is Jesus Christ not going to vote for Obama but that Christ has also decided to intervene on Keyes' behalf
  • Sen. Obama will use the following rebuttal line in response to a Keyes answer at least once, "this is a reason I'm up 50 points'
  • Alan Keyes will go beyond questioning Obama's heritage and faith to alleging that, in fact, Obama is a figment of the collective imagination of IL voters and doesn't actually exist.
  • The fallout of the debate will lead to a MTV Celebrity Deathmatch claymation re-enactment

Keyes on City Desk

The video is up on Keyes' website. Comments coming in a later post.

the anti-Obama ad

Via Archpundit. I thought that in general negative ads should appears remotely believable. The ellipses in the ad make it completely seem as completely ridiculous, as it is. And Archpundit has speculation on coordination with the Keyes campaign, which is, of course, a violation of campaign finance laws.

National Coming out Day

Something that I can't believe neither the Archpundit nor Chillinois mentioned this, but Happy National Coming Out Day. And shame on Redeye for yesterday's story. Update on 10/12: Removed the link to Redeye, since it is now pointing to today's story about Christopher Reeve. I have no desire to shame the Redeye for a story on him.

WaPo on Obama

Feel free to contrast this story with the one on Keyes. Perhaps the most entertaining paragraph:
He also happens to have raised more than $14 million, said Obama's communications director Robert Gibbs, who bears the uncommonly relaxed look of a spokesman who rarely has to parry bad news. On a day that started in Milwaukee and ended in downstate Illinois, Obama was trailed by reporters from three national newspapers, National Public Radio, Time magazine and, in the clearest sign of his transformation, Vogue.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Bean/Crane Race

Keyes helps yet another Democrat (from the Trib):
Despite Crane's considerable advantages, Republicans remain worried that an upset is within reach, in part because their party has been rocked by scandals in recent years and embarrassing missteps in its struggle to field a candidate in the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign. "People are nervous, there's no two ways about it," said Gary Skoien, chairman of the Cook County Republican Party. "If something bad happens, if [President Bush's] people sit on their hands or if there's a national meltdown of any kind, then Phil's got to be worried." A recent Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed Democrat John Kerry with a comfortable lead over Bush, and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama running away with his race against Republican Alan Keyes. Such developments could suppress Republican turnout and hurt Crane, Skoien said.
Thanks, Alan.

Kenyan stories

I love the stories of how Kenyans are following the Keyes/Obama race. There's one in the Trib today.

I forgot...

to watch the City Desk report. Watched the marathon instead. I need Tivo. Or for Keyes to be relevant again.

Dred Scott

There's a nice diary and comments up on Daily Kos about Bush's use of Dred Scott in Friday's debate:
When Bush made reference to "Dred Scott" he was assuring his anti-choice constituents that he would indeed only appoint Supreme Court justices who would remove abortion rights.
I knew that talk of Dred Scott seemed familiar. Then, I remembered, "yes, becuase Alan Keyes likes to use it." Although I couldn't find a specific quote about Dred Scott and abortion from Keyes, his use at the phrase "slaveholder's position" is even more direct:
"I would still be picking cotton if the country's moral principles had not been shaped by the Declaration of Independence," Keyes said. He said Obama "has broken and rejected those principles — he has taken the slaveholder's position."
And his supporters connect abortion to Dred Scott:
"Barack Obama is a constitutional lawyer," O'Malley said today. "He is on the wrong side of Dred Scott on this one. The legislation I introduced would have protected infants who are born alive with a beating heart and breathing lungs. He was opposed to protecting those babies."
However, Keyes seems to use it even more broadly than just abortion. He used the case anytime he wants to say that a court is wrong. In reference to gay marriage:
Well, wait. Wait, wait. I would remind Barney Frank that that's what they said about Dred Scott, and you see what happened. It's also what they said about Roe vs. Wade, and you have seen what is happening.
On affirmative action:
In the interval between the presidential election of 1856 and the inauguration of President James Buchanan, and on the eve of the infamous Dred Scott decision that – in its ambition to impose the spirit of racial categorization on the whole country – is close kin to federal affirmative-action programs, a private citizen named Abraham Lincoln addressed a political dinner in Chicago.
On the Ten Commandments in Alabama:
FITTON: OK, thanks, Joe. Alan, is this another Dred Scott? We got about a little less than a minute left. KEYES: Actually, in a way, I think it's even worse, because Dred Scott was an assault on the rights of individuals who belonged to a certain group, black Americans. This is an assault, wholesale assault, on the right of the people, guaranteed under the Constitution, to decide through their states with respect to matters of religious belief.
So, yes, it's Alan Keyes supporters that Bush is trying desperately to shore up support. We must keep reminding the undecideds of this...

Friday, October 08, 2004

Debates: a must-see

Daily-Herald today says that the Obama/Keyes debate will be a "must-see."

Keyes--Why I'm disappointed in him.

A rambling post. So, here's the deal. I think I was hoping that Keyes would be more relevant than he was. I wanted an opportunity to challenge the religious right. But really, Keyes disenfranchised everyone and made himself completely irrelevant. I guess we all knew that Keyes was bound just to be a be a jerk and say rude things, but underneath, I think I was hoping for a little less hatred and a little more intelligent conversation. And for why I wanted intelligent debate: I think that there are evangelicals that can be won over to the Democratic party. A good debate between Obama and a "moderate" evangelical might have helped. But here, Keyes did it on it on his own. People reacted against him instead of for something. Someday a few more evangelicals besides Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo will give up on the Republican party. But really, this wasn't the race to do it. It was over. It was over after the primary. And even more over after Keyes entered. Obama's time is far better spent raising money for close races and helping in swing states. But let's not give up on evangelicals. Democrats can reach them--eventually. One thing to check out is the Interfaith Alliance event on Oct. 12. (Of course, that's the same night as the Keyes/Obama radio debate).

Friday night drinking game...

O.K. after having seen the Dr. Phil segments from the Daily Show, I'm thinking that there are triple shots are due if either candidate wears a denim shirt.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Obama in Wisconsin.

A Russ Feingold and Barack Obama rally in Milwaukee on Saturday. Good job keeping him in-state, Keyes. Not that I really want that. I'd rather he was out making ensuring Democratic victories. Or, as the so-called Austin Mayor suggests, perhaps, future plans... I don't really care. We knew on primary night that Illinois was Obama's. Just help everyone else win, Barack. And both candidates are looking for supporters before their debate on Tuesday in Springfield. Obama. Keyes. Show up and wear your red or blue. O.K. Just blue. Don't wear red.