Jack Ryan sexed himself out of the running; Barack Obama becomes everyone's favorite Democrat bouncing out of the convention. Who do the color-blind Republicans turn to for an Illinois Senate seat? Alan Keyes! As W. James Antle III discusses this development over at The American Spectator:
The main reason I would like to see Keyes tell his Chicago recruiters to take a long walk off something short is that they don't seem to have the right motives for approaching him to be the candidate. A national search could have discovered a candidate with a better record of winning elections. Race seems to have been a factor. Is it a coincidence that Andrea Grubb Barthwell, the other finalist for the nomination, was also African-American?
State Sen. Dave Syverson of Rockford, a member of the panel that made the offer to Keyes, insists that it is. "It just turned out to be that way," he told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We don't look at color the way the Democrats do." Maybe so, but you don't have to be a thoroughgoing cynic to wonder if the Illinois GOP was thinking: "The Democrats have an articulate, Harvard-educated black candidate who gives great speeches. We need an articulate, Harvard-educated black candidate who gives great speeches."
Keyes has always been a solid traditionalist conservative with libertarian leanings, staking out his positions boldly and giving joy to the heart of those who still like a politician who stands for something (and, thusly, won't fall for anything). As Antle also points out, running for Senate (especially from a state in which he doesn't, and has never, lived) would be a hypocritical move for a man who is such a devotee of state's prerogatives in our federal system that he's publically railed against the direct election of senators. But I always get a kick out of seeing Keyes in the mix politically–he's serious about politics and ideas in a way that's so alien to modern electoral politics that he can't help but stand out as funny–so I've mixed feelings about this. But I know we can trust Keyes to do the right thing, whatever that turns out to be.
Another man who gets a kick out of Keyes is Reason contributing editor and cartoonist Peter Bagge, who drew his hilarious coverage of Keyes's 2000 presidential run at the lamented Suck.com.
UPDATE: Associated Press, via ABC News, is reporting that Keyes is going to run.