Not Necessarily Hypocrisy

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I know there's nothing here that wasn't already in John Rabe's comments on my Alan Keyes post, but since not everyone reads comments that show up after they originally read the entry, I've decided this is important enough to link to his entry making the points his comment already made. His point is that the hypocrisy charges against Alan Keyes are not necessarily justified. Keyes does have an argument for why his case is very different from Hillary Clinton's. She pushed her way into a state whose Democratic party hadn't originally asked her, even if it welcomed her, and her popularity would be expected to discourage other potential candidates. Keyes was asked by the state Republican party in desperate straits who might not otherwise have a candidate who could stand a chance against the guy the national Democratic party gave a spot at the convention to. Keyes might be able to argue that in such a case it's worth risking something he doesn't like to stave off something he likes even less. If there's no absolute principle against running in a state you don't live in, this should be ok. Now he just needs to argue that it's not an absolute principle against it, and Hillary's case was bad enough even given a non-absolute principle that it was worth his harsh words. Otherwise, he needs to say he's changed his view and apologize for what he said.

8 Comments

I believe Keyes comments on Hillary running had to do with how it eroded federalism. In that sense, I don't see Keyes running in Illinois as being any different. (Saying that the particular circumstances are different helps but it still doesn't address Keyes' main contention that running to represent people in a state where you do not live erodes the power of federalism.) Of course, you could make a case that this is the lesser of two evils but it still doesn't say much for Keyes' priniciples.
Keep in mind that as an Illinois resident I will vote for him and that I probably agree with him on 99% of his views.
The real villain in this whole mess is the Illinois Republican Party and their seemingly endless political blundering.
-jdm

I think the issue is that some federalist principles might conflict with others, and you have to sort out which you think are more important than others. Having a viable candidate from both parties might be more important than insisting every candidate should be from the state in question. In this case, due to the popularity and money on Obama's side, the state party thinks the candidates within the state couldn't have a chance pulling it off beginning so late, but someone with more name recognition as Keyes could.

due to the popularity and money on Obama's side, the state party thinks the candidates within the state couldn't have a chance pulling it off beginning so late, but someone with more name recognition as Keyes could.

*My* speculative guess as to reasons is far more cynical. I believe the IL-Reps realize that even Keyes doesn't have a significant chance here. But Obama looks like a rising Democratic star, and they want not to let him sail through unruffled. If they can get an opponent who is fairly high-profile, like Keyes, and who is an articulate & extremely aggessive attacker (as Keyes surely is: his opponents are never merely mistaken, but are almost always threatening to undercut the very foundation of our democracy, or even Western Civilization), they can maybe bruise up Obama's image for the future.

I don't doubt that the Illinois Republicans seek to undercut Obama's chances to claim universal support among Illinois residents or his chances of coming across only as he appears to come across. I also suspect that they want to use this as a chance to have draw national attention to the race and to the issues they want Keyes representing. Some of this is even to challenge the image Obama put forth at the DNC. Still, that doesn't mean it's the only or even the primary motive for them, and it especially doesn't mean that's the only or primary motive for Keyes himself.

that doesn't mean it's the only or even the primary motive for them

Agreed. That this was their primary motive is, as I admitted, just my own speculative guess. I do think it's a more plausible guess than that they think they can really win with Keyes. I don't recall Keyes doing especially well when he ran in the Ill presential primary.

Regarding Federalism, I tend to be a "free market" guy in that I think the voters ought to get to choose whomever they want.

I never felt so much that it was illegitimate for Hillary to run in New York; I simply felt that the voters there would reject her candidacy. I was wrong, obviously, but if they want her they ought to be able to have her.

Same with term limits. My heart tells me I ought to be for anything that would shove Ted Kennedy out of office, but my mind says "If this is who the people want representing them, this is who they ought to be able to have."

What you think about federalism doesn't change what Keyes thinks about it, so the prima facie charge of hypocrisy still needs to be met. I think you've given enough reasons, and he seems to be doing the same thing (see Ray Pritchard's discussion of his Hannity and Colmes appearance last night).

I think I disagree with you on whether people really want Ted Kennedy representing them. I think there are too many political goings-on determining who runs with each party to say that the people are really decided who they want representing them. The fact that so many people don't like either Bush or Kerry but feel compelled to vote for one of them shows this.

The problem with flat democracy is that voters can't be trusted to know what's good for them (which is why those who complain about Bush losing the popular vote but still winning the election ignore the real reasons for electoral colleges). The problem with indirect elections like our democratic republic is that those who decide who will be the candidates don't always have the people's best interests at heart. That's why I maintain that a monarchy is the best government, provided the monarch is a good, thoughtful person. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee of that, so we have to go with these flawed systems.

No, certainly Keyes still needs to answer the charge. I'm just throwing out my own opinion here.

My opinion, though, of the electoral process is not quite as dark as yours. Yes, there are power games that go into choosing nominees. But over a 35 year period, nobody is going to the Senate that his people don't want to go to the Senate. No way.

People always gripe about the "lesser of two evils" they have to choose from in general elections, but it only makes sense. Those who represent the purest, most ideological wings of their parties are generally not going to appeal to a broad enough base of voters to get elected (unless they are in the mainstream of where their constituents are at, i.e. Howard Dean and Teddy).

Ultimately, the people nominated by their parties are those who the parties think can win. The candidates thus tend toward the center, leading to the "not a dime's worth of difference between them" lament. But any member of a party can vote in a primary election, and if enough Democrats wanted someone other than Ted Kennedy in the Senate, they'd be able to put him there.

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