The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
''It would be a classic race of conservative vs. liberal,'' said state Sen. Dave Syverson, a member of the panel looking for a candidate to go up against Obama. ''It would put this race on the map in this country -- just for excitement.''
Remember that: a prominent Republican considers Keyes to simply be a “conservative” in a “classic” sense.
''He [Keyes] said that he was open to the idea. And he felt that Obama didn't really represent the views of the people of Illinois. So I think he was really just in the exploration stage."
Keyes thinks that he would “represent” the “views of the people of Illinois.”
''Wow!" said Ronald Smith, another member of state central committee. ''I'd love it. I'd love it.
Keyes is popular among many important Republicans. According to the newspaper, Keyes only liabilities (worth mentioning) are: “Never actually elected. Has been criticized for paying self salary out of campaign funds in 1992 Senate race and dragging feet in filing some paperwork in 1996 presidential bid.“
Now, what sorts of beliefs does this classic “conservative” have that would do a god job in representing the view of the people of Illinois? First, the separation of church and state is a lie:
"When are we going to get this through our heads?" Keyes asked. "For the last 40, and 50, and 60 years, the lawyers and the judges who have pretended that there is some reference to separation in the Constitution have lied to us -- and we must no longer act as the victims of this lie. It is by means of this lie that they have made our reverence for law the enemy of our reverence for God."
Second, that the American Republic is ending:
"It's no doubt we could be living in the last days of the American republic," said Keyes, as he reflected on recent court decisions regarding the Pledge of Allegiance and the assault on the institution of marriage posed by same-sex marriage. His answer, he said, is to remove judges from office through impeachment for the high crime of "stealing your right to include God. Our founders didn't provide for judicial supremacy. That's not what they had in mind." Keyes does not believe that the courts are the final arbitrator of law but rather that the people should be.
Finally, he defends the creation of state-level theocracies:
Americans should demand that they be granted "what the tyranny of the courts has sought to wrest from us -- the freedom to live in communities that are governed by laws that reflect our beliefs," Keyes said, adding that what a state does regarding religion is "none of the federal government's business."
"There might be states in which they require a religious test or oath of office," he said. "There might be states in which they have established churches where subventions are given to schools and so forth to teach the Bible. There might be places where you and I might disagree with the religion some folks want to put in place over their ... community."
With such a constitutional interpretation, Keyes acknowledged, Catholicism likely would dominate in the Northeast and Protestantism down South. With a growing Muslim population, a state could even have state-sanctioned Islamic symbols and schools. "I don't think it would be likely, but it would be possible," Keyes told Baptist Press. "It was intended that folks who were of a similar persuasion in terms of religion would be able to establish communities. That's what the first colonialists to America did."
Contrast these remarks, especially the idea that it is fine for Americans to live in segregated faith communities, with Barack Obama‘s remarks at the Democratic National Convention:
[A]longside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga. A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief — I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper — that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.
Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America — there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America.
A Republican alternative to Keyes, Andrea Grubb Barthwell, is even worse — at least, according to ABC News:
In front of her staff, Andrea Grubb Barthwell made repeated comments about the sexual orientation of a staff member and used a kaleidoscope to make sexually offensive gestures, according to the findings of a March 19, 2003, "hostile workplace memorandum" prepared by drug policy office staff. ... The report says her staff had "the highest regard for Dr. Barthwell's credentials and knowledge, but ... almost uniformly stated their fear and discomfort with what they consider to be unusual behavior patterns and displays of temper."
Barthwell said she has not decided whether to pursue the Senate seat, but she said the complaint should not be a factor in her candidacy. "I think it's something that was in the past, something we dealt with and it was resolved to everyone's satisfaction," she said.
Barthwell doesn’t seem to be a likely candidate, but I hope they run with Keyes. I think that it would be great to see the two of them contrasted and for those contrasts to be broadcast nationally. If Keyes runs, it’s because he is picked to do so by the Republican Party — and they will have to take responsibility for his wacky, lunatic-fringe beliefs.