August 20, 2004

Alan Keyes in Illinois: Part II

Thomas Sowell on the Illinois race between Alan Keyes and Barack Obama:

Keyes is a dynamic speaker whose confrontational style and strong rhetoric have turned off some people, even as they have inspired others. Barack Obama has cultivated a much smoother, moderate-sounding style. But his track record shows him to be at least as far to the left as Alan Keyes is to the right.

An environmentalist movement group has given Obama its highest rating for his votes their way as a state legislator in Illinois. Obama has supported tax increases in Illinois and opposed tax cuts nationally. He supports partial-birth abortion, which is anathema to conservatives like Keyes, and which gives pause even to some liberals who support abortion in general.

If Barack Obama's strongest suit is his rhetoric and his image, his greatest vulnerability is his actual voting record and his speeches against the war in Iraq. Neither gets featured in Obama's campaign material. He is a stealth candidate.

It will take money and lots of it to bring out the facts about Barack Obama's track record, and the media will undoubtedly criticize a "negative" campaign being waged against him. But the mainstream media can hardly be expected to bring the facts to the public's attention, since journalists are ideologically much closer to Obama than to Keyes.

At stake is not only a much-needed U.S. Senate seat but the future ability of the Republican Party to attract and keep black candidates and voters. That is unlikely to happen if black candidates simply get sent out on suicide missions.