There's a lot of talk about wisdom or lack thereof in having Alan Keyes run against Barack Obama in Illinois. I think Keyes is a great guy, extremely articulate and is a great opponent for Obama. Unfortunately, Obama is hugely popular and makes a good show of sounding moderate, while Keyes is too honest to play that kind of game. Some have said that the GOP is throwing Keys to the dogs, setting him up for failure. They'll never win there, so they just need someone who can lose graciously. Keyes is certainly gracious, but if the GOP just needed someone to make a show of losing, why go to the trouble of asking Keyes? Well, the conspiracist's answer involves GOP racism and all sorts of other nonsense. There are plenty of angles to this story that are interesting, but I find two in particular rather interesting.
First, there is the "carpetbagging" matter. As mucha s I like Keyes, this is a definite problem. It's part of the trend of just moving people around to run for office in states where it is convenient, and whether they know anything about the state from which they're running be damned. Keyes is a Maryland resident, but is moving to Illinois just to run for the Senate. It's not right. I really don't like this idea, and I despised it when Hillary Clinton tried it. However, there is a distinction in that the Illinois GOP asked Keyes to move in and run, while Hillary forced herself on the people of New York. In the end, though, this kind of thing is just not right, and I don't like it when the GOP pulls it any more than when the Democrats try it. Still, when all is said and done, it will be up to the voters of Illinois as to whether any of this is important to them. If I were voting, I would still cast my ballot for Keyes, with reservations of course, but in weighing his ideology against Obama's and the value having more Republican Senators, they simply outweigh the capetbagging element. It's similar logic to that used with the presidential election: Bush has hardly been a conservative's conservative, but the fact that he is right on the war simply outweighs his shortcomings on domestic policy.
Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts on the carpetbagging issue, and I largely agree with him. His readers' opinions here and here are also interesting.
The other issue that interested me was raised in the Corner by Mark Krikorian. Namely, why didn't the GOP go to the runner-up in the primary? Krikorian says it's because he is outspoken in favor of enforcing immigration law. If that's the only reason, and Krikorian says Hastert said as much, then that is absolutely disgraceful. Not only do we need people who are interested in enforcing immigration law, pretending that avoiding it is what the electorate wants is lunacy. The very real fact is that immigration law is seriously flawed, with major implications for the War on Terror. It's pathetic that the Illinois GOP is afraid of immigration issues. Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo should set them straight.