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Alan Keyes Has a Dream
January 23, 2002
by birdman

On the day set aside to honor Martin Luther King MSNBC decided to grace the airwaves with a new show featuring perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes. Keyes is one of a small but visible group of black conservatives who've become showpieces for the right wing by cozying up to the same type of pols who did everything they could to keep the ideals of King and others from becoming a reality.

Keyes is one of those people who makes money by telling the rest of us what immoral, depraved people we've become. He wouldn't let woman get an abortion at any time for any reason. He once said that if we allow assisted suicide "We usurp the authority that belongs solely to the Creator." Of course he enthusiastically supports the death penalty (screw the Creator).

Hates gays; loves guns, the whole right-wing routine that we know so well. At least that's what Keyes says. In reality it's hard to tell if he believes any of that because his career has been all about him. Keyes is a hustler.

Keyes was first a college professor and later a diplomat. He launched his diplomatic career in the Reagan administration. What seems to have attracted the Reagan people to Keyes was his status as a black man willing to oppose sanctions on South Africa. So Keyes political career was built on support for a corrupt, racist regime that would have thrown Keyes in prison for a couple of decades if he dared to speak out the way he does here.

Keyes ran twice for the U.S. Senate from Maryland, losing badly both times but the campaigns proved at least a financial revelation for Keyes. In his 1992 campaign it seems he paid himself a rather handsome salary for running. He simply took it out of the campaign funds that he raised.

This, apparently, is legal if rather unethical. Even Keyes own staff urged him to stop paying himself because it looked so sleazy. Keyes refused and continued to line his pockets with money that supporters gave him so that could tell the rest of us how immoral we've become. He later refused to pay back the back debt that his 1992 campaign owed. Of course the campaign would not have owed the debt had Keyes not paid himself so well.

Having decided that running political campaigns was a terrific gig and that it didn't even have to be about winning , Keyes has now run twice for president. Even though he had trouble attracting enough voters to get up a poker game Keyes refused to be deterred. No matter how futile his campaign, the extra exposure enabled Keyes to increase his lecture fees enormously.

During the 1996 primary season Keyes received only minimal support for his quixotic candidacy and a the organizers of one of the debates in South Carolina decided to restrict the debate to 'major' candidates. Keyes, of course, was not one of the majors. Incensed, Keyes decided to crash the party and the organizers had him arrested.

After getting sprung Keyes decided to martyr himself to the cause of higher lecture fees by going on a hunger strike. Now even the Klansters in suits who run the modern GOP knew that they couldn't allow their only African-American Presidential candidate to starve himself to death publicly because the party was excluding him from the process (even if it's unlikely that Keyes would have taken his fast to Gandhi-like levels). As a result Keyes was soon back in the debates telling us all what bad people we all are.

In 2000 Keyes repeated his Presidential effort, attracting about the same level of support (next to none) and stayed in right to the end. When all the minor candidates had dropped out Keyes was still participating in the debates even though he had no chance whatsoever of gaining the nomination.

During one debate the photographer from the New York Times managed to take the ultimate Rodney Dangerfield picture showing Bush and Mc Cain debating and excluding Keyes even though he was seated BETWEEN them. Still Keyes campaigned on even after Mc Cain dropped out and only conceded in a tersely worded statement just before the GOP convention. Campaigning is Keyes hustle. He was in it for the money and the visibility and he was staying right to the end. His tenacity has now landed him a TV show.

King dreamed of a world of racial and economic justice. Keyes apparently dreamed of getting rich. King made some progress toward his dream in his lifetime. Looks like Keyes did too.

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