Thursday, August 12, 2004

Alan Keyes vs. HRC

Now that my jaw is off the floor after watching Jim McGreevy's resignation, I thought I'd address the issue of Hillary Clinton's carpetbagging vs. Alan Keyes'. If you think that birth or lengthy residency is necessary to run for the U.S. Senate, then there's really no distinction to be made between Clinton or Keyes. If, on the other hand and like me, you think that such factors count for something, but not for everything, then there is are some important differences between the two cases.

So let me explain why I think Hillary Clinton's carpetbagging is far less egregious than Alan Keyes's.

First, Hillary Clinton had been First Lady for 8 years, effectively a resident of Washington DC. After Bill's term was up, they were clearly going to move to some state and establish residency there. Even if there hadn't been an open Senate seat, chances are pretty good that the Clintons would have ended up in NY. Alan Keyes has been a resident of Maryland for many years and there is no reason to think that he would have moved to a different state, let alone Illinois.

Second, Clinton began her campaign in the summer of 1999, about 18 months prior to the election. Alan Keyes showed up in Illinois barely 3 months before the election.

Third, Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate with the enthusiastic backing of New York Democrats, including about 80 percent of the Democratic voters in the primary. Alan Keyes was handpicked by the Illinois GOP central committee. Had he chosen to run in the GOP primary, he would have would have been soundly rejected by the Illinois Republican primary voters.

Fourth, Hillary Clinton, as far as I know, was never on record criticizing someone for carpetbagging. Keyes, in contrast, was pretty withering in his criticism of Hillary Clinton.

Finally, for all her talk of rooting for the Yankees, Hillary Clinton was pretty clear that she was coming to NY to run for the Senate. Maybe not the most noble impulse, but she nevery really tried to hide it. Alan Keyes, on the other hand, wants to claim that only the unprecedented emergency created by Barack Obama's candidacy has caused him to, reluctantly and with great anguish, toss out his deeply held federalist principles. Further, he wants to claim that as the Land of Lincoln, we are all Illinoisans if we believe in the principles espoused by Lincoln. I don't have a lot of respect for Alan Keye's mental state, but even I don't think he believes this hooey.

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