Friday, August 06, 2004

Keyes as a Debater

Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo does a good takedown of Keye's debating style:

"I've had a number of people -- both Republicans and Democrats -- write in today and suggest that the real reason for running Keyes is not to win the race (which I think goes without saying) but to rough up Obama and break his political stride with an eye toward his apparently limitless political future.

What'll make this possible, the argument goes, is submitting Obama to Keyes' rhetorical firepower and word wizardry at the debates that will surely happen between now and November.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'wingers who seem to have taken over the Illinois GOP think this is going to happen. But this is the really the stupidest idea in the world.

Keyes is something else to watch on the hustings or in a debate. But calling him a master debater is rather like saying Dolly Parton has a dynamite bod or Lou Ferrigno is toned -- or, perhaps mostly aptly, that the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons is quick on his feet. In other words, impressive in his own way, but also a bit cartoonish and rather less than subtle.

If and when these two guys debate what we're going to hear are rants from Keyes -- both spellbinding and inane -- about how tort reform is necessary to bring America back into compliance with natural law, how drug reimportation is incompatible with the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence and how gun control has been outlawed by God.

I don't see how any of that is going to set Obama back much."

Here's a question--did Keye's debate Sarbanes or Mikulski in his Maryland Senate races? If he did, it doesn't seem to have helped him much.

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