29 September 2008

The Presidential Candidates: Alan Keyes

Alan Keyes has already lost to Barack Obama once. In 2004, after Obama's Republican rival for the Senate had to drop out when "Seven-of-Nine" ratted out hubby's alleged deviant practices, the GOP ended up recruiting Keyes to run against him. Keyes briefly participated in the campaign for the 2008 presidential nomination, but now has a platform of his own, provided by America's Independent Party, which nominated him for president on August 21.

Not to be confused with the American Independent Party which nominated George Wallace for president in 1968 and won several southern states, the new AIP "is being built by Reagan pro-life, pro-family, “Peace through Strength” conservatives who believe that the Republican Party, with the pending nomination of John McCain, has abandoned the principles of Ronald Reagan – particularly the Reagan pro-life platform plank that recognizes the personhood of the unborn and their protection by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution." Given reports that McCain is a vehement pro-lifer himself, despite his announced willingness to consider a pro-choice running mate, the AIP's stance is mysterious.

The AIP also anathematizes McCain for campaign-finance reform, which it deems an attack on free speech and grassroots organizing, for his sometime support for "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, for his recognition of global warming, and for his refusal to endorse a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as heterosexual monogamy.

Paraphrasing Jefferson, "we declare to the world that our first governmental premise is the self-evident truth that our rights to life, liberty and private property come from our Creator God and are therefore unalienable." So goes the AIP Platform. Note a slight difference in emphasis. Jefferson wrote that all men were "endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights" and in the final version of the Declaration replaced "private property" with "the pursuit of happiness." He did not need to identify the "creator" with the "God" of the Bible, and as a deist would probably have refused such a linkage. The AIP's language is more crude in more than one way.

Overall, the AIP is pro-birth, pro-gun, pro-state's rights and pro-limited government. It would repeal the 16th Amendment and end the Income Tax. More distinctively, it would repeal the 17th Amendment and presumably restore election of U.S. Senators by state legislators. "The protection of the life, liberty, and private property of the people is the primary reason for the existence of human government, and more particularly, our precious American republican form of self-government." the platform declares, "This is why we willingly accept no breach of the rights of the free exercise of religion, free speech, free press, free assembly, free association, and the right to petition government for the redress of grievances. We defend all of the enumerated rights listed in our Bill of Rights, and, in addition, all natural rights that are not enumerated, as per the Ninth Amendment."

Keyes and the AIP are full of platitudes and abstract principles, but it's harder to pin them down on specific policies on actual issues. Keyes has offered his opinion on the bailout bill, however. He sees it as an agreement between "bureaucratic socialists" (i.e. Democrats) and "corporate socialists" (i.e. establishment Republicans). Here's what he said about the latter on a radio program last week.

And on the other hand you have what I think of as the corporate socialists – the people who are pushing us down a socialist road because their corporate clients now see themselves as the kind of premiere recipients of the tax dollars of the American people and can operate in an environment where after they have made profit through risk taking that could not be justified on a sound business basis, they can then be rescued from the results with tax-payer dollars while keeping their profits intact. I think it’s important to note that. And it’s why some people have been so outraged that the failed CEO’s are trotting off with umbrellas that amount to tens of millions of dollars and it shouldn’t be surprising to us because in a lot of ways, whether it’s Lehman Bros. employees with their profits in a trust fund or others, they, along the way, have secured themselves so that in essence, the money that’s being spent on the bailout is just to bailout the rich investors who took the risk. It’s a way of redistributing that risk so that the American people, who didn’t realize that they were co-signing these investments, now have to end up footing the bill.

Keyes offers no alternative to the Paulson bailout, and his prognosis for the country is grim:

We ought to be debating not some bailout, not some so-called rescue plan, but whether or not we are in fact as a people, ready to accept socialism as our form of government. But since we have amongst our political elites so few voices—though some have been raised – that will tell the truth, the debate is not centering on these realities, but instead it is centering on a bunch of buzz words that act as if this is once again the government doing something for the rest of us, when in point of fact, all it is is the consolidation of a form of government that will leave the American people out in the cold, bearing the yoke, but no longer having the power to do anything that really determines the destiny of their country.

Keyes was once a U.S. delegate to the United Nations, but his party's website has just about nothing to say on foreign policy, and you can't seem to get far into Keyes's own site unless you make a contribution. There's plenty available online, of course, in both textual and video form. Here's one of his most recent manifestations, from early September, in which he waxes philosophical rather than political for the most part.

Keyes is an articulate and effective speaker, but he errs in believing that the only way that mankind will acknowledge limits on its will or power is by imagining a being of limitless will and power whose mere being imposes limits on us. True modesty should not require a god to enforce it. Since Keyes hasn't much to say on his website, I'm going to put the link to the AIP on the candidate list and let you look for more Keyes comments elsewhere.

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