Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Keyes To Disaster

Barack Obama defeated Ambassador Alan Keyes for the Senate four years ago. During that race, Keyes called Vice President Cheney's gay daughter a "sexual hedonist." Keyes' harsh commentary continues:
Obama is a radical communist, and I think it's becoming clear. That's what I told people in Illinois, and now everybody realizes it's true. He's going to destroy this country, and we're either going to stop him, or the United States of America is going to cease to exist.
Keyes goes on to say that Obama may not legitimately be President and suggests that troops under his command should defy him. The LA Times focuses on the charges about Obama's constitutional qualifications for the Presidency, but for me the scary part of this video is the way Keyes looks at the camera when he says "stop him." In view of what he takes to be the stakes -- the survival of our way of life -- his comment feels almost like an incitement to violence.

When Keyes visited the Nixon Library about 12 years ago, I don't know what was scarier: His humorless, articulate zealotry or the cold look in the eyes of some of his supporters. When they jostled him outside the library after his talk, hungry to get instructions about fighting abortion, and I tried to hold them back so he wouldn't stumble, I remember one man lifting his fists and looking at me with hatred. He was on the verge of slugging me for keeping him from touching the prophet.

We can laugh at tirades such as Keyes' all we want. But during sustained hard times, the quixotic, angry weirdness on the fringes of our political culture (left as well as right) could go mainstream.

Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan

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