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Thursday
Feb262009

NMN (Not My Negro!): Alan Keyes Edition

Writer, Havard professor Laurence Bobo recently penned an article for The Root wondering why Republicans were sitting on their hands in regards to former presidential candidate Alan Keyes' latest inflammatory words about President Barack Obama.

In "The GOP's Nutty Negro" Bobo opines:

The absence of Republican voices denouncing the irresponsible remarks is as disconcerting as Keyes’ crazy rant. Where are the voices of responsible Republican leadership disassociating the party from such poisonous accusations? The silence is telling.

There is a viciously insidious strain of racism just beneath the surface of these vile allegations about President Obama’s citizenship that bears focusing on, even if the initial impulse is to dismiss them as the ravings of a nut job. It is little surprise that Alabama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby would be among those helping to stoke such insipid rumblings, or that former Republican Party chair and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour would be among those suggesting that his state might not accept stimulus-package funds. Recall that over 90 percent of white voters in Alabama voted against Obama.

Bobo makes a good point, but there's only one quibble I have.

Keyes, despite being a prominent black conservative, isn't a Republican. Hell, I would argue that a lot of Republicans would cross the street if they saw Keyes trotting down it.

While he was still calling himself a Republican as recently as early 2008, one could argue Keyes checked out the mainstream Republican Party not long after his carpet bagging experience in Illinois when the Illinois Republicans set him up as a comic foil to crash and burn against then senate candidate Barack Obama.

One could argue Keyes is just as frustrated with the Republicans as they are with him. He is to the far, far right of even the most ardent of righties (his biggest fan is nihilist, performance shock artist and "comedian"Ann Coulter). Keyes has repeatedly been unsuccessful at gaining any respect or success within the party since his heyday as an ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations under the Reagan Administration. He also once served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1985 to 1987.

Since then, it's been a whole lotta fighting. From getting banned from presidential debates, to being used until they couldn't use him anymore, Keyes left the Republican Party last year a bitter, jaded man. He has since bounced around, flirting with multiple third parties, including the Constitutional Party (which also kicked him to the curb) and is currently affiliated with the America's Independent Party.

He is a marginal figure in the conservative movement, at best, and I think most Republicans washed their hands of him after his failure to even put a dent in Obama in 2004.

While he was once a Republican, as an rogue conservative, he seriously isn't beholding to anyone but himself and no one, not even the most right of the right is responsible for Keyes. His statements are largely mocked. He has little credibility in the mainstream. He is on his own.

It's more disturbing in the quasi-silence over Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby who is currently in office, has power and who's words carry more weight. Since the news broke on his "doubting Thomas" routine over Obama's citizenship, he has since back-peddled. Claiming his words were misinterpreted to misquoted. And by and large, the RNC wants little to do with the meme. Sen. John McCain wouldn't touch it during his presidential run., still scarred by "illegitimate black baby PTSD." Many party members are fine if some rogues want to do the dirty work, but I doubt Michael Steele is going to work "PROVE YOU'RE AN AMERICAN, MR. PRESIDENT!" into the party's talking points.

You know? Unless he wants to get laughed out of D.C. And he doesn't.

Keyes is his own man. He speaks for Keyes and Keyes alone. While his words are hateful, hurtful and can be interpreted as unpatriotic and insensitive, he has the right to spout all the nutbar rhetoric his heart desires. But he can only spout it on his and his latest fringe right-wing party's behalf.

Keyes isn't in office. Can't even get on a mainstream news program. He is truly a man operating outside of the system using the internet and ardent supporters to get his message out there. Keyes doesn't have power.

The only real concern is that his hateful rants could influence those who do have some cache, like sitting US Senators. But those are the individuals who need the chin checking by the party bigwigs.

It's pointless to try to reign in the rantings of a mad, mad man.

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Reader Comments (5)

This man is to be pityed, the far right christian used him the gop far right used him and he is still lap dog for them. He was their house "N" Then they dropped him fast qiuck and in a hurry. Pity the man

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHarold Law

I accept that no matter how many wars with fight or contributions we make, many will see people of color as un-American. But shouldn't fellow people of color like Keyes or Thomas have at least enough pride not to participate in it?

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKwinnky

Sad but true. Keyes is a sick brother who needs help. He's filled with a lot of anger, partly due to the fact that he's smart and articulate, and nobody in his party will listen to him. His ego is tied up to his political career, which sucks and the reason he's so mad.

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdukedraven

Republicans have just become silly. I am having difficulty even conjuring up outrage at their antics, or lack thereof in comments about Keyes. I have fallen to just sighing and asking, is this really all they have?

February 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterafistfullofeuros

It is so refreshing to see others have the same reaction to Keyes that I had. I view him as a loon in need of help.

Danielle, so glad I discovered your blog. I'm a bit of a snob myself. ;-) I'll be adding you to my blogroll.

February 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRutherford Lawson
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