August 15, 2004


Keyes Wants to End Election of Senators (MIKE ROBINSON, 8/15/04, Associated Press)

Alan Keyes said he would like to end the system under which the people elect U.S. senators and return to pre-1913 practice in which senators were chosen by state legislatures.

The Republican Senate candidate in Illinois, asked about past comments on the election process, said Friday the constitutional amendment that provided for popular election of senators upset the balance between the people and the states.

"The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level," Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio's "At Issue" program.

He said it was one of the reasons "there has been a steady deleterious erosion of the sovereign role of the states."

Keyes' Democratic rival, state Sen. Barack Obama of Chicago, issued a statement saying he supports popular election of U.S. senators.

Mr. Obama had better have a ton of money on hand, because no one will pay him any attention otherwise.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 15, 2004 2:02 PM

Keyes is confirming his reputation as a brilliant polemicist and public personage, whereas "rising star" Obama has already been reduced to reacting to Keyes's initiatives. If the people of Illinois were voting strictly on quality and stature, Obama would be lucky to get twenty-five percent of the vote.

Sadly, they're not likely to do that.

Posted by: Francis W. Porretto at August 15, 2004 4:07 PM


Obama has not been "reduced" to anything. As long as Keyes insists on making an ass out of himself, why should Obama stop him? Any chance Keyes had to win is being reduced by being the center of attention because once people hear him they think he's a lunatic.

This guy is a carpet-bagger who could never have won an actual primary to be candidate. His candidacy is a joke, and everyone knows it.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at August 15, 2004 4:26 PM

NPR gave him a full 10 minutes last week.

I can't say I agree with everything he said, but there is no arguing the man is both very well read and articulate.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 15, 2004 4:31 PM

Chris - The election was lost after Ryan dropped out and no credible IL Republican (e.g. Ditka) would agree to run. So why not use the campaign to give some airtime to an articulate expositor of ideas that are ahead of their time?

I think at some point the public is going to get fed up with 99% re-election rates for incumbents. This would be one way of dealing with it.

Posted by: pj at August 15, 2004 4:44 PM

If senators were selected by state legislatures there's no way the feds would pass unfunded mandates.

Posted by: Mike at August 15, 2004 7:05 PM

You gotta love the Keyes, you just gotta love him. I would pay good money to be at those debates. 3? 6? Why not 12!

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at August 16, 2004 12:53 AM

I've said it before, Keyes will lose, but this is going to be fun. Obama may be ldesperate for attention by the time this thing is over.

BTW, I watched them both in some interviews this weekend, if McLuhan is right about TV being a "cool" medium Obama is the perfect TV candidate, Keyes the perfect radio/live candidate.

Posted by: cornetofhorse at August 16, 2004 10:07 AM