Aug. 8, 2004

Alan Keyes, Carpetbagger.

The Washington Post is hammering Alan Keyes today for his decision to seek the U-S Senate seat in Illinois. Keyes has never lived in Illinois, apparently hasn't spent much quality time there, and as recently as a week ago hadn't devoted a nanosecond to thinking about a contest in which Democrat Barak Obama seems an overwhelming favorite. But then he heard from a delegation of Land of Lincoln GOP grandees. They begged him to run, and he consented.

There are several problems with this. First, Keyes rightly hammered Hillary Rodham Clinton for seat-shopping in 2002. Here's the quote: "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Rodham Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and represent people there. So I certainly wouldn't imitate it." Second, he is a dazzling speaker but an often shrill and off-putting stump politician. He is unparalleled at whipping up people who agree with him, but less accomplished in the art of transforming skeptics into true believers. Third, he has been recruited because he has celebrity appeal. People know who he is. By the same token, the party could have nominated Tom Selleck or even Charlton Heston. Celebrity isn't a political qualifier. It more often is an accident of circumstance. Ask Mary Kay Latourneau -- or Carrot Top. Keyes will make the race interesting, but as Mike Murphy argues in The Weekly Standard's online edition, it also could turn into a disaster for the Illinois Republican Party.

Who’s Sweating Now?

One bizarre sidelight to the Keyes quest. After he accepted the party's nomination Sunday afternoon, someone ran up and swiped a sweat-soaked paper napkin. (The room was hot; the candidate and most of the audience were, um, glowing). The enterprising thief of vital bodily fluids now wants to retail the paper hygienic device on eBay, with bids opening at the bargain price, at least for used perspiration, of eight cents. I am not making this up.

Fast food and Cigarettes.  

Apparently, God has a soft spot for trial lawyers. Consider the unlikely combination of their two favorite hobby horses: obesity and cigarettes. A recent piece in The Public Interest, argues that smokers who give up cigarettes end up getting fat, thus swapping cancer risk for potential heart disease. The authors of the article say obesity rates have doubled since 1980 due to the growth in number of ex-smokers. This doesn’t cover the entire issue, however. Obesity also has become endemic among America’s poor - in part, because low-income Americans can cash in food stamps for a wide assortment of toothsome treats that contain large measures of fat, sugar and flour. Tellingly, few people have dared say the obvious thing, which is that we’re getting heavier because we’re losing the knack for self-discipline.

Quick, kids: Who was Peter Best, and why is he the biggest loser in music history?

Kristin Gore, daughter of the former vice-president's, tells us her father regularly quizzed his kids not about global warming, evil corporations, crimes appropriately punishable by impeachment or the vagaries of recounting votes. He grilled them about ... The Beatles. Ms. Gore tells Fuse TV's American presidential election show Electile Dysfunction, "It wasn't so bad categorizing “Rubber Soul” and “Magical Mystery Tour,” but I didn't expect to be quizzed on it." I wonder if this means she can answer the burning question: “Explain the line, “And here’s a clue for you all. The Walrus was Paul.” (The “Paul is Dead” theory doesn’t count.) and case law, in order to remake the world in an image more appealing to them.

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