Democrats & Liberals Archives

Keyes vs. Obama: The First Illinois Senate Debate

I know I posted somewhere stating that Chicago Tribune’s R. Bruce Dold is probably on his fifth draft writing the editorial page’s endorsement of George W. Bush, but has also put aside a fifth of Wild Turkey, when it comes time to producing the same for Alan Keyes.

On Tuesday night, Ambassador Keyes proved why he would never sport an elected official’s title preceding his name. If you’d tuned in to the debate at seemingly any interval, you would’ve found yourself swept up into one of his haughty, affected rants, a tangent of which bore no semblance to the original question posed. CBS 2 News’ Mike Flannery still has not mastered the art of the ‘journalist’s poker face’, by diagramming his offensive ‘trick play’ with his loaded question to candidate Keyes on the state’s infrastructure. The Republican finally got around to citing his natural constituents – those opposing O’Hare expansion – but how that ranks, as priority among crumbling roads and highways, is still a mystery.

If President Bush did have a transmitting receiver in Debate One, Alan Keyes should’ve been at the opposite end, being personally blessed with a verbosity unfazed by blinking lights. Unfortunately, for the Obama camp, they cannot point to the state constituency surely to be put off by such a display of ‘east coast Conservative Elitist, high flatulent talk’, or else this wouldn’t be a Blue State. The embarrassing irony here for state Republicans, is that they’ve managed to repeat the screw-up of not thoroughly vetting a Senate candidate. Yes, the willing and able GOP Senate race runner-up Jim Oberweis, gave them fits and nightmares of football stadiums filled with illegal alien TV ads, but don’t look for any photo ops with Ditka or Peter Fitzgerald in Keyes’ future.

As for the next junior U.S. Senator from the great state of Illinois, Sen. Obama didn’t even need to show up, let alone agree to two more debates. Moreover, a ‘rose garden’ strategy - while raising more money for DNC coffers and helping other Dem candidates in tight races – would at least give the Illinois press corps something to write about.

Knowing Obama’s unscripted speaking style, I was again irked by his (overly) frequent injections of ‘uh’. I would’ve thought this eventually a concern for his campaign, but it may just be one of my pet peeves. His brilliant ‘truck in the ditch’ analogy was well worth the radio static, and what time he had to get a word in edgewise, he offered up substantive and pointed answers. You can get no better reading of the play by play, as the Chicago Tribune was smart enough to dispatch the able Eric Zorn to cover the first Illinois Senatorial Debate in Springfield.

The discerning ear, could no doubt recognize the oratorical debate style of Barack Obama, having heard the very same from a certain Democratic Presidential nominee recently. The pace and pointed use of specific public policy and legislative initiatives, again contrasted sharply with an opponent seemingly out of touch with the real concerns of voters.

Posted by Bert M. Caradine at October 13, 2004 3:24 PM