ad info

>> allpolitics >> TIME
 guide: gov.,sen.,rep.
 analysis and 'toons

 Headline News Brief
 news quiz
 daily almanac
 video archive
 multimedia showcase
 more services
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Get a free e-mail account

 message boards

CNN Websites
 En Español
 Em Português


Networks image
 more networks

 ad info


The candidate mosh likely

cover image


January 31, 2000
Web posted at: 3:57 p.m. EST (2057 GMT)

Ever since Pat Buchanan ran off and joined the Reform Party--that great untethered life raft for political misfits--the Republican Party has been missing a certain something. George W. Bush and John McCain are tediously moderate, and the alternatives have sometimes seemed a self-negating rack of eight balls. But last week, as Orrin Hatch quit, Gary Bauer joined Pat Boone in the Unhip Hall of Fame and Steve Forbes seemed suddenly passe, Alan Keyes was poised to become the new leader of the American fringe.

As with Buchanan, you can ask Keyes what time it is, and the answer will include a withering indictment of moral depravity and possibly end with his head igniting. And as with Buchanan, you are never quite sure whether to stand up and cheer or run for the hills.

Given his passion, not to mention his bold leap into an Iowa mosh pit and the nationally televised exchange with Bauer on the morality of the decision, Campaign Diary caught up with Keyes at Applebee's in Manchester, N.H. The Maryland resident was just settling into a booth in the Elvis Presley Boulevard corridor of the restaurant, and as if to affirm our sense of him as a potential spoiler, staff phones rang incessantly. The Ollie North radio show wanted him. CNN's Crossfire had to have him. Rush Limbaugh listeners said Rush had him finishing third in New Hampshire, derailing Forbes.

"You don't do better than Forbes by going after him," said Keyes, whose campaign is running on a shoestring budget of mostly small contributions. You stick with what got you that strong finish in Iowa, the saber-rattling promise that we're in the throes of a moral crisis in America, thanks in part to the dog sitter who occupies the White House. A crisis that can only be rectified by understanding that our rights, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence, "come from the Creator, God!"

It was impossible not to notice the menacing presence of Keyes' three square-shouldered bodyguards, who spoke into their sleeves. There was no apparent security threat among the Applebee's stragglers, but you can never be certain Osama bin Laden isn't hiding behind a patty melt.

"John McCain is finished!" Keyes ranted. Keyes had torn into McCain in their past debate for waffling about whether his 15-year-old daughter, if she were to become pregnant, would be the one to choose whether or not to abort. (McCain ultimately said the family would decide.) "He's done! Stick a fork in him! Nobody who's pro-life will vote for that man if they have any integrity."

Keyes had just had a warm-up at Woodbury Elementary School in Bedford, where he talked to 10- and 11-year-olds about abortion. "If I were to lose my mind right now and pick one of you up and dash your head against the floor and kill you, would that be right?" asked the former State Department official and radio talk-show host. This was not multiple choice. Fortunately the class answered correctly, and Keyes, 49, said if you can't kill children in civics class, you can't kill them in the womb either. Keyes says he saw nothing inappropriate about his comments, and that he'd taught his daughter about abortion at "four or five." And another declaration: "The homosexual agenda is based on ideas that are incompatible with freedom."

"I love this man, and we need him bad," said Rita Pare, 78, after Keyes spoke to 25 supporters in Bedford. "Sometimes I read stuff, and my hair stands straight up. 'Laura Shlossinger'--whatever they call her--had an 11-year-old boy call up saying he wants to date. Eleven, for God's sake. Go out and play hockey!"

On Friday, at New England College, Bauer and Keyes spoke back to back to a sparse audience that included four students who wore choice buttons and looked on aghast. Bauer left before taking another swipe at Keyes for moshing to the evil lyrics of "the Machine Rages On." Or was it "Rage Against the Machine"? (Don't ask Bauer.) Keyes told Campaign Diary that although he wasn't sure at first if Bauer was being ironic, he had answered in all seriousness. "Being held up by a platform of hands," he said, was indeed emblematic of his campaign.

Buckle up for safety, folks. We're beyond satire now, and there's nothing but ice between here and South Carolina.


Cover Date: February 7, 2000

Search CNN/AllPolitics
          Enter keyword(s)       go    help

© 2000 Cable News Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.