Cultural Revolutions

An Honest Mistake

Alan Keyes, like the proverbial white knight, has ridden across the country from his castle in Maryland to save the Republican Party of Illinois from itself—at least, that’s the way his supporters would like to portray Keyes’ run for junior U.S. senator from Illinois.  More likely, this ridiculous whirlwind campaign—the result of the convergence of Republican desperation in the wake of Democratic senate nominee Barack Obama’s well-received speech at the Democratic National Convention and Keyes’ seemingly limitless personal ambition—will drive the final nail into the coffin of the state party, the only inmate on Death Row whose sentence was not commuted by corrupt former Republican governor George Ryan.  (In Illinois, “corrupt Republican governor” is just short of redundant.  So, for that matter, is “corrupt Republican.”)

The story begins in the party faithful’s decision to nominate “conservative” Jack Ryan in the spring primary.  In 1999, Ryan went through a bitter divorce from Star Trek: Voyager star Jeri Ryan.  During the primary campaign, he repeatedly claimed that there was nothing in the sealed divorce proceedings that would embarrass the party, but, after he won the nomination, the Chicago Tribune successfully petitioned to have the documents unsealed.  Inside was a sordid tale of Ryan’s obsession...

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