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TV interview
Alan Keyes on News Views with Joel Daly (ABC 7 News Sunday Morning)
October 10, 2004

JOEL DALY, HOST: Good morning, everyone. I'm Joel Daly. In August, Republican officials here in Illinois chose Alan Keyes as their U.S. Senate candidate after Jack Ryan dropped out. Keyes, who calls himself a genuine conservative, is opposing Democratic State Senator Barack Obama, Libertarian Jerry Kohn, and Independent Albert Franzen. They all want to succeed Republican Senator Peter Fitzgerald, who is retiring after one term.

Mr. Keyes has a doctorate degree in government from Harvard. He was interim president of Alabama A&M University in 1991. He hosted radio and TV programs. Keyes was president of Citizens Against Government Waste. He also founded National Taxpayer's Action Day. He ran twice for President, and twice for the U.S. Senate in the State of Maryland. The Republican is an author and public speaker. He served the Reagan administration as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. He later became Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations.

Mr. Ambassador, Mr. Secretary, welcome back to News Views.


DALY: Mr. Keyes, that is absolutely an incredible résumé. What do you think this political forage into Illinois will do for your résumé? Will it add to it or detract from it?

KEYES: Well, I don't think it really matters. I think politics is really about what we are doing for the people of Illinois, and what needs to be done, in order to make sure that our economy is put back on the right track, that we begin, once again, to respect the basic moral principles that the country was based on, so we can face the future with the confidence that we will preserve our liberty, our way of life, and hand on to our children a society in which they will also have hope and opportunity, as well as the opportunity to be decent citizens in a free society. So, I think that what really matters is whether we are serving those purposes--and that's been true throughout my public life.

DALY: Peter Slevin, who is a Washington Post staff writer, was with you recently on one of your campaign tours, and in his article he calls you an "itinerant apostle of conservatism." Is that a good description?

KEYES: Well, I don't know. I think that I am somebody who believes in the principles the country was founded on: that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights--that therefore it's not right to be murdering children in the womb, to be taking babies who are fully-born infants and killing them in our hospitals, while right down the hall other babies exactly at the same stage of development are being saved.

Barack Obama has voted three times against a bill that would stop the practice of taking babies born after an abortion procedure and just setting them aside to die.

I think that we need to respect our principles that we are created equal; that we need to apply those principles in the way that we do our business; that we have to respect, therefore, the authority of the Creator, because it's the appeal to the Creator on which our rights are based; that we shouldn't be destroying traditional marriage.

I believe deeply that we need to take approaches that respect the capacity of human beings for liberty--giving parents, for instance, school choice so that they can do what's best for their children. Even if they are poor, they would be able then to send their children to the schools of their own choice--which is something that's now reserved only to people who are either wealthy or who are willing to work two and three jobs in order to afford it.

So, I think the respect for liberty and the respect for moral principle are fundamental to the approach I take in politics, and that's what I try to represent.

DALY: The Daily Southtown recently last week had a new poll in which 39% of respondents called you an extremist. Are these views extreme?

KEYES: Truth of the matter is, I think polls are useless. I think they are essentially done in order to manipulate outcomes, to try to herd people toward one candidate or away from another, to try to influence what resources what will be given. I think it's an abuse of the process, and that in point of fact, within 45 days of any federal election, the publication of these polls should be forbidden.

My views are what they are. They are the common-sense views of the American people. On traditional marriage, for instance, every time it is voted on, overwhelming majorities of the American people favor my position. It is not only mainstream, it is overwhelmingly the majority position. Over 80% just recently in Louisiana; over 70% in the State of Missouri; even a state like California voted, when that initiative was on the ballot, over 70% in favor of traditional marriage. There's nothing extremist about that view.

The view I take on life is held by the majority of people in this country. And when people lie--for instance, some people go out there and say, "Well, lots of black voters vote Democrat, that means they're pro-abortion." Every time they are asked, though, they support the pro-life position. Most black Christians believe it is a deep, wonton disregard for the will of God, Who has said that the taking of innocent life is an abomination, for us to be taking the life in the womb. There's nothing extreme about that. It is simply a natural consequence of the faith, as a Roman Catholic, that I profess.

The overwhelming majority of people say in Chicago, if you asked them whether innocent life should be respected, they would say yes--because a lot of them are Roman Catholics, and a lot of them are black Christians, and a lot of them believe exactly the same way I do. Now, if some of them don't go into the voting booth and vote for that, that's between them and God. I will not betray my God for my party--and on the day the when Republican Party asks me to do that, I would stick with God and drop the party label.

DALY: You're not real happy with us in the media. One of your quotes is, "A gaggle of propagandists promoting their own personal views at the expense of truth." We're going to take a break, Mr. Keyes, and we're going to come back and ask you what we're missing, what we're doing wrong.


DALY: Talking this morning with Alan Keyes, Republican Senate candidate here in Illinois. As I mentioned before the break, Mr. Keyes doesn't think the reporters necessarily are doing a good job. He calls us biased and scandal-mongering media. How do we do it right, and what are we doing wrong?

KEYES: For me, it's been just a matter of experience. The other day, I went to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to do an editorial board [interview]. They ask me about my position on marriage. I am presenting an argument, same way I always do: it's not just an opinion; I try to give a rational argument for the view that's taken by most Americans, that traditional marriage should be protected and that gay marriage is unacceptable. While I'm talking, the editorial page editor and the managing editor are sitting at the table, and I'm telling you, they are shaking with outrage. These folks are so upset and angry at what I'm saying that you could practically feel the table shake as they were reacting to me, and scowls on their face and all this. How can you make anybody believe that people like that, reacting with such intensity to what I was saying, are going to make a fair and objective judgment about anything--the news, what should be reported, and so forth.

I think, sadly, we've come to the day. There was, in the 20th century, a period when it was very important, as people got away from yellow journalism and the scandal-mongering of the early part of the century, moved away from the partisanship of the 19th century, there was the idea there would be objective journalism, unbiased reporting. I think that idea has been put aside now. Even in the media education schools, they talk about how, "Well, bias is inevitable. You've just got to manage your bias; write just biases," all of this sort of nonsense, because it's a kind of moral relativism. You know, "How can you report unbiased views of the facts when there's no such thing as truth anyway?"

And so, I think it has tended to create a situation where partisanship and bias and the personal agendas of individuals [has dominated]. It takes discipline to be a professional, and I don't think that discipline is being encouraged or promoted in the formation of our media people anymore. I think that as a natural result of that, they are tending to give in to their personal predilections and formulations.

They will refer to me, for instance, as an "ultra-conservative" in the media. When you go down my views, my views are shared by people they will also describe, somebody else, as moderate, who shares my same view on taxes, that the income tax should be abolished; somebody else who has my same view in the pro-life position will be described as moderate; somebody else who takes exactly the same position I do in defense of traditional marriage will be described as moderate.

Somehow, because I take the exact same positions, I'm an "ultra-conservative," but they never call Barack Obama, who is the most Left-liberal senator in the Illinois state senate, who has voted knee-jerk for socialism, for every pro-abortion position, even for infanticide, for sex education in kindergarten and other outrageous things, never have I seen him described as an ultra-liberal or an ultra-Left-winger, though he clearly is. That's bias.

DALY: You've described him as an academic socialist.

KEYES: Yes. I think that's an accurate description--"socialist" meaning someone who prefers government-dominated, bureaucratic solutions to things that leave people free to make their own choices in economic life, in terms of their schools, and so forth; "academic" because that's clearly his background. His was a teacher, he's from that sort of Hyde Park crowd that spends their time in the ivory tower and then wants to dictate to others from their elitist position what should be so.

DALY: You are obviously very articulate, and I'm wondering if we, the media, take out of context certain things to highlight that distracts from your campaign.

For instance, "Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama"; you liken the Illinois political machine to third-world despotism; you talk about homosexuals, including Vice President Cheney's daughter, as "selfish hedonists." Are we taking these things out of context?

KEYES: In the sense that every single comment I make is usually the conclusion of an argument, it's not just a statement of my opinion. I am sort of doing what people are supposed to do: making a reasonable argument that comes to a conclusion. Most of the time, people will report the conclusion and leave out the argument.

For instance, the statement that Jesus could not vote for Barack Obama is an argument. Barack Obama has supported infanticide: that is, the taking of the life of fully born babies, leaving them aside to die. He voted against a bill to stop that practice. He wanted it to continue in our hospitals.

That is something that I'm simply asking, the criteria for most Christians, "What would Jesus do? Would Jesus do that?" Obviously not. "Would Jesus take the life of babes in the womb?" Obviously not. "Would Jesus support disregarding His Father's plan of creation when it comes to traditional marriage?" Obviously not.

That being the case, could Christ, Who is always consistent with Himself, vote for somebody who is taking positions that are diametrically opposed to what Christ Himself said was true? No, He would not. Christ said that in marriage the two become one flesh. It is not possible for two homosexuals to become one flesh. That can only happen if you can procreate. That means that Christ would not support the idea of gay marriage as a legitimate form of marriage.

So, when asking in the argument--Christ wouldn't do any of these things, Barack Obama supports all of these things, therefore it follows that Christ couldn't support Barack Obama---the point of that is, of course, that people of Christian conscience who profess to have Christ in heart and mind and to be guided by His heart and mind, they shouldn't be voting in that direction, either. That's the implication, and I think it's true.

DALY: We're running out of time, and I knew we would, and I wanted to get your opinion on the Second Amendment. You're obviously not in favor of many gun controls. One of the things you said is the state legislators should choose the Senators, not the voters.

KEYES: Two things. First, the argument on gun control is very clear. The Second Amendment is there so that we never lose either the practice or the mentality of defending our liberty. Self-government, government by representative institutions, in human history went hand and hand with the willingness of common people to overcome their fear of weapons and take up those weapons in defense of their own rights. If we lose that mentality in which we are willing to stand fast in defense of our liberties, we will lose those liberties. So, the Second Amendment isn't just about gun bearing.

And also, gun control is absurd. If the law-abiding citizens can't carry weapons, and they obey the law, then the only people who will have the weapons are people willing to break the law--that is to say, the crooks. So, you'll have disarmed law-abiding people and armed crooks. That sounds like a real uneven match, and I think it's idiotic to suggest that a society should place itself in that position.

DALY: You've got some debates coming up with Mr. Obama. We look forward to those.

If you'd like to find out more about Mr. Keyes' campaign, you can find his website, Thank you, sir, for being with us.

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