When I lived in Arizona, both parties had a "stable" of big donors who would run in any race that was a sure loss. It was considered a perk -- run around the state, make speeches, get on TV, and so forth. Worked fine until one of the won.
Well, Illinois has that problem now. Barack Obama looks like a shoo- in for Senator, and the Republicans can't find anybody to run against him. Jack Ryan (the primary winner) is Out because of sex-club allegations and Peter Fitzgerald (the incumbent) and Mike Ditka aren't running because they aren't idiots. Best Line award to Fitzgerald: "I need that like I need a cancer transplant".
So it looks like they're turning to Maryland's own perennial Senate candidate and all- round fruitbat Alan Keyes. A bit of friendly advice for the Illinois Republicans -- lock up the silverware.
In 1992, when Keyes ran against pitbull Barbara Mikulski, the national party wouldn't give his campaign any money. No need to throw money at a sure loser. His campaign was seriously strapped for cash; they needed every nickel to just get out posters and flyers. So what did Keyes do? He paid himself $90,000 for "salary" from campaign funds.
Keyes' motto is "I'm smarter than you are". Expect to be presented with the bill for all sorts of "necessities", like a new house. (Illinois law says a candidate has to live in the state on Election Day.) And he will be very persuasive. Once you've locked in on him, you'll do things his way or else -- and that means taking a really big turn to the Right. I've seen his TV show -- think of Rush Limbaugh without the charm.
Amusingly enough, Keyes went after Hillary Clinton as a "carpetbagger" for her run for the Senate from New York in 2000:
I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton’s willingness go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there, so I certainly wouldn't imitate it.
— Alan Keyes, 2000 (via Archpundit)
Don't you Republicans in Illinois have a nice Republican used- car dealer who'd like to travel around the state and make speeches?
Keyes gets his first real endorsement:
"I spent five weeks trying to find good people," said Mr. Hastert, who said he approached state legislators and the former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and Gary Fencik, an Ivy Leaguer who was a hard-hitting safety.
"I got down into last week interviewing a 70-year-old guy who was a great farm broadcaster in Illinois," Mr. Hastert said. "He decided because of his health problems he couldn't do it. You know, we were down — we needed to find somebody to run, somebody who wanted to run. And, you know, Alan Keyes wants to run, and I hope he's a good candidate."
"I tell you what," Mr. Hastert. "I was out of town when it happened."
Some really wild enthusiasm there. (Via twistedchick)