Monday, September 06, 2004

Updated September 6, 2004, at 2:00 am. Revised at 1:00 pm.

Keyes explains why he thinks Democratic Senate Candidate Barack Obama is a "socialist" and a "liar."

Republican U. S. Senate Candidate Alan Keyes on "Public Affairs" TV tonight in the City of Chicago at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. New and previously published partial transcripts of the show are included, below.

Is Alan Keyes listening to conservative supporters and can they persuade him to try to win? See discussion, below.

In a recent comment and link to a posting of a partial transcript of my show with Republican U. S. Senate Candidate Keyes, Larry Handlin [], noted that Keyes had referred to Democrats, liberals, socialists in general, but had not identified any such individuals who were socialists. That omission was remedied in another portion of the show, where Keyes made it clear who he was identifying as a socialist, and the transcript of that portion of the show is included, below.

In general, notwithstanding calling Senate Candidate Obama a socialist and a liar, Keyes interview on "Public Affairs" is a good illustration of how Alan Keyes could still run a much more broad-based, less inflammatory and winnable campaign, without impairing his integrity, if he wants to.

One major difference in such a campaign strategy would be to spread his speaking time among a greater assortment of domestic, foreign and social policy issues and to broaden the issues he is emphasizing in his Senate campaign to include foreign policy and domestic policy issues, in addition to social policy issues. Of course, a candidate does not need a Ph. D. in government from Harvard University, which Keyes has, to know that.

But, Keyes would have to believe that trying to win, on the one hand, and being moral and intellectually honest, on the other hand, are not mutually exclusive principles. Having watched his campaign unfold over the last four weeks and with only eight weeks to go, it appears, at least to this objective observer, that that is not the case for Senate Candidate Keyes. And, conservative leaders and Keyes supporters, e.g. State Senator and State Central Committee member Dave Syverson, have made similar observations. The question is-- is Alan Keyes listening to such supporters and can they persuade Keyes?
Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” features Republican U. S. Senate Candidate Alan Keyes debating and discussing with show host Jeff Berkowitz Senate Candidates' Alan Keyes’ and Barack Obama’s contrasting views on tax cuts; state government actions that may have retarded job growth in Illinois; the War against Terrorism and the “Front,” in Iraq; education, school choice and school vouchers; abortion; same sex marriage and much, much more. The show airs through-out the City of Chicago, tonight, Labor Day, Monday, Sep. 6 at 2004 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Look for more partial transcripts of the show with Keyes to be blogged on this site over the next few days.


Jeff Berkowitz: Switching over to education, you, as I understand it, favor school vouchers and school choice, in general, right?

Alan Keyes: Yes, I do.

Berkowitz: And would you favor a fully funded school voucher in the sense that in the City of Chicago—similar to Washington, DC and many other inner cities, we spend, on average, about $10,000 to $11, 000 per year per kid? So, would you favor taking that $10,000 to $11,000, as I often do on this show, putting it in a backpack, strapping that backpack on the kid, and letting the parents choose—do they want to keep that $10,000- $11,000 in a public school or do they want to send it [with their kid] to the school of their choice, a private school. Would you favor that kind of choice.

Keyes: What I would favor is the principle that the money that we spend on education ought to follow the choice of the parents. The assumption that the parents will make a choice that requires that $11,000 is, when you actually look at the private choices available, a false assumption. Because a lot of times, the private choices that are available—parochial schools, faith based schools-- are achieving results better than what we get in our public school system for less money. So, I am not going to go out and tell a parent that you must go out and spend $11,000, but I will say that up to whatever is being spent in the public school—

Berkowitz: you would give them that choice—

Keyes: you can have access to those dollars. I think we would end up finding that they would actually make, in the existing array of things, a more economical choice in that, and you end up saving money in many cases.

Berkowitz: Now, many people say that they are concerned about the schools in the inner-cities, that they are not performing well. But, a number of those folks also say that public schools are performing well in suburban areas. So, would you focus on a school voucher or school choice program for the inner city? As opposed to the suburbs? Or would you favor school vouchers/ school choice for everywhere?

Alan Keyes: I think, over-all, the principle of education ought to be school choice. Given that we have, in the immediate term, limited resources, I would certainly think you would want to first target the areas of greatest need to free parents who don’t presently have the opportunity [of choice] from the burden of being forced into an education system that is failing them, so I do believe that it would be right to give priority to those who are not in a situation right now to make that choice for themselves.


Jeff Berkowitz: Now, your opponent, Barack Obama, has said on this program he favors charter schools and school choice perhaps within a public school context, but he doesn’t favor school choice that would allow the kind of choice that you and I have just been discussing. He says, he thinks that would result in a “tiered education,” that is some kids would go at a high tier, and others at a low tier—


Keyes: What does he think we have [now]. I think right now what we have is an educational system where people who can afford it, including some people who end up being double taxed, going out to work a second job—I was talking to a fellow just the other day near where I live in Cal City [Calumet]. He was at a restaurant, he works for Ford Motor Company and he was telling me just this- that he had taken his daughter out of public schools, put her in private schools—that it had cost him over the course of her education some $20, 000. He had had to work a second job and he felt it was unfair because he was paying taxes and he had to pay for her education. So, I think that right now we have a tiered educational system that forces people to do that and that deprives people who don’t have the opportunity to make the extra income or who are not in an income bracket where they can afford it. They have no “choice.” They are stuck with schools that are failing their kids, including one- that one of the folks I talked to said, you have situations where the kids don’t even have books to take home to do their homework. One book per desk and the classes revolve in and out of the classroom and the kids leave the book with the desk. And, one is sitting there asking- How do they get their homework done? How do they get their studying done, under a situation like that? So, I think we are in a situation where the system is tiered and the poor get the short end of the stick because they have no choice.

Berkowitz: Now, is this issue, school choice, school vouchers, which we were just talking about—do you think you will be making that a major issue in this campaign as you seek votes in the inner city of Chicago as well as troubled [education] areas throughout the state of Illinois, not just Chicago.


Keyes: This is one of those things that I think involves what you were talking about earlier [apparently Keyes is referring to a comment I made to the viewers at the beginning of the show that perhaps they would see, by the end of the show, how Keyes’ views on domestic policy issues, foreign policy issues and social policy issues are interwoven] because the idea that this is an issue separate from jobs and from economic prospects is false. One of the reasons why you have a hard time getting and holding businesses, and please remember that businesses provide jobs. People who mouth on about jobs and then do stuff that kills businesses are lying to us. That’s Bar-ack Obama. They lie to us. They say jobs, jobs, jobs and then they do everything in their power to kill the businesses that provide the jobs. But one of the things that attracts and holds businesses is where are we going to send our kids to school if our business is located in Illinois, if our business is located here, and if they don’t have a good answer to that, we are going to lose that business to a state that does have a good answer. And, that’s where I think quality education [and jobs] are connected.

Berkowitz: So you think quality education is important to keep jobs because to keep businesses—

Keyes: Quality education is important to keep jobs. Access to proper medical care is important to keep jobs. We have to look at the whole picture and not just act as if we magically create jobs by doing what? throwing money at some government bureaucracy?


Berkowitz: Let me, let me play devil’s advocate here because I think Barack [Obama, Democratic U. S. Senate candidate] has been on this show [over the years] about eight times, so I think I know reasonably well what he thinks, and he would say he cares about, certainly, improving the quality of education; he cares about jobs, and he understands that it is important-- that it is important to have a quality education in order to have jobs here in Illinois. In that, he would say he agrees with you. He differs with you on the methods to maintain jobs.


Keyes: So, I am sure that he [Barack Obama] can easily mouth the words. Cuz, that’s what—

Berkowitz: But, you called him a socialist. Do you stand behind—

Keyes: He is a socialist.

Berkowitz: You, you—

Keyes: Folks like this, even the issue we are talking about—

Berkowitz: [But], he has said on this show that--

Keyes: Even the issue we are talking about. If you look at his stand, his stand says the only way we can get education is with government run, government dominated schools. That is socialism. I say, let’s have schools in which you give parents the choice, which then allows them to both go into a sector where the schools are going to be faith based, parochial schools that are started by private individuals--[or] where they might even be able to get together in their community and start schools for themselves, rather than do it under government domination. That’s the difference between a socialist and someone who really believes not only in free enterprise but in self-government in the community.

Berkowitz: Let’s switch over to foreign policy, the War in Iraq. A lot of people thought, before you came in [to the senate race] and started talking about and articulating your position as you have the last two weeks, that based on what they knew about Alan Keyes, they thought you perhaps were opposed to the War in Iraq, because they saw...that you had said that you were opposed to the United States invading other countries...
The below is taken and repeated, for the readers’ convenience, from a previously published blog entry of a partial transcript of our show with Alan Keyes. Keyes discusses what he calls, essentially, a “hostile job environment created by Democrats, liberals and socialists.”


Jeff Berkowitz: …In 1992, Bill Clinton, running for President, said “it’s the Economy, stupid.” We are 12 years later. Is it still, "it’s the Economy stupid," in terms of the major national or U. S. Senate issue?

Alan Keyes: Well, actually no. That wouldn’t be true. I think even some of the polls I have seen indicate that yes, the economy is a very important issue, but it is often coming No. 2 behind National Security. I think most Americans remember that we are still in a War, that thousands of Americans died fresh in our memory and that we’d better protect ourselves. But, I think behind that concern and in part, too, as part of it-- is the concern with the economy and especially in Illinois because for reasons we might want to get into, Illinois has lagged behind even the other states in the region, in terms of, especially, jobs, from the recovery the rest of the country has been experiencing.

Berkowitz: Is that a tax issue? [Governor] Rod Blagojevich has gone out of his way not to raise the income tax, not to raise the general sales tax [in Illinois], but he has raised business taxes, taxes specifically [imposed] on business. Are you saying that that has made for a less friendly business environment and therefore retarded job growth in Illinois?

Keyes: It is not the only thing, but I think it is an element because one of the fallacies, I am afraid, of Democrats, liberals, socialists in general is that they always talk about jobs, but they are then people who will adopt policies that kill the businesses that offer the jobs; it is totally self-contradictory. And, I think Blagojevich is in that category of somebody who talks a good game, says he cares about people and wants people to have jobs, but then creates an environment that is hostile to jobs not only because of taxes but there are a lot of other problems, educational problems, medical access problems and finally, I think in Illinois the problem of the corruption tax that is deeply discouraging to businesses coming to locate [in Illinois] and that I think is also discouraging to their remaining in Illinois.
Alan Keyes, Republican U. S. Senate Candidate, interviewed on August 21, 2004, and as is being cablecast throughout the City of Chicago on Public Affairs tonight, Labor Day, Sep. 6 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21.
Jeff Berkowitz,Host and Producer of "Public Affairs," can be reached at