This endorsement of Alan Keyes by a prominent Illinois Republican is so deeply feeble that I'm not certain it counts as an endorsement. But former Illinois Governor James R. Thompson tells the Sun-Times: ""I'd be inclined to vote Republican. His views are very conservative. Some of his positions would make me uncomfortable as a voter. I'm willing to give him a chance to tell the people of Illinois what his views are. I have not endorsed him."
Okay, I guess on second thought we can say definitively that that was not an endorsement. But I'm going to let it in anyway.
Meanwhile, yesterday Keyes gave a Chicago television station an impromptu performance of 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', which you can see here.
It's actually not bad, makes me think he may have missed his true calling. Of course, Keyes isn't in Maryland any more, or Kansas for that matter. So, if he's offering renditions of appropriate-to-the-moment tunes, I think I would have suggested Otis Redding's classic 'Mr. Pitiful." But of course I wasn't there.
And finally we have one of the first verbal clashes between the two men. Keyes is insisting that Obama agree to meet him in no less than six debates, as he had apparently agreed to do with departed-nominee Jack Ryan.
Obama says he'll debate Keyes two or three times, not six.
To which Keyes responded: "So let's see. Before I came on the scene, Barack Obama thought of himself as if he was in the same class as Lincoln and Douglas in the critical drama of American life. And now he realizes that he's not in that class. Well, I think that the state of Illinois remains in that class. . . . And I think that it is a disservice to the people of this state to allow him to cower in timidity, and before the real historic challenge that is before us in this campaign."
Obama replied, pretty cleverly I thought, that the six debate offer was "a special for in-state residents."
And then Keyes with this marvelous piece of ridiculousness: "OK. So a guy from out of state steps into the ring, and Barack Obama wants to get out of the ring. I don't know, because you see when he goes into the Senate of the United States, if he should get there, he's not going to find one person from out of state standing there. He's going to find 98 people from out of state. . . . If he's not ready for me, he's not ready for the Senate of the United States."