Keyes has been criticized as a hypocrite for joining the Illinois Senate race when he is on record as criticizing Hilary for joining New York's. The explanation from the Keyes' camp and from Republicans in general has pointed out the salient difference between Hilary and Keyes--Hilary strategically pursued a state with the intention of joining and winning. Keyes had no such intention at all. On this grounds, what Keyes did was in consonance with his published statements.The issue is framed around Keyes's intentions--since he didn't "pursue" the opportunity, but, rather, presumably was forced into it by his conscience, this somehow makes his actions consonant with what he's said in the past.
It's also implied that he's not in it to "win," which directly contradicts his own statement to Candy Crowley on CNN:
CROWLEY: I want to talk to you about my take listening to you yesterday announce. And that is, I get the sense that this is -- you're in it more for the battle than the win. I never got that sense of, on to victory, we are going to take this seat for Republicans.I see two possible options--he's either really in it to win, as he says, or he's not, and he's lying. (I exclude the very real possibility that he could be mad.)
KEYES: Well, that's not true. I think, though, that it's quite clear that in my case, as always, the victory depends on making sure people understand how I look at the issues that confront us and how that is distinguished from somebody like Barack Obama, who, on a range of issues -- but especially on the issues of deep moral principle -- has abandoned the American declaration, has abandoned the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln, who came from Illinois. [emphasis added]
Furthermore, in the past, Keyes never talked about intentions--he talked about political principles, about federalism (he is, after all, a "Declarationist").
In 2000, he said: "I deeply resent the destruction of federalism represented by Hillary Clinton's willingness to go into a state she doesn't even live in and pretend to represent people there... So I certainly wouldn't imitate it." So which is it? His resentment really isn't that deep? Or running as an outsider isn't really a "destruction of federalism"? At any rate, there's no consonance here.
Keyes's professed reason for abandoning his original principle is that Barack Obama is such a heinous liberal. As he said in his initial speech,
And so, I was resistant to the idea. As is always case, though, when people approach me with something that might make sense, I try my best to be fair to them, and at one point, they made the point that maybe if I looked at the record of Barack Obama, I would think differently, because it just seemed wrong... that somebody with his record should kind of waltz into the United States Senate unopposed.What changed in four years? Hillary Clinton's record is no less liberal than Obama's, yet Keyes refused to run against her. Why the change of heart? More importantly, why the abandonment of federalist principles?
[Update: over at The American Prospect, Terence Samuel tries to figure out what the Illinois GOP was thinking.]
[Second update: Betty Bayé takes Keyes to task for carping about Hillary Clinton's "personal ambition"]