Alan Keyes has upset the liberal game plan to crown law school lecturer Barack Obama as the new leader of blacks in America. Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton like Obama because he imitates their votes, but Americans like Keyes because he is straightforward about issues we care about. The Keyes-Obama race for the U.S. Senate from Illinois reminds locals of a similar contest in 1950. Then a conservative Republican traveled up and down the Land of Lincoln and toppled one of the most powerful liberals of that time, Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas. The victor in that race, Everett McKinley Dirksen, played to the grassroots rather than to the media. His stunning upset showed that the voters were ready to break with New Deal liberalism and join the Republican landslide in 1952. Everett Dirksen, the greatest orator of his time, won because he articulated public opposition to the follies of the Truman Administration. Dirksen was equally persuasive whether he was negotiating with a small group over an arcane section of legislation or declaiming broad themes without a microphone to a thousand voters on the hillsides of southern Illinois. Illinois voters have the opportunity this year to hear Alan Keyes, perhaps the greatest orator of our time and a man with a fund of knowledge about issues that matches his eloquence. His biggest obstacle is not that he is not an Illinoisan, not that he is black, but that the media have already anointed Obama as the winner after viciously destroying his other opponents. Obama had demanded six debates with his Republican opponent when he was Jack Ryan, a businessman unaccustomed to political argument. Reminding us of history’s famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Obama confidently said the people of Illinois are owed these debates because they deserve more than packaged television ads and rehearsed sound bites. Now that Keyes has replaced Ryan as the Republican nominee, Obama wants only two or three debates. Did the history of the Lincoln-Douglas debates change between Ryan’s resignation and Keyes’s nomination? The media were touting Obama’s Harvard degree, but Keyes’s Harvard Ph.D. is more accomplished than Obama’s law degree. Besides, we already have too many liberal lawyers such as Kerry and Edwards running the Democratic Party for the benefit of the trial lawyers. Alan Keyes is a walking encyclopedia on a wide variety of subjects including the Constitution, the proper role of government, and foreign policy. He was an ambassador to the United Nations during the Reagan Administration, and we can count on him to address the important issues that were conspicuously missing from Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention. Obama is one of the most leftwing Senate candidates Illinois has ever seen, a me-too vote for Kennedy and Clinton to raise taxes and toady to the teachers unions. Obama supports abortion rights, socialized medicine, and affirmative action, and he opposes private gun ownership. Obama voted against the “live-birth abortion” bill which was designed to protect live babies born of botched abortions. Obama voted “present” on an Illinois bill to ban partial-birth abortion, and “present” on a bill to notify parents when their minor children seek an abortion. Obama wrote a letter to the Windy City Times, Chicago’s premier gay news source, to promise his support for gay marriage. He said, “I opposed DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] in 1996. It should be repealed and I will vote for its repeal on the Senate floor. I will also oppose any proposal to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban gays and lesbians from marrying.” Alan Keyes, on the other hand, is the country’s most eloquent defender of the right to life. He is supremely ready to tackle the cultural issues that will be the key to victory in the 2004 elections — abortion, traditional marriage, parental control over education, and supremacist judges inventing “rights” such as abortion, sodomy, same-sex marriage licenses, and sending pornography into your kids’ computers. Bill Cosby recently made headlines by decrying the decline in education for African-Americans. Keyes is ready to take on the teachers unions and hold them accountable for failing to teach youngsters how to read. The Bush-haters rally behind Obama, not because his father was African, but because he can be counted on to protect the teachers unions, abortion, and gay unions. The Democrats had hoped to elect Obama by simply playing the race card, but the nomination of Alan Keyes has checkmated that strategy. Obama’s campaign contributors tell you what you need to know about his liberalism. His donors include George Soros, Hillary Clinton’s Leadership PAC, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Rights League, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and Progressive Choices. Alan Keyes has exposed the lie that the Democrats are the party for advancing minorities. Those who want a leader, regardless of race, who will speak up for traditional values such as marriage, life, and education choice, will vote for Alan Keyes.