Although it will no doubt be grand and multi-faceted, especially with respect to his poisoning of the Illinois Republican party, the bilious aspect of his legacy that I have noticed of late is that Keyes appears to have opened wide the door to questioning whether Barack Obama a "true Christian" or even a "true American."
There was a time, not so long ago, when one's statements regarding one's own spiritual beliefs went unchallenged. Politicians and pundits did not deign to challenge the legitimacy of another's relationship with God, church or other "things not of this world." Such lofty matters were left to be confirmed or denied by a qualified Higher Authority.
And most of us took it for granted that, in our nation of immigrants, citizens who sought public office -- and were statutorily qualified -- were sufficiently "American." To challenge the authenticity of someone's "Americanism" based on their ethnicity was viewed not only as the pinnacle of tackiness, but as a violation of the central tenets of our country.
But no more.
Alan Keyes took it upon himself to judge the soul of Barack Obama -- and by extension those that supported him. Keyes' supremely arrogant, condescending pronouncements on the state of Barack Obama's Christianity were unprecedented, but nevertheless have paved the way for others to follow.
For example, this
[Obama] is gifted at twisting his verbiage in such a way as to deform the truth. In his speech at the Democratic National Convention, he spoke of "... measuring up to the legacy of our forbearers." While that may sound good, there is a discernable difference between "forbearers" and the Founding Fathers of our country.It is truly an amazing piece of baseless mudslinging.
Obama's forbearers are Kenyan, and it is alleged his grandfather was a slave owner. His reference to "forbearers" had nothing to do with those who sacrificed their lives life to establish a free society based on equality.
His statements were code omitting same, referencing instead an Afro-centrism and Pan Africanism. It was a deliberate attack against the foundation of our country and what we represent.
But note that it bears so many hallmarks of the Keyes campaign: the arrogant questioning Obama's faith ("He's not really a Christian, he's a Muslim"), the baseless questioning his heritage ("He's not really an American"), and the shocking return of the "slave holder mentality" charge. How charming that the author frames the smear-by-association as an unsourced allegation against his paternal grandfather -- a man Barack Obama never met.
It is all so loathsome that it can only be described as "Keyesian".
In his keynote speech, Mr. Obama spoke of "the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes." In light of the "anything goes" Keyesian attacks on him, Mr. Obama's words appear nothing less than prophetic.
And while such attacks on Mr. Obama still shock the conscience of thoughtful citizens, Mr. Obama and his supporters should expect to see this Keyesian brand of slander reoccur with greater frequency -- and in more mainstream fora -- as Mr. Obama continues his assent in the national spotlight.