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Keyes Tells It Like It Is
by Isabel Lyman
12 March 2000

Isabel Lyman Alan Keyes is a one-man, right-wing home entertainment center. There is no orator who talks as he does about the virtues of the Declaration of Independence and manages to be both serious and funny.

There has been no presidential candidate who has argued that respect for God's authority and His eternal laws are essential to good self-government without appearing to be a flack for the Religious Right.

There is no leader who urges citizens that they have the duty to resist tyranny and overthrow irresponsible leaders without sounding like a spokesman for the militia movement.

Keyes isn't going to bore you, either, with wonky discussions about Social Security, like Al Gore will. Nor will he insult your intelligence by assuring you that he plans to “rescue children from failure,” like George W. Bush does.

Quite simply, there is nobody like Alan Keyes. Dr. Keyes' presence in the Republican debates this winter was electrifying. In Iowa, he chose to pray aloud instead of delivering a closing campaign statement, and most viewers agree he won every debate. As a result, the former Reagan administration official and Harvard Ph.D. has become the country's best-known black, Catholic conservative. He is also the candidate, who, like the energizer bunny, just keeps going and going and ....

In fact, Alan Keyes appears to be committed to sticking around until Republicans nominate Texas governor George W. Bush at the party's national convention in Philadelphia, now a near certainty given the results of Super Tuesday. But, why? Keyes hasn't won any primaries, and his name won't appear on a short list for vice presidential nominees, especially after he predicted at a press conference in Oklahoma City that Vice President Al Gore will beat Bush.

His quest, as he told talk show host Mike McCarville, is to remind anyone who will listen of the “failed moral stewardship of the Democratic Party.”

He also plans to continue championing issues that establishment Republicans, like the affable Dubya, won't touch. Keyes favors a constitutional amendment banning abortion; he opposes what he calls “government-dominated education”; he wants the United States to leave the World Trade Organization; he thinks there should be a national sales tax; and he is a fierce opponent of gun control.

Lots of Keyes' loyal followers turned out to hear him wax eloquent (very!) on such matters when he visited the Sooner State last week, stumping for votes before Tuesday's primary.

He spoke at a “Renewing America Rally” at Christian Heritage Academy in Del City. Keyes was introduced, via video, by Oklahoma Republican Congressman Tom Coburn, who has endorsed his candidacy, as has Washington, D.C. impeachment lawyer, David Schippers, a Democrat.

In Del City, Keyes told his audience that it is depressing to “look at the real condition of the country in the face” but to remember that “our rights come from the will of God.” Out of respect to the Christian founders of the United States, who invoked the name of God at every turn of our nation's beginnings, Keyes says that we have an “obligation to preserve the moral heritage, moral treasure.” The ex-ambassador closed by asking those gathered to “vote their conscience” on Tuesday.

Local voters were smitten with the man and the message.

Karla Moore of Edmond: “This man makes sense and should be in the White House. Alan, you've got this black woman's vote.”

Linda Meadows of Guthrie: “I really enjoyed him, because he says the truth. I am tired of the politicians who make promises they will never keep once they are in office.”

Stephanie West of Edmond: “He's America's hero, if America will let him be.”

Ron McWhirter of Edmond: “I think it's important that Alan Keyes continue to campaign, and that there's someone to vote for on the conservative side. He will keep Bush from abandoning the conservative base of the party.”

Indeed, it's these folks - those who want a leader who is committed to principle over one who is committed to merely winning elections - that ensures that Alan Keyes won't end up as a long-running gag on television's Saturday Night Live.

Keyes has that Margaret Thatcher-full-of-conviction-public-opinion-polls-be- hanged thing going for him. As smoothly as a Nat King Cole tune, he tells it like it is, and that is the secret of his staying power. If you pine for that kind of a politician, I'd say you've got yourself a humdinger of a candidate.

This column appeared in The Edmond Sun on March 12, 2000.

Isabel Lyman lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. A former editorial columnist for the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Massachusetts, her views have appeared in various national publications, including the Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily. She may be contacted via e-mail by clicking here.
Click here for an index of other Isabel Lyman columns.
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