The Keyes to Reno


By: Warner Todd Huston

Ambassador Alan Keyes addressed several hundred attendees of the Conservative Leadership Conference being held in Reno, Nevada on Friday night, October 12th. Ostensibly he was there to explain why he was running for president of the United States but it soon became obvious that he was there far more for a cause separate from a simple run for the White House. Ambassador Keyes was there no less to rejuvenate the Republic and if mere passion could turn back the tide of anti-Constitutionalism, Alan Keyes would be the dynamo powering that effort.

Instead of simply desiring the national spotlight to take the Oval office, Keyes is seeking the pulpit for his oratory was not just your average meet-and-greet, no simple canned speech. Keyes’ presentation was more sermon than stump speech, and as powerful as that description assumes.

When he first mounted the stage, the setting seemed a tad incongruous. As Ambassador Keyes took the microphone form those who introduced him, a 12-foot-high Duncan Hunter for president banner loomed behind him, dominating the view of the audience before him. That somewhat odd juxtaposition of the monumental face of Hunter peering down at the seemingly diminutive Keyes didn’t dissipate with Ambassador Keyes’ initial comments, either. For Alan Keyes admitted he was about to break Ronald Reagan’s famed 11th commandment; “thou shalt not speak badly of other Republicans.”

But that incongruity quickly vanished for the audience as Dr. Keyes warmed to his theme. The Hunter for president banner that initially seemed to loom so large vanished to the mind as Keyes’ oratory captivated, compelled, cajoled and cavorted across that stage. All eyes and ears were on Keyes and, as always, he held that audience in the palm of his hand.

Not interested in applause lines but steaming full speed ahead, Keyes hit hard at the top three presidential candidates. Rudy Giuliani was, according to Keyes, completely unable to represent traditional, real GOP principles. Keyes wondered how Rudy could call himself a Republican in the first place since he seemed to neither respect nor uphold the party’s most dearly held principles.

Romney just could not be believed as far as Keyes was concerned. Romney’s claims to have “always been pro-life” made Alan wonder about veracity. After all, as Keyes reasoned, in Romney we have a candidate who said he was not being truthful all those years while he was voting for pro-choice issues in Massachusetts and is claiming that he is now telling the truth that he is pro-life. But, regardless whether he is being truthful now or was then, we have a man who has proven he will change a personal principle to facilitate his ambitions. This is a man that we cannot trust.

I am in full support of Ambassador Keyes’ points on Giuliani and Romney as his logic is nearly inescapable. As to Fred Thompson, though, I feel that Keyes argument against the man was the weakest of his thoughts on the so-called top tier candidates. It seemed that the only detrimental thing that Keyes could muster against Thompson was that Fred had never been out in the streets as an activist for the pro-life movement. Keyes praised Hunter, Brownback and Huckabee for their part in their activism for the pro-life movement but denigrated Thompson because Keyes had never seen his face among that crowd.

That anti-Thompson argument seemed not to ring true. After all, one certainly can take a firm position on a thing yet never have been an activist for that thing.

In any case, this was the substance of Dr. Keyes’ violation of the 11th commandment with the addition of a hint that the rest of the field of candidates does not address the true issues of the day (Even as Duncan Hunter was in the room listening, interestingly enough.). Yes, Keyes pummeled the other candidates. He did not do so, however, in a vulgar way or on anything other than a true reading of American first principles as bestowed upon us by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — both documents that Keyes said the other candidates haven’t the first clue about.

The other candidates, though, weren’t the only subjects of Dr. Keyes’ speech. He also, and more importantly, expounded on the loss to the country of American first principles, a reverence for God the creator, and a respect for life. And these subjects were what Keyes is really passionate about, and rightly so. These are his soapbox issues, the ones that are far more important to him than any election for president and it is these issues that he is using the spotlight of campaigning for president as an opportunity them to bring to a national debate.

We are at a crossroads for the health and safety of our Nation and force may be soon enough our last choice to bring back our Republic. I spoke to Ambassador Keyes for a while before diner and he is fast coming to a point past feeling that we are any longer at a time when talking will solve the problem. Action is now required and not the action of delicacy. Keyes may be absolutely correct, even as he was a tad forceful in saying so.

A reverence for God the creator is always featured heavily in Keyes’ remarks and this speech was no exception. Reflecting the truth of the Declaration of Independence that without the creator we have no liberty, Keyes found that we could have no nation without God. But it was his finding of anti-abortion language in the Constitution that was most interesting to me. He found this language in the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States.

(My bold for emphasis)

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

The word “Posterity” explains that abortion is anti-American and anti-Constitutional as far as Keyes sees it. After all, our posterity is our progeny, our children. And if the Founders wanted to assure that our posterity had their liberties protected by that document, then abortion must be illegal under the Constitution. After all, how can we bestow liberty on our posterity if we have aborted them in the womb? (It should also be remembered that abortion was certainly illegal during the Founder’s days)

After Keyes appearance Ed Morrissey of Captain’s Quarters Blog, who was also in the audience for the speech with me, worried that Keyes was “dangerous” and a “demagogue.” Ed found that he was “impressed with and dismayed by Keyes in equal measures” over Keyes dangerous talk.

Here is where I disagree with Ed Morrissey and agree with Keyes. Words, it turns out, mean things. And words were the very tools of creation that the Founders used to assure that very liberty that Ambassador Keyes is talking about. They worried about punctuation, they worried about structure, they debated for months over many of those words. I believe that the Founders would see the logic in Ambassador Keyes’ position and would commend him for the interpretation.

Morrissey is right, though, that Keyes might be a tad “dangerous” in his thinking. But, as mentioned, we may be approaching a day when a bit of danger is the right prescription for what ills are afflicting the country.

And, if Morrissey was to go back to the days of the American Revolution, I’d suspect that he’d condemn each and every one of our Founders for their equally demagogic speech… no for their even more dangerous speech than Keyes’. Compared to the Founders rhetoric, Alan Keyes is practically a pussycat.

So, where Ed sees “danger” — and dangerous it is to call for a virtual uprising of concerned citizens — I see what is fast becoming a last option. Keyes wasn’t advocating for armed rebellion, to be sure, but for a concerned citizenry to take back what is ours. And with that I agree 100%.

Finally, I am going to come right out and say it and I may be taking a bit of a liberty here; Alan Keyes does not care a whit whether he becomes president of the United States or not. His cause if far larger than just a desire to sit in the White House. No, his cause is no less than to give our American Republic a rebirth. Keyes wishes to sweep away all the FDR socialism, all the nanny state, big governmentism, all the obviation of our American first principles in order to renew America. (And it’s no surprise that his website is renewamerica.us, by the way)

If that is “dangerous” then so be it.

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