Skip to content

David Keene

David Keene

Opinion Editor — David Keene, a trusted adviser to presidents, a longtime champion of personal liberty and one of conservatism’s most respected voices, serves as the opinion editor of The Washington Times – overseeing the newspaper’s editorial page, commentary section and online opinion strategy. An author, columnist and fixture on national television, Mr. Keene has championed conservative causes for more than five decades while offering advice to Republican presidents and countless candidates. He additionally served as chairman of the American Conservative Union and president of the National Rifle Association.

Articles by David Keene

Illustration on the longevity of early presidential favorites by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

The Trumpian gap between discontent and president

Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Bernie Sanders are mining the same vein of popular discontent, drawing big crowds in the process, and drawing early support in spite of rather than because of their positions on issues of interest to most Americans. Published August 26, 2015

President Ronald Reagan meeting with Sen. Richard Schweiker in 1980. Associated Press photo

Remembering an unlikely Reaganite

Dick Schweiker died over the weekend. The former Pennsylvania senator had been recruited by John Sears, Ronald Reagan's 1976 manager, and Nevada Sen. Paul Laxalt, who chaired Reagan's effort to unseat President Gerald Ford that year as Reagan's running mate. Few of us in the campaign knew the man, but he was, based on his voting record in the Senate, and what everyone said, a "moderate" or even "liberal" senator who didn't seem to many of us a very good fit. Published August 4, 2015

'The Algerian'

"The Algerian," an Independent production written, directed and produced by Giovanni Zelko is a film with a message, a compelling story and a talented if unknown cast. In that sense it like most Independent productions or, as they're known in the industry, "Indies." Like their grownup, big budget cousins, some of them are good and some aren't worth watching. Published August 4, 2015

Waste and Mismanagement in Prince George's County Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

When the problem isn't revenue but out-of-control spending

Maryland, like Illinois, is famous as an integrity-free zone. Former governors, the heads of various school systems in the state, legislators, county executives and law enforcement officials have ended their careers in federal and state penal institutions for confusing serving the public with serving themselves at the public's expense. Published July 22, 2015

Illustration on the values of "flyover" America by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Where people look after each other

While few admit it, the Washington, D.C. area has about as much in common with the real America as John Phillips Sousa's marches have to do with rap music. We live in a very weird bubble. Virtually everyone has a government job or a job that exists in the private sector only because of the government. We're obsessed with politics and many of us spend hours at our televisions watching Fox, MSNBC, or CSPAN and public television. Published July 20, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker made clear that he plans to distinguish himself in a crowded field of 15 to 17 candidates by embracing conservative policy prescriptions, regardless of their perceived popularity in the media and polls. (Associated Press)

Scott Walker promises to turn back the clock on taxes to Reagan era

NEWSMAKER INTERVIEW: Jumping into a crowded 2016 presidential field, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker vowed Monday to return federal tax rates to their levels under Ronald Reagan, eliminate the sequester cuts restraining Pentagon spending and tackle federal budget deficits by reforming entitlement programs and returning money and power to the states. Published July 13, 2015

Illustration on second thoughts about nation building by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Countering the GOP's nation-building mindset

The junior senator from Kentucky drives his colleagues nuts. They don't like Rand Paul or his positions on domestic spying and international adventurism. Arizona's John McCain warns that Mr. Paul would be "the worst possible [Republican presidential] candidate of the 20 or so [who] are running" because of his positions on these issues and he admitted that choosing between his GOP colleague and Hillary Rodham Clinton would be "tough." Mr. McCain's hostility is nothing new; last year his daughter Meghan told a television interviewer that Mr. McCain "hates" Mr. Paul and assumed that the feeling is mutual. Published June 9, 2015

Debunking the gun control myths with real voter polling

As president of the National Rifle Association during the days following the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, I was on the front lines defending Second Amendment rights against President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a network of gun control advocates who used that tragedy to promote a gun control agenda that, had it been in place on Dec. 14, 2012, would not have prevented the tragedy. Published May 19, 2015

A 'Big Government' reform risks hurting everyday inventors

In a divisively partisan Washington, politicians and pundits lament the lack of bipartisanship, compromise and a willingness to put aside partisan and ideological interests in the name of the common good. Published April 28, 2015

Illustration on rioting and civil response by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

A better way to halt destructive riots

As Baltimore burned on Monday evening, I was reminded of the riots that swept Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and other cities in the wake of the tragic murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and of the rioting a year earlier in Cambridge, Maryland, and dozens of other cities around the country. Published April 28, 2015

When ‘inevitable’ candidates disappoint

The "common wisdom" among politicos these days is that when the smoke clears, next year's presidential election will pit former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush against former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. They're both far better known, better financed with a wider network of activist supporters and more national experience than the rest of the wannabes. Published April 6, 2015

Phyllis Schlafly of Alton, Ill., in Chicago on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 1977, says that she won?t seek the U.S. Senate seat held by Charles H. Percy, also a Republican, in the March 21 primary. Mrs. Schlafly, allied with several conservative causes, conducted the press conference outdoors in Chicago?s subfreezing weather. (AP Photo)

The queen of the conservative movement

As conservatives gather this week to celebrate Phyllis Schlafly, we should take a moment to reflect on the impact this truly remarkable woman has had and is continuing to have on the country, the Republican Party and the conservative movement. Published February 24, 2015

Loretta Lynch and the Constitution Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Pitfalls and pratfalls for Loretta Lynch

Attorneys general are forced by the nature of their job to walk a tightrope. Some have been cronies of the president or even, as in the case of Robert Kennedy, relatives of their White House patron. They serve as the nation's top law enforcement officer, but when adhering to their oath threatens the administration, the president who selected and appointed them expects some special consideration. Published February 2, 2015

Getting your Ducks in a Row Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

A path to the White House or oblivion

As John Sears prepared to wing his way west for a 1975 meeting with former California Gov. Ronald Reagan at which he intended to convince Reagan to hire his team to run Reagan's 1976 campaign against President Gerald R. Ford, I asked him what made him think that Reagan would turn things over to him. Mr. Sear's answer proved prophetic. He said, "because he's had a hundred people tell him that he ought to be president, but I'll be the first to tell him how to do it." Published January 27, 2015

Joni Ernst at Work in Washington Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Joni Ernst, political myth-buster

Some years ago, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in responding to personal attacks on him as an "Uncle Tom" or worse observed that to the left, being black had less to do with skin color, genes and ancestry than with one's political ideology. That is certainly true for today's "progressive" Democrats who believe that they not only have a right to the support of every minority and female voter ever born, but that the apostasy of any who reject them makes them worthy of derision and attack as somehow inauthentic. Published January 21, 2015

Illustration on competition between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney for campaign funding by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

GOP heavyweights vie for the establishment endorsement

The word last week that 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is thinking about a third run for the Oval Office took many Republicans and particularly many establishment Republicans by surprise. The Bush family's latest contender had already made it clear that he will run and his friends were working to clear the field for him, the talking heads were anointing him as the "adult" in the race, and other wannabes were supposedly reining in their ambitions. Published January 13, 2015