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David Keene

David Keene

Editor at Large — David Keene, a trusted adviser to presidents, a longtime champion of personal liberty and one of conservatism’s most respected voices, is the former opinion editor of The Washington Times. 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. He can be reached at me@davidakeene.com.

Articles by David Keene

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

Illustration on aspirants to the presidency by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The presidential look in the mirror

The race for the presidency never ends. More than a few politicians lusting after a desk in the Oval Office begin planning years and even decades in advance for the day when they'll get their shot. Published January 8, 2015

Protesters chant as they rally outside Gracie Mansion in New York City on Dec. 15.

Murders like New York’s are not the fault of City Hall

Last week's police shootings in New York City have rather predictably set off an epidemic of finger-pointing. In the 1990s, when Timothy McVey blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, President Clinton hinted not very subtly that the real fault lay with the "militia" movement. Later, politicians and some pundits blamed Sarah Palin, of all people, for the shooting of Rep. Gaby Giffords of Arizona, and when an emotionally disturbed Adam Lanza killed his mother, stole her guns and wreaked havoc in Newtown, Connecticut, two years ago, a chorus of finger-pointers blamed not Lanza, but the National Rifle Association and the manufacturer of the guns he used. Published December 25, 2014

The shooting sports, the AR-15 and a veteran close to my heart

My daughter enlisted in the Army not too long after Sept. 11, 2001. Before she was through, she managed to survive two tours in Iraq and a year in Afghanistan. Upon her return, she bought herself an AR-15, the semi-automatic version of the rifle she carried while on active duty. She takes it to the range and enjoys shooting. Published December 16, 2014

A happy marriage between war veterans and the shooting sports

The American Revolution, and all that has followed, serves in many ways to explain the history of Americans and guns. From the farmers who confronted British regulars at Lexington and Concord to the men and women on the front lines fighting today as part of the War on Terror, Americans have relied on and developed a unique relationship with and appreciation for firearms and the shooting sports. Published December 16, 2014

"Bumpering" Hillary 2016 Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Pining for Elizabeth Warren

Barack Obama is so yesterday. The elitists who supported him as the great "progressive" hope are abandoning him in droves as his popularity plummets. The Washington Post describes him as having the "worst" year of anyone in Washington, and as Republicans prepare to take over the Senate, he looks more and more like a lame duck incapable of delivering much more of anything to his base. Published December 16, 2014

Civilization's essential book

It was 1952 and as a seven year old who had a Sunday School perfect attendance record for a year, I was presented with my very own King James Bible. I still have it and still refer to it. Published December 11, 2014

Illustration on the coming presidential race by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

The race for the 2016 presidency

Republican and Democratic presidential wannabes are beginning to focus on 2016, evaluating their chances and building on the contacts and chits they've accumulated over the last few years. Some have been at it for some time, some are still thinking about running. While many candidates are being discussed or having their supporters see about getting them discussed, this long list will shorten in the months ahead. Published December 8, 2014