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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, 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

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

Illustration on the negative impact of Obama's immigration action on black Americans by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Black voters for Obama get nothing but disrespect

President Obama discounted November's election results because turnout is lower in midterm than in presidential elections, but there is reason to believe that his treatment of his base contributed to the decision of many Democrats to not bother going to the polls in what everyone recognized as a crucial election. Published November 25, 2014

Illustration on Republicans confronting Obama by Paul Tong/Tribune Content Agency

'Put up or shut up time': America expects the Republicans to match big talk with action

Phil Gramm, an avid waterfowler, and I were sitting in a duck blind on Maryland's Eastern Shore waiting for the birds to fly and discussing conservatism, politics and the Senate. After analyzing a few of his colleagues, the senator from Texas asked me, "What are the four most dangerous words a senator can utter on the Senate floor?" Published November 18, 2014

Barry Goldwater in 1965. (AP Photo)

In the beginning there was Goldwater

In a very real sense, the modern conservative political movement began with Barry Goldwater. Had it not been for the Arizona senator it might have taken years or even decades for conservative ideas to break into the political mainstream, Ronald Reagan would be remembered today not as one of our greatest presidents, but as a "B" movie star and television host, and many of those who since the 1960s shaped our nation's politics would not have had an opportunity to do so. Published November 17, 2014

Phil Crane Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Phil Crane, a positive force of modern conservatism

Few young conservatives even remember Phil Crane, who passed away over the weekend, but he was one of the most significant conservative leaders and politicians of his generation. Published November 10, 2014

Illustration on the importance of the 2014 midterm elections by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

A voting opportunity of a lifetime

In the run-up to every election, Americans are told they must vote because "this election is the most important of our lifetime." Usually these words are spoken by candidates for whom every election is the most important of their lifetime — because they can be career-killers if they lose. Published November 3, 2014

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., right, points to Democratic candidate for Colorado's secretary of state office, Betsy Markey, before former President Bill Clinton makes appearance at a high school in Aurora, Colo., to promote the state's Democratic candidates in the upcoming general election on Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

A liberal dose of campaign ground and pound

As Election Day approaches, most analysts are focusing on campaign optics and poll data — who spends more on television or wins debates few voters watch. Published October 29, 2014

Ronald Reagan giving his "A time for choosing" speech in 1964             The Washington Times

When 'A Time for Choosing' changed the world

History tells us that seemingly inconsequential decisions can sometimes change the world in ways that no one would have predicted at the time they were made. Published October 27, 2014

A longtime Democratic operative, Ron Klain was tasked Friday by President Barack Obama with running the government's response to the Ebola crisis. (AP Photo/Revolution)

A new, unimproved Ebola czar

Liberian health care workers have threatened to strike unless they receive higher pay for working with Ebola patients. Published October 20, 2014

Illustration on Democrats seeking to distance themselves from Obama by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Avoiding the Obama virus on the campaign trail

The Democratic Senate candidate in Kentucky refuses to even say she voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Democratic senators running for re-election in New Hampshire and North Carolina tell reporters they don't want their party's president to campaign for them. Published October 13, 2014

Illustration on coming GOP gains by Nancy Ohanian/Tribune Content Agency

Signs of a coming Republican wave

Although signs of the political wave Republican leaders have been praying for may be peeking over the horizon, it's been late in coming this year as many contestable Senate, House and gubernatorial races have remained up in the air for months. Published October 3, 2014