When I first read a derogatory comment by Scott P. Richert about Dr. Alan Keyes in the May 2008 issue of Chronicles (“Tan, Rested, and Ready,” The Rockford Files), I was moved to write—but am glad I waited.  At the time I found it to be very uncharacteristic of the magazine, in general, and certainly of Mr. Richert to have made a statement with such certitude about which he obviously lacked the facts.  It had been my privilege to have been in the company of Dr. Keyes when he described the details surrounding his encounter with Barack Obama during the campaign for the U.S. Senate seat in 2004.  I knew the facts, and to read Mr. Richert’s comment to the effect that Alan Keyes was sitting down in a darkened basement watching reruns of his debate with Obama, I knew that he not only didn’t know the personal sacrifice Dr. Keyes made but, distressingly, had evidently made no effort to find out.  Mr. Richert’s remark was both unprofessional and uncharitable.

Now I don’t have to defend Dr. Keyes, as he has laid out in his own words on his blog, Loyal to Liberty, his description of the encounter and the ominous future awaiting us.  (I am enclosing “Obama: Civil War Disguised as Politics?” for Mr. Richert’s reading and reflection.)  Mr. Richert may ask himself, “Did I do my duty as a journalist?”  “Should I have spoken to Dr. Keyes directly to hear him explain to me how he rejected the invitation of the GOP until faced with the knowledge of Obama’s willingness to support infanticide?”  Well, it’s a little late now for ruminations, as the Great One, who may very well have usurped the office of the presidency, is under way with his plan to destroy our Republic.

“Sometimes we are not called to victory, but to witness for truth, as Jesus did, even unto death” (Alan Keyes).

—Michael D. Walsh
Chairman of America’s Independent Party of Iowa, Windsor Heights, IA


Mr. Richert Replies:

I first met Alan Keyes in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1989, when we both attended weekly meetings of a foreign-policy advocacy group on Capitol Hill.  I found him an impressive speaker, quick with the facts.

When I returned to Michigan State that fall, one of my professors, a classmate of Keyes at Harvard, lent me a videotape of Keyes’ 1988 debate with Paul Sarbanes in the race for U.S. senator from Maryland.  Again, I was impressed.  But during the Keyes-Mikulski Senate race in 1992, I began to see the side of Alan Keyes that was on display in his carpetbagging run in Illinois in 2004.  With Mikulski outpolling Keyes two to one, the National Republican Senatorial Committee made the reasonable decision to deny further funds to Keyes.  In response, he denounced his own party as racist—a tactic he used again in 2000 when he was excluded from a Republican presidential debate.  He jumped into that race only after Pat Buchanan had won New Hampshire and Louisiana, and he spent most of his energy attacking Buchanan, the only solidly pro-life candidate who had a chance at winning the nomination.

The Rockford Files is a mixture of news and opinion, and the May 2008 column was about the role the Illinois Republican Party played in elevating Barack Obama to the national stage.  The paragraph that Mr. Walsh dislikes was satire—like the opening paragraphs “documenting” President Obama’s first hundred days in office.

Even so, writing the column in early March 2008, I joked that “[T]he Constitution Party is holding its convention in April in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Negro League Baseball Museum.  This could still be his year.”

After we went to press, Keyes announced his intention to seek the Constitution Party nomination, which he ultimately lost to Chuck Baldwin.  Perhaps I know a bit more about Alan Keyes than Mr. Walsh thinks I do.