TL: Alan Keyes' End of History

OP (1988 Election to Inauguration Day)


“At the end of history, there are no serious ideological competitors left to liberal democracy. "
-Francis Fukuyama

“At the drop of a hat, Mr. Keyes could deliver a grammatically flawless disquisition on virtually any topic. On the stump, he could wind himself up into a fiery intensity, his body rocking, his brow running with sweat, his fingers jabbing the air, his high-pitched voice trembling with emotion as he called the faithful to do battle against the forces of evil.”

-Barack Obama, OTL 2004

“Alan Keyes’ End of History is a 1996 American documentary film directed, written by, and starring filmmaker, director and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of Alan Keyes, his social and foreign policy, and its coverage in the media. In the film, Moore contends that American corporate media have been "cheerleaders" for Keyes’ “Victorian-era” social policies, and have been ignoring crises going on. The film was controversial for its featuring of former Republican National Committee Chair Lee Atwater shortly before his death, with Atwater advocating for voting out Keyes in 1996.”

-Wikipedia page for Alan Keyes’ End of History


”Bush had won the nomination quite easily, but the issue was that he represented an older generation, the one that fought in World War II. The campaign had fears that Dukakis would make him look old and out of touch. We always wanted to go with a non-traditional name. We suggested a few names such as Lynn Martin and John McCain, along with some non-politicians Peter Ueberroth, Clint Eastwood, and Donald Trump. Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, Bush’s two main rivals in 1988 were also brought up as competitors.”

-John Sununu, interview for The 1988 Circus

“I was surprised by the news reports that have said my endorsement last evening of the Vice President was ‘lukewarm.’ I am enthusiastic, fully committed, and, as I have said, will go all out to make Vice President Bush the next president.”

“I've never known a more stout-hearted defender of a strong America than Alan Keyes.”
-Ronald Reagan, fundraiser for Maryland Republicans

“We’re hearing at this fundraiser that Reagan is being attacked for not talking up Bush enough, and then we’ve got him talking up some diplomat who is running for the Senate!”

“I’m telling you, he might just be what we need in the number two spot. Can you imagine the team of a strong statesman and this great young Afro-American! Dukakis-Bentsen will pale in comparison.”

“Alan is only 38 and his only position was a minor one at the United Nations. We can’t have a guy who needs on the job training.”

“You know, Kennedy was 43 and Teddy Roosevelt was 42 when they became president. He’s smart and bright, and he can give us a base among black voters.”

-Howard Baker, Roger Ailes, and George Bush

“It looks as though the old white guy lost out to the energetic African-American candidate. I just hope this isn’t going to be repeated in the Nielsen ratings.”

-Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show monologue, 8/16/88


NEW ORLEANS, AUG. 16 -- Vice President Bush today selected diplomat Dr. Alan Keyes (R-MD) as his 1988 running mate.

The surprise choice signaled a bid for support from a new generation of voters and an effort to shore up the Republican ticket among African-American voters.

Abandoning his original plan to keep his choice secret until the last day of the Republican National Convention, Bush announced the decision amid a frenzy of speculation that intensified as he glided down the Mississippi River on a huge paddle-wheeler, the Natchez. Before boarding the boat, Bush put in quick calls to Keyes and those he had passed over. When Bush arrived for a festive ceremony at the Spanish Plaza here, as a steam calliope played "America," two Secret Service agents quickly picked their way through the crowd, asking, "Where's Keyes? Where's Keyes?”

Keyes, 38, son of an Army veteran and a follower of philosopher Alan Bloom, joined Bush in the steamy heat for an effusive introduction. Bush decided to break the news immediately to soften any hard feelings that had developed among other contenders and their backers over the days of the intense speculation about his choice, according to campaign sources and campaign chairman James A. Baker III, the outgoing Treasury secretary.

Bush described Keyes as "a leader in matters of national security" and "a man of the future," and Baker explained the decision to choose Keyes as “breaking barriers of race and age," noting that Keyes is the African-American as well as the first “baby boomer” to serve on a national party ticket.

Exuberant, Keyes grasped Bush by the arm and shoulders over and over again and told the crowd: "Let's go get 'em. All right? You got it?" A dark-horse candidate who was favored by some of Bush's top political advisers, Keyes brings youthful good looks and parallel views on the issues to the ticket and appears to fulfill Bush's demand that his running mate serves as a team player.

-The Washington Post (adapted from the OTL article)

“SEN. BENTSEN: If that tragedy should occur, we have to step in there without any margin for error, without time for preparation, to take over the responsibility for the biggest job in the world, that of running this great country of ours; to take over the awesome responsibility for commanding the nuclear weaponry that this country has. No, the debate tonight is a debate about the presidency itself, and a presidential decision that has to be made by you. The stakes could not be higher. Ambassador Keyes is not someone who Americans could confidently hand over the nuclear button to.”

“AMB. KEYES: Senator Bentsen harkens back to the era of segregation when the flag of America was not one that was equal to all - he first served in Congress during the administration of President Truman. Senator Bentsen takes every dollar he can get from the lobbyists and mysterious left-wing organizations while presenting himself as the man of the people. You have shown to be weak time and time again in the face of pressure. My friends, is this what who we want to be representing freedom in taking on Mr. Gorbachev?”

“SEN. BENTSEN: That was totally uncalled for.”

“AMB. KEYES: I’ll leave it to the American people to decide on November 8th.”

-1988 vice presidential debate, 10/5/88


-Washington Post, 10/23/88

“It didn’t really matter that Alan Keyes was a raging homophobe, it was 1988 and polls showed that only a third of Americans even thought that queer identity should be legal and the vast majority of those were Democrats.”

-Donna Brazile, interview for The 1988 Circus

“I gotta hand it to Alan Keyes, there aren’t many people who have the bravery to go after someone like Lloyd Bentsen on the offensive.”

-Lee Atwater in Alan Keyes’ End of History

“I mean to be a President of all the people.”

-President-Elect George H.W. Bush, 11/8/88

“I, Alan Lee Keyes, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

-Inauguration of Vice President Alan Keyes, 1/20/89
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Author’s Note
Author's Note: Alan Keyes is a political figure that has always fascinated me. On paper, he sounds like he would be perfect presidential material; as a protege of Alan Bloom, a Reagan administration foreign policy official, and an overall charismatic speaker. In his first bid for the presidency, he amounted to little of the basis of Bob Dole's strength and that he wasn't really running a serious campaign. He came back in 2000 to become one of three remaining candidates and at one point was seen as a serious prospect for the vice presidential or presidential nomination. I have a family connection to his earlier campaigns - my grandmother was a strong Keyes support due as he was the first major African-American Republican to run for president.

From there, his political career suddenly made a turn to the bizarre, with him moving to near Alex Jones levels of political respectability. Out of nowhere, he moved to Illinois to run for the Senate against Barack Obama, in which he won only a quarter of the vote and went on confusing tangents about Jesus Christ and abortion. In 2008, he tried again at the White House, where he spent most of the time in his debate complaining that he didn't have enough time and got 0.2% in Iowa compared to 14.2%. After leaving the Republican nomination to go to the Constitution Party, and leaving the Constitution Party to go to a splinter of George Wallace's AIP, he received less than 50,000 votes. Now, he spends most of his time calling Barack Obama a Kenyan Muslim communist who is partnering with Iran to win a third term, advocating for anti-vaxxers, and disowning his lesbian daughter.

Alan Keyes' career is certainly one of the most bizarre ones in modern American history. Was he a smart man who went mad, a madman who was briefly smart, or a smart man pretending to be mad? I'll allow you to make up your mind on that.
Update 2 (Inauguration Day 1989 to January 1992)

-The Irish Times 6/15/89


Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, has been removed from office in a military coup. Supporters of President Yang Shangkun launched a no-confidence motion, with the vast majority being in support. Jiang had been long suspected to have “neoliberal” leanings, with many party hardliners seeking to remove him from power. The turning point appeared to be when Deng Xiaoping, who began China’s transition to free markets, dropped support for the man who he helped to put into power.

International observers have appeared worried about the ascension of Yang, who was involved with the harsh crackdown following the events of Tiananmen Square. The general has also been more skeptical about free-market reforms and is against joining international trade organizations. Chinese leaders including Deng voiced concern that Yang Shangkun and his half-brother Yang Baibing were hoping to establish a family clique in China. Supporters of Jiang used the argument that if Yang gained power, he would attempt to become a de-facto emperor.

Reports out of Moscow appear to indicate that following the events that have hit Jiang, Mikhail Gorbachev is paranoid of a possible coup against his efforts of glasnost and perestroika. White House Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater stated that the U.S. government has “strong concerns about Yang Shangkun’s commitment to human rights in China.” President of the Republic of China, which has territorial claims on mainland China, Lee Teng-Hui has also commented that Taiwan should be viewed as a “beacon of hope” for the goal of democracy. President Lee has begun a transition to democracy in a nation formally under Chiang Kai-shek’s one-party rule.
-The New York Times, 9/13/89

“On this day in 1989: Ann Jillian’s first episode airs on NBC. The show went on to be an iconic sitcom and a staple of 1990s culture, airing from 1989 to 1995.

Fun fact: Comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David had created their own sitcom called The Seinfeld Chronicles, also produced by Castle Rock Entertainment. Ann Jillian’s better reception led the Seinfeld show to be canceled after a pilot episode.”

-NBC News 12/27/89

-Time, 11/6/90

“It makes sense that we’ve won. When you’ve got foolish people like Clayton Williams up against folks like Bob Bullock, there’s no real contest.”
-Rep. Jim Hightower (D-TX)

-USA Today 4/13/91

-Wall Street Journal, 8/20/91

“We all thought that George would win another term. Lee was in great health; energetic to secure another term. The Gulf War victory meant that Bush would easily win another term. Without anyone like Mario Cuomo, Dick Gephardt, or Bill Bradley in the race, we could sail to another term. We had no idea what a few months would do.”
-Mary Matalin, 2005 interview

“We are at a historic period of history. Our definition of patriotism shouldn’t be nuclear proliferation and foreign intervention, it should be supporting the working class in this nation. That’s why I’m going to be running for president.”
-George McGovern on The Arsenio Hall Show, 5/23/91

-The New Yorkers, 6/10/91

-The National Post, 11/21/91

“As Prime Minister, I intend for a prosperous and united Canada between our different cultures.”
-Prime Minister Lucien Bouchard (Con.)

“We need to interrupt you there Willard because we have some major news coming out of Japan. President Bush has vomited, collapsed and hit his head at a state dinner with Prime Minister Miyazawa and Emperor Akihito. It appears at this moment that he is unconscious. We will have more in just a moment, we’re going to cut to commercial.”
-Katie Couric, The Today Show 1/9/92

“President Bush was pronounced dead at 7:41 am, Tokyo time. He would be the first, and only president to pass away on foreign soil.”
-Bill O'Reilly, Bush’s Last Days

“This is why we can’t trust the Japs (burps). Bush died at 19:41 in Japan’s clock format, or as we say, military time. 1941 was also when Emperor Hirohito struck America in Pearl Harbor! And I know the Jap puppets in Washington will say ‘Well that’s a coincidence!’ Even if you use a 12-hour clock, 7:41, the Pearl Harbor attacks were on December the 7th, 1941!”
-Alex Jones in a video published to his Orkut page, 2007
Im personally guesssing Keyes will spend most of us time on social issues, probably seriously pushing a Pro Life amendment and a Marriage Amendment (which probably will pass).