David Keene, the National Rifle Association’s former president, was appointed on Sunday to serve as the new opinion editor for The Washington Times, a daily broadsheet that is known for its popular conservative writers, e.g., Emily Miller, Sen. Rand Paul, Dr. Ben Carson, etc.
Obviously, Keene is hugely popular amongst gun owners. One can easily argue that, along with NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Keene played a key role in the defeat of federal gun control legislation that cropped up in the aftermath of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
But in addition to being a proud and effective gun rights advocate, Keene is also a well-known and well-liked conservative in Washington D.C. In fact, from 1984-2011, Keane was the chairman of the American Conservative Union, the country’s largest and oldest conservative advocacy groups.
So, not surprisingly, the Washington Times was thrilled to put Keene in his new leadership role now that his two-year term as President of the nation’s gun lobby has ended.
“At a time when the conservative movement is struggling to apply its values to the challenges facing America, we are lucky to have a leader of David’s caliber, wisdom and experience shape our opinion strategy,” said John Solomon, the paper’s top editor.
“He is perfectly suited to craft the fresh policy ideas our readers have come to expect from The Washington Times’ opinion pages and to use our print, Web, TV and radio products to inspire a new generation of conservatives to find their voice, embrace innovation and reach consensus,” continued Solomon.
Keene also expressed his enthusiasm for the job and for the opportunity to help shape the political dialogue in this country.
“Since its founding, The Washington Times has played a vital role as the conservative newspaper in Washington and one of the most widely quoted nationwide,” Keene added.
“Presidents, elected officials and policymakers have relied on The Times, and our challenge is to expand our reach in new media and in this political era to provide a reliable, readable resource for conservatives and others across the country,” Keene continued.
Additionally, the appointment of Keene was lauded by many of the high-profile figures in the conservative community.
“Dave Keene is one of the smartest, most principled people I know,” said Tucker Carlson, the editor of the Daily Caller. He’s also an accomplished fly fisherman and sportsman, which is not a small thing in an age when so few people in the policy world ever go outside.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called Keene “a major voice defining conservatism in America for the last generation,” as CNN Reported. And Former U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton called Keene’s appointment a “great coup for The Times. No one knows Washington better than Dave.”
One quick thought…
I really like David Keene. And I think the NRA is going to miss having him at the helm. Why? Well, let’s be honest, Wayne LaPierre can, at times, come across to the non-gun owning public as a radical, gun-owning zealot.
By comparison, Keene always appears level-headed, reasonable and down to earth (see his interviews above).
Again, this is not to disparage LaPierre, but there is definitely a difference in the way in which the two men present themselves and the way in which they address the public. LaPierre’s style and rhetoric is sometimes aggressive and in-your-face, whereas Keene’s is laid back but always cogent and convincing.
Bottom line, Washington Times is lucky to have Keene. I bet he does an excellent job.