An Open Letter to the Constitution Party

by Kevin Thompson

I was a member of the Constitution Party before Alan Keyes, and will be after. If Alan had won the nomination, I would have gladly backed him and worked on his behalf. I have even taken some flack from those in my party for that stance. Alan Keyes is a great American and the loudest voice for the pro-life movement.

However, I will fully support our nominee, Chuck Baldwin. Chuck Baldwin is a patriot and a man who would do us all well in the White House. I have a deep respect and admiration for the man. I think it would be best for Alan Keyes to do the same. Listen, let’s be honest. Something has to be said for the fact that Alan Keyes never joined the CP. Why would a party reject one of their own candidates for a man who has shown no party loyalty or even membership? This is our party, not the party of Dr. Keyes. Had Dr. Keyes joined us officially, perhaps things would have been different. Instead, Keyes supporters marched in, having joined little over a week ago and immediatly tried changing our platform. What else did you think would happen? It felt like our party was undergoing a take-over attempt. It could have been handled differently.

In the past, Dr. Keyes has endorsed President Bush after loosing the GOP nomination. After loosing the CP nomination, Dr. Keyes ought to endorse our nominee - a friend of Dr. Keyes and a Dr. Keyes would find more common ground on than with George Bush. It would be the principled thing to do.

Yet, with all of that having been said, the Constitution Party owes Dr. Keyes a very large apology. He was treated as an enemy instead of the friend and ally he is. There is no excuse for this. My party acted in a most shameful way. I am a bit embarrassed at the actions of some, people who I would otherwise respect and love. Yet, they must be called on the carpet like anyone else.

In an effort to “purify” our party, I fear we have alienated our party. The Bible tells us to preach the truth in love. We are guilty of violating that principle. We are told in Scripture to the best of our ability to live peaceably with all men. We are guilty of voilating that principle. Where was the debate over topics of disagreement? When did we ever try to convince men through reasoned argument? Why did we allow this situation to get so out of hand so fast! Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why were there not more chairmen willing to met with the man first, before forming bias and opinion?

Only less than two years ago did I attend a Constitution Party National Committee meeting in Concord, NH. This was my first real expsure to the Constitution Party. There at that meeting, I heard Dr. Keyes give a rousing address to the delegates which was met with cheers and much applause. Even Howard Phillips could be found clapping. Keyes would be asked to appear in several other CP meetings accross the country. We all cheered and welcomed his threats to leave the GOP. Yet, then, when he actually left, he was met by character assination and apprehension. Two years ago he was a friend and ally. Today, he is our enemy. What in the world happened?

We have turned friends into foes. This will only serve to hurt us in November. We need every vote we can get. If we alienate our base, how can we ever expect to count on support from others. Can we stop the infighting, please! Constitution Party, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Some healing does need to take place. Dr. Baldwin was very gracious in his acceptance speech. He welcomed Dr. Keyes and his supporters into his campaign and back into our fold. I think that is a great first step. A second step would be an official apology. Who will be the first in our party to be brave enough to do so?

Because of Grace,

Kevin Thompson,
Rom 1:15

24 Responses to “An Open Letter to the Constitution Party”

  1. G.E. Says:

    ROM Volume 1, #15? It’s worth $0.75 according to my comic buyer’s guide.

  2. Ben Miller Says:

    Thompson makes a very good point. Although I believe Baldwin was the better match with CP stands the Constitution Party encouraged Keyes to run and put his name on most of their letters about the Constitution Party presidential nomination then turned on him as soon as he said he would run with them.

  3. Trent Hill Says:

    Kevin Thompson gets it all wrong here. Everything Howard Phillips said was RIGHT ON TARGET. Offending Keyes and his followers isnt the concern. The concern is about Phillips’ use of his Convention-granted speaking slot.

  4. Trent Hill Says:

    Ben,

    The Executive Committee is a deliberative body. Howard Phillips is one person. The ExecComm invited him, Howard Phillips lambasted him.

    I justcant imagine where Keyes goes from here.

  5. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    This is a great letter by Kevin Thompson. Clearly he is listening to God, and it would be great if he were on the Obama campaign. I hope I can at least get him to support the Fringe Alliance Strategy.

  6. silver Republican Says:

    Catholic Trotskyist, are you for reals? It seems like there’s an active competition on this site for which member most resembles the mad hatter.

  7. paulie Says:

    I win!

  8. NewFederalist Says:

    There is a reason why they are called “minor” parties!

  9. goldwater girl Says:

    It’s tough when someone like Howie Phillips founds a brand new party and then must watch it turn into something else. He can’t be in control forever. What’s more, if he is going to act this way, he must ALWAYS be right. While it is a matter of opinion how right he was this time, he has been wrong before. In 2000 the new CP (formerly until then USTP) had Herb Titus as a candidate. We (CA delegates) were told that Howie didn’t want Titus to win. No explanation was offered as to why. In allegiance the CA delegates followed what was perceived as a strong hint to be afraid of Herb Titus. To this day it has never been explained. This was wrong. Titus never had a chance to defend himself. It could have been a huge turning point for the CP. Titus was a superb candidate and the CP was plenty hurt by nominating the same old Howard Phillips again. Sooner or later Phillips has to let go; unless that is he can prove he is ALWAYS right. Not likely.

  10. Randy Says:

    I think that, in 2000, it was less about Herb Titus and more about his main supporters, the American Heritage Party of Washington. As you probably remember, they spent the majority of the time trying to hijack the convention.
    Perhaps there was a fear that if their candidate won, their influence would increase. This is just a guess on my part.

  11. Rob Says:

    I am thinking that CP platform will become more and more relevant as the economy and social issues engender relocalization. This digital democracy we live in will not last forever. Already, powerful forces are at work to marginalize the communication of philosophical truth and objective fact through the Internet. We must communicate our ideals with a consistent platform that lends itself to printed media and word-of-mouth. We should also develop more powerful and effective public speakers to reach audiences by conference call and personal addresses. The brief appearnace of Alan Keyes on our party’s scene lends credence to the belief that rhetoric can accomplish objectives that honesty of purpose alone can merely promise.

  12. Laura Says:

    Thompson seems overly concerned about offending neo-cons who are not his party’s base.

    I have more respect for the CP now that they’ve nominated Chuck.

  13. Andy Says:

    Oh come on Kevin, Chuck Baldwin is much better than the neo-con loving warmonger opportunist Alan Keyes.

  14. Kerwin Says:

    Keyes doesn’t even qualify for unemployment compensation.
    He needs to interview for a real job, get it, establish himself as something other than a fringe wack-nut and then try again in about 20 years.

  15. silver Republican Says:

    “He needs to interview for a real job, get it, establish himself as something other than a fringe wack-nut and then try again in about 20 years.”

    And lose.

  16. Sean Says:

    Hey guys, I love Keyes on a number of issues, and it wouldn’t hurt to show him a little respect. He is right on enough issues that Baldwin proudly mentions that he had Keyes (a Catholic) speak at his (Baptist) church. When we are allies, our tearing each other down only advances the cause of those who seek to undermine our liberties.

    For the record, I supported Keyes in 2000, and came in to CP as a former Duncan Hunter supporter. I was open minded about Keyes, but also knew from talking with Howard Phillips that there was concern about Keyes just jumping in. It isn’t exactly fair to say he was just jumping in, as Keyes rightfully points out that he has stumped at CP conventions and for their causes many times.

    However, Keyes was not wise in his approach. In part because 1) the person he has selected as his National Campaign Director, who was rude (and seemed bitter—but can’t be sure of his motive, just his actions!), and seems to view Keyes from a more messianic view than I am comfortable with (I didn’t like it with some of Paul’s supporters, and I don’t like it w/ Keyes supporters either!) His NCD kept referencing his media contacts and interviews, how there were all these donations waiting to come in if Keyes was the nominee, etc, and was also told by him that God would judge us for turning down Keyes. Another candidate kept referencing his ability to drum up lots of money, etc… and that was the eccentric and uncommitted Daniel Imperato (who also didn’t stay for VP nominees). 2) He stated outright in his candidate speech that he wouldn’t commit to getting out of the UN (basically throwing the guantlet down to an important issue)—but my mother talked with him for an hour, and said that ultimately Keyes admitted he was willing to do so, but the process was so involved that it couldn’t happen instantly. Keyes, if he were wise and able to do everything his NCD asserted would have realized that he should have said that. People wanted to give Keyes a fair shake, but he at the front of it refused to compromise (or show openness) on a number of important issues in public (but was willing 1-on-1). EVERYONE I talked to hoped that Keyes would be their VP nominee. But the NCD said that was an insult and that it was a dishonor. A friend of mine wisely said: “There is no dishonor in service.” I wish Keyes had stuck around. 3) many of Keyes supporters came in as a conquering army, were rude, disrespectful, showed no long term commitment to the party, and revealed their lack of commitment by leaving when Keyes was not the Nominee, even though the convention wasn’t done. Some of the rude people (very bad in the Platform committee) I didn’t even realize were Keyes supporters until they vanished after the presidential decision was known. [That said, I met some WONDERFUL Keyes supporters, they are kind, honorable, and my heart goes out to them.] 4) Keyes didn’t show up to the Platform debates, but referenced what happened in them. He apparently was told (I believe through a very biased filter) of railroading and killing of all their proposed amendments. There is only partial truth in that—Howard Phillips did a parliamentarian maneuver to preserve the Preamble, but ALL other proposed amendments that I saw (I missed 2 or so hours out of 12 or so to attend the Rules committee which by the way went out of its way to make it so no candidate could be disqualified because his state didn’t have an affiliate, like Keyes with Maryland) were handled with vigorous and wise debate (I learned a LOT), and Keyes’ motions failed on up/down votes.

  17. Trent Hill Says:

    Sean,

    Good points all. Keyes just didnt come in there to win.

  18. Sean Scallon Says:

    Good post Sean. Had Keyes made a dramatic break with the neocons and had denouced the war and U.S. foreign policy and made it clear he was joining instead of “considering” the Constitution Party, he probably would have won. There wasn’t anyone outside of Chuck Baldwin that could have stopped him. That Baldwin eneterd the race when he wasn’t interested at first was due in large part to Keyes’ stubborness and lack of wisdom. A major reason in the formation of the Constitution Party is in dissent with current U.S. foreign policy and the monetary policy which funds it. Otherwise they’d still be Republicans. They certainly wouldn’t be libertarians. Keyes is not willing to make this break and his campaign rationales are beyond bizarre.

    Yes it would have been nice to have a national figure like Alan Keyes be the CP nominee but not at price of the party’s rationale of being. Howard Phillips understands this as well as anyone. Now maybe he could used more tact and not given such a nasty speech, but he is correct in stating why many members of the party could not support a Keyes candidacy.

    I would like the Keyes folks to stay in the party as well, but unfortunately it seems, they are as welded to him personally as Jim Jones followers were to Jonestown. Any objective person would realize Alan Keyes day in the sun has come and gone given all his election defeats, all the bridges he’s burnt, all the problems he’s had with the FEC and any organized party he’s been in. Maybe being a true independent is his calling since he seemingly can’t get along with anyone else. Maybe this time he knows what he’s doing. Even so, the future for those conservatives who don’t want to vote for GOP that’s abandoned them is the Constitution Party. There’s no other conservative party that is as organized and established across the country and hopefull Chuck Baldwin will allow to grow and strengthen further.

  19. Trent Hill Says:

    I just realized that this is actually one of Keyes’ worst defeats.

    He scored better in ALL of his Senate races….

  20. Larry Breazeale,Msgt.(ret.)USAFR Says:

    Kevin, I agree with you 100%. I supported Baldwin at the convention.
    I did not like how Alan Keyes was treated. There were a few abusers that made remarks to Keyes that I feel was totally out of line and over the line.
    Those few, made all of us in the CP look bad.
    I did approach Dr. Keyes , outside of the convention hall, in the hallway surrounded by twenty or so other delegates, many of whom were Baldwin delegates (me included). Before I actually spoke with him, I noticed one other Baldwin delegate ‘talking down’ and ‘going off’ on Keyes, unnecessarily. When I had the opportunity to approach Keyes, I said, “Dr.Keyes, welcome into the Constitution party!” I shook his hand and gave him an “NVC” (National Veterans Coalition ) button. I said,”we welcome you into our party and I realize there is a lot of “mixed feelings” and” contention in the air”but, I hope we can find some common ground”.
    He thanked me and we shook hands. I wanted him to know, that we in the CP welcomed him in the CP despite differences. The CP should be in the business of welcoming newcomers into the party, no matter how long it takes them to figure things out politically. I still feel there is room for an Alan Keyes in our party. I also feel the CP should never compromise its principles or platform for ANY one man either.
    Hopefully, Keyes will remain in the CP and contribute to its growth. However, I suspect he might feel his ego has been injured, to the degree that he will seek attention elsewhere. Overall, the majority of the delegation voted the right choice. It certainly does not mean it was easy.
    God Bless the Constitution party and its “Principles” and “Platform” .

    Larry Breazeale, Msgt. (ret.) USAF
    National Veterans Coalition of the
    Constitution party…www.nvets.org

  21. Red Phillips Says:

    Kevin, I will have an article on this. I agree with some of what you wrote, but I think you are missing a part of the story. I’ll say more later.

    I do agree that they should not have dropped Keyes’ name if they knew he wouldn’t be a good nominee.

  22. Steve Schulin Says:

    Alan Keyes represents my views better than any other candidate. This has been true for many years. I was delighted to learn of his decision to seek GOP nomination, and started dialing in to his campaign’s weekly public conference calls. I didn’t think it was possible for my already high esteem for Keyes to grow, but his comments and answers to questions from all comers during these calls were spot on, time after time. On the day of the Florida primary, for example, a caller reported that the Miami Herald that morning had listed the frontrunners in GOP race and then flatly stated that all the other GOP candidates had dropped out. Keyes had not dropped out, but the voters who saw the front page of the Miami paper were told otherwise. Keyes’ take on the matter was memorable. the gist of it being that big city papers have been lying on so many subjects for so many years, it should not be a surprise that they lie on any particular matter on any day. If this nation is going to regain government of, by and for the people, it will only happen when We the People bypass the liars’ filtering of the public discourse.

    I listened to Howard Phillips’ speech at the convention and found him to be as wrong on the facts as that Miami paper was. For example, he claimed that the national sales tax proposed by Keyes would ruin the auto industry. That’ seems like utter pap to me. Keyes’ claim that the abolition of the federal income tax would unleash a productivity boom like we have never seen seems much more reasonable a take on the subject.

    I talked with a lot of delegates in Kansas City about Keyes’ positions, and there were a wide variety of disagreements. If there had been more time for discussion, maybe Keyes would have been able to change more minds. One of the delegates, for example, said that he had a video at home of Keyes calling for reparations to blacks for slavery. Now, I’ve seen the press reports from the 2004 Illinois race that claimed Keyes did indeed make such a call. Heck, I remember when the wire services picked that story up—I wondered at the time what in the world had happened to Alan Keyes. When some folks at FreeRepublic reminded me a few months ago of those stories, I took the opportunity to ask Keyes about it during one of those conference calls. His explanation was clear, thorough and persuasive. He is not in favor of any such reparations. He agrees with Abraham Lincoln’s conclusion that the blood spilled by those on both sides of that war between the states forever precludes any calls for further recompense for the evils of slavery. Yet, folks still think he has called for reparations. I’ve never heard anybody else claim they had a video of Keyes making such a proposal, so I asked the fellow if he would please send me the video. He graciously called this evening and said he couldn’t find the video, but that he was sending me an MSNBC story. I told him I knew the article he was talking about, and repeated Keyes’ explanation of what he actually said that day versus what was reported. He said that if Keyes had explained the story the way I did, he would not have been hot about the reparations issue any longer. In all fairness, this delegate and his wife did go up to Keyes’ “open door” room and did ask him about reparations. Keyes apparently only gave them part of the answer that he gave me, and they weren’t satisfied. So, maybe with more time, things would have worked out differently.

    The week before he came to Kansas City, Alan Keyes held several of those conference calls expressly for delegates. A couple of dozen, maybe even a few dozen, out of the hundreds participated. Many were not informed by their state chair that the calls were being held. I listened in on all of them, and I wish that all the delegates could have done the same. Keyes thoroughly and repeatedly discussed such issues as why it would be a really bad move to withdraw from the UN, why it would be a really bad move to insist that Congress declare war before the President could command the military to engage an enemy, and why folks not privy to the same classified information as the President’s national security team should not be so adamant in claiming that decisions were wrong. All three of these well-reasoned conclusions of Alan Keyes put him at odds with the strongly-held opinions of many of the delegates I met.

    I’m one of those folks who joined the Constitution Party last month because of Alan Keyes. Constitution Party Chairman Jim Clymer came on one of the Keyes conference calls and invited us to do so. So did Constitution Party Communications Director Mary Starrett. And so did Constitution Party National Field Director Gary Odom, twice. I sincerely wanted to help the party, and used the phone and email info on the party’s state webpage to volunteer. It turns out that the only contact for my state was pretty much fully occupied by other stuff in his life, 18 days after joining the party, a web domain I set up was listed by national as the state contact URL, and an email forwarding address I provided was being used to have all new queries sent to both the original contact and to me. I was involved day-to-day with some of the national party staff on getting ballot access process rolling here in my state. I came to help, and help was sorely needed. I stayed at the convention and cast my states’ votes for VP. I dropped in at the ball that night and talked again with some folks. Keyes held a conference call that night and indicated that he became a candidate this year because none of the other candidates substantially represented his views, and the nomination of Chuck Baldwin did not change that.

    I sent the following email this morning to the CP chairman and the folks with whom I had worked most closely:

    Dear Jim and all:

    I thought Alan Keyes and the Constitution Party would be a good match. I continue to think that this election is very important for the future of our nation, and that Alan will make a great President. It is my understanding that he will continue his candidacy. I support him in that decision, and will enthusiastically do what I can to help get him elected. I won’t be further pursuing efforts to grow Constitution Party affiliate in Maryland, and expect to promptly remove the Constitution Party affiliation shown on my voter registration here.

    If I get reply from the state Board of Elections to the letter I wrote (with questions posed by Alison), I’ll send that reply along to her. I’ll leave the email forwarding to John Wagner in place at the address currently shown on state contact page, but I do not intend to renew the domain registrations for constitutionpartymd.org/.net/.info/.us. I will happily transfer those registrations to another upon request.

    Jim, my decision does not change the personal pleasure in meeting you and your wife and many others in Kansas City. I was especially touched by your comments from the podium after Mr. Phillips’ speech on Friday afternoon.

    Yours truly,

    Steve Schulin
    —- END OF EMAIL —-

    I got very cordial replies from the chairman and one of the others. The email link on state contact page has been changed back to the original, but they left my website listed.

    So that’s my story.

  23. Trent Hill Says:

    Leaving the party because one man didnt get the nomination seems to be ego-centric.

  24. Red Phillips Says:

    Steve, with all due respect, you are illustrating a very frustrating problem I had with the Alan Keyes supporters. They kept insisting that we just needed to listen to Alan Keyes. That if we just listened to him more and better understood what he was saying then we would see the inherent logic of his positions. The problem was never that we were not listening. The problem was that we fundamentally disagreed.

    The Keyes supporters were almost entirely unable to grasp that someone could actually disagree with their man. But the problems we had with Keyes were always primarily about the issues and nothing else.

    Thanks for the polite nature of your post above. Many of the Keyes supporters at his website are acting like a bunch of whiny babies. The only reason Alan Keyes was ever considered a serious contender is because the other hopefuls weren’t coming forward as hoped. The election was over the instant Chuck Baldwin said he would accept the nomination. There is nothing Keyes or his team could have done.

    And now they are vilifying Howard Phillips for his speech and talking bad about the Party and where it stands on the issues. But I think some finally get what I have been saying all along, the foreign policy issues were just not negotiable.

    I wish you would tell the Keyes supporters to chill with their rhetoric. It was never personal. It was always about the issues. Always. We just fundamentally disagree. It is time for the Keyes supporters to quit questioning people’s motives and come to terms with that. Please pass that on to them.

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