Candidate: Alan Keyes
Political Background: Former Ambassador to UN, served on National Security Council and State Department under Ronald Reagan, former President of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW), previously sought GOP Presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.
Campaign Website: http://www.alankeyes.com/
GOP Appeal: Well-spoken and articulate, appeals to social conservatives with hard anti-abortion and anti-homosexual stances, has a small-but-rapid base of support, prominent African-American figure in the conservative realm, can claim a certain amount of "Reagan's legacy" that others can't, underrated fiscal conservatism, strong on national defense, pro-2nd Amendment.
Cross-Over Appeal to Dems: Would allocate more money to expand national parks, has developed pro-alternative fuel viewpoints, supports regional aid to Darfur, critical of Patriot Act infringing on individual rights and freedoms.
Cons: Sometimes overly-bombastic which makes him easy target, as socially conservative as they come which alienates moderates, focus on social issues keeps him from emphasizing fiscal issues and stances, habitually runs for office to emphasize issues and not to actually win.
My Personal Thoughts: Alan Keyes is a double-edged sword for me. I think he is an incredibly intelligent man who speaks and writes very clearly and articulately. I think many of his fiscal policies are worth acknowledging. Keyes is strong and steadfast in his beliefs, does not contradict his words with his actions, and has "been around the block" politically. His statements and beliefs about race relations and legislation, government reform, and foreign policy ring loudly with many conservatives. His idea to replace income tax with an internet tax and a national sales tax is thought-provoking.
But damn if this guy isn't as socially conservative an individual as I've ever seen. To go as far as to call gay sex "selfish hedonism" is very "hard-line" social conservatism. While Mr. Keyes has his right to this opinion, he shouldn't be surprised when the voters alienate him on this. Plus, the fact that he, for all intents and purposes, disowned his daughter when she came out of the closet will not play well with most voters...even if it is an example of his lack of personal contradiction.
However, Keyes is really in it to promote his viewpoints to a large audience...however, he is a powerful speaker and can be on-point with many of his ideas. It will never translate to votes, though, and I think we all know that.