Alan Keyes was born August 7, 1950, in a naval hospital in Long Island, New York. Being the son of a U.S. Army sergeant, he spent much of his childhood traveling from place to place including Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Italy. After having graduated high school, he attended Cornell University where he studied political philosophy under the influential Allan Bloom, whom he identifies as a major mentor. He then left to participate in a foreign exchange study program, where he spent a year in Paris, France. Returning to America, he renewed his studies at Harvard University, where he completed his B.A. degree in government affairs by 1972.
As he was completing his doctoral studies, he joined the United States Department of State, acting as an assistant to UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. He was assigned to the consulate in Mumbai, India, in 1979, and stayed a year before moving on to work at the embassy in Zimbabwe. By 1981, he was a member of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in Washington, DC.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan appointed Keyes to the United Nations as a fully-ranked ambassador. He stayed in this position four years until he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations, and served jointly on the staff of the National Security Council, until 1987. During this time, he was a staunch supporter of Ronald Reagan and Conservative politics, and was a highly-favored staff member to Ronald reagan, who was fond of deploying him on errands.
In 1988, he was drafted by the Maryland Republican Party to run for the United States Senate. At the fundraiser for this Senate campaign, President Reagan gave a speech praising Keyes for the fine job he'd done, and calling him a "stout-hearted defender of a strong America". Despite glowing praise from a popular Republican President, he failed to defeat the incumbent Paul Sarbanes for the Senate seat. He ran again four years later for the U.S. Senator from Maryland, and again was defeated by a Democrat, this time Barbara Mikulski.
Raising his sights in 1996, he ran for the Republican nomination for the Presidential election. However, he only drew 3% of the vote in the primaries, coming in fifth behind Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes, Pat Buchanan, and Bob Dole. Again in 2000, he sought the Republican nomination for President. Here his run was a bit more polished. He drew 14% of the vote, finishing third, and stayed on to debate with both George Bush and John McCain, in which he showed favorable poll results. However, he did not move up any further in the 2000 Presidential election.
Alan Keyes has contributed to some interesting incidents in his years of political involvement. A staunch Republican who is as anti-civil-liberty as just about any candidate can get, he rubbed a few of the people he met the wrong way in his days as an ambassador. During his first Presidential run in 1996, there was an incident where he allegedly tried to force his way into a debate to which he was not invited, and was briefly detained by Atlanta police. During the 2000 campaign, Keyes jumped into a mosh pit of youths body-surfing to music at a nightclub, apparently at the behest of Michael Moore, host of the "The Awful Truth" TV show, and his daughter. Finally, there was some controversy over the fact that he had thrown his daughter out and disowned her, upon learning that she was a lesbian.
Alan Keyes has been drafted by a grass-roots movement and has joined the race for the 2008 United States Presidential Election. As is usual for a draft pick, he has been very late in joining the race. He did just make it into the Republican presidential debate in Iowa on December 12, 2007, but is not expected to have made much progress in winning the vote.
Alan Keyes is running with a slogan "renew America". In a nutshell, he is anti-choice, anti-civil-rights, pro-corporation, pro-death-penalty, pro-drug-prohibition, pro-school-prayer, pro-school-voucher, anti-Kyoto, anti-environmental-regulation, pro-religion, pro-war, anti-free-trade, anti-gun-control, anti-euthanasia, pro-PATRIOT-act, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-income-tax, anti-technology, anti-welfare. Other positions and views may be extrapolated from this highly generalized paragraph.