When I read something a politician said I sometimes raise an eyebrow, occasionally shake my head and infrequently yell out to no one in particular, “This person is crazy” (or if it is really out of line, a Chicago version of the above). But there are times a person from my party says something so outrageous that the failure to respond would be irresponsible. Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly’s statement that fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari supports Sharia law is such a statement.
About 12 years ago the vice-chairman of the California GOP published an article that said in many ways blacks were better off prior to the Civil War. At that time, the vice chair was running to be the chair of the state party. I tried to get others to run against him. However, they told me for the last 38 years the vice-chair had become the chair; so they would not run against him, because they could not win.
I felt that left me with no choice but to run myself. I did run, beat the odds and was elected Chairman of the California Republican Party. But more importantly, that victory sent the message that those types of statements had no place in the California Republican Party.
Gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly’s statement is not different enough from that statement of twelve years ago. His statement conjures up frightening images which when mixed with the fact Mr. Kashkari has darker skin and a name that sounds like it could be middle-eastern creates an image that is unacceptable.
Some of Mr. Donnelly’s supporters say they are sticking with him “because at least we know where he stands.” It is true that principles without clarity is like a ship without a rudder. The only thing worse is clarity without principles. Mr. Donnelly has shown he lacks such principles. As we stood up twelve years ago to say there was no room for such statements in our party, it is equally important we do so again today.