OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Vetting Donnelly

Posted by Walter Myers III on May 24, 2014

131106-Tim-Donnelly-4051Tim Donnelly is one of those figures who seems to draw intense reactions from either “side” of the current schism running within the Republican Party. That schism is roughly drawn along the “establishment”/moderate side of the party versus the conservative base/Tea Party. Inasmuch as the conservative base is “all in” for Donnelly, the establishment side is equally strident and dug in that Donnelly essentially is not fit to lead the Republican Party in California. On the conservative base side we hear the constant refrain that the establishment can’t win without the base, but the conservative base does not seem to recognize that the party can’t win without the establishment either. On the establishment side, there is such fear of losing and continuing to be a permanent minority in California that anything a Tea Party type candidate does that appears to upset minority groups brings out quite a bit of loathing, sometimes even to the point of pandering. Clearly, with such distrust amongst two sides that are supposed to be united to beat Democrats, the Republican Party has become one that eats its own, making it easier for Democrats to pick off candidates who have been already badly damaged by their own party. If this continues, the Party is pretty much done as we know it.

As it pertains to Donnelly, I am hard pressed to understand why there is so much handwringing over his candidacy for California governor. By all accounts Donnelly is honest, hardworking, and a strong conservative who brings a libertarian streak that is truly a breath of fresh air in the Republican Party, and has the potential to bring in young voters as well as Independents that have soured on the party. With respect to his position on illegal immigration, how can he be disqualified as a candidate for simply believing that we need to enforce existing laws on the books? In my own discussions with Donnelly, while he wasn’t prepared to become a proponent of the Lincoln Club immigration reform policy, he said that he was always open to different ideas on solving the problem. So I never saw him as a closed book on that issue. Yes, he has said some unartful things in the past, but who hasn’t? Tim is a man. I am a man. Reagan was a man. Men are imperfect and we should never expect perfection from men. And parties are even more imperfect vehicles because they’re made up of imperfect people. Just remember it was our beloved Reagan who gave us amnesty in 1986, which failed miserably and has us in a situation almost thirty years later where we have twelve million new illegal immigrants and a seemingly intractable problem for Republicans.

And then we have the situation where a Donnelly associate accused Donnelly’s opponent Neel Kashkari of supporting Sharia law due to welcoming remarks Kashkari gave in 2008 at a U.S. Treasury conference about Islamic finance. Does this event tie Kashkari to Sharia law? This, in my view, is a tendentious charge at best, but it certainly wasn’t racist which we know isn’t even a meaningful charge anymore because the term has become so cheap. As a “black” person, I truly do lament that as someone who actually suffered racism growing up in the south. To see white people throw this word around, particularly guilty white liberals and self-serving, opportunistic Republicans, is highly offensive to me and I am personally quite tired of people using the word when they hardly even know what it truly means. But anyway, what I want to argue here is what people like about Donnelly is that what you see is what you get. He is not poll tested, he doesn’t have consultants whispering in his ear, and he doesn’t have handlers. So he will probably make more mistakes than most politicians, but after almost six years of Obama lying to the American people on a regular basis, don’t we want to know what candidates really think instead of someone else telling them what to say which may not reflect the way they really feel on a given issue? I will take a real person over someone whose words are carefully groomed by a nameless, faceless consultant any day of the week.

Now given all I have discussed thus far, I do think that Donnelly needs to make some changes. He needs to begin reaching out beyond his base. He needs to tackle the nasty, gnarly third rail of politics, illegal immigration, and speak to the party about how he would handle this situation. But what is key is that he needs to learn different ways to communicate with different groups of people that don’t belie his conservative principles since Tim Donnelly without his conservatives principles is not the Tim Donnelly anyone should want. Leaders come and go, as Reagan did. And we don’t need another Reagan. What we need is a leader of our time who espouses the conservative principles that Reagan did but can communicate those principles in a manner that reaches into people’s hearts and minds. This past Friday I heard Dr. Ben Carson, who was standing in for Sean Hannity on his radio program, explain how we hear in precise medical vocabulary which is exceedingly complex. He did it in almost one breath and it was one of the most brilliant things I have ever heard. He is a brain surgeon, after all. But he was also on the liberal-leaning The View program with Whoopi Goldberg and crew this week talking about Obamacare and welfare. His simple words were so filled with grace, calm, and common sense that he had the cast mostly agreeing with him as well as the audience. That is the mark of a true communicator: one who can communicate well no matter the context. But we don’t necessarily need a brain surgeon to run California. We need a real person of character, conviction, and conservative principles that will make this once great state a beacon of hope and opportunity for all its citizens again. Can Donnelly be that man? I don’t know the answer, but let’s at least give him the chance to fail without making it a fait accompli due to the destruction we all too often visit on our very own.

3 Responses to “Vetting Donnelly”

  1. admin of another blog said

    I consider myself as conservative as can be, and I know the Lincoln Club is. Our fervent opposition to TD is not because we are moderate, but because we believe he lacks the maturity and gravitas a serious candidate ought to have. We need Bill Buckley intellect in the party, not Wally George rhetoric

    • Walter Myers III said

      David, I am on the board of the Lincoln Club as you are, and let me first say this article was not about the LC’s position on Donnelly. Illegal immigration has been a sore spot with Donnelly completely aside from the LC immigration reform policy whose committee I served on. And nowhere did I say the LC is in opposition to Donnelly because it is moderate. Indeed, there is diversity within the LC with respect to various positions, and there is no one I would say is not conservative because we may not agree on a particular issue. As I stated, the problem with the Republican Party is that we eat our own, and I don’t think it behooves us to label Donnelly as someone who brings “Wally George rhetoric.” Where is the gravitas in that? This is precisely the problem that I have been discussing in my last two articles. Clearly, there is a schism within the party, and you making a statement such as that does nothing to bring the people in Donnelly’s camp to your side, just as my last article pointed out how Kelly Hubbard is doing nothing to bring people into Donnelly’s camp. This has to stop or we will never win. If the Republican Party is a “big tent” party that is still based on core conservative principles, then we all need to be working together to defeat Democrats, not each other by splitting into camps based on variations on specific issues (which, effectively, turn into nothing more than ideological litmus tests). So there needs to be a little grace and gravitas within the conservative community at large, knowing that not everyone will agree on everything.

      I recall a couple of weeks ago that we both enjoyed our guest Larry Kudlow at the LC annual dinner. I could see you beaming with pride in Larry in your face and voice, and I shared that pride because he truly spoke to the heart of what needs to be done in the Republican Party to make it great again, particularly in California. We are desperately in need of a solid conservative, optimistic leader in our party that can tap into the hopes and aspirations of Californians. Now will that that person be Tim Donnelly? I don’t know, and I made that clear in this article. But that doesn’t mean if he is not the second coming of Reagan or Buckley that we should be beating up on him. Either Donnelly is going to rise to the occasion or he isn’t, and if he doesn’t then so be it.

      I think what is far more important now is that people see that the Republican Party is one of diversity in thought and ideas about solving the problems of California, as long as it does not violate the very principles upon which it is based. I don’t see where Donnelly has violated any of our core principles. Yes, he has some strong opinions on some things and has made some statements that a reasonable person would see as polarizing, but as I stated that shouldn’t disqualify him from being a serious candidate because we all know he would make a far better governor than Jerry Brown ever has been or ever will be. He certainly wouldn’t have signed the “bathroom bill” into law. And when it comes to civil liberties, his views track closely with Rand Paul. But he is not yet the type of communicator that Rand is, and I don’t know if he will be.

      Now I do believe I understand your thinking on Donnelly, so don’t get me wrong. With some of the things that he has said your feeling is probably that if he is allowed to be the “standard bearer” for the party in California with wide support, then what does that say about the party itself? I think that is a legitimate argument and I don’t take it lightly. So please understand that while as a LC board member I understand why the LC would not support him, I didn’t like the tenor of the argument against him, not so much the underlying reason for not supporting him. So the distinction to be made here, going back to my point about communication, is that we as a party, or a Political Action Committee such as the LC, can communicate much better than we already do, whether that be to each other or to voters that we would like to vote Republican. As I stated before, this article was not specifically about the LC position on Donnelly, but since you made it about that I thought I should respond to you.



  2. teemtwo said

    Reblogged this on Conservative Calmversation and commented:
    Walter discusses the GOP & a Tea Party Conservative potential for governor in California.

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