Republican Dusty Johnson signaled he might be my kind of campaigner in the 2018 U.S. House race:
The reality is is I think I will be a much better congressman that I will be a candidate because I’m just not interested in only telling people what they want to hear. I’m an optimistic guy. I think our country has tremendous problems, but that they can all be solved by working together [Dusty Johnson, in Lee Strubinger, “Johnson Kicks off Congressional Campaign,” SDPB, 2017.05.17].
But dang it to heck, given a chance to properly scold his Republican primary opponent Shantel Krebs and other misguided South Dakotans who have attended the ugly anti-Muslim rallies plaguing our state, Johnson says what the Republican base wants to hear:
“I don’t criticize anybody for going,” Johnson said in a Journal interview. “I do think we should all probably understand more about Islam than we do. I wouldn’t generally shy away from an opportunity to learn more, but if I went to an event and thought it was a bad source of information, I would be unlikely to stick around” [Seth Tupper, “U.S. House Candidate Pledges ‘Different,’ Positive Race,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.05.17].
Sigh. Can we please acknowledge the fact that William Federer, Clare Lopez, and Ron Branstner are monging fear, not understanding about Islam? Can we recognize that people who really want to learn about Islam will attend a real interfaith dialogue with real Muslims?
Facing more criticism from Muslims, Krebs and A.G. Marty Jackley are at least minimizing their attendance at the May 6 ACT for America anti-Muslim show in Rapid City:
Jackley said Monday that he was only in attendance for 10 to 15 minutes after a separate event to meet local supporters of his legislative agenda, who co-sponsored the talk.
Jackley said he “did not take in the scheduled event in any detail.”
Krebs offered a similar response, saying she was “there briefly to say hello to friends in Rapid City” from the Family Heritage Alliance after the Pennington County GOP dinner.
“I am not aware of everything that was discussed,” Krebs said [John Hult, “Jackley, Krebs Criticized for Appearance at Anti-Islam Event,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.05.16].
I only stepped into the strip club to say hi to some friends; I didn’t even see the naked dancers on stage! Sure, Marty. Sure, Shantel. If you have friends going to Klan-lite rallies, maybe you should talk to your friends about why attending such rallies does no one any good. And Dusty, if you want to play the truthteller, how about telling the truth about the ugly bigotry plaguing your party?
Related: If candidates need some cue cards on how to properly address the bigots in their midst, try this:
ACT! for America’s rhetoric and teachings are highly offensive, disparage the faith of millions of Americans, and promote biased policies that lead to the discriminatory targeting of individuals and communities based solely on religion and ethnicity without evidence of actual wrongdoing. The organization’s efforts foster fear and suspicion of American Muslims among the public, and such distrust directly correlates to a rise in discrimination, bullying, harassment, and anti-Muslim violence. By attending ACT! for America’s May 6 presentation in Rapid City, you both have only added more credibility and legitimacy to its work and mission, while signaling to your constituents that you support ACT! for America’s harmful animus-fueled beliefs. In this time of dramatic increase in religious-based hate crimes across the country, we strongly urge you both to publicly denounce ACT! for America and its hateful rhetoric. South Dakota Muslims—and all of its citizens—deserve the right to know that their public officials support them and our country’s bedrock constitutional guarantee of religious freedom [Juvaria Khan, staff attorney for Muslim Advocates, letter to Shantel Krebs and Marty Jackley, 2017.05.15].