Johnson Demurs, Krebs and Jackley Backpedal on Anti-Muslim Meetings

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].

7 Responses to Johnson Demurs, Krebs and Jackley Backpedal on Anti-Muslim Meetings

  1. Roger Elgersma

    Dusty says the problems can be solved by all working together. Talking about the problems is the first step, and he does not want to do that? If we can not get to a consensus on what the problems are, we are not going to get anywhere.

  2. Roger Cornelius

    Dusty’ love fest sounds nice to hear, but it isn’t going to happen.
    Trump hasn’t driven a golden spike into the heart of America that further divides them and may take decades to heal from.
    The 2018 mid-terms are poised to be vicious even in republican South Dakota.

  3. happy camper

    What is a real Muslim? Sounds very specific, like a real American, or a real Democrat, or a real Republican. Could 2.2 billion people who identify as Muslim all be real Muslims?

    Could there be real Islamic terrorists and radicals?

    Could there be a radical left (called ANTIFA) who believe violence is justified?

    Enquiring minds want to know.

  4. There are real terrorists. There are real Muslims. There are Muslims who live among us in South Dakota… and the Muslims who are our neighbors here in South Dakota have yet to commit a single violent terrorist act. We should talk.

    But Roger C., you sound pessimistic. I wonder what event did more damage to Muslim/non-Muslim relations in America, 9/11 or the Trump campaign?

    Roger C., a Dusty campaign built on optimism would be a great test of the electorate in 2018. I would like to see what Shantel runs against him, how the voters appear to respond before the primary, and how Shantel and Dusty adjust to win votes.

  5. happy camper

    Should we talk about all of it to put it in perspective? The Islamic terrorists. Those who kill atheists, gays and those of other faiths. Should we talk about parts of the left too who believe in violence and shut down free speech so that we can make sense of it all. Or it is just political posturing?

  6. Boy, I really have to pull to keep certain posts from being dragged back to the same old hobbyhorses, don’t I?

    Dusty didn’t say, “We need to learn more about radical Islamic terrorism” (and bless him for not). Dusty said, “…we should all probably understand more about Islam….” That statement doesn’t apply to what Hap’s hollering about, just as it doesn’t apply t what Krebs and Jackley went to hear (er, sorry, what they heard while they were really just going visit friends at the Klan-lite rally). Dusty at least should have appended to his statement, “…and we’d all learn a lot more about Islam by talking to our fellow South Dakotans who practice Islam at real interfaith dialogues, not these bigotry sideshows brought to us by out-of-state fearmongers making a quick buck off some people’s ignorance and bigotry.”

  7. happy camper

    But benign Islam or anything benign is never the issue. Too bad you never mastered your rocking horse.