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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

By Chris Megerian and Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times

SACRAMENTO, California — California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor, on Tuesday likened President Barack Obama to dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin on the issue of gun control.

The comparison, issued in a tweet, included an image with two rows of portraits. The first one showed George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others who Donnelly said “stood for gun rights.” The second had Obama alongside Hitler, Stalin and King George III as people who “stood for gun control.”

Donnelly, a lawmaker from San Bernardino County, has made expansion of gun rights a central part of his platform, aligning himself with advocates who view gun regulations as a dangerous form of government overreach. He’s also criticized Neel Kashkari, another Republican gubernatorial candidate, for not having similar views.

In a recent fundraising appeal, Donnelly said Kashkari “wants to trample your rights and seize your guns.” Kashkari is a gun owner who has said that a background check and waiting period when purchasing firearms did not bother him.

Although firearms have been a core issue for Donnelly, they’ve also gotten him into trouble. He was placed on probation for three years after taking a handgun to an airport in January 2012; Donnelly said he had accidentally left it in his briefcase.

The handgun was not registered to him. Donnelly said “he never got around” to registering it and has refused to answer additional questions about his purchase of the weapon.

Donnelly’s rhetoric on Tuesday drew criticism from Tenoch Flores, spokesman for the California Democratic Party.

“It’s despicable and more than anything shows the degree to which this Republican gubernatorial candidate lives in an alternate universe populated by right-wing tea party delusions,” he said.

Donnelly and his campaign manager, Jennifer Kerns, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Nazi comparisons have backfired on California politicians in the past, including Flores’ boss, party Chairman John Burton.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Burton said Republican rhetoric was rooted in falsehoods and “that was Goebbels, a big lie.” Burton was criticized by Republicans and the Obama campaign for referencing Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Two years earlier, during California’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Democrat Jerry Brown said Republican opponent Meg Whitman’s advertising campaign was “like Goebbels.”

Both Burton and Brown offered apologies to anyone their remarks offended.

Photo: Rob Bixby via

  • Sand_Cat

    Yet more GOP projection. If any party or individual in modern US politics resembles these ruthless dictators and their followers, it’s the GOP, the most anti-life, anti-family, anti-freedom, anti-human major party in at least the last century of American history.

    • FredAppell

      I’m not sure if I’d characterize the GOP as being a bunch of dictators, they really do seem to be obsessed with their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Their history shows that they’ve been fighting this fake adversary for a very long time. They’re chasing phantoms and they’ve been doing it for so long that they either don’t know anything else or they have discovered that there are definite political benefits to pushing these lies, I think it is a combination of the two. I do agree with other parts of your statement though, specifically the anti-life, anti-family, and anti-human part. They’re probably anti-women as well seeing as how they have openly expressed a strong tendency towards misogyny. On second thought, your statement is 100% accurate, every bit of it, if they keep trying to dismiss the rights of homosexuals and women than it doesn’t matter how many rights other groups may enjoy. Future history may show these buffoons to be wrong but that’s scant consolation for those going through the struggle now.

      • The_Magic_M

        They believe this is a winning issue for them because even many (most?) Democrats support an unabridged 2nd Amendment.

        However the message of “Obama is coming for your guuuunz” is not going to resonate any more than other Conservative boogeymen (like “Obama is coming for your healthcare” or “Obama is coming for your God”).

        • FredAppell

          You’re right, and I suspect that it’s such a hot button
          issue because none of us, right or left, has complete confidence in our government. When Bush was president, I sounded at least as bad as the right wing trolls that we encounter on the NM. Unfortunately, the “Obama is coming for your healthcare” theme is gaining traction thanks to people’s existing health insurance plans being canceled. Nobody cares why, only that they have been canceled. That’s going to be a political boondoggle for the democrats if ACA doesn’t deliver on all it’s guarantees.

  • neeceoooo

    Where do they find these people?

    • FredAppell

      I think the more important question we should be asking is why so many people are still falling for the b/s these morons are keep peddling. People need to understand that if Obama really is a dictator, their guns would already have been seized and the Supreme Court and military would already be under his control. We’ll never win in convincing these zealots that they’re wrong because it’s impossible to debate those who are paranoid and convinced of their own righteousness.

  • FredAppell

    The fact that Tim Donnelly is making the “Gun Rights” issue his main theme says much about his character or lack of one. It also may indicate whom his main campaign contributors are, i.e; the NRA. Forget about the fact that his accusations are entirely baseless. It’s difficult to imagine that after 5 years in the White House, people are still falling for these right wing lies.

  • leadvillexp

    Assemblyman Donelly is wrong in his comparison of President Obama to Hitler. Like so many people today he is history illiterate. Hitler was pro gun as long as you weren’t a Jew or someone else he disliked. I am all for good gun laws but most of what we see now being proposed are bad and ill-conceived. The Bill of rights was written for a reason. It would not allow people like Hitler to take guns away from people like he did in Germany. When government starts restricting rights, such as gun ownership and what type of gun you can have, it is the beginning of your rights being taken away. When you start giving up your rights in the name of safety you no longer have rights and are no longer safe. As an example the media is very anti Second Amendment but just ask them about the governments new proposal to monitor all that is printed as news, much like the FCC does in broadcasting. The government is also working on your First Amendment.