Who's a dictator, Assemblyman Donnelly?

He may be the most fringe of all major party gubernatorial hopefuls this year, but Republican Tim Donnelly's long-shot bid to face off against Gov. Jerry Brown in November has drawn the most buzz from Times letter writers so far.

And by buzz, I don't mean that the reaction to the outspoken Inland Empire Assemblyman has been favorable. Most recently, about a dozen readers sent scathing letters in response to Donnelly's comparison of President Obama to some of history's most murderous dictators. Some took issue on historical grounds, while several accused Donnelly of disrespecting the presidency.

Donnelly, who is trying to out-conservative the moderate and moneyed Neel Kashkari, probably won't be unnerved by these responses. For what it's worth, here are a few letters.

-- Paul Thornton, letters editor

Los Angeles resident Nancy Levinson addresses her reaction directly to Donnelly:

"To state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly:

"How dare you. How dare you liken Obama to Hitler, Stalin and Kim Jong Il? Do you know anything of them or their unspeakable atrocities to millions of human beings? Do you know history other than their names and photos?

"If so, then, is it your contention that among the worst deeds of their 'tyranny' is that they 'stood for gun control'?

"Your Twitter comparison and email to The Times, in response to a request for comment, stating that 'our current president acts more like a dictator than a leader of a free people' is ignorant, preposterous and incendiary.

"For this insult to the president, there exists no word in any language to which this can be compared."

Brian Ong of Riverside says Donnelly's candidacy might appeal to a certain tea party rock star:

"Donnelly has confined himself to a gubernatorial sideshow with his comments about Obama governing more like a dictator than a president of a free country because he favors tighter gun control.

"If gun rights are Donnelly's biggest issue, he will never be a serious candidate. Ted Nugent would be more than willing to endorse him, and he could move to Texas and run for governor there."

Los Angeles resident Jon Hartmann questions Donnelly's grasp of historical facts:

"The good Republican Tim Donnelly may wish to do a little research before he opens his mouth. Nazi Germany significantly relaxed gun control laws that had been in place before Hitler's rise to power; it was just the Jews and other persecuted classes who were not allowed to own firearms."

Marc Russell of Los Angeles says Hitler and Stalin comparisons are party-blind insults:

"Prior to Obama's presidency, it wasn't uncommon to hear Republicans compared to the worst mass-murdering dictators in human history.

"But now, even our current leftist Democratic president is being compared to them.

"You just can't win."


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