The Republicans in State House District 6 in Denver are about to make a terrible mistake.
At their Assembly on March 1, they nominated a terror apologist, and an avowed enemy of Israel, with no credible conservative credentials as their candidate to succeed Rep. Andrew Romanoff. Her name is Rima Barakat Sinclair.
Mrs. Barakat Sinclair is a local Muslim activist, who 1) works to discredit Israel and for its destruction, 2) has a stated goal of getting Muslims involved in the political process, and 3) builds alliances with mainline and liberal American churches, and leftist political organizations. When engaged in anti-Israel propaganda, she usually goes by Rima Barakat. When engaged in broader political work, she goes by Rima Sinclair, as she did at the Assembly.
When asked questions about terror, she responds with moral equivalence, and then proceeds to outright fabrications. In order to discredit MEMRI, practically the only English-language source covering Arab Friday sermons broadcast on state media, she magnifies small discrepancies into malicious conspiracies. She claimed, on air, that the Hamas Charter does not call for the destruction of Israel.
She doesn't merely write. She acts. John and I asked her about MILA, Muslims Intent on Learning and Action, a group with the potentially laudable purpose of getting Muslims involved in the political process, on Backbone Radio on KNUS, December 3, 2006. Instead of simply answering that the group's purpose was as stated, Mrs. Barakat Sinclair lied, claiming that she was only a member, who showed up to meetings, but otherwise had no position with the group. MILA's own newsletter lists her as a member of the Steering Committee, in charge of PR. Typically a PR Chairman uses opportunities such as free radio to discuss her group's activities, not to avoid doing so.
Her activities may not always have been so benign towards America herself. She served as a translator for CNN during the opening weeks of the Iraq War, a time when American and British soldiers and Marines alike were disgusted by the network's coverage ("A Front-Row Seat to the War in Iraq," Rocky Mountain News - April 14, 2003).
In order to get the nomination, she represented herself at the District Assembly as pro-life. However, she has been quoted publicly contradicting that, "Sinclair, too, shares concerns about homeland security. She also likes parts of the Democrats' social platform. 'I would like to have a president who is pro-choice,' she says."("Colorado Muslims Aspire to Become a Political Force" - Rocky Mountain News - August 14, 2004)
In fact, a Google search for Mrs. Barakat Sinclair turns up no op-ed, letter to the editor, or press release, on any subject other than Israel or the Middle East. While it may be fine to have a cause, this monomaniacism seems to have precluded her from any public statements on issues likely to be of interest to Colorado voters in a state legislative election. There is simply no public evidence of a conservative mindset, however defined, or any evidence that she has thought deeply or even at all about such issues as education, immigration, water, health care, taxes, energy, regulation, or individual liberty.
The irony is that she probably could have gotten on the crowded Democratic ballot merely by being honest. On the Republican side, she had to travel in cognito.
This is going to be a difficult year for Republicans, especially Republicans running in heavily Democrat districts such as the 6th. We should have no illusions about the difficulty of capturing that seat. But we also shouldn't write it off and hand our nomination to someone's identity politics, who has misrepresented her true intentions.
Republicans deserve a candidate who has a coherent conservative philosophical grounding for his policy views. They deserve a candidate who has spent years thinking and writing about relevant issues and governing approaches. Republicans deserve a candidate who is in step with their party's unwavering opposition to radical Islam and support of our democratic ally Israel.
Fortunately, the nomination is not yet set in stone, and there is still a chance to petition a more appropriate candidate onto the ballot.
Such a candidate would be able to help build party strength, keep it viable in a difficult season, promote ideas and philosophies we all care about, and perhaps even help in some small way the candidates for statewide and national office.
What we don't need is a Barakat in Sinclair's clothing.