A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 06, 2010
Eleventh Commandment ("Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican")

There are Ten Commandments in the Hebrew Bible. but people often add others, usually in jest. A popular Eleventh Commandment in the early 1800s was “Mind your business.” A political Eleventh Commandment in the 1880s was “Thou shalt not get caught.”

A different “Eleventh Commandment” was issued on September 25, 1965, by Gaylord Parkinson, California’s state Republican chairman. Former San Francisco Mayor George Christopher had criticized Ronald Reagan, a possible challenger in the 1966 Republican primary for California governor.  Parkinson declared: “If henceforth, and until November 1966, any Republican candidate or leader in California deliberately speaks out against the party or against a fellow Republican that activity will endanger his very position of leadership.”

This immediately became known as the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”


Wikipedia: The Eleventh Commandment (Ronald Reagan)
The Eleventh Commandment was a phrase used by former President of the United States Ronald Reagan during his 1966 campaign for Governor of California. The Commandment reads:

“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

History
The 11th commandment was created by then California Republican Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson to help prevent a repeat of the liberal Republican assault on Barry Goldwater that contributed to Goldwater’s defeat in the 1964 presidential election. East Coast Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller labeled Goldwater an “extremist” for his conservative positions and declared him unfit to hold office. Fellow Republican candidate for Governor George Christopher and California’s liberal Republicans were leveling similar personal attacks on Reagan. Hoping to prevent a split in the Republican Party, Parkinson used the phrase as common ground. Party liberals eventually followed Parkinson’s advice.

Christopher would lose to Reagan in the Republican primaries, and Reagan would go on to defeat incumbent Governor Pat Brown.

Google News Archive
31 July 1908, Florence (AL) Times, pg. 5, col. 4:
...there will be much wine made, which comes right handy in a prohibition county, all you have to do is to obey the eleventh commandment, “Don’t get caught.”

2 November 1928, New York (NY) Times, pg. 24:
The Republicans have been caught. They have broken the Eleventh Commandment of politics.

Google News Archive
22 November 1951, Hendersonville (NC) Times-News, pg. 2, col. 2:
In short, it is the old eleventh commandment, “Don’t get caught.”

Time magazine
The Press: Keep the Rascal In
By Monday, Jul. 02, 1956
(...)
In short, by Texan Howerton’s generous code, there should be hope even for those who violate the eleventh commandment, i.e., “don’t get caught.”

26 September 1965, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Keep Differences Private, GOP Candidates Warned; Public Fight Bad Politics, Parkinson Says” by Carl Greenberg, pg. A2:
California’s Republican chairman, Dr. Gaylord B. Parkinson, Saturday issued an iron-clad edict aimed at preventing any one GOP candidate from attacking another under the threat of secret party discipline.
(...)
Parkinson denied he was attempting to place a “muzzle” on candidates with his “commandment.”

26 September 1965, Waterloo (IA) Daily Courier, pg. 1, cols. 5-6:
California GOP Boss in
Ultimatum for Party Peace

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—California’s state Republican chairman yesterday handed an ultimatum to potential GOP candidates for governor—stop fighting or face party discipline.

Dr. Gaylord Parkinson issued his demand for a peaceful primary at a Republican State Central Committee convention at which aspirants for governor are already maneuvering for position in the June 1966 primary election.

“If henceforth, and until November 1966, any Republican candidate or leader in California deliberately speaks out against the party or against a fellow Republican that activity will endanger his very position of leadership,” he said at a news conference.

Parkinson spoke a day after former San Francisco Mayor George Christopher directed strong criticism at Ronald Reagan, the actor.
(...)
In addition to his demand for a peaceful primary—he called it an “eleventh commandment”— (Pg. 2, col. 1—ed.) Parkinson asked Republicans to “divest this state of its Democratic extremists who masquerade as moderates and hold high office.”

27 September 1965, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “GOP Committee Accused of ‘Slanting’ Story on Riot; Negro Given Public Apology by Parkinson” by Carl Greenberg, pt. 1, pg. 3:
The warning followed is by Parkinson on Saturday of what he called his “Eleventh Commandment” --"Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican”...

5 October 1965, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Politicos Find It Easy to Land in Hot Water” by Carl Greenberg, pt. II, pg. A4:
The “11th commandment” issued by Dr. Gaylord B. Parkinson, Republican state chairman, says: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any Republican.”

Time magazine
California: Parkinson’s Law
Friday, May. 27, 1966
In hopes of damping down the perennial feud between California’s Republican moderates and conservatives—and thus lessening Democratic Governor Pat Brown’s third-term prospects—State G.O.P. Chairman Gaylord Parkinson last fall handed the troops an Eleventh Commandment. “Thou shall not speak ill of any Republican,” he ruled, and to everyone’s surprise, Parkinson’s law became holy writ.

As the June 7 primary neared, Actor Ronald Reagan, a fervent supporter of Barry Goldwater in 1964, and San Francisco’s longtime (1956-64) Mayor George Christopher, an equally outspoken champion of Nelson Rockefeller in the same campaign, had hardly ever mentioned each other’s names—and for good reason. “There’s feeling,” notes one G.O.P. chieftain, “that the first guy who throws a real mud ball will get ten back in his face from party rank-and-file members who just don’t want the apple cart upset.”

6 December 1966, Washington (DC) Post, “Political Parade” by David S. broder, pg. A17:
What White wants is a sort of national version of the “Eleventh Commandment, Speak No Evil of Another Republican” that California Republican chairman Gaylord Parkinson imposed in his state this year and which contributed heavily to the ultimate success of Ronald Reagan’s campaign for Governor.

Google News Archive
2 April 1967, St. Petersburg (FL) Times, pg. 2D, col. 3:
The Republican ‘Eleventh Commandment’”
By JAMES RESTON
WASHINGTON—The Republicans have a party slogan for the presidential campaign. They call it “the eleventh commandment” and it may be even harder to keep than all the other 10; “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”

25 January 2002, New York (NY) Times, “A Governor in the Middle of a Race He Won’t Run” by B. Drummon Ayres, Jr., pg. A16:
But the hammering on the governor does not stop there. In a striking political spectacle, the three candidates in the Republican primary have also begun running against him. In speeches, debates and, more recently, television commercials, they have repeatedly broken the Eleventh Commandment of politics, speaking evil about Mr. Ryan, the leader of their party, and accusing one another of being too closely allied with him or not sufficiently incensed about corruption.

Enter Stage Right (ESR)
The “Eleventh Commandment”
By David C. Wilcox
web posted April 8, 2002
During Ronald Reagan’s 1966 campaign for governor of California, Republicans established the so-called Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”

It was proposed by State Republican Chairman Gaylord Parkinson to help prevent a repeat of the liberal Republican assault on Barry Goldwater that laid the foundation for Goldwater’s trouncing in the 1964 presidential election. Just as Nelson Rockefeller and his East Coast cronies had branded Goldwater as an “extremist” who was unfit to hold office, so candidate George Christopher and California’s liberal Republicans were leveling similar personal attacks on Reagan. Party liberals eventually followed Parkinson’s advice, and the rest is history.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, January 06, 2010 • Permalink