Saturday, November 17, 2018

New Series: The Worst Democraps Who Want To Be President-- Part I, Tulsi Gabbard


As I mentioned a few days ago, there are a shitload of really terrible candidates jumping into the quest for the Democratic nomination for president (and vice president). Today starts a new series to introduce you to the worst of them. Tulsi Gabbard may be the worst-- or maybe the 2nd worst of 5th worst-- but I only picked her to start with because someone today told me she would never run against Bernie, which caused me try to explain the role opportunism plays in the life of careerist politicians like Tulsi. So she was fresh in my mind. And also because she plans to raise millions of dollars online from Bernie supporters before anyone realizes she's a fraud.

Before a feud with Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DNC exploded and brought her over to Bernie’s then-struggling campaign, few people outside of Hawaii had ever heard of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. But once she endorsed Bernie, she became an instant hero to his grassroots army of supporters. That grassroots army that was so quick to embrace her was largely unaware of a long record of political conservativism going all the way back to her days in the Hawaii legislature where, among other things, she led the fight against LGBTQ equality and as a crusader against anti-bullying efforts. (Yes, led, which is quite different from “voted badly once or twice.”) In fact, like her mother and father, she won office primarily on anti-gay campaign messaging.

Now that she’s about to declare a bid for the presidency— a ploy to get on a ticket as vice president— it’s important to take a closer look before her p.r. people re-define her. Few people know she first won a seat on the Honolulu City Council with the backing of the Hawaii Rifle Association, the local NRA affiliate. She was a conservative who shifted left to run against another— better-known— conservative. More than a conservative or a liberal, Gabbard is, above all else, an inauthentic opportunist. One week she’s a regular Fox guest bashing Democrats for not being xenophobic enough, dating Michael “Mikey Suits” Grimm and trying to get a job in the Trump Regime… and then she’s a Berniecrat. Now she’s organizing an L.A.-based presidential campaign for herself. Will her pals the Adelsons support her? Steve Bannon?

As I warned Bernie supporters 2 years ago, ProgressivePunch's algorithm grades Gabbard's voting record an "F," while giving Bernie’s voting record an "A" (and both Hawaii's senators also "A"). An "F" isn't a "B" or even a "C." You have to be really bad, really anti-progressive, to get an “F.” No one is more of a Putin booster and a Barack Obama detractor than Señor Trumpanzee. But Gabbard was ranking a close second. A few months early, while bizarrely invoking 9/11 as a basis for bombing Syrian civilians ("them," in her terminology), she praised Putin for his willingness to bomb and blasted Obama for his alleged unwillingness to do so. That's strange behavior for any Democrat. But it was working for her. Gabbard's willingness to attack Obama from the right on foreign policy has made her a darling of Fox News, which she proudly acknowledges.

In Hawaii, she earned a reputation among her former colleagues in the State Legislature as one of their most bigoted contemporaries. She defined her local career as an outspoken anti-gay and anti-reproductive rights politician. Volumes of official records from the Hawaii State Legislative Reference Bureau tell Tulsi’s story in her own words. Here, Tulsi, then Representative Tamayo, presents a floor speech against a measure supported by local hospitals that resolved to study the needs of LGBTQ students, who suffered the highest rates of suicide in the state:

In this same speech, Tulsi is also recorded as describing gay rights advocates as “homosexual extremists.” Tulsi is no grassroots phenom. She represents the state’s main conservative political dynasty, which successfully campaigned to ban same-sex marriage through constitutional amendment. Her father, Senator Mike Gabbard, led the anti-gay movement in the state and also founded Stand Up For America, a non- profit that promoted nationalism through “the concept of how we are one nation under God.”

Tulsi was also defined by her consistent opposition to basic rights for women. Here, Tulsi joins a Republican bloc to oppose emergency contraceptives for rape victims. This was one of several instances where she attempted to restrict reproductive rights for women on the grounds of religious freedom.

In 2016 she used her speech at the People’s Summit not to advance anything to do with a progressive agenda, but to advance any progressive cause, but to defend the murderous and tyrannical Assad regime. At the time, people started noticing that despite her willingness to chastise Obama, she was making it a point to avoid criticism of Trump. This is all she would say when pressed by the Honolulu Civil Beat: "The problem with Donald Trump is that no one really knows what Donald Trump stands for and what his polices will be if he’s elected. So, I’ll leave it at that."

Her gentle treatment of Trump, her attacks from the right on the Obama Administration and her admitted ambition for national prominence led some to wonder whether she was angling for a spot on the Republican ticket or a cabinet post in the Trump Administration. At the time, the Trump-Gabbard affinity was based on their shared Islamophobia. And a shared admiration for Steve Bannon. She joined with Republicans to vote against Syrian refugees. She was regularly using the resources of her congressional office to promote disdain for Muslims.

John Bickel, treasurer for Progressive PAC, a Hawaii state organization that endorses candidates on the left, doesn’t trust her and sees the gross opportunism shining through. “Tulsi Gabbard shows up in places and gets in front of the camera, spinning herself as a progressive-- but I’m not sure her record backs up what she’s created as a public persona. I am little skeptical about how deep her progressive roots run.”

Long before her sudden transformation into a Berniecrat, Gabbard called me to ask for a Blue America endorsement. She didn't really try to paint herself as a progressive and, other than sounding good on the environment, she came across as a garden variety careerist Democrat, not especially bad and not especially good. At the end of the interview, I asked her about the process by which she had come to change her position on LGBT equality. She immediately said she'd call back and then hung up abruptly and... never called back. And we never endorsed her.

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At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is a stunningly beautiful woman, though. Wow!

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I needed to know about Tulsi Gabbard was when she was banging Mikey "Suits" Grimm before he had to resign his House seat. What self-respecting progressive could get intimate with a Mobster?

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Tulsi Gabbard shows up in places and gets in front of the camera, spinning herself as a progressive-- but I’m not sure her record backs up what she’s created as a public persona."

Substitute the name of 99% of the democraps, including Bernie and Elizabeth, and this is still a true statement.

yet still no epiphany?

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Mark Seery said...

I have lived in Hawaii for 17 years. I personally met Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard many years ago while she was supporting wounded veterans at the AUSA Na Ko Regatta for Wounded Warriors and Their Families. She, herself is a combat veteran, serving a a Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. I have yet to meet a person in public service with more integrity, empathy and courage. For the record, look no further than here.
Respectfully, Mark Seery Kailua, HI

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark Seery

People attest to the characters of Dubya, Dick Cheney, and so many other war criminals. While I am not saying that Gabbard is herself a member of that reviled clique, some of her associations should give a thinking person pause. She's going to have to earn the respect you believe that she is due, and it will have to come at the expense of her former boyfriend and his corrupt cabal of corporatists.

By the way - you should read War Is A Racket. None of what Gen. Smedley Butler had to say about being an American military man has changed, except for the dates and the names. The criminal actions he revealed are still being committed at the expense of American lives.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I want Hillary to get the nomination. That alone would destroy the horrible Democratic Party for a generation.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is yet another excellent example that DWT brings out his own personal vandetta against individuals. Gabbard was one of the very very few Dems to stands against Wasserman Schulz and support Bernie. On the other hand, McCaskill was a corporate puppet in her 12 years in Congress. Guess which DWT supports and which one he hates. He hates the former and was gladly supportive of the latter. Great progressivism DWT.


At 1:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Congresswoman Gabbard is the most progressive member of congress and founding member of the Sanders institute which promotes her foreign policy.

At 2:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unknown should pick up his coat and take it to the cleaners now that Rep. Gabbard has stomped it into the mud.

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone can both be progressive on some issues *AND* a racist *AND* a homophobe.

Someone can be a democrap *AND* a despicable human being.

In order to be president, however, I doubt anyone's hate can outweigh their progressivism in order to win. Note: the implication here is that hate is more important to winning the white house than their altruism.

I doubt that Gabbard can stealthily out-hate trump or any Nazi. And I doubt that the DNC will abide anyone running on a rhetorically progressive platform.

She would make a nice trophy veep for someone like biden, though.

At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This blog is a blatant smear. Tulsi Gabbard is a staunch progressive with a 100% record in favor of LGBT, she is a 2 time war veteran who has made huge personal sacrifices and who has shown enormous political courage to speak steadfastly against the regime-change war hawks who promote endless war in countries that are no threat to us, she's fought for Medicare for all, for reform of the DNC, to protect our water, to make America 100% reliant on renewable energy, free college, etc. As far as foreign relations, that is one of her areas of expertise because she sits on the powerful Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. House and she has met with foreign leaders from all around the world, including Prime Minister Modi. To suggest a nefarious connection because of her Hindu religion is nothing more than blatant bigotry. Eoin Higgins smear of her is sickening and perhaps he should clean up his own life instead of attacking Tulsi, given his record of assault and DUI.


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