WARNING-I smell an "EVOLUTION":From the Facebook page of
January 15 at 7:43 AM ·
I was in Kailua yesterday and when a neighbor saw me, he made a point of coming over to tell me that he participates in a non-political email group when a member called attention to the news of Tulsi's announcement she was running for president. My neighbor said one of the members said she was interested in hearing Bart Dame's opinion.
I had to laugh when he told me that. But SINCE I WAS ASKED, here are some more of my thoughts, along with my recommendation that people take 2 or 3 minutes to read Dave Shapiro's commentary. I think he does a very good job of articulating many of the problems with Tulsi's announcement and her attack on Mazie Hirono.
I realize my views on Tulsi are more ambiguous and conflicted than many people, including people I respect and have affection for. Some people adore her uncritically, embarrassingly so. Those folks do not like it when I criticize her. For some of them, ANY criticism of her helps "the Establishment" Democrats.
Some of my friends and (often) allies clearly HATE Tulsi. Some of them are hostile because of her vicious and mean spirited political activity prior to her 2012 run for Congress when she suddenly "EVOLVED
," which is the word her supporters consistently use to describe her 180 degree reversal on key issues, particularly on LGBT rights and, with less attention, her newfound support for the right to abortion.
Some people are hostile to Tulsi because THEIR uncritical adoration for a politician was fixated upon Hillary Clinton and Tulsi had the audacity to oppose Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination and hit Clinton hard for her enthusiasm for violent "regime change" in the greater Middle East.
Some people are outraged against Tulsi for what they see as her pattern of cozying up to dictators overseas, citing Bashar Assad of Syria, Abdel el-Sisi of Egypt, Narendra Modi of India, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Donald Trump, currently of the USA. (Note: I do not accept this characterization of her views on these leaders, except for her tight alliance with Narendra Modi. In particular, I think her views on Syria are much more complicated, and --in the main--more defensible than these critics will admit.)
Finally, there are those who have noted that Tulsi has often sought out to have friendly relations and tactical alliances with conservative Republican colleagues in Congress while refusing to align with her fellow Democrats on key bills, seeming more concerned with using photo ops and press releases to cultivate an IMAGE rather than work collectively to pass legislation.
OK, I have greatly expanded my original post with these additional comments. Those who "liked" my original, lean post, should feel free to remove their vote of approval if they have problems with my extra, excessive verbiage.
I will respond to many of Dave's points in a (hopefully) orderly fashion in the comments below.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _David Shapiro: Gabbard plays both sides in angling for White HouseBy David Shapiro, Special to the Star-Advertiser January 13, 2019 Updated January 13, 2019 5:06pm
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard spoke at the Democratic Unity breakfast held after the primary elections at Dole Cannery, August 12, 2018.
At 37, Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has little record of substantive achievement during stints in the Legislature, City Council and U.S. Congress. Few peers seem to look to her for leadership.
Yet her relentless self-promotion has gained enough attention that she thinks she can be president.
Gabbard built her prominence on a twist to the old political adage that you pick your fights carefully: She carefully picks fights with her own Democratic Party.
The latest example was her op-ed in The Hill accusing Hawaii U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and other Democrats of “religious bigotry” for asking U.S. District Court nominee Brian Buescher about belonging to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic group that opposes abortion and gay marriage.
While ripping politicians in general for weaponizing religion for “selfish gain,” she singled out only fellow Democrats, bringing a rebuke from Hirono that Gabbard is pandering to “right-wing ideologues.”
She’s right that nobody should be disqualified from service solely because of their religion; but many of President Donald Trump’s appointees have openly blurred the line between church and state, and it’s fair to ask how their beliefs would affect public policy.
Gabbard hasn’t been nearly as vocal against the political weaponizing of faith by the religious right, which applauded her attack on Democrats.
Junior legislators who pick fights with the opposing party are a dime a dozen and get little notice. Gabbard figured out that fighting with her own party makes her a fixture on cable news and gets her op-eds in The Hill.
She’s bashed former President Barack Obama for being too soft on “radical Islam,” quit the Democratic National Committee in a huff to support Bernie Sanders and blasted Hillary Clinton for not giving Sanders enough debates — ironic coming from somebody who won’t debate her own opponents.
Her ultimate endorsement of Clinton was lukewarm, and she avoided disparaging Trump, saying she didn’t know him.
The reason became clear when she was among the first after the election to audition at Trump Tower for a Cabinet job; only after it didn’t materialize did she start seriously criticizing Trump.
Gabbard paints herself progressive by embracing Sanders while courting the Republican right with persistent criticism of Democrats over national security and religion.
Internationally she proclaims herself a peacenik, but it’s a peace where the strongman always wins, judging from her coziness with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, Egyptian tyrant Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and India’s nationalist leader Narendra Modi.
Former Trump strategist and alt-right guru Steve Bannon has said he “loves” her, and Gabbard was touted for secretary of state by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
She eventually disavowed white nationalist support, but it hasn’t stopped Democrats from wondering why these folks like her so much.Reach David Shapiro at email@example.com.