Dave Begley: Live from Council Bluffs

Did you know that Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has launched a presidential campaign? Yesterday she brought her campaign to Council Bluffs. We had Dave Begley on hand to cover the festivities. Dave is a Nebraska attorney practicing elder law and estate planning in Omaha. He is also our occasional presidential campaign correspondent. Dave has filed this report on Gabbard in Council Bluffs (thumbnail photo and photo below courtesy of Matt Johnson):

I’m not sure who first said “Politics is show business for ugly people.” Whoever it was, however, had never met Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. It may be politically incorrect to say so, but she is one beautiful woman. While Matt Johnson’s photos are good, she’s even better looking in person. Former Rep. Trey Gowdy put it this way: “This sounds terrible to say, but it’s also true — you know, she’s cute. So if you’re sitting on that side, and it’s a boring speech, you’re going to notice.”

Whether she should be elected President of the United States is of course another matter altogether. Gabbard is now a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. While she served in both Iraq and Kuwait, she presents herself as the peace candidate (or one of them). She wants to take money from the military – especially for nuclear weapons – and spend it on “Medicare for all” and new local schools.

She tried to scare the crowd when she said we are now at the biggest risk ever for nuclear war. She also asserted that we have narrowly avoided several accidental nuclear wars. She spoke of the erroneous text message in Hawaii about incoming missiles and how it was not a test. She then posed the Sophie’s Choice question without citing William Styron. If the nukes were coming, which child would you try to save? Which child would you spend your last minutes on Earth with?

She gave a stump speech filled with clichés reflecting a populist vibe. One of her themes is that she is the Aloha candidate. According to her, aloha is about love and care. We are all children of God. She wants to unite us.

She also advocates big changes, Democrat style. One of her big changes is HR 3671. It is titled the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act). Your trusty correspondent asked her – in a neutral way – if she was serious about it. She retreated a bit and admitted it had aggressive goals. She said she would amend the bill so that it would offer “real solutions” including job training for oil workers who would lose their jobs if her bill were to be enacted.

Gabbard also sponsors the Stop Arming Terrorists Act (HR 258). I think this is the source of her dust-up with Megan McCain who called Gabbard an apologist for Syria’s Assad. She complained about how the CIA is giving weapons to Al Qaeda in Yemen and trying to overthrow Assad. She said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not our ally. She wants to end “wars without end.”

She didn’t mention the president by name and she didn’t really take any hard shots at him. Maybe she’s a lover and not a fighter. Hillary was a fighter and look where that got her.

I spoke with people in the crowd. One young mother was all in for Bernie. She was big on climate change and how it is the most important issue of our time. She raised the idea of Tulsi running as Bernie’s vice-presidential pick. Beauty and the Beast. Young and old. Vermont and Hawaii. And then when crazy Bernie kicks the bucket, hello President Tulsi Gabbard.