The Trouble With Tulsi

Tulsi Gabbard is the most interesting candidate in the Democratic presidential field, but that isn’t how her party sees her. Politico reports: “Democratic establishment reaches boiling point with Tulsi Gabbard.” The knives are out:

Tulsi Gabbard trashed the Democratic Party as “not the party that is of, by and for the people,” accused Kamala Harris of trafficking in “lies and smears and innuendo” and attacked Pete Buttigieg as naive.

Her performance at Wednesday’s debate earned an attaboy from the Trump War Room. And some rank-and-file Democrats are at wit’s end with the congresswoman who Hillary Clinton called “the favorite of the Russians.”

Hillary Clinton’s assertion that Gabbard is a Russian agent was the most bizarre outpouring of her increasingly weird post-defeat career, but the fact that she made such a claim, and the tepid response to it by Democratic leaders, shows how deeply Gabbard is despised within her own party.

The Hawaii congresswoman’s presence on the debate stage is becoming a headache for the party as she uses the platform to appeal to isolationists, dissatisfied liberals and even conservatives. She has managed to secure a spot on the debate stage as more mainstream candidates like Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) failed to meet polling and donor thresholds to participate.

Gabbard attracting more support than Michael Bennet and Steve Bullock? Shocking!

“She sort of seems to be filling a pretty strange lane. Is there a part of the party that hates the party?” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “It’s a little hard to figure out what itch she’s trying to scratch in the Democratic Party right now.”

Murphy is at least getting warm: Tulsi’s lane is the one for liberals, not who hate the Democratic Party, but who love America. Her near-isolationism is that of a veteran who loves America and its military. In that, she contrasts sharply with the rest of the field. Visceral anti-military and anti-American views have been central to the Democratic Party for a long time. Bernie Sanders, to take just one obvious instance, didn’t honeymoon in the Soviet Union because he is proud to be an American.

Mainstream Democratic candidates don’t announce their anti-Americanism out loud, of course. You generally need to infer it from their policies. But the presence of an actual patriot on the stage–and one, too, who considers Republicans to be fellow Americans–presents an obvious and unwelcome contrast.

I think Tulsi Gabbard would be the Democrats’ strongest potential nominee. On domestic issues, she should be plenty liberal enough for her party, while her pro-military but non-interventionist foreign policy views would attract blue collar Democrats back into the fold. She is also young and highly attractive. I think there is a good chance she could beat President Trump, while, in my view, candidates like Joe Biden, Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders are no-hopers.

The Democrats say they want a woman to be president, but they don’t mean it. When they have a woman on the debate stage who shares their views but not their hateful attitudes toward America and non-leftist Americans, they treat her like a skunk at a garden party. For which, as a Republican, I am grateful.

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