William J. Astore on the Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a compelling choice for president in 2020. She’s principled, she’s against America’s disastrous regimen of regime-change wars, and she’s got the guts to criticize her own party for being too closely aligned with rich and powerful interests. She’s also a military veteran who enlisted in the Army National Guard in Hawaii after the 9/11 attacks (she currently serves as a major and deployed overseas to Iraq during that war).

What’s not to like about a female veteran who oozes intelligence and independence, a woman who represents diversity (she’s a practicing Hindu and a Samoan-American), an early supporter of Bernie Sanders who called out the DNC for its favoritism toward Hillary Clinton …

Aha! There you have it. Back in February 2016, Gabbard resigned her position as vice-chair of the DNC to endorse Sanders, and the DNC, controlled by establishment centrists like the Clintons as well as Barack Obama, have never forgiven her. Recently, Hillary Clinton smeared her (as well as Jill Stein, Green Party candidate from 2016) as a Russian asset, and various mainstream networks and news shows, such as “The View” and NBC, have suggested (with no evidence) she’s the favored candidate of Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Think about that. Hillary Clinton and much of the mainstream media are accusing a serving major in the U.S. military of being an asset to a foreign power. It’s an accusation bordering on a charge of treason – a charge that is libelous and recklessly irresponsible.

A reminder: Tulsi Gabbard enlisted in the military to serve her country in the aftermath of 9/11. What did Hillary Clinton do? Can you imagine Hillary going through basic training as a private, or serving in the military in a war zone? (Hillary did falsely claim that she came under sniper fire in Bosnia, but that’s a story for another day.)

Tulsi Gabbard is her own person. She’s willing to buck the system and has shown compassion and commitment on the campaign trail. She may be a long shot, but she deserves a long look for the presidency, especially when you consider the (low) quality of the enemies she’s made.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views. He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu. Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author’s permission.

32 thoughts on “William J. Astore on the Smearing of Tulsi Gabbard”

  1. My Ford Taurus has three bumper stickers, one reading ‘Libertarian’, one ‘Jill Stein 2016’ and one ‘Tulsi 2020.’ And my neighbors thought my gender identity was confusing and scary… I should just go full-tilt and have one made reading ‘Trannies for Putin!’ Nostrovia normies.

    1. You like Putin? Interesting. I gave up on bumper stickers. The most I have now, regarding issues, is “free assange.” I also respect how Putin defends Russia somewhat. He might be a bit of an oligarch and player though.

      1. I was actually joking about the last one. Putin has been a pretty big dick to queer folks in the motherland. I also don’t approve of him backstabbing Donbass with his refusal to recognize Novorossiyan autonomy and leaving the Axis of Resistance high and dry by cutting deals with Sultan Erdogan as he violates Syria’s sovereignty. He is most definitely an oligarch and a player.

        1. I don’t know what to make of the gay issue. I certainly don’t like pedos, not that I’m suggesting you do. Gay adoption is one issue. Athletic competitions with trans is another. And the bathroom issue for trans. The primary concern people have is sex that isn’t meant for reproduction might lead to a reduction in births. Russia wants more children. Russia also has some problem with AIDS, surprisingly.

          Though I doubt most are aware, Aristotle mentions some island polity encouraging people to be gay for this reason, to reduce births. And I suspect the reason for the Western change to tolerance has been partly due to capitalist individualism and partly due to a pursuit of fewer births.

          Religion is part of the issue, but many making the religious argument engage in adultery. So, they’re false. Almost everyone who isn’t married in the West is having casual affairs, which can lead to children out of wedlock, which is really a bad thing.

          It’s intentional I think that people don’t communicate on this topic.

          1. “I certainly don’t like pedos, not that I’m suggesting you do.”

            Regardless of percentages, I would think that in actual absolute numbers, straight pedophiles outnumber gay pedophiles.

            As far as athletic competitions with transgender women, as well as trans or unisex bathrooms, I think that policy should be made by the owners or governing bodies of the institutions in question, not by the State.

            You are absolutely correct about the hypocrisy of religious leaders railing against homosexuality, but being adulterous themselves. Even Billy Graham said that he thought homosexuality was a sin, but that it was no worse a sin than lying or adultery, and that we shouldn’t be in the business of casting stones.

            “The primary concern people have is sex that isn’t meant for reproduction might lead to a reduction in births.”

            I have heard that theory before, but I don’t think it holds water, because strictly gay people are not likely to have heterosexual sex, regardless of what the law is. And aren’t you the one who, when I pointed out that American birthrates were too low to sustain the population, you went on about the horrors of an overpopulated society?

          2. I meant that some claim the “+” includes pedos. If so, I’m definitely against that. However, I did make the implicit association with gay adoption; because thats really what some fear. Anyway, those are the real fault lines, that I’m aware of at least.

            Yes, I’m concerned about overpopulation. But I’m also trying to state the issue as I see it.

          3. “I meant that some claim the “+” includes pedos.”

            I guess I should look it up, but I am quite ignorant about this, and never really got any inkling of what the “+” meant. Perhaps someone can explain it for me.

          4. Looking it up, supposedly it stands for inclusion of other groups. I had just read the other claim recently. I wouldn’t really know. This isn’t the sort of topic I dwell on. I also don’t know my exact stance on abortion, though I’m generally pro-life.

            Conservative groups tend to be wary of gays. And it’s a confusing topic, because there are bad people, including pedos. It’s difficult to fully understand also because in this society real discussion is almost unheard of. And to be fair, I probably shouldn’t be discussing it here overmuch, because off topic.

          5. “I probably shouldn’t be discussing it here overmuch, because off topic.”

            I don’t think any discussion of issues related to liberty is off topic here, as many or most of the posters, even ones who see themselves as left or right, have libertarian tendencies. Supporting a foreign policy of non-intervention tends to go along with a healthy skepticism of the State in general.

          6. Thomas, was this meant for Luchorpan? I said up above that there are probably many more straight pedophiles than gay pedophiles.

          7. It was a reply to your:

            I guess I should look it up, but I am quite ignorant about this, and never really got any inkling of what the “+” meant. Perhaps someone can explain it for me.

            Back in the ’80s, it was “Gay and Lesbian” (and a lot of the activists thought bisexuals were just semi-closeted gay or lesbian people, and put them down). Then it became Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, then Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, then various things like adding Q (for general “queer” people), the “+” being a similar thing.

            A term of growing use is GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities).

            I’ve never seen any significant inclusion of pedophiles in that self-identification group. I’ve heard of some pedophiles TRYING to characterize themselves as part of it, and being roundly rejected by everyone who actually IS part of it.

            The association of LGBTQwhatever with pedophilia is somewhat like the association of marijuana with communism. That is, it’s a made-up talking point that opponents use for lack of a real argument.

          8. It’s complicated. The pedo thing has nothing to do with any of it. Most predators are actually hetero and most queer people have suffered some kind of childhood trauma that makes us particularly sensitive to the plight of children. Queer kids are much more likely to be targeted for abuse because they’re unsure of themselves and desperate for acceptance. There is nothing more terrifying than being a child trapped in the wrong gender, especially when you’re led to believe that it’s all your fault. I thought I was going to hell. Abuse was rampant in the Pennsylvania Catholic Church when I was young. Had I been raised one diocese over in any given direction, and I probably would have been targeted for more than just emotional abuse.

            The Russian Orthodox Church plays a huge role in the wave of state sponsored bigotry in Russia. Their total opposition to contraception and sex ed is also part of the reason AIDS is a huge problem in the former USSR. Compare it with the rates of infection in more socially liberal countries and it becomes abundantly clear that LGBTQ has little to do with it. I volunteer for an AIDS resource center and the biggest threat is no longer the disease itself but the stigma that surrounds it. Current medication can easily render the virus untransmittable. Getting that medication to countries that refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem, like Russia, along with the greed of big pharma, is the struggle.

  2. Tulsi’s anti-interventionism is unassailalbe. All the rest of of her policies are fair game.

    I would welcome nothing less than a Trump vs Tullard general election contest. It would force both of them to commit to their prospective forgeign relations policies, along with whatover others.

    1. I’m a libertarian who usually votes for the Libertarian candidate for president. Next year, I will be voting for Tulsi in the Democratic primary.

      1. I’m pretty sure, if I remember correctly, that my state has non-partisan voter registration, where you choose which party’s ballot to vote for in the primary when you vote. Thus, there is nothing to lose by voting in the Democratic primary. However, the primary is late in the game (May) and therefore will have little effect on who the final nominee will be. I may very well cast a vote in the Democratic primary for Tulsi.

        Just to let you know, though, if you are a Libertarian Party member, I would recommend you try to influence the LP’s nomination process as well, as there is at least one candidate for the nomination (Jacob Hornberger), who actually is a libertarian. It would be nice if the LP could actually nominate a libertarian for a change.

        1. I just realized, if I vote for Tulsi, I won’t be able to vote against Graham. Graham will probably win anyway, but I don’t like him. Pretty sure he’s up for reelection in 2020.

          1. He’s so tight with Trump lately that I doubt Graham is in danger regardless. I had hoped Trump would lead to the overthrow of Senators like Graham. Graham is really anti-“the movement.”

          2. “I had hoped Trump would lead to the overthrow of Senators like Graham.”

            The problem is, regardless of how the general public feels about Graham’s policies, it is simply extremely difficult to defeat an incumbent, especially one who has been there a long time.

          3. You may have told me already, but my memory is getting quite poor, but you’re in Carolina?

      1. And Warren’s too. I’ll vote for Gabbard in the Democratic Primary. I wish the Media would praise her instead of bashing her. The other antiwar candidates are Marianne Williamson & Andrew Yang. The Media should also discuss where they stand. The only thing they say about Yang is that he wants to give everyone $1000.00 a month. Beto O’Rourke is also antiwar & I wish he stayed in the race but he has no way of winning. I’d like to see 1 of the 4 people I mentioned as POTUS & another 1 as VPOTUS & the other candidates in other positions such as Secretary of Defense & Secretary of State.

        Some Democrats such as Steve Bullock haven’t said where they stand on Foreign Policy. Bullock is good on some of the issues on Domestic Policy.

  3. Hillary Clinton, when she essentially lost the primaries to Bernie Sanders, supposedly retired. So what is she doing in the thick of political back and forth? Her retirement, or whatever it was, was a ploy. But without her massive political over-presence weighing down the Democratic Party, they are relatively free to choose someone new, with fresher ideas than the old Clinton hawk. Tulsi is a breath of fresh air, a career service woman who is possibly the most antiwar candidate. For her war is not a head trip. She understands it a lot better than Hillary the Hawk. Elizabeth Warren, while she is not as peace oriented as Ms. Gabbard, is definitely a progressive and would likely bring the troops home from foreign wars.

  4. I should also say that I agree with William J. Astore that Tulsi Gabbard was smeared. That is inevitable. It happens to every serious and partially successful candidate for national office, especially the presidency, who comes out strongly for peace.

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