Thanks Tulsi

TulsiKali

Tulsi as Kali, destroyer of neocons.

I admit it. I held off writing this for a bit when she dropped out of the race and endorsed Joe Biden. But, contrary to the conspiracy theorists on the liberal side of things, she did always say she would endorse the nominee…and considering that her endorsement came after the Illinois primary that basically sealed the deal-even if Sanders stayed in for a few more weeks-its something I can now firmly get over.

This is why I am an independent voter, though. Not being affiliated with any party means there is little pressure for me to pledge allegiance to anyone with a platform I am unsympathetic to. I understand that Congresswoman Gabbard is part of such a party-and let us be real, it was a pretty funny troll to her many DNC critics who were left baffled when this supposedly Russian-backed homewrecker lined up behind the presumptive nominee.

Personally, I however will not be pulling for Biden. Or Trump. This should surprise no one who follows my blog one bit. Trump is monstrously incompetent and the basest of brutes on immigration, the courts, and taxation for public institutions. Biden has a long record of supporting every policy that led us here in the first place from the dark Reagan-Clinton era of American politics, from mass incarceration and the drug war, through endless war and institutionalized familial corruption. A senile Hillary, in other words.

But with all the recent retrospectives on failed primary campaigns, mostly targeted towards Bernie Sanders, I want to explore an alternative narrative. Bernie is extremely transformative in pushing certain issues in the public consciousness and being one of the few politicians to reflect many of the grievances of younger generations. He deserves massive credit for this. He also failed to fight back when people wanted a fighter. He could and should have attacked the media relentlessly. They were constantly against him and he did not even call it out. He treaded lightly on anything related to foreign policy and spoke of little but Obama-plus-some on anything that was not economic policy. He, and his followers, thought they could reason with a system while running against it and make converts, not realizing the lesson of Trump’s improbable rise was that waging full on warfare against the media is the way to punch above your weight and make popular gains from those who feel the same. For more of a detailed breakdown on the failure of leadership that was the Bernie 2020 campaign, this will serve you well.

Tulsi is different. Her campaign was tiny. Possibly the smallest staff of anyone in the race. She was attacked by the media and establishment to levels beyond anything even Bernie was subjected to, but unlike him did not refrain from striking back. Despite being ignored, left off of mainstream media charts of who was running, or slandered as a foreign agent, she outlasted all campaigns except Bernie or Biden. She had no billionaire donors unlike much of the rest of the pack, and despite being the most ‘intersectional’ candidate by any sane definition was never given credit for it and ran a strictly hard policy campaign. The pro-Bernie left was often her most vicious critics, proving once again that anglo-leftists lack all understanding of the cold realities of diplomacy and have been subsumed into the liberal rhetoric of ‘good diplomacy’ vs ‘bad diplomacy’ and the desire to find something ‘values based’ in foreign affairs. There is, of course, no such thing.

While fighting against these odds she managed to humiliate multiple other candidates on the debate stage and downright immolate the loathsome Kamala Harris in a way that will stick with her forever even if she is chosen to be Biden’s VP. That was the most memorable moment of the entire primary. Perhaps most importantly, the odious US-Saudi relationship was a centerpoint of her criticisms and spoken about in such a direct way that the silence from all other candidates on the issue was deafening.

As a good democrat, Gabbard now goes to an uncertain fate as she will not be running for congressional re-election. Perhaps our shared interests part now, and perhaps not. Only the future will tell. But as my first and only presidential endorsement in my life, I have no regrets. Issues that would have otherwise been ignored during this past primary were confronted solely because she was there, doggedly bringing them up. Her impact on an exceptionally crowded race was outsized in every way by her performance…and in doing so there is a lesson to the future. You too can punch above your weight in advocacy if your willing to take on the establishment directly and with no reservations.

I also think that, in a liberal nightmare alternative history world where Tulsi had run as a third party candidate in the general election-especially *this* general election-she would have performed stronger than any third party candidate since Ross Perot. She would have brought greens, disaffected liberals and non-sjw leftists together with paleocons and libertarians. Her calm yet strong presentation would have reassured in a crisis like the one we presently face. This is what I wish had happened, honestly.

 

Geotrickster is all in for Tulsi Gabbard

Geotrickster is all in for Tulsi Gabbard.

tulsi gabbard pic

First, a reminder that Geotrickster was ahead of the curve of Tulsi Gabbard, who announced her interest in seeking the presidency in 2020 today.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been on my radar since 2013. She was the first non-Rand Paul voice criticizing the Obama Administration’s foreign policy towards the Middle East which was clearly starting to go off the rails around the time of the 2012 election. She has been a consistent advocate against the Bipartisan Perpetual War Party that has driven America and much of the world it claims to ‘police’ into the gutter so far in the 21rst Century. And she did this without being the opposite extreme of being an isolationist or far right crank.

Tulsi Gabbard has demonstrated, time and time again, that not only is American foreign policy off the rails and hijacked by special interests awash in their own self-congratulatory ideology, but that restraint is not only the less costly policy in terms of lives and money but also the superior way to combat extremism and avoid the alienation of allies. Having myself worked for the State Department in countering violent extremism in the past, I can assure you that this position of hers is correct. Regime change wars fuel Islamic extremism and sectarian division, diplomatic engagement can help diffuse them and build partnerships abroad. And with far less danger of direct blowback. While Trump alienates allies and the mainstream Democrats stoke hawkishness in a blind knee jerk reaction to his few better instincts, some few people, with Tulsi in the lead, represent a proper realist alternative that understands the need for cost/benefit analysis over ideological devotion. Besides, being Saudi Arabia’s bitch is no good for us.

But despite the foreign policy focus on this blog, this is not the only reason I want to express my happiness at the declaration of Tulsi Gabbard. Congresswoman Gabbard is among that rare clique of Democrats who are reform minded away from the destructive, self-consuming, and ultimately right wing-neoliberal policies of the Clinton Consensus that has dominated the party since 1992. She does this without being a starry-eyed idealist or beholden to some teleological world view about the end of history. And considering her strong endorsement of indigenous rights and environmental action, she can be taken seriously on the most pressing issue of our time: climate change. It is for many of these reasons that she has Democratic, Republican, and Independent admirers alike. If there is anything the 2016 election shows, it is that having appeal outside the closed world of partisan hacks is necessary for national elections. Both casual voters and nuanced non-partisan voters are desperately seeking a candidate that represents an alternative to the ossified nature of center-left and far-right.

It is important to acknowledge that Tulsi Gabbard, especially as a relatively anti-establishment candidate running within a party notorious for self-selecting right-to-centrist-wing candidates for the sake of the donor money and ‘expert’ strategist hires it is so fond of, is going to come into a large amount of criticism in the time ahead. The Democratic establishment as much if not more will attack her than the Republicans do. We will be subjected to the intense irony of people who support the mass bombing of the Middle East calling her Islamophobic for preferring diplomacy to endless war. We will see her former record on gay rights be called into question. She will be called an isolationist. Many of these critiques will not just be from rote liberals but also proper leftists.

My response to them is as follows. I know I am not alone in finding the level of leeway Islamic ideologies are given by people who are supposedly so secular at home. This represents the dangerous infiltration of postmodernism into the issue and ignores that many secularist individuals and movements also exist in Muslim majority societies. Weaponized Islamism is a danger in some parts of the world much like far-right evangelism is in North America. It is wise, not foolish, to remain devoted to security issues around this topic. It is, however, a problem for police and culture, not for militarized intervention. Gabbard recognizes that Islamist ideology is dangerous and requires a firm hand, but that war is usually not the answer. One can-and should-hold both of these positions.

Gabbard is also not an isolationist. She has endorsed a smart, rather than bullying, position for overall US policy. Such a powerful country cannot realistically retreat from the planet without leaving a dangerous vacuum-and few actual people endorse isolationism anymore. The problem is that the neoconservative-dominated foreign policy establishment will use the phrase ‘isolationism’ against anyone who is not ready to constantly and reflexively support their dangerous and wasteful militarism. But it is America behaving like a rogue state since 2003 that has left it more isolated than at any point after the 1930s. Just look at how America is viewed abroad.

As for gay rights, a lot of people, including the entire country itself, has changed its mind on these issues with relative rapidity in recent times. A change in position could be opportunistic, as it was with Obama and especially Hillary Clinton, whose virulent homophobia in the 90s seems to have been utterly excised by much of her more recent wokescold fan base. But Gabbard’s story on social issue evolution came before the country at large, which disavows it being beholden to polls. Furthermore, this evolution was the result of changing views based off life experience, i.e. seeing the disadvantages of social conservatism while being deployed in Iraq. This cannot imply an opportunistic John Kerry style flip-flopping at the drop of a hat or poll numbers, but the genuine changes of belief that happen. Her constant advocacy for minority rights since assuming national level office is proof of this. And in an era of rank racism and climate change denial from one party and complacency from most of the rest of the other she represents a true viable alternative who could connect with significant alienated parts of the present electorate.

After all, I used to be a libertarian and no one could accuse me of holding those views now. I learned through experience and am better for the process.

Her biggest negative is some casual sympathies to Modi’s government in India. While I myself am not a fan of this on the personal level, good relations with India are inevitable for a future America one way or the other. And while I have my strong reservations about the BJP, they are the government of India in the present time and diplomatic use could be made of such connections. India is not Nicaragua or El Salvador. The opinions of US politicians will matter little for its domestic policies. It is large, powerful, and established. Compare this dynamic to the bipartisan establishments many connections to Saudi Arabia and Israel which are not only beyond casual, but positively financial influence peddling many in DC as well.

First the Democratic Party and then hopefully the nation at large will have a choice in the near future: continue the failed Manicheism of two mutually hostile and increasingly aged political parties, or field a barrier breaking candidate running on actual issues rather than media signifiers, the status quo that has failed so many, and fear of criticism. Having learned the lesson of Obama, that charisma without a specifically attached set of policies will ultimately produce little, it is time to support the first candidate for high office who has an issue-driven career and platform and the sense and thoughtfulness to use it pragmatically.

I have seen myself how people across the board tire of endless deregulation and warfare. And I have seen that one of the few people elected in congress today that is well looked on by all of these people, who are largely unrepresented by officer holders,

It is time for Tulsi Gabbard. She is the best candidate I have ever seen to announce a run for the presidency in my entire life so far.

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P.S.

It is important to remember, in the media hysteria relating to the (correct) position to withdrawal from Syria and the resignation of General Mattis, largely due to his own disapproval of any policy that reigns in an over-extended American empire, that Tulsi Gabbard was one of the few public figures who had a record of grilling his pas ‘sage advice.’

And lets not forget the time she endorsed Bernie publicly at Hillary’s coronation: