Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, speaks during the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Tulsi Gabbard running for the nomination to take on President Trump in 2020 is different from the Tulsi Gabbard from a few years ago. While it is great that she called out the Witch of Chappaqua, Hillary Clinton, for what she is, Gabbard has received great applause from many on the Right. Her appearances on Tucker Carlson’s show and her advertisements and pleas for donations on right-of-center websites, including Redstate, shows, at a minimum, a willingness for dialogue with the Right, or so it seems.
In 2012 at the Democrat Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nancy Pelosi characterized Gabbard as an “emerging star” in the Democrat Party. However, things went off the rails in 2016. Gabbard was a supporter of Bernie Sanders and resigned as Vice-Chair of the DNC in protest over the number of debates and the belief that the DNC was stacking the deck in favor of Clinton. Her feud with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Clinton campaign was made public through leaked Wikileaks emails.
We can cheer on Gabbard’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and her opposition to regime-change wars where no national interests are involved. Some of this latter view is likely born of her experience in an actual war zone. And we can certainly appreciate and applaud her service to the country.
But let us also not forget that Tulsi Gabbard is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Medicare For All Caucus. Although it has been cited by her Democrat opponents and some media outlets that Gabbard once belonged to an anti-gay organization run by her father in Hawaii, it should be noted that she was only 17 at the time. Since then, her views on gay rights have taken a head-spinning 180 degree turn to the point she now receives a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization.
On abortion, she is admittedly “pro-choice” and has been endorsed by abortion activists at EMILY’s List. In fact, if we look at her stances on issues near and dear to conservatives, especially on the domestic front, there is very little to like about Gabbard. To wit:
- She is pro-choice;
- She is against the death penalty in all cases;
- She is for free college tuition and ending school vouchers for private or religious schools;
- She opposes fracking;
- Without an outright endorsement (cagey of her), she supports most of the nonsense in the Green New Deal;
- She has called for shutting down all nuclear plants in the United States;
- She has called for a ban on American oil and natural gas exports;
- Supports Medicare for All;
- Supports the abolition of the Electoral College;
- Opposes voter ID requirements;
- Supports automatic voter registration for all Americans;
- Called for a $15/hour minimum wage;
- Supports an income tax increase;
- Supports the DREAM Act which would codify DACA;
- Voted against work requirements for welfare recipients.
Conversely, what is there to like about Tulsi Gabbard?
- For some conservatives perhaps, the legalization of marijuana (but that is debatable);
- In January 2019 she said that gay activists should not force their values on children (but then there is that 100% rating from HRC to get past);
- Expressed skepticism over the Iran nuclear deal in 2017 (but now says we should get back into it);
- Opposes regime-change wars (consistent in this area);
- In June said she supports Second Amendment rights (but in January called for a ban on “assault rifles” and universal background checks);
- Opposes cuts to the defense budget (OK);
- Favored Christian over Islamic refugees from the Middle East (there is a good case for this);
- Called out socialism in Venezuela (what else can she call it?);
- Favors breaking up tech giants (OK);
- Supports Trump’s efforts to engage North Korea (but has reservations).
As one can see, there is precious little from a policy standpoint that a conservative should like in Tulsi Gabbard… IF we are to believe her stances. The problem is that except in the case of regime change wars, Gabbard has been all over the map. Being opposed to the Iran nuclear accords in 2017, then changing her stance 18 months later is not the stuff of being a maverick. Joining an organization that opposed gay marriage in Hawaii, even if you were 17 at the time, and now touting your “evolution” on the issue of gay rights is not fortitude. Adopting the socialist economic agenda of the Democrat Party in 2019 is not leadership.
Do not let Gabbard’s sometimes pro-Trump stances in the area of foreign policy alone fool you. Do not let her attacks on Hillary Clinton make you believe she is a “moderate.” In fact, the only thing in her favor is those sometimes-expressed stances- the one area where she has been consistent and not “evolved-,” her looks, and her willingness to take on the Democrat Party’s machine. In the latter part, that is Party internecine warfare leftover from 2016. It’s fun to watch.
Tulsi Gabbard will not win the nomination no matter how many appearances she makes on Fox, no matter how many interviews she conducts with Tucker Carlson, no matter how many ads she runs on conservative websites, and no matter how much she attacks Hillary Clinton. In fact, this writer’s guess is that she will return to Hawaii, be reelected to the House and continue to vote in lockstep with their socialist agenda unless the GOP recaptures the House in 2020. Then, I would suspect some “reaching across the aisle” to burnish her credentials come 2024.
There is one caveat: Perhaps Gabbard has burned too many bridges within the Democrat Party with her attacks on Queen Hillary. Maybe she will become a pariah in the party. If so, maybe President Trump should reach across the aisle and nominate her for Secretary of Veterans Affairs or ambassador to some country of her choosing.
In short, we have been warned about a wolf in sheep’s clothing. In the case of Tulsi Gabbard, beware of the wolf in a dress with a pretty face.