Tulsi Gabbard is What Donald Trump Could Have Been

Hei Lun Chan

Hei Lun is a retail manager living in Massachusetts. His interests include eating, running, video games and board games. He's a sports fan who doesn't watch sports. He's mostly a libertarian even though Facebook ad preferences thinks he's a "very liberal". His Twitter handle is @heilun_chan

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15 Responses

  1. LeeEsq says:

    Tulsi Gabbard is the somewhat leftish answer for Sarah Palin. I don’t find her principled anti-interventionalism to be that principled since it more or less means allowing Russia and Iran to do what they want in Syria. Furthermore, she is much to the right of the Democratic Party on Domestic issues. She is a poser.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to LeeEsq says:

      wait wait wait
      so now Iran is a problematic influence in the Middle East and we should oppose them?
      Russia does have global imperialist ambitions and we should deploy uniformed American regular military forces to directly combat Russian forces?
      wasn’t that the kind of thing that Trump said and people immediately started screaming about how this was a prelude to the nuclear destruction of the human race?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      There is no reason to believe that Syria would be the same as Iraq or Egypt or Libya and anyone who expresses skepticism that we should go over there again and kill people again is morally unserious.Report

  2. DensityDuck says:

    but something something transphobia that we’re DEFINITELY SURE EXISTSReport

  3. George Turner says:

    Until she split with Obama’s Middle East policy, Tulsi was being hailed as the party’s up-and-coming JFK. She is what many on the left say they’re for, and what many Democrat politicians aren’t really for, even though they try to claim they are. Tulsi makes them sound like Republican hawks or defense lobbyists when it comes to Syria or Russia, yet she’s a steely eyed warrior instead of a pacifist hippy.

    She strikes me as someone who would make a President that would, during a shooting, be criticized for trying to shield her Secret Service detail, exposing herself to drag the injured ones into her limo so she could start plugging chest wounds. I can’t say that about any other candidate.

    Months ago I saw a small town-hall meeting with Giffords from some tiny little spot in New England. She was in a room with a bunch of older ladies, all apparently somewhat neurotic, who were talking about how they were being poisoned with chemicals in their water, their detergent (it turns out that there’s a lot of chemicals in household cleaning products), and whatnot.

    My initial reaction was “Tulsi is in political Hell.” She was stuck listening to a handful of grey-haired crazy people while other candidates were staging big rallies and fund raisers. But I kept watching. Tulsi wasn’t just sitting there, she was listening with every fiber of her being. She engaged them at length, and in depth, and focused on what she could do to try to solve the problems they had brought up, like a medic scrambling to figure out how best to handle the shattered limb of a soldier hit with IED blast. I saw no concern for how she might look, or how she could parlay something into a campaign position, or what other people might think. She just focused on what the people felt, got immediately in sync, accepted that the “patient” was rattling off tons of useful information, and tried to incorporate what they knew with what she knew to try and do as much good as she could, along with laying out the most useful avenues of approach in Washington.

    She’s not a politician at all. She’s a problem solver who’s realized that she’s going to have to lead if she’s going to solve problems, and in doing that she might take more fire than anyone.

    I don’t agree with her foreign policy or her economic policy, and she may not lead where I want to go, but she certainly won’t lead people into a place they do not want to be unless there’s no other recourse.

    I think the question is whether the powers that be in the Democrat party and the media manage to sink or sabotage her before the public comes to realize how good she is. I’m betting they do because she’s a big threat to their cozy little club.Report

  4. Saul Degraw says:

    I don’t think the headline is the winning statement you think it isReport

  5. Mike Dwyer says:

    Tulsi was the first Democratic candidate I liked for fairly obvious reasons. I’m a non-interventionist with regards to foreign policy and can think of about 1,000 better things to do with all of that money. I also think, y’know, talking to world leaders (even the mean ones) is a smart foreign policy. Her and Williamson should be supporting each other on that front.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      Well, on the flip side, I’ve pointed out that we don’t actually get to save all that money we list as going to foreign wars. It’s not like we don’t have to pay soldiers if they aren’t deployed abroad, and all those planes and ships cost just about as much to operate whether we’re dropping practice bombs in Arizona or real ones in Afghanistan. So some of the savings are completely illusory.

      We also don’t want to fall prey to the “no-war” attitudes that beset the victorious allied powers after WW-I, when they became so insistent that war was to be avoided at all costs that their former German opponents concluded “They won’t fight. We can just walk in and take everything!”

      In some ways, Trump is avoiding war because nobody wants to be the one example he’s going to use to illustrate American military prowess and total air dominance.

      Victor Davis Hanson, in his book “The Second World Wars”, puts much of the blame for the war on the allies, including Stalin (who switched sides and betrayed everyone he allied with, repeatedly). Hitler and Hirohito didn’t want to start a global war because there was no way they could win it, but they didn’t think they were starting a global war because the allies gave them every indication that nobody big was really going to fight them, much less everybody that was really big.

      So the Axis leaders thought they could just pick off a piece here, take a little territory there, and then push this or that country over, undeterred by the obvious numerical disparities they faced if the rest of the world jumped in with both feet, because obviously the rest of the world wasn’t going to jump in with both feet or the message wouldn’t be “peace peace non-intervention and more peace”.

      However, Tulsi might be fully cognizant of that problem, and her message might be calibrated to fighting wars that in the larger picture are of limited and transient importance. Were she to go further in the primaries, she might shift or clarify her message, and were she to win the White House she might prove quite tough, wise, and pragmatic.

      I do think part of her message about withdrawing from Afghanistan will have to change because Trump is already doing that, so by the time the general election rolls around it will probably be either a dead issue or an issue that he already wins.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to George Turner says:

        “the Axis leaders thought they could just pick off a piece here, take a little territory there…”

        yeah, uh, that’s not the kind of thinking that leads one to invade fucking RUSSIA

        although you’re right that American leaders making strong unequivocal pledges of Noninterference did result in World War I and the Kuwait invasion.Report

        • George Turner in reply to DensityDuck says:

          Well, they didn’t start out with Russia. They started out with a lot of little border wars. Unification with Austria, rolling into the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, and then into Poland, which led into the Phoney War. Elsewhere Finns were fighting the Russians. It was perceived at the time as a sequence of little European border wars, all lasting a few weeks or less.

          Then the Germans rolled through Belgium and took most of France, and then into this country and that country, while the British and Germans and Italians rolled back and forth in Africa, to little effect.

          The thought was that in the Great War France had fought tenaciously all the way through, but against the brilliant new German weapons and tactics they had been overrun in weeks. If they surrendered so easily this time, the Russians should prove even easier to beat because they surrendered en mass during the Great War, gave up, and overthrew their own government instead of fighting Germans.

          So Hitler said “We just have to kick in the door and the whole place will collapse like a house of cards.” He was still thinking it would be a short, quick border war, just one that brought a whole lot more area under his control.

          Nothing indicated to Germany or Japan that the US would do anything. Hitler was bombing America’s cousins in London and we didn’t even send fighter squadrons to help out, just some equipment and supplies that we were willing to loan them. The Russians were desperate for US aid and our initial response was “You were siding with Hitler and took half of Poland. Talk to the hand”. Roosevelt was insisting that he would keep the US out of the war. So knocking out the Pacific fleet and Pearl Harbor, sweeping across the Pacific, and then reaching a negotiated agreement with America seemed easily achievable.

          It turns out, ironically, that Germany wasn’t prepared for WW-II, and they’re the ones that started it.

          The point is that the Axis couldn’t possibly win the war against the Allies because they were just three not very large countries with limited manpower and resources. But our failure to warn them of how much hurt the allies would unleash let them start the war thinking they wouldn’t really have to fight some globe spanning war of existence.Report

      • Mike Dwyer in reply to George Turner says:

        I don’t know if I would vote for Gabbard today, but I do like her and I think she is having the right conversation with regards to foreign policy. These supposed adults that insist you confront problematic world leaders when you meet with them have either never been in a leadership position themselves or simply believe that emotions are the most important factor in foreign policy. I’d love to see her as Secretary of State.Report