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The question Tulsi Gabbard's Democratic critics should have to answer
Two-time failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently attacked Representative Tulsi Gabbard on a podcast, stating, “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.” Tulsi forcefully hit back at Hillary, tweeting:
And in a subsequent press release from her campaign, Tulsi stated:
Hillary, your foreign policy was a disaster for our country and the world—resulting in the deaths and injuries of so many of my brothers and sisters in uniform, devastating entire countries, millions of lives lost, refugee crises, our enemy al-Qaeda/ISIS strengthened, increased Iranian and Russian influence in the region, Turkey emboldened, and exacerbated the problem of nuclear proliferation by overthrowing Gadhafi in Libya. Yet despite the damage you have done to our country and the world, you want to continue your failed policies directly or indirectly through the Democratic nominee.
It's time for you to acknowledge the damage you have caused and apologize for it. It is long past time for you to step down from your throne so the Democratic Party can lead with a new foreign policy which will actually be in the interests of and benefit the American people and the world.
After missing no opportunity to initially pile on to Clinton's remarks and attack Tulsi herself, former Clinton adviser and current president of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden cynically tweeted:
As you know I’ve had concerns about Tulsi Gabbard for a long time. I share Hillary’s concerns. I can be disappointed in some Dem candidates’ response to this issue. But let’s not use it continually tear down Dems, even those we think could handle this better.
— Neera -Wear a Mask -Tanden (@neeratanden) October 20, 2019
Russia wants us to attack each other. The point has been made. Hopefully there won’t be a third party run. Let’s move on. Impeachment and Trump’s disastrous policies are ever present.
— Neera -Wear a Mask -Tanden (@neeratanden) October 20, 2019
Yet not a week later she couldn't help but to, in her own words, do exactly what Russia wants "us" to do and get back to attacking Tulsi after Tulsi announced that she would not be running for reelection to her Congressional seat.
— Neera -Wear a Mask -Tanden (@neeratanden) October 25, 2019
I'm not going to bother defending Tulsi from the claim that she's a "Russian asset," as she's already done a good enough job of that herself, and I'm not interested in wasting my time refuting evidence-free smears from criminally insane psychopaths, but Caitlin Johnstone has done a great job showing the smear for what it is in a must-read column:
One doesn’t have to actually have any formal relationship with the Kremlin to be a Kremlin asset. One doesn’t have to know they’re a Kremlin asset to be a Kremlin asset. The Kremlin doesn’t even need to know one is a Kremlin asset for them to be a Kremlin asset. Nothing has to have happened except the accusation of being a Kremlin asset. It’s just kind of a vague, shapeless nothing thing that doesn’t necessarily have any actual meaning to it at all besides the way it makes people feel inside. It’s more like a religious belief, really.
Isn’t it interesting how that works? Establishment loyalists get a damaging and incendiary tag that they can pin on anyone who disagrees with them, with the sole evidentiary requirement being that disagreement itself.
Author and antiwar activist David Swanson noticed this bizarre intellectual contortion as well, tweeting, “Notice that they carefully define ‘Russian asset’ to mean not necessarily an asset and not necessarily with any connection to Russia.”
The concern of people like Clinton and Tanden can be reasonably summed up as Tulsi Gabbard, a Major in the United States Army and a United States Representative who sits on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, is wittingly or unwittingly a Russian asset, and will act as a spoiler for the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election by running third-party in the general election if she fails to win the Democratic nomination on behalf of the Russian government. So the question that everyone should be asking these people is: If Representative Tulsi Gabbard were to become the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2020 election, will you pledge to support her against President Trump?
Regardless of how they answer the question they will completely undermine their credibility. They can't pledge to support someone they've declared to be a "Russian asset," but they also can't refuse to support the Democratic nominee after attacking Tulsi for potentially running third-party in 2020 because that would make them "Russian assets" as well. Actress Susan Sarandon is still vilified for supporting Green Party nominee Jill Stein in 2016 instead of Hillary Clinton.
This may seem like a "gotcha" question, but it's their own fault for placing themselves in a catch-22 where they're smearing someone they don't like in the most disgusting possible way and demanding that she remain loyal to the party, while almost certainly holding themselves to a different standard. Tulsi earned the ire of Hillary Clinton, one of the most vindictive people in American politics, and her allies when she resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2016 to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders instead of Hillary.
The fact is that if Tulsi were to win the Democratic nomination, an unlikely scenario, admittedly, Hillary and her friends would either have to support a "Russian asset" or undermine the Democratic Party nominee in favor of President Trump who is also, according to them, a "Russian asset." They would never answer such a question, of course, and nobody in the corporate media would dare ask it of them, but it's what anyone with a shred of self-respect would ask them anytime they tried to destroy the reputation of Tulsi Gabbard by smearing her as pushing Vladimir Putin's agenda.