Tulsi Gabbard on TYT--Being Real
Tulsi Gabbard was on The Young Turks (TYT) yesterday with Cenk Uygur and it was an interesting 30 minute interview.
Now, keep in mind that Cenk and TYT do not like Tulsi. TYT has pretty much gone mainstream media with regard to Democrats, and Cenk's interview with her was entirely unlike, for example, his interview with Elizabeth Warren, who got softball questions. He was actively trying to trip Tulsi up. But even then, since Cenk knows what real progressives like (he used to be one), I think he really ended up holding her feet to the fire more than others, and it was actually rather insightful.
Tulsi did great and definitely held her own. It was a useful interview that really gets into details about *why* she voted certain ways on certain bills.
Whenever supporting someone, you need to realize nobody will mirror your beliefs and views exactly. Everyone has flaws. I think this interview of Tulsi showed some of her flaws. I do not think these are show stopping. I actually think they are good in some ways. But, it did reveal her personal views that in some ways counter my own.
First, her response to the loaded question she was asked about her stance on Islamic terrorism. Cenk (and others) have tried to make this an issue that "Islamic" is unfair, because there are Hindu terrorists, and Bhuddist terrorists, etc. They showed a very old clip where Tulsi is hitting against something Kerry said as Sec State that we should give them money and the problem would go away (as she seemed to characterize it).
Nothing she says in that conversation is untrue--I agree with it all. She correctly calls out Saudi Arabia's culpability here, and that is something nobody else seems to be doing (you go girl!!!). She is correct that not enough attention is paid to the Wahhabist views of Islam and the problems it is creating. But I think she misses Kerry's point that this Wahhabist view is largely a result of the shitty economic situation in much of the Muslim world, and that makes it easy for Wahhabism to thrive, and (although Kerry did not say it) that much of the rise of Wahhabism resulted from the way the US acted in these areas in the past. The fact that she does not raise these points seems to indicate a missing focus on her part.
Having said that, the fact that she is focusing most of her energy on getting out of Syria, Yemen, Iran, etc., indicates she does actually know these facts. She's just not highlighting them with regard to terrorist organizations. While I personally think this is a mistake, and am a bit troubled by the way she frames things because of this omission, I do realize she is doing MORE THAN ANY OTHER CANDIDATE OUT THERE to promote solutions for these foreign policy problems for real and address the situation.
Two other interview questions included one with regard to online gambling and one for the CFPP regarding loans to people of color being charged higher interest rates. Her responses came down to representing her constituency, which I think should be in general the job of a politician. She answers the questions well and honestly, but this was the first time I've felt a *politician vibe* coming from her. I just wanted to highlight that she will support her constituents, even if what they are asking for is not progressive. Decide from that what you will.
The final issue is Israel and Palestine (minefield!). It was evident she was doing her best not to piss either side off--it really is a no win situation for a politician. But I disagree with her view that it is up to both sides to work things out. It has gone beyond that, unfortunately.
To me this is similar to saying back when South Africa was apartheid that it was up to both sides to work things out in that case. The Palestinians have almost no power and in Gaza are living essentially in an open air prison. We need to hold the Israeli government and military and settlers accountable, period. I disagree with her fully here.
Do not put your entire faith in any single person. Tulsi is not a messiah. I do believe--because she has shown the ability to in the past--that presented with strong arguments, Tulsi could evolve on all these issues in the future as she continues to adopt more progressive views (every year she seems to come around on more, and her voting record shows that). From what I've seen, Bernie holds many similar views on foreign policy.
It's good to be a realist. Don't be blinded. Tulsi is great, and this interview was a total hit job. But even she isn't perfect. Keep that in mind so that you don't take it personally when she is attacked.
I'm still fully behind Tulsi. But, I'm not a fanboi or going in drinking the Kool Aid. Be a realist. Keep to the issues--not the champions themselves.
LATE UPDATE: Pennsylvania primary polling shows Gabbard at 3%, beating out Gillibrand, Yang, Castro, Klobuchar, Hickenlooper, and Inslee, while only 1-3 percentage points behind Booker, Harris, O'Rourke, and Buttigieg. Biden (39%), Sanders (20%), and Warren (11%) top the list in that order.
Tulsi has only stopped in the state once. This is the first time I've seen her poll above 1%. Three percent means she got around 11 votes out of the 359 cast for the poll.
SECOND UPDATE: Tulsi posted last night that she now has 54,092 unique donors and gained "more than 2,000 yesterday". Quite a nice jump from her Jimmy Dore, TYT, Niko House, and Kim Iversen interviews, not to mention her Los Angeles Town Hall yesterday.
That leaves her with 10,908 left to get, which works out to 243 new donors per day through May 14.