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For years now I have been reading and hearing variations of the same idea about Tulsi Gabbard from the media. Which is then reproduced online in comments, tweets, videos, and podcasts. All sharing variations of the same meme. That meme is :
Tulsi Gabbard is WEIRD and NUTTY and RIDICULOUS and INCOMPREHENSIBLE.
That meme made its first appearance in Pierre Omidyar's Civil Beat, a news website for his home of Honolulu. It began years ago shortly after Tulsi first started to go on CNN to tell the world that Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East was just like Bush's foreign policy. That it was a dangerous and costly mistake.
I took it for granted that most people saw the content of those articles on Civil Beat as an obvious attempt to otherize Tulsi, to make her appear as a fringe or even frivolous and weird or wacko person. It was obvious to me because Pierre Omidyar is politically aligned with the establishment foreign policy consensus. And Tulsi had declared war on that consensus. I took it for granted that like me, everyone else saw through their childlike attempt to discredit Tulsi Gabbard's standing as a serious or even rational "normal" person when they attempted to dismiss her religious beliefs as bizarre and disreputable. What kind of media attacks a politician's religious beliefs? It is done on the right towards Muslim politicians on occasion, but not on the left unless a politician specifically threatens to impose their religious beliefs on everyone else. Like a religious objection to abortion which may lead a politician to vote to outlaw abortion. Other than that you don't see people on the left talk about a politicians religious beliefs. Except when it comes to Tulsi. She doesn't threaten to impose her religious beliefs on anyone, but in almost every article about her on Civil Beat there is an attempt to otherize Tulsi by denigrating her religion. For years they have done that.
I assumed that everyone else also saw through their attempt to incite hate and loathing of Tulsi by trying to make Tulsi out to be untrustworthy and un-American. Their not-so-subtle messaging was: Tulsi is not one of us, not from a Bible based worldview. Tulsi is strange, darkly weird. Do not trust her.
The meme of Tulsi as "WEIRD and INSCRUTABLE " spread into prominence in the wider American media ecosystem as time went on because Civil Beat was partnered with the Huffington Post and The Intercept, so their smear pieces would be published there as well. And as Tulsi's anti-war message became more and more of a problem to the establishment, the media started to follow the Civil Beat messaging in otherizing Tulsi. I wondered how they could believe they could get away with such an obvious and phony psychological ploy as an ad hominem attack. That standard disinformation tactic to counter an idea by attacking the credibility of the person promoting the idea is usually the last resort, especially if you have a good counter-argument. If you don't have a good argument then the ad hominem tactic is typically taken up early. As they have done with Tulsi. That is practically all they do, isn't it?
The Ad Hominem attack is the standard tactical strategy when all else fails. They painted her because of her religion as weird and untrustworthy, as keeping a dark secret, as being something mysterious to the point of evil. I was surprised when they kept doing it and no other media questioned their promotion of outright religious bigotry. No one in the media called out their clear agenda of discrediting Tulsi as a serious and normal upstanding citizen using outright religious bigotry to smear her as being "a dark and mysterious and probably up to no good cultist!"
Why were they doing that and why were no media outlets saying anything about it?
They had a job to do. They are intent on otherizing Tulsi Gabbard because there is no good argument against her claims of a failed agenda led by the failed leadership of the foreign policy establishment.
The Empire Strikes Back?
America had openly and violently overthrown the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya and thereby turned them into failed states, unmitigated disaster zones. Lives ruined for millions of people for years on end. The promised outcome had proven to be unquestionably and embarrassingly wrong. Each regime-change project turned out to be a massive failure for the stated goal of reducing a threat to America, and also for the stated goal of helping the people of those countries. The entire Middle East was thrown into a cauldron of chaos, hate, violence, and extreme poverty. Europe has had to deal with a huge refugee crisis as a backlash to those wars. Millions of people were forced to flee and give up their homes, careers, families, fortunes and future. Many more were left broken and in need of vast resources to take care of them. All for what?
How could you argue that Tulsi was wrong when she said that American foreign policy in the Middle East had been a massive failure?
You couldn't argue. It was obvious that she was right. But the foreign policy establishment was not planning to change their new plans for another regime-change, this time in Syria. Destroying 3 countries wasn't enough. Syria needed the benevolent Americans to regime change Syria for their own good as well, we were told. Like Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, and Gaddafi before him, the establishment media had a mission to demonize Syrian president Bashar al-Assad in the same manner as they had so diligently and dutifully done previously. Prior to the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the media owners who are part of the foreign policy establishment, had their networks, newspapers, magazines and websites push out relentless demonization of those countries leaders in order to gain support from the American people for an invasion and take over of their country. Or at least acceptance of an invasion as necessary for their own good. The media is also used to control politicians. Any politician who expresses doubt will be set upon by the media to bring them in line with the foreign policy establishment.
There was no going back for the media because the foreign policy establishment had a plan for Syria, and the media was intent on carrying out their role as their propaganda arm, and their enforcement arm if need be. And they weren't alone. Many other countries wanted a piece of the Syria pie, some say they have the largest Gas reserves in the world, untapped and recently secretly discovered. The establishment did not want a politician like Tulsi with a military background, with her bully pulpit in Congress pointing out to the world the unfolding disaster in the making in Syria. They did not want the world to be told that America was once again making a huge mistake in overthrowing another Middle Eastern country.
In fact they were trying to hide what America was doing in Syria for years. They still try. Timber Sycamore is the code name given to the operation to arm and train fighters to overthrow the Syrian government. Billions of dollars have been spent. Many nations in the Middle East and Europe have been part of the regime-change battle for Syria by the massive arming, training, logistics and other support to over 20 jihadi terror organizations serving as America's "boots on the ground." Never mind that they are aligned with Al Qaeda, that isn't a problem. The REAL problem was that you couldn't argue against Tulsi and end up looking like "the good guys" when she would point all this out on CNN.
Question: How do you solve a problem like M̶a̶r̶i̶a̶ Tulsi?