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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/23/20

Tulsi Gabbard Didn't Sell Out. She Was Already a Member of the War Party

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Republished from The American Herald Tribune

Joe Biden's political career has contributed to many things. It has contributed to a three-decade explosion in the U.S. prison population, a phenomenon that mainly targets Black Americans. It has solidified the dominance of finance capital through austerity, deregulation, and government bailout relief for the banks in periods of economic crisis. But perhaps most glaringly, Biden's career has given us endless wars in nations all over the world. He helped spearhead Democratic Party support for the invasion of Iraq and, as Obama's vice president, led a hostile and aggressive military policy toward Russia that compelled the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to conclude that a worldwide nuclear war is closer now than ever before in human history. So why did Tulsi Gabbard, the self-proclaimed anti-war and anti-foreign policy establishment candidate, endorse Joe Biden when his career is the very anti-thesis of what she has stood for throughout her campaign?

The answer is simple, but multifaceted. Tulsi Gabbard is a Democrat. And as a Democrat, individual principles no matter how strong are eventually suppressed by the ruling class forces that control the party apparatus. The DNC has once again smothered Bernie Sanders' campaign and has spent much of the last year smearing and attacking Tulsi Gabbard as an asset of Russia, a possible third-party candidate, and a Trump sympathizer. None of these things were true. Gabbard had always been a loyal Democrat but the external attacks on her campaign succeeded in creating fertile conditions for Gabbard to take that loyalty to another level by supporting Biden.

Still, this is only part of the explanation. Gabbard could have followed Elizabeth Warren and decided not to endorse anyone. There were many of us on the left who believed Gabbard to be more principled than Warren and thus made the conscious decision of limiting public critique of her 2020 campaign. While Gabbard certainly didn't check all the boxes of what constitutes an anti-war platform, she did raise the important issue of Washington's New Cold War policy toward Russia and China. She also opposed the U.S.' ongoing war in Syria. Journalists and activists such as Abby Martin were openly critical of Gabbard throughout her 2020 campaign. The Hawaiian Congresswoman said little to nothing in defense of Palestine and valorized the military in troubling ways. Gabbard also legitimized the War on Terror's so-called mission of eliminating "radical Islamic terrorism" even as she rightly condemned ISIS and Al Qaeda as a creation of dictatorial regimes such as Saudi Arabia. Her approach to foreign policy exposed contradictions that help us understand a bit better why she would take the seemingly illogical action of endorsing Joe Biden in this period of crisis.

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Major Tulsi Gabbard
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The United States is the land of individualism and celebrity, so it is far easier to scrutinize Gabbard's politics than to provide a broader explanation for her endorsement of Biden. However, any valid explanation for Gabbard's endorsement must weigh the internal and external conditions together. Gabbard was a member of the War Party from the outset. Her voting record on issues of war and peace is not consistent. Gabbard has voted in favor of 19 of the last 29 military spending bills including proposals to renovate and update the U.S.' massive nuclear weapons arsenal. She also voted in favor of sanctions against Iran, Russia, and the DPRK in 2017. Tulsi Gabbard has never sought to transcend the engine of war or try to destroy. Instead, she worked within it and believed that her leadership could steer her enemies on the right path.

The Democratic Party is the engine of the War Party, but it also serves as a graveyard for any kind of social protest against the ills of empire, capitalism, and white supremacy. Neither Tulsi Gabbard nor Bernie Sanders had the foresight to understand this reality and respond accordingly. No matter how much the most militant sections of Gabbard and Sanders' supporters want to blame the opposing candidate for their lack of unity in the primary, the truth is that both Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard possess the same fatal limitation. Gabbard's endorsement of Biden the warmonger is no different than Sanders rejecting his democratic socialist principles by repeatedly stating that he will get behind his "friend" Joe Biden should he win the nomination. Both indicate that the need to appease the War Party is a far greater imperative for all Democratic Party candidates than the interests of the constituents who support them.

Gabbard's support for Joe Biden is another sign that the time has come for anyone who believes in peace and social justice to abandon the Democratic Party and the two-party duopoly all together. Joe Biden helped Barack Obama build a deadly drone arsenal, boasted about the expansion of NATO along Russia's border, and played a huge role in the expansion of Patriot Act surveillance. Gabbard called out Kamala Harris for her role in terrorizing Black American families in California but never once mentioned how Biden pushed through several key pieces of legislation that ballooned the prison state. Biden, as an extension of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, represents the backbone of the Democratic Party elite. And as such, Tulsi Gabbard was always inclined to support him if she wished to remain a Democrat beyond the election.

In the end, supporters of Tulsi Gabbard and Bernie Sanders have a decision to make. Either leave the Democratic Party or continue to watch as their insurgent candidates are marginalized and excluded from the political process. Gabbard has far more appeal with a fringe rightwing base than Sanders for her military background, her tough line on terrorism, and her adherence to the idea of a united American under the banner of "God." Sanders' base is principally young people and low-wage workers who stand to the left of the neoliberal Democratic Party establishment. While some overlap exists between the two camps, the differences will ultimately help determine which direction their supporters will go once Joe Biden is anointed the nominee. A major problem is that the attractiveness of running electoral campaigns within the machine may be too strong at this moment to allow for a mass exit from the grips of the War Party. Political activists, journalists, and scholars need to study and organize ways to engage those who embrace Gabbard's anti-interventionism and Sanders' democratic socialism that pull them away from seeking power in the Democratic Party and toward a new conception of power.

In the immediate term, it is quite understandable to be angry at the fact that Tulsi Gabbard threw her endorsement to Joe Biden. A good number of people, even anti-war journalists such as myself, defended Gabbard for taking difficult anti-war positions in a hostile political environment. But support for anti-war positions doesn't excuse opportunism and it certainly doesn't change the fact that the Democratic Party is designed to crush all progressive and anti-establishment politics at the alter of bourgeois civility and American exceptionalism. Tulsi Gabbard, like Sanders, never sought to break from a political party that despises her. She was a member of the War Party from the beginning and for this reason, could never be trusted to actualize her anti-war politics or make the decision to break from the Democratic Party altogether. Gabbard's endorsement of Biden makes clear that these tasks are the responsibility of the people, and the people alone.

 

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Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People's History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to (more...)
 
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5 people are discussing this page, with 11 comments  Post Comment


David William Pear

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I have not voted for a Democrat since 2008, and I seriously doubt that I ever will again. Between Red and Blue there is no such thing as lesser evil. The political landscape will never change until there are significant alternative parties. imho.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 23, 2020 at 5:06:20 PM

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Dennis Kaiser

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I have only voted "party" twice since 1991. For how they benefit the working class there is no difference, the working class doesn't exist as far as they are concerned. Elections have been a farce, especially these re-elction terms where the opponent has always been nothing more than a "thanks for you serivce and playing by our rules". Consider Bob Dole, John McCain, John Kerry, Joe Biden to name most recent and not one who could beat your local dog catcher.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 23, 2020 at 8:59:48 PM

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Billy, are you and that damned Kyzer fellow conniving?

Submitted on Monday, Mar 23, 2020 at 9:42:56 PM

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First, Sanders rejected her wanting to wait and endorse him if he took the lead. That in addition to the fact Sanders all but crapped on Tulsi when he didn't even acknowledge she was still in the race when he stated, on several occasions, that now they were down to two. He could have pushed for her appearing on the debate stage. At least then there would have been one candidate on it who had a "pair".

Second, throughout all of the smearing at every interview she was asked about becoming a third party candidate upon which she said she would endorse the Democrats choice.

She now has stuck her thumb in the eye of Hillary, Neera Tanden, and the host of media gerbils by once again being a person of her word.

As for her being in the military has little to do with what she was campaigning on ending these regime change wars, which in essence are nothing more than illegal killings of innocent civilians in sovereign nations. She definitely did not rule out wars that threatened our sovereignty and safety of our citizens. There is a difference, one is illegal and a war crime and the other is what the military stands for.

Submitted on Monday, Mar 23, 2020 at 8:53:18 PM

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Gotcha back, Denni !

Submitted on Monday, Mar 23, 2020 at 9:39:29 PM

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Right on kid.

She is sincere and guess stuck in the political game.

Sanders proved to me he coward in 2016.

Still highly respect Rob Kall's 3 picks or recommendations when first was blessed to hear feelings of times, "sound bites"written on OEN adding up. John Perkins-Ron Paul-Dennis Kucinich 2. (With Jerry Brown my under cover lawyer since 1996... :) Space Man Bill Lee big fan since on his first, "lefty pitch" said to Red, "he is one tough competitor."

PCR has lots of great thoughts on these times. Even Prince Charles has called for a "new economic model" as the USSR man has, and them cool Naomi writer chicks.

Been thinking of all that rock music of driving down the highway,,, that took many teen lives, hour walk from Conrord's North Bridge, we saw Arlo see Ford laughing. Them muscle cars took many lives-442 spin around after Old Oaken Bucket strip to famous ice cream as a touch down 3 foot ball fields straight with hair right turn.

Heard at first class Beemers pool bar (Diamonf tight bat tables or no better than.) a lady asked of my Native Pull Over, "Did you know the Natives had a 500 year old prophecy about "Cyberspace?" "The Mouse & The Web." ALL, that could Google is many traditions and beliefs have it all ending peaceful.

We will ride this storm out to the way things could (?) or should and can be.


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Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:16:24 PM

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Did check out "On the Road"-shitty movie too. Audio of it great. Is overdue from Fitchburg Library where got the one man plays of "Harry Bridges" & Tom Paine. :) Whew woo wow, older librarian smiled after my, "They can not deport 6 million man they now." :)

Ashely has sign please disturb.

How first heard of Harry Bridges in 2010-11 is strange as an IBEW Wire Nut Fan of Arlo Nuts.

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:21:03 PM

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No clue how times like these sun set video was added to the above.

Only see sunrise from back deck of this bridge.


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South Side Fitchburg, near 10 year younger better pool player then me!

The "Times like these sun rise times like these was first video for Marie, hippy before-after me.

She hated Yoko knowing it was free.

53rd birthday at an x-sister on Marie's first 3 cold fall week visit 2010, before ACA drove me to 150 euro a year in Belgium's "not for profit hc care.

She hated when told her Bonnie Raatt better then Joplin-she rocks with now. :)

Submitted on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2020 at 8:56:29 PM

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Oh, got lost in that last comment. But Tulsi's message of costs of these wars and price of service over self is an important one. Never been out to knock the soldier. Just out to correct the one's who put them in harm's way without declaring war.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 28, 2020 at 3:16:43 PM

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Richard Pietrasz

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Gabby has criticized individual US military actions, but her actions even though she went to war despite knowing the limits on US government in the US Constitution. She violated her oath, she participated in killing millions of civilians, and instead of defending USA, she incited attacks against USA, particularly against civilians.

ISIS and al-Qaida were created by the US military (including the CIA).

Submitted on Friday, Mar 27, 2020 at 6:20:33 AM

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"... but her actions even though ..." was meant to read "... but not her actions even though ...".

It is easy to fail at proofreading something one just wrote.

Submitted on Saturday, Mar 28, 2020 at 7:28:23 AM

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