I think I know what the deal is with all the gushing adoration Tulsi Gabbard has somehow managed to wrangle from ordinarily sensible conservatives. Think of a regular guy walking down the hall in high school, and the head cheerleader passes by and says, “Hi.” The dude’s going to think she’s awesome. Of course, just because she is polite doesn’t mean Regular Joe is ever going to take her to the prom.
Tulsi gets Strange New Conservative Respect for several reasons, but the primary one is that she doesn’t seem to hate our guts. She is what an opponent should be – an opponent, not an enemy. Let’s face it – the mainstream Democrat Party hates our guts, and given its malignant druthers it would strip us of our First, Second, and probably Third Amendment rights in order to make sure that we never, ever have a say in our own governance again. Then, with us silenced and disarmed, it would take our money, corrupt our children and generally oppress us in ways that make today’s punitive straw bans look tame. If you don’t believe that a scary number of mainstream lefties want us Normals enslaved or dead, well, you’re either in denial or not on social media.
Make no mistake – Tulsi is not one of us conservatives, though the kind of leftism she embraces (which owes a lot to the socialism of Bernie Sanders) shares some superficial similarities to the populism that has swept the GOP base. In many ways, we share her critique of an inept, corrupt ruling caste eager to send non-elite citizens off to fight their endless, mismanaged wars. We also share a critique of Big Business as a crony capitalist simulacrum of free enterprise, basically a bunch of rich jerks sidling up to the leaders of both parties to repeatedly shaft us regular folks to pump up a few digits on their balance sheets.
That Tulsi will take on the corrupt leaders of her garbage party, like Felonia Milhouse von Pantsuit, is certainly a welcome change from the lockstep stonewalling we have seen from the others – “Why, I see nothing wrong with Toots McHoover Biden peeing hot then getting 50 grand a month from an oligarch, and if you do you’re racist!” When Mee Maw got into the cooking sherry again and started calling her a “Russian asset,” you knew Tulsi was drawing blood from Ole Granny Reset Button. That charge is particularly amusing since Major Gabbard is an Army officer and a veteran of the elite’s dumb wars – another thing the right appreciates about her. But then everyone is a Russian agent these days. We cons get the same insane idiocy, and not just the president. My Twitter conversations on this topic tend to go like this:
“You’re a Russian traitor of treason just like Trump!”
“I was literally an Army officer in the Cold War.”
“You are betraying America and our allies!”
“I served in NATO for years and have a NATO medal.”
“You love Putin!”
“I served with and helped train Ukrainians, who are fighting Putin’s Russia.”
“See! You admit it!”
Gabbard is far more open to Assad than many of us cons like, but her opposition to the Fredocon warmonger model (like the opposition of many woke conservatives) seems to come from a place of genuine concern for the troops she serves and served with. Unlike most of the rest of her rivals, dead American warriors are not an abstraction. Moreover, you get the idea that, alone among the faux Cherokees, naggy mistresses, and militant furries up there on the Democrat debate stage, Tulsi actually likes America, and Americans.
The Gabbard Left and the Trump Right share the conclusion that our elite sucks and that it has forfeited any moral authority to lead our country, but the similarity ends there. She is not conservative and is not traditional. Just because she has doubts about offing babies in the third trimester, as opposed to supporting abortion until high school graduation, does not make her pro-life. She would take your guns, she would take your money, and she would generally make Barack Obama look like William F. Buckley.
Sometimes we forget that Tulsi is a leftist, and that she would screw up health care, open the borders and impose all sorts of climate hoax nonsense. A key difference from us, when you get past the surface similarities, is that she and her ilk have faith in the idea that government can take on more and more responsibilities, despite the fact that it has demonstrated that it cannot handle those responsibilities it already has, which themselves are mostly far beyond what government should be doing in the first place.
There’s another issue, the fox in the room if you will, that we need to address, and it is not an indictment of Tulsi Gabbard. It’s her storied looks. She is pretty, and she does not give off the man-hating vibe of the rest of her competitors (this also goes for the nominal men on the stage). Tulsi certainly plays it up – those yoga-pants workout videos are not just to reassure us about her cardiovascular fitness. But the fact that she is a woman comfortable with being traditionally feminine gives her a leg up on that squad of bitter, spinster librarians she is running against.
Again, this is not a diss against her. She is a serious person with serious ideas who just happens not to be a typically hateful liberal harridan. This is a recognition that good looks can sometimes act on an unconscious level to make her more attractive (in a meta sense) to those who might otherwise reject her based on her politics. In other words, this is a hit on those conservative males (and it’s mostly males) who go gaga over her pretty face and refuse to see that underneath the mask, it’s really Bernice Sanders.
So, don’t fall for Tulsi Gabbard, because just because we agree on a few things does not mean that her quirky brand of New Age socialism is acceptable. But then again, what she represents in terms of presentation is entirely laudable. She is what an American political opponent should be – a person you can discuss issues with without someone ripping out the other’s throat. We should not aspire to a political culture where we hate the folks in the other party – that current reality is immensely destructive and dangerous. Tulsi represents someone who says “Hi” to us in the hallway, and who we can say “Hi” right back to with no expectation of ever taking her to the prom.
If Tulsi Gabbard became Chairperson of the Central Committee of the socialist dictatorship our garbage elite is dying to impose upon us, she at least might not pack all of us deplorables off to the Hillary Fun Camps. That’s something. If you want a closer look at the kind of nightmarish hellscape the other leftists would create, check out my action-packed yet hilarious novels of America torn apart by liberal malice, People's Republic, Indian Country and Wildfire (Number IV, Collapse, is done and drops in November). The Lido Deck losers at The Bulwark, whatever that is, call my books “appalling,” but you’ll want to give them a lusty “Ahoy!”