Tulsi Gabbard, What Could Have Been and What May Yet Be

Tulsi Gabbard, What Could Have Been and What May Yet Be

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Janet Ybarra
Democrat
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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The coronavirus outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic apparently have claimed a surprising casualty: Democrat Tulsi Gabbard finally suspended her presidental campaign which has long been largely inert anyway.

In one sense, she’s only finally acknowledging reality, given that she hasn’t qualified for a Democratic presidential debate since November, and has won only the tiniest handful of the delegates needed to win the nomination.

Given that Gabbard is not running for re-election to her congressional seat representing Hawaii, her future is certainly open and uncertain.

It’s a somewhat ignominious end to what could have been a soaring future.

She is a woman who is a military veteran who served her country with honor, and–like me–is a practitioner of an Eastern religion. Plus she had stood out in 2016 as a prominent Bernie Sanders supporter. She could have written her ticket.

Early on, I was ready to back her enthusiastically.

Then I began to learn disquieting things. She met with Trump officials after the 2016 election about a potential spot in the administration.

In fact, as I dug deeper, I found that Gabbard often sounded more like Donald Trump, happy to criticize President Barack Obama.

If you look online, you will find all manner of conservative and right-wing folks politically in love with Gabbard, practically begging Democrats to nominate her.

And as the campaign wore on, she seemed strangely eager to appear regularly on Fox News, not an outlet known for its Democratic viewership.

Needless to say, the more conservatives may have been excited, progressives–certainly this one–became turned off.

Which brings us to Gabbard’s present and future.

Were all of those appearances on Fox News truly just an extended audition to become one more member of the network’s stable of on-air talent?

Are we in store for a party switch and a move to somewhere more conservative-friendly than the deep-blue Aloha State for another shot at elective office?

Or, will Gabbard follow the footsteps of another washed up politician and end up in a decade–on a goofy TV series like Masked Singer, like Sarah Palin?

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COMMENTS (1)

  • comment-avatar
    Mike Ehling March 20, 2020

    More likely, if the COVID pandemic continues and worsens, Tulsi will be spending some time with her National Guard unit if/when Governor Ige activates it to provide disaster relief and medical support. That’s similar to what Tulsi’s training assignment in Indonesia consisted of last summer (disaster relief and terrorist response) when she took two weeks off from a critical period during her campaign to fulfill her military duties; and of course her first military mission was in the Iraqi desert in 2003, when she served in a medical support role while in enlisted rank (while Chelsea Clinton was enjoying herself at Oxford). I’d hope Major Gabbard gets her Lieutenant Colonelcy as she approaches twenty years of service.

    Or who knows, she may run for Governor in 2022 when Ige is term-limited and she won’t be primarying someone who has an edge from incumbency. The Hawai’i governorship would give her the opportunity for hands-on executive efforts in areas like health care, environment, housing, criminal justice, opioids, and infrastructure, all issues she spoke to on her presidential campaign.

    The governorship would also give her a public office that doesn’t require the grueling commute through four time zones from Honolulu to D.C.