Democrats Shouldn’t Be Trying to Banish Tulsi Gabbard by Robert Borosage @ The Nation
Donald Trump’s feverish tweeting appears to be contagious. Amid a chorus of praise for the administration’s cruise missile strike on a Syrian airbase last week, Neera Tanden, the head of the Center for American Progress, dashed off a tweet calling on voters in Hawaii to oust Democratic Representative Tulsi Gabbard for expressing skepticism about the Syrian government’s responsibility for the chemical attack that provoked the US military strikes. Former presidential candidate and former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean piled on, and tweeted that Gabbard’s comments were a “disgrace” and that she “should not be in the Congress.”
Heree’s what Gabbard said: “This administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.” Gabbard added she would support Assad’s prosecution and execution as a war criminal if the attacks were proven, though she still wouldn’t support military action. “A successful prosecution of Assad (at the International Criminal Court) will require collection of evidence from the scene of the incident, and I support the United Nation’s efforts in this regard. Without such evidence, a successful prosecution is impossible,” she said.
But Tanden and Dean apparently agreed with Trump’s quick conclusion that “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons.” So did much of the mainstream media and foreign policy establishment.
An independent investigation is still needed, but surely Gabbard’s skepticism was not only defensible but laudable at a time when the media was blaring patriotic support for another military attack in the Middle East.
Gabbard isn’t going to lose her seat because of Tanden and Dean’s tweets. Her opposition to escalating the wars in the Middle East enjoys wide popular support. But the calls for her ouster are instructive in any case.
For all the urgent pleas for unity in the face of Trump, the party establishment has always made it clear that they mean unity under their banner. That’s why they mobilized to keep the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representative Keith Ellison, from becoming head of the DNC. It’s why the knives are still out for Sanders and those who supported him. It’s why the DCCC still is loath to contribute resources and energy to populist challengers like James Thompson in Kansas, who threaten to build the Sanders/Warren wing of the party.
More on the failures of the DCCC/DNC, Sanders updates, Environmental News, and whatever else I happen to run across this morning will be in the comments. Have a great day!