As part of her post-announcement media tour, Presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared on Morning Joe.
The panel spends most of the interview questioning Gabbard about the President of Syria (she opposed regime change). The questions were oddly out of context (You could almost forget that the CIA and Pentagon-backed war to unseat Assad has been a very bloody failure). But this was not a policy discussion — this was a take-down.
We’ve seen this all before… The whole tone of the interview was: Just how can you be ok with Assad’s monstrous crimes against humanity? It’s all reminiscent of what the press did to opponents of the Iraq War — try to associate them with Saddam’s tyranny. For anti-war voters, it was a telling interview, with several implications…
“Liberal” Press This is a good reminder that even the so-called “liberal” MSNBC has its employees read off of talking points distributed by the corporate beltway establishment. Phil Donahue was the rare employee to resist this, which caused MSNBC to fire him in 2003. Usually the establishment is more subtle in their crafting of the narrative. For example, they will let Fox News take on the more ardently jingoistic approach… but let’s not forget that the entire media establishment is singing off of the same sheet of music.
A Real Anti-War Candidate? In the Democratic primary, all of the candidates are going to sound great. They know which way the political winds are blowing. But even assuming their views are genuine, that does not necessarily translate into policy. I suspect that Obama’s campaign reflected his genuine instincts on national security, but those instincts put him at odds with the national security establishment. And because he was so hesitant to spend political capital on this, we ended up with wildly inconsistent policy — such as fighting proxy wars against Iran (Syria and Yemen), even as we tried to sow the seeds for peace. The establishment is treating Tulsi Gabbard very differently than Obama, which suggests that they know she will act according to her convictions. As an anti-war voter, I am very encouraged to see this.
National Security, Not Profit Gabbard is no pacifist. She supported military action against ISIS. As a Major in the National Guard, Gabbard has been deployed to the middle east. She opposes regime change in Syria, because it does not serve our national security interests. Regime change does serve certain business interests and the sectarian interests of our Sunni allies in the region. That is why the Morning Joe panel wanted to discuss Assad’s atrocities, rather than our national security interests.
Establishment Attacks Help Democratic Nominee The narrative in 2020 is likely to be: Trump vs. The Establishment. That narrative gives Trump the advantage. Democrats can effectively undercut this by nominating a candidate with comparable anti-establishment bona fides. If I am Tulsi Gabbard, I would be hoping for many MORE interviews like her Morning Joe appearance. There is a real thirst for a President who will represent the people, not the powerful.