Lot of talk about Tulsi Gabbard in this thread. Since no one responded to me when I posted it in the Yang thread, I'm reposting my rant on her here. It belongs in this thread more anyway.
I used to be really big on Tulsi, until a few things popped up about her that gave me significant pause.
1) First, there's her record on gay rights. She opposed gay rights, using pretty nasty language. Check out the link here from a local newpaper. She was a freshman congresswoman in the Hawaii House of Representatives at the time, and I'd like to particularly call attention to this quote from the article: "To try to act as if there is a difference between 'civil unions' and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, who directed her testimony at Hamakawa. "As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists." Emphasis mine. Yikes. Homosexual extremists? This was just the young gay rights movement, and as you may know, Hawaii was an early victory. She was pretty against it. Also there's this article by Rolling Stone. It's obviously a hit piece, but it brings up several very valid points I can't ignore, like that she was against a bill meant to prevent anti-gay bullying, on the grounds that she feared it would teach children that being gay was "normal and natural" (guess what Gabbard, it is...). The same article talks about her being a proud supporter of the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, her far-right dad's homophobic organization. I understand that she claims to have evolved, but I don't buy it any more than I buy that Hillary Clinton has evolved on the matter. She was too rabidly against it, and at such a young age too, to just suddenly evolve like that. I don't buy it. In fact, in this article that's more friendly to her, she tells the interviewer that her personal views haven't evolved on homosexuality, she just takes a libertarian viewpoint on it that the government shouldn't be a moral arbiter. I can appreciate that viewpoint that the government shouldn't legislate morals, but I certainly don't trust someone who was and apparently still is that virulently homophobic to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community on the grounds that she doesn't want the government to be moral arbiter. Trump said he would be good to LGBTQ as well, I believe in his inauguration speech, but now transsexuals are banned from the military, among other culturally conservative victories. She claims to be culturally libertarian, but she's culturally conservative and her supporters on the right know it and will want some wins out of her. An example of such potential wins we might see in spite of her claimed libertarian stance on the matter? Look at Trump's court nominations. She's supported them, and attacked her own fellow Hawaiian representative Mazie Hirono, as well as Kamala Harris, accusing them of religious bigotry just because they opposed the nomination of Brian Buescher, who has a record of partisan activism against LGBTQ equality. That is an absurd accusation, and their concerns were well-founded and based on observable actions, not prejudice against a belief system. I could go on, as there's a shocking amount of evidence that she's not a friend of anyone who believes in LGBTQ equality, but I think I've said enough here.
2. She's way too friendly with right-wing dictators and has a creepy authoritarian flavor to her. She uses "peace" and being "against the war industry" as reasoning for her foreign policy stances, which was something I loved about her at first, but I have other options if I want to promote peace and staying out of fights we have no place in, or fighting against the war industry. I don't need Tulsi. It's one thing to be in favor of staying out of Syria or not escalating things with Russia, it's quite another thing to meet with and actively support the talking points of Assad and praise Putin for military interventionism. That meeting with Assad had her escorted by Bassam and Elie Khawam, officials of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. I'd link that, but I'm at work and would rather not go to such websites. Suffice to say, the SSNP is a political and paramilitary organization, it supports Assad, and has been very violent about doing so. It has also done many other violent things in its past, including several assassinations and suicide bombings. It seems to hate the US, Israel, Jews in general, and is extremely authoritarian, with an ultimate goal of Syria conquering Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Cyprus for the "Greater Syrian" race. Not something a patriotic American or sane person in general would want to associate with. Meanwhile Assad is himself a vicious dictator that has committed horrible crimes against his own people. She chooses to look the other way and support him because she claims that to not support him would be to support "regime change" but apparently associating with expansionist nationalists is fine. We should never have gotten directly involved in Syria, to be sure, but rather have supported a local coalition against ISIS, and local rebellion against Assad, through material support and training. He's a evil man. But she supports him, as well as Putin. Indeed she seems to support all of Russia's endeavors. She's not truly for peace, she's for America getting out of the way of dictators that want to rule their countries with an iron fist. Think it's just Assad and Putin? Think again. She also supports brutal Egyptian dictator General Abdel Fatteh el Sisi. That link is from her own campaign site, and showers him with praise, and claims supporting this dictator is the only way to stop Islamic extremism. I'm no fan of Islamic extremists and terrorists, but why does she always turn to dictators to stop them? Violent ones that commit crimes against humanity at that? Then denies that they're violent? Why? I don't trust her. And yes, Sisi is nasty. Here's a bit on a massacre he ordered, from Human Rights Watch. She also claims to be "conflicted" on whether torture is acceptable. Here's a video of an interview where she states she's conflicted on torture and would consider using it, using the typical justification of "bUt WhAt If ThE tErRoRiStS hAvE a NuClEaR bOmB!?!" Time stamp is 15:47. Also keep in mind that people like Steve Bannon, white supremacist and ethno-nationalist Richard Spencer, and former KKK grand wizard David Duke have all praised or endorsed her. So not only does she seem to like right-wing authoritarians, they seem to like her back. Both liberals and libertarians alike should not call her their friend.
3. She has creepy connections with a cult. Her father claims to be Catholic, she claims to Hindu, but they're lying. They're part of a Hare Krishna cult known as the Science of Identity Foundation. It's probably where her hatred of homosexuality comes from, as it's rabidly homophobic. I suppose you can argue that there's not definitive proof that they're part of the cult, but the connections are too suspicious. I'll let you look into them yourself, but between this and the other unsavory things about Gabbard, I'm done with her.
I used to want Gabbard as Bernie's VP so she could set up for a Presidential run after him. Now I want her out of politics entirely.
Edit: Whoops, forgot the links...