What happens when you attack a Democratic party establishment favorite

Matt Taibbi writes that what happened to presidential candidate Tulise Gabbard when she attacked Kamala Harris during the second round of debates is a telling indicator of how the mainstream media operates. Harris has been trying to rewrite her history to portray herself as having been a ‘progressive prosecutor’ as attorney general in California when in reality she was pretty much a standard prosecutor who prided herself on being ‘tough on crime’ and throwing as many people in jail as possible even for minor offenses and blocking attempts to clear those who felt that they had been wrongfully convicted.

The Democratic electorate has changed, becoming especially concerned about mass incarceration. However, the party has not quite caught up. Gabbard exposed these divisions in the July 31 event, when she said:

“She put over 1500 people in jail for marijuana, and then laughed about it when asked if she ever smoked marijuana.”

The Detroit crowd cheered all the way through Gabbard’s next point, about Harris’ blocking the introduction of DNA evidence in a murder case. The applause unnerved Harris, who looked like someone dented her car. She’d been at 20 points in a July 2 Quinnipiac poll; after a multi-week slide that culminated with Gabbard’s attack, Harris was at 7 percent, a “distant fourth” behind Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders.

Having wounded a presumptive frontrunner backed by nearly $25 million in campaign funds, Gabbard instantly became the subject of a slew of negative leaks, tweets, and press reports. Many of these continued the appalling recent Democratic Party tradition of denouncing anything it doesn’t like as treasonous aid to foreign enemies.

The Democratic party establishment and the media have seized upon Gabbard’s meeting with Syrian president Assad to launch a smear campaign that she does not believe in democracy and that she is very likely a Russian stooge whose candidacy is being promoted by Russian bots.

Forget about arguing Gabbard was a “Trojan Horse”; this piece argued that by meeting with Assad, she was somehow opposed to democracy generally, and that this was hypocritical because she is running for president in a democratic election. This is even more preposterous than the goofball right-wing talking points arguing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is hypocritical because she espoused socialism while wearing a nice suit.

Gabbard’s actual views follow logically from her experience as a soldier in the Middle East, and as a native of a state that went through a remarkable nuclear scare a year ago.

She’s not an isolationist. She’s simply opposed to bombing the crap out of, and occupying, foreign countries for no apparent positive strategic objective, beyond enriching contractors.

She is like many soldiers (and embedded reporters for that matter) who returned disillusioned from the Middle Eastern theater. Of concern: the extreme loss of life among both Americans and resident populations, and the outrageous profiteering amid abuse of foreign contract workers who are used to staff and service American bases.

Whatever one might think of Gababrd as a presidential candidate, she has shown once again what happens to anyone who dares to challenge establishment views and establishment-favored candidates.

Taibbi’s article quotes from a wide-ranging interview Gabbard gave to Rolling Stone magazine for those who are interested in learning more about her views.


  1. jrkrideau says

    So, basically, we are seeing total and irrational US xenophobia in action?

    FDR met with Stalin. Did that make him a Soviet puppet? Well, probably.

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