Why Not Queen of Dragons
October 19, 2019 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Hillary Clinton claims Russians are Grooming Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run. Gabbard's response: "Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. " [Gabbard previously]

" ... It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

Clinton haters predictably come out of the woodwork: Karl Rove on Fox comes out in defense of Gabbard. Meanwhile, at home, Gabbard faces a primary challenge from Sen. Kai Kahele for her seat.
posted by benzenedream (463 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm no hrc-hater, but...Jesus, shit timing. Like there's not already enough bullshit in the air. If it's a legit complaint, tell the FBI.
posted by j_curiouser at 9:42 AM on October 19 [14 favorites]


This explains why Alex Jones was so into Gabbard, at least.
posted by Scattercat at 9:44 AM on October 19 [29 favorites]


Trump's gonna get re-elected, isn't he.
posted by riotnrrd at 9:46 AM on October 19 [59 favorites]


Yeah, even if I knew nothing else about Gabbard, her calling HRC “the embodiment of corruption” tells me all I need to know about her.
posted by darkstar at 9:47 AM on October 19 [123 favorites]


If it's a legit complaint, tell the FBI.
LOLOLOL. Sob.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:48 AM on October 19 [133 favorites]


Somebody should simply ask Tulsi Gabbard to publicly declare that she will not run as an independent
posted by growabrain at 9:49 AM on October 19 [25 favorites]


And the desperate plea that the primary is now between Clinton and Gabbard is just...delusional.
posted by darkstar at 9:49 AM on October 19 [44 favorites]


People are still gonna be running against Hillary Clinton in 2064. Hell, they'll be doing it in 2364. "Zontar, why do we call a blank slate onto which we project whatever attributes we most detest a hilariclinton?" "I dunno, Fragdar, it's just one of those weird words whose etymology is lost to history."
posted by escabeche at 9:49 AM on October 19 [213 favorites]


Gabbard stated she wouldn’t run as a third party candidate.

Whether that means anything, though...
posted by darkstar at 9:51 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Go Kai Kahele!
posted by darkstar at 9:51 AM on October 19 [17 favorites]


I doubt she's wrong.
posted by Miko at 9:58 AM on October 19 [18 favorites]


Gabbard is an Islamophobic, homophobic, Assad-loving hack who absolutely holds positions that are very in line with what the Russian government would want from a US politician. She has a fanbase on the alt-right, she's been endorsed by David Duke, and has yet managed to remain popular among a certain subset of progressives who catapulted her to the national stage largely on the basis of being an early endorser of Bernie Sanders in 2016.

HRC was correctly identifying Russian interference long before anyone at her level of public visibility was calling it out. That's all I'll say about that. Whether saying anything was a good move is another thing. It has inspired a wave of Gabbard defenders from the group of people who kneejerk hate Hillary, so maybe this will result in an uptick in Gabbard support. Then again, the Venn diagram between people who kneejerk hate HRC and people who still claim the Russians had nothing to do with 2016 is not quite a perfect circle, but it's pretty close. So the ones who will be most passionately arguing her allegations are unfounded probably wouldn't believe evidence from anyone else anyway.
posted by schroedinger at 10:01 AM on October 19 [204 favorites]


Oh, fucking christ. Between this and Marianne whatsherface, I can see the shapes of the conflicts that we're going to have to smack down next year testing and fluttering.

Are there corners in which Gabbard does have any credibility?
posted by sciatrix at 10:01 AM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Trump's gonna get re-elected, isn't he.

Yep. The Democratic Party is an absolute shit show. Nothing has been done to secure our elections and Facebook, Twitter, etc are aligning themselves with the billionaire class which will continue to prop up a broken government captured by corporate interests. Continue to resist but keep your expectations in check.
posted by photoslob at 10:01 AM on October 19 [46 favorites]


I will say that Gabbard's over-the-top response is probably not going to engender any sympathy from neutral parties. That "this primary is between you and me" business is buck-wild and I feel like should cause people without a stake in the game to back away slowly.
posted by schroedinger at 10:03 AM on October 19 [24 favorites]


Hillary Clinton and her campaign publicly laid out the available evidence that Trump was a Russian asset, or at the very least compromised by Russian interests, months if not years before it became a mainstream idea. At the time, the accusations were treated by most in the media as if they were insane and hysterical (I use this misogynistic term quite intentionally here).

Yet the evidence was always there for the press, just as it was for Clinton and for all of us. Most members of the press just chose to ignore it, and to continue focusing on the manufactured drama of but-her-emails.

Years later it's evident that she was absolutely right. And instead of the apology she deserves, the same duly credulous observers are sure that THIS TIME her accurate observation must really be melodramatic and unhinged.

It's really quite something.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 10:15 AM on October 19 [254 favorites]


She appeared on Tucker Carlson last night.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:19 AM on October 19 [6 favorites]


Gabbard's response sounds essentially like movie villain speechifying
posted by captain afab at 10:20 AM on October 19 [63 favorites]




HRC speculated. She didn't claim.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:21 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


Trump's gonna get re-elected, isn't he.

Yep. The Democratic Party is an absolute shit show.


I really don't think that this sort of "we're doomed" stuff, which comes up constantly and has done forever on here, helps people moderate their expectations, organise their actions or do anything positive at all; actually being realistic is what helps people do that. Saying "Trump is weak and there is a good chance of his defeat, but the weakness and division of the Democratic party continues to create a real and terrifying risk that he will win a second term" doesn't take much longer, and it doesn't make you look silly for pretending to be certain of things that you (like all of us) are actually just guessing about.

A part of my job is expectation management, and I'd be shitty at that part of my job if I advised clients with weaker but still meritorious cases "you're definitely going to lose, but I'm going to help you fight anyway". I mean, what? In that case why am I wasting their time and taxpayers' money? The only practical and ethical thing to do is tell the truth: I don't know for sure, but if we work hard, and are smart and lucky, we've got a decent chance.

Seriously, which of these messages do you think is better for motivation and mental health? Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but denying that it exists is denying reality, of which there is already far too much.
posted by howfar at 10:22 AM on October 19 [267 favorites]


I doubt she's wrong.

Totally agree, and folks have been pointing this out here for a while. My only guess is that HRC would put this out there if she’s getting information that Gabbard is prepping a third-party run, and that’s actually the Russian plan to keep the WH next term. Recall that the Senate committee report released last week found that Russian interference and disinformation activity more than doubled after the 2016 election. They’re still going more than ever, because it’s still working better than ever.

Trump is not going to be re-elected, he is toast—we’re just waiting to see how it’s going to play out, and how violent things will get. But even if I’m wrong about Trump, if I’m Putin (et al) that’s how it’s looking to me (particularly in the context of Trump himself, who keeps making things worse); so, a long time ago I started to look for my next candidate, but one who will fool Americans again, so that candidate can’t look or sound like Donald Trump at all. If it’s not Gabbard, I will eat my hat if the Russians haven’t been working to get their next Trump(s) in the queue—they have not been strategically or tactically stupid yet, so I don’t assume they’ve randomly started now.

Also, I hear lots of chatter about despondent Republican voters saying things like they don’t know what to do if they can’t vote for a Republican in 2020 because, while Trump is horrible and they won’t vote for him again, they can’t ever vote for a Democrat. So what’s the solution there? A firebrand, Republican-sounding, third-party candidate who should be a woman (help them Republican voters feel progressive), ideally a physically attractive one because of course, and one who has no shame and no respect for any norms in public discourse or otherwise.

I’m not saying that Gabbard is definitely a Russian asset, but I AM saying that—if I were the IRA and FSB and Putin—a third-party, spoiler candidate who is someone a whole lot like her would be my ideal choice. (For me, clear confirmation will come if Gabbard comes out as “anti-abortion” after being pro-choice in her political career thus far.) I really suspect that if HRC is saying something, she knows something.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:25 AM on October 19 [47 favorites]


I'm no hrc-hater, but...Jesus, shit timing.

Is it, though? I normally hate to do the whole 11-dimensional chess thing but I can see a logic to the timing of this particular callout. If you're HRC, you wouldn't want to call out Gabbard too early in the primary season, because if you do it before the frontrunners are well-established, the burst of publicity from "public feud with HRC" that she's enjoying now, as well as the implicit "she's the anti-HRC candidate", could've been enough to make her into an early front-runner and things could spiral out badly from there. But you also need to call Gabbard out before she drops out of the primary race and starts her 3rd-party spoiler campaign, because the whole point of the call-out is to close off that option. Gabbard effectively can't change her mind and run 3rd party now, because HRC has pre-emptively established a media narrative about why Gabbard would choose to run 3rd party. To my mind, waiting until deep enough in the primary season that Gabbard isn't a serious threat to the Warren/Sanders/Biden campaigns but before Gabbard switches gears to running as a 3rd party spoiler makes a lot of sense, if you believe that Gabbard is indeed running purely as a spoiler candidate.

Personally, I think Gabbard's probably telling the truth that she wouldn't run as a 3rd-party candidate, simply because her actual positions are basically Trump-lite, and I think she'd peel off more disappointed/embarrassed former-Trumpers (yes, they exist) than Dem votes. (This feud positioning Gabbard as the virulently anti-HRC candidate only makes her even more attractive to Republican voters as a 3rd-party candidate.) Which, whatever her personal position on it might be, is definitely not what the Russian bot-farms that have backed the hell out of Gabbard would want.
posted by mstokes650 at 10:26 AM on October 19 [55 favorites]


Hillary Clinton claims Russians are Grooming Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run.

To me, this is Hillary Clinton giving Repubs tons of chances to claim that the Dem party is backstabby or uninclusive to Dems who don't hold certain beliefs or whatever other Repub talking points. I wish Hillary hadn't said this just as much as I wish she hadn't used that "basket of deplorables" line. Just because something's true doesn't mean Hillary Clinton shouldn't consider what will be the likely consequences of people hearing this particular true thing from Hillary Clinton.

Lots of people have been saying that Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed by Russians for a third-party run, so it's not like that point wouldn't be being talked about if Hillary didn't say that Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed by Russians for a third-party run.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:26 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


[Folks, please lay off the absolutist "definitely Trump will/won't be re-elected" stuff. Nobody knows and there's no point having a weird scrap about people's subjective sense of certainty. Also, one comment deleted, please skip the "there won't be an election" or similar doomsaying.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:30 AM on October 19 [41 favorites]


What better way to show you're not a Russian asset than a Trumpian screed built on discredited conspiracy theories and a fanatical hatred for HRC?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:33 AM on October 19 [70 favorites]


What better way to show you're not a Russian asset than a Trumpian screed built on discredited conspiracy theories and a fanatical hatred for HRC?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:33 AM on October 20 [+] [!]


Amen.

Also, can I get a Jill Stein up in the house.
posted by saysthis at 10:37 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


Very fun watching people in 2019 say that HRC might have some good points, but her tone is off, and she might not be the best person to speak up on them.

Good show, everyone. We've clearly learned SO MUCH.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:41 AM on October 19 [197 favorites]


Given Gabbard's public record, and particularly her signature bad-faith harnessing of anti-imperialist sentiment in favor of authoritarian regimes, she's obviously either a paid asset of someone, or she has both "useful" and "idiot" turned up to 11. I don't think that someone necessarily has to be Putin -- all authoritarian nationalists are ultimately on the same team -- but that would surely be the default hypothesis at this point.

OTOH, I'm a little unclear as to why we're supposed to care what either of these people has to say about the other.
posted by Not A Thing at 10:41 AM on October 19 [19 favorites]


I'm struggling to think of a way in which Hillary Clinton can play a constructive role in this election. Her presence galvanizes the right and splits the left. If I were a Russian agitprop ratfucker, I'd be buying pro-Hillary ads on Facebook right now, not pro-Gabbard ads.
posted by dephlogisticated at 10:44 AM on October 19 [26 favorites]


Sorry, but Hillary has the stink of the grave on her. I was stunned in 2016 when I realized the Democrats had a smoke-filled-back-room primary structure in place ("super delegates"). I am on record as saying I will vote for the zombie mummy of Hitler before voting for Trump, but HRC reminds me too much of why I have had to adopt that resolution.

That said, a third-party candidate that is to the left of the repubs is clearly a good (though completely unethical) strategy for 2020. Sigh. I have a feeling instead of the usual Presidential general election choices (a kick in the ass or a pie in the face) we should expect something worse.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 10:49 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


This came up in the house last night while I was chopping broccoli and I off-handedly said, "I don't think we need any more conspiracy theories in the mix," and now certain members of the household are furious with me? I don't completely understand.
posted by baseballpajamas at 10:49 AM on October 19 [2 favorites]


I'm frankly pretty grateful for HRC bringing this up, because I think it's a very real possibility that just got a hole poked into it before it could start to inflate and get off the ground.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:55 AM on October 19 [48 favorites]


Ironically, the only votes Gabbard would be able to "steal" are Never Bernie centrists who spent the last 4 years blaming Trump on the left and Russia.
posted by Reyturner at 10:59 AM on October 19 [4 favorites]


I was stunned in 2016 when I realized the Democrats had a smoke-filled-back-room primary structure in place ("super delegates").

Super delegates have been a very public part of the Democratic Party's primary process since they were created in the early 80s following Mondale's and McGovern's crushing losses in presidential elections. I get how it looks when one first hears about superdelegates, but they're not a secret backroom mechanism, they're an organizational set-aside of delegate seats for the party bureaucrats who have an insitutional perspective on candidacy that primary voters tend to lack.

I recall how part of the drama of Obama winning the nomination in 2008 was that superdelegates were basically all-in for Hillary, but then Obama was clearly going to win the nomination, and superdelegates started getting cornered by journalists and asked if or when they'd switch.
posted by fatbird at 11:03 AM on October 19 [68 favorites]


Ironically, the only votes Gabbard would be able to "steal" are Never Bernie centrists who spent the last 4 years blaming Trump on the left and Russia.

So in other words, no votes?
posted by biogeo at 11:06 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


Gabbard is and will remain an electorally irrelevant proto-Republican, and I’m here for “don’t give a shit” Hillary burying her deeper.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:06 AM on October 19 [49 favorites]


This came up in the house last night while I was chopping broccoli and I off-handedly said, "I don't think we need any more conspiracy theories in the mix," and now certain members of the household are furious with me? I don't completely understand.
posted by baseballpajamas at 2:49 AM on October 20 [+] [!]


I can't speak for your household or anyone else, but take a gander at the martial law in Santiago FPP links. There is a deep, profound rage permeating the world, and alongside it goes deep, profound exhaustion. We are tired of defending every inch of ground, of the paranoia we have to entertain to feel that we understand the truth, and of combating hopelessness and despair. We are clinging to hope. I understand why you're confused, and I understand why they're furious. Moods are already heightened, and Tulsi Gabbard is a brand spanking new flash point in the endless squabbles we have to slog through.

Keep going, do what you feel is right, save your energy for expanding the franchise and voting for whoever isn't a useful idiot or a Trumpian dictator, and ffs remember self-care so your powder is dry for when you really need it. May you and everyone in your house be well.
posted by saysthis at 11:12 AM on October 19 [36 favorites]


'This primary is between you and me' is a pretty bold look for someone who's polling at about the margin of error.
posted by box at 11:14 AM on October 19 [79 favorites]


Very fun watching people in 2019 say that HRC might have some good points, but her tone is off, and she might not be the best person to speak up on them.

Meh, I wasn't tone-policing Hillary, she can use whatever tone she likes when she speaks. *shrug*
posted by 23skidoo at 11:14 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


I get how it looks when one first hears about superdelegates, but they're not a secret backroom mechanism, they're an organizational set-aside of delegate seats for the party bureaucrats who have an insitutional perspective on candidacy that primary voters tend to lack.

This more or less restates the issue people have with the concept, but attempts to frame it in a positive way.
posted by atoxyl at 11:17 AM on October 19 [23 favorites]


Hillary just pointed out the obvious here but people do seem to like getting mad at her.
posted by octothorpe at 11:21 AM on October 19 [93 favorites]


This came up in the house last night while I was chopping broccoli and I off-handedly said, "I don't think we need any more conspiracy theories in the mix," and now certain members of the household are furious with me? I don't completely understand.

It's because you gratuitously reminded them of this
posted by aws17576 at 11:23 AM on October 19 [9 favorites]


The only only quibble reasonable people can have with HRC’s comments are over whether or not Tulsi offers her services for free.
posted by sideshow at 11:24 AM on October 19 [8 favorites]


Weird how I am in full agreement with both of them on this and also hate them both.
posted by latkes at 11:31 AM on October 19 [14 favorites]


Good grief she was pretty much on the nose about everything she said about Tr*mp, so I'd be inclined to put some credence to this. why wouldn't others? I mean i get why she's taking a hit, but c'mon...
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:32 AM on October 19 [16 favorites]


I’ve met Tulsi’s Dad, Mike Gabbard, when he was one of the highest profile Republican opponents of abortion and gay rights in Hawaii in the early 2000s. The dad later converted from Republican to Democrat because there’s no political future for Republicans in Hawaii. I would view Tulsi’s nominal Democratic affiliation as suspiciously as I would her Dad’s.
posted by jonp72 at 11:33 AM on October 19 [90 favorites]


Gabbard's full throated defense of the Assad regime should be enough not just to end her candidacy but to end her presence in polite society. Much as it might be necessary to accept a restoration of Baathist rule in Syria, there is no excuse for being such an apologist for a regime whose military and intelligence apparatus were founded by fugitive nazis
posted by ocschwar at 11:33 AM on October 19 [47 favorites]


Super delegates have been a very public part of the Democratic Party's primary process since they were created in the early 80s following Mondale's and McGovern's crushing losses in presidential elections. I get how it looks when one first hears about superdelegates, but they're not a secret backroom mechanism, they're an organizational set-aside of delegate seats for the party bureaucrats who have an insitutional perspective on candidacy that primary voters tend to lack.

And despite their shady and anti-democratic origins, superdelegates have never overturned a candidate's majority of nonsuperdelegates to hand the nomination to another candidate. The closest they've come was in 2008, when Obama had 1794.5 out of 3564 pledged delegates, or 50.3%.
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on October 19 [36 favorites]


I was watching CNN talk about this yesterday and they were all aghast. "How could Clinton say something like that!? That's the kind of thing you hear on Twitter, but never from a well known public figure! Why would she say that?".

Well so was Trump being supported by the Russians at first. Until the rest of the world caught up. They're gonna try to stamp this out and ignore it as the crazy ramblings of the Internet as long as they can. Until the evidence becomes too overwhelming.
posted by downtohisturtles at 11:38 AM on October 19 [11 favorites]


I don't have anything to add to this discussion but I will note that when I drove across South Carolina last month there were billboards along all the major interstates saying "TULSI 2020" (and nothing else), outnumbered only by the South of the Border signs. None of the other Democratic candidates had any ads up. I don't know who's bankrolling it but they're counting on her continuing to be a contender after New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada.
posted by ardgedee at 11:39 AM on October 19 [25 favorites]


Yeah, even if I knew nothing else about Gabbard, her calling HRC “the embodiment of corruption” tells me all I need to know about her.

If that doesn't, then this should do it:
Karl Rove on Fox comes out in defense of Gabbard.
posted by JackFlash at 11:46 AM on October 19 [29 favorites]


when I drove across South Carolina last month there were billboards along all the major interstates saying "TULSI 2020" (and nothing else)

Karl Rove on Fox comes out in defense of Gabbard.

So Gabbard is gonna be the 2020 Republican nominee, then. (If Trump is somehow successfully ousted.)
posted by LooseFilter at 12:00 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Gabbard could be auditioning for VP under Trump if, as widely rumored, Trump dumps Pence.
posted by jamjam at 12:07 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


To me, this is Hillary Clinton giving Repubs tons of chances to claim that the Dem party is backstabby or uninclusive to Dems who don't hold certain beliefs or whatever other Repub talking points.

I think this is a crystallization of a split in theories of politics and therefore estimations of efficacy of various utterances. I look at the public discourse and the environment generating it, and I don't see any relationship between the R's number of "chances [that will be treated seriously by the gatekeepers of the public discourse, please correct this interpolation if it is wrong] to claim..." and anything Clinton does at all, largely because I basically see the former as fixed in place at some large but basically constant value. You obviously do. I believe there are for both those views large numbers of people talking who would agree with them. I don't really know how to talk across this gap because it seems like a pretty key disagreement in possible chains of cause and effect.
posted by PMdixon at 12:11 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Somebody should simply ask Tulsi Gabbard to publicly declare that she will not run as an independent

According to the CBC News (radio), Gabbard has already said she won't run as an independent if she's not nominated.
posted by WaylandSmith at 12:15 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Did she ever name Gabbard? The hit dog sure did holler.
posted by Selena777 at 12:20 PM on October 19 [14 favorites]


Took me forever to remember his name but isn't Carter Page another Trump-adjacent person who writes screeds about how Hillary Clinton is the overlord of a vast conspiracy out to get him personally? And Brett Kavanaugh too, come to think of it? I feel left out.
posted by XMLicious at 12:25 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


What if hilly was referring to Warren for the one stone Hucka mucka raker.
posted by clavdivs at 12:31 PM on October 19


I look at the public discourse and the environment generating it, and I don't see any relationship between the R's number of "chances [that will be treated seriously by the gatekeepers of the public discourse, please correct this interpolation if it is wrong] to claim..." and anything Clinton does at all, largely because I basically see the former as fixed in place at some large but basically constant value.

I, too, see the former as a large but basically constant value. I wasn't as clear as I could have been before- when I said "chances to claim", I meant "chances to claim with evidence" (for some definition of "evidence"). Repubs will always be claiming their talking points about the Dem party regardless, but most of the time, their talking points aren't directly connected to any evidence at all. I feel Gabbard's responses to Clinton's statements provides Repubs chances to show that their talking points aren't just hot air, that there is some kernel of truth to their talking points, and I think that there are negative consequences to giving Repubs an opportunity to connect their talking points to evidence (for some definition of evidence).
posted by 23skidoo at 12:38 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


"#IamTulsi trending after Gabbard hands Hillary Clinton brutal smackdown"

First link in Google results for the hashtag is Twitter, second link is RT.com.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:44 PM on October 19 [28 favorites]


^ This is one of the ways that the IRA/FSB/etc. manufacture reality: billboards, hashtags, retweets, talking heads all "suddenly" carrying the same messages at the same time. The Senate told us last week that interference and disinformation efforts by Russia specifically more than doubled after the 2016 election, it is not anywhere near conspiracy-theory territory to pay attention to this. It really looks like (as the old drinking song goes) we're in the second verse--same as the first!--but a little bit louder and a little bit worse.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:58 PM on October 19 [69 favorites]




- David Duke endorsed Tulsi Gabbard

- Tulsi Gabbard has frequently expressed support for the Hindu fundamentalist Modi government in India. Modi literally oversaw a pogrom against Muslims in his home state when he was chief minister there. His legacy in that state is also stuff like beef bans, designated dry areas and curfews on alcohol sales, and laws requiring adults up to the age of 25 to obtain written consent from their parents in order to marry.
posted by MiraK at 1:04 PM on October 19 [32 favorites]


Most of the campaign signs I see here in Iowa are for Tulsi, which i weird because I don’t know anyone who is supporting her.

I know she has shitty views and understand why she is attractive to the 4chan/IRC crowd but is there any evidence that she’s actually an asset? That seems like a claim requiring strong evidence in order to toss it around.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:06 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


Vox explainer: Tulsi Gabbard calls Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers” in her latest clash with top Democrats (Riley Beggin)

There's a long history of conflict between Gabbard and Democratic leadership.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:06 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


My hunch is that Gabbard isn’t actually running for President but is hoping to land a multimillion dollar Fox News contract
posted by moorooka at 1:09 PM on October 19 [16 favorites]


is there any evidence that she’s actually an asset?

Clinton didn't claim that. A lot of Republicans got dirty by accepting laundered Russian money through the NRA, and Russia has similar attractive support to offer to Gabbard (in addition to all the media manipulation and disinformation).

The reporting says:
Clinton did not provide proof about how Russia is "grooming" Gabbard. She and her team pointed to allegations that Russian news and propaganda sites often report on Gabbard's campaign and that moments in Gabbard's campaign have been reportedly amplified by trolls and bots on Twitter with ties to Russia. Gabbard has denied those allegations.

"They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far," Clinton said.
Clinton's team also noted that some of Gabbard's foreign policy views align closely with Russian interests.
So there's a lot of waddling and quacking, but no definitive duck sightings. Also, the reportage on this immediately dropped in the phrase "conspiracy theory," which makes me want to bang my head on a wall. THIS IS NOT CONSPIRACY THEORY, IT IS DOCUMENTED INTERFERENCE IN U.S. ELECTIONS. Clinton, for her part, is observing that it certainly appears to be continuing in this specific way.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:18 PM on October 19 [25 favorites]


Anyone who didn’t know Gabbard was backed by Putin is still living in a pre-2016 fantasy democracy. She’s Jill Stein with a fucking surfboard. And yeah sure she won’t run as an independent. That’s why she’s using the Dem primary to her name recognition. She’s a dangerous, duplicitous snake.

Never Bernie centrists who spent the last 4 years blaming Trump on the left and Russia.

Lol really? That names no one I know who thinks Tulsi is ace. Uniformly they’re at the place where loony far left meets loony far right.

Also are you suggesting Russia played no major role in Trump’s victory, or didn’t put resources behind Jill Stein or stoking Bernie/Hillary antagonism? Because that would be denying proven facts.
posted by spitbull at 1:26 PM on October 19 [43 favorites]


The only person I know personally who supports Tulsi says that he voted third party in 2016 although won't say for whom. I'm guessing Stein but I don't know for sure.
posted by octothorpe at 1:36 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


To me, this is Hillary Clinton giving Repubs tons of chances to claim that the Dem party is backstabby or uninclusive to Dems who don't hold certain beliefs or whatever other Repub talking points.

I have a hard time seeing how this particular fight is going to matter at all in the long run. It pretty much just reinforces the way Gabbard and Clinton already frame themselves.

Clinton, for her part, is observing that it certainly appears to be continuing in this specific way.

"Grooming for a third party run" is certainly uh going beyond the established facts a bit though.
posted by atoxyl at 1:38 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Trump: "Crooked Hillary Clinton just called the respected environmentalist and Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, a “Russian Asset.” They need a Green Party more than ever after looking at the Democrats disastrous environmental program!"

Another wonderful endorsement.

"Why do all these Republicans and Russians keep endorsing me? I don't understand it."
posted by JackFlash at 1:43 PM on October 19 [14 favorites]


It's a foolish accusation from Clinton, no documentation, just a vague callout. And a really idiotic response from Gabbard that makes it sound trueand makes herself look really bad. Kasich and Paul are both running, obviously thinking Tump might not bethe nominee. This race is way too ugly, way too soon.
posted by theora55 at 1:48 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


Clinton's team also noted...

Why does Hillary Clinton still have a 'team'?
posted by latkes at 2:02 PM on October 19 [13 favorites]


I wasn't familiar with Gabbard before one of the first debates, which I barely watched because I found it unwatchable, but in the little I saw I thought she seemed... blandly sensible?

I didn't think much about her until I started reading all this stuff about some of the weirder aspects of her political career. Her having pleasant meetings with brutal foreign dictators for no apparent reason makes me think she's either easily duped or compromised. Whether or not she's aware that she's being propped up by all the wrong people is almost beside the point.

My hunch is that Gabbard isn’t actually running for President but is hoping to land a multimillion dollar Fox News contract

I thought the same thing about Trump.
posted by wondermouse at 2:16 PM on October 19 [9 favorites]


This more or less restates the issue people have with the concept [of superdelegates], but attempts to frame it in a positive way.

Well, yes and no. Their origins aren't shady and anti-democratic, they were created following several whitepapers and commissions and public debate within the party:
A new 70-member commission headed by Governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt was appointed to further refine the Democratic Party's nomination process, attempting to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates exemplified by the liberal McGovern or the anti-Washington conservative Carter and lessening the potential influence of single-issue politics in the selection process.

Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of unelected and unpledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs (so-called "superdelegates"). With the original Hunt plan, superdelegates were to represent 30% of all delegates to the national convention, but when it was finally implemented by the Democratic National Committee for the 1984 election, the number of superdelegates was set at 14%. Over time this percentage has gradually increased, until by 2008 the percentage stood at approximately 20% of total delegates to the Democratic Party nominating convention.
If you think this is a bad thing, then ok, legit response. But the whole characterization of superdelegates as shady, backroom, anti-democratic, is a demonstrably false framing that's not doing anyone any favours. They're simply a non-geographically based constituency within the party. They aren't secret voters or backroom fixers: their status is applied to the office, not the person, and candidates can campaign to them just like they can campaign in a primary or caucus.

Hang out with poli-sci people or campaign staff for any length of time and you'll inevitably hear about endless variations on voting schemes to correct some deficiency or skew voting power a certain way. None are sacred, all have different effects, and superdelegates are just the latest in the continuing series of efforts to massage the nomination process.
posted by fatbird at 2:21 PM on October 19 [30 favorites]


The Democratic Party is an absolute shit show.

ROFLMAO. The same Democratic Party that is running Elizabeth Warren for POTUS 2020 and she's poised to become the frontrunner? Or how about that Democratic Party that took back the House in 2018, gained seats in Nevada and Arizona, and took back governorships and state houses? I guess they must always be the Dummycrats in Disarray to some people. Some donkeys just gotta bray...

And I see that Hillary Clinton lives rent-free in all too many crania still. She's not going to get our recess taken away, maybe we can stop with the bedwetting? It sounds more like that Clinton's shot hit a mark, and that Tulsi Gabbard is, if not an actual Russian asset, at least someone who is not operating in good faith and is not going to do the Democratic party any favors.

Tulsi Gabbard is polling in the single digits, so her chances of winning the nomination are about zero. If she mounts a third-party bid - women, in particular, hate her (Gabbard is just about the ultimate Cool Girl) and most people (again, especially suburban women) are not going to be in the mood for a third-party bid. I, for one, will #VoteBlueNoMatterWho, and I think most people feel this is important. And if Gabbard gets a Fox News sinecure, I don't see how that's going to make Fox worse than it already is.

I don't see how this is going to make that big a difference, except for cutting a possible third-party bid from Gabbard off at the knees, and boosting donations to Kai Kahele, both of which would be good things.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 2:21 PM on October 19 [91 favorites]


Well so was Trump being supported by the Russians at first. Until the rest of the world caught up.
Yeah, but there's a world of difference between saying Gabbard is supported by right-wingers and a suspicious bot army vs being groomed for a 3rd party run. The former is supported by evidence. None was supplied for the latter.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:41 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Another reminder that the American left has its own conspiracy theories where people are expected to just BELIEVE controversial statements without expecting any evidence. Because holy shit is it unacceptable to openly accuse a presidential candidate of being a Russian asset without providing any evidence or even referencing anonymous third parties as sources. I think that Gabbard is such a terrible presidential candidate wrt to her Islamophobia, homophobia, Assad support and her background in general, that it seriously affects people's judgement of her.

And yes, Gabbard's tweet vomit as a response to HRC's accusation was terrible and delusional - a single-digit Presidential candidate vs. a Democratic politician who isn't even running for President??? - but at least it gave us these meme-y replies by Cory Booker and HRC. Maybe one day we could look forward to a Twitch Presidential Debate with emote only chat mode? FailFish BibleThump
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:45 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


CDA has it, I think: Clinton was on solid footing saying that Gabbard is being pushed by right-wingers, white nationalists, and Russian bots. But she went way out over her skies with the "groomed" bit which implies that Gabbard is a knowing participant and cooperating with the Russian psyops.

There doesn't seem to be public evidence of that. There is better evidence of playing up to the white nationalists, of course, what with her appearances on Tucker Carlson and repetition of hard-right talking points and the like. So I wish Clinton hadn't gone quite so far. Gabbard is a terrible ulcer of a candidate and we can point that out without opening ourselves up to accusations of baseless smears.

The minute evidence shows up for the Russian grooming bit then, of course, the situation changes. But that isn't where we are right now.
posted by Justinian at 2:58 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


The minute evidence shows up for the Russian grooming bit then, of course, the situation changes. But that isn't where we are right now.

A very reasonable point—but for the past several years, the close proximity of ‘reasonable’ to ‘naive’ has been exploited to great effect. On this, it’s once-bitten, twice-shy for me. Gabbard’s response attacked Clinton but did not dispute her claims, which is telling—she instead escalated the attacks and rhetoric, which is a deliberate tactic of social disruption.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:09 PM on October 19 [34 favorites]


The same Democratic Party that is running Elizabeth Warren for POTUS 2020 and she's poised to become the frontrunner?

According to CNN (Oct. 17, 2019): It's official: Elizabeth Warren is our new Democratic 2020 front-runner

Maybe Biden was considering Gabbard as a "compromise" running mate, and it had to be pointed out that compromised that won't do.
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:34 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]


Well, now we're all talking about Clinton and Gabbard, neither of which have any chance of becoming President, so I guess this was useful
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:38 PM on October 19 [25 favorites]


Heh
posted by clavdivs at 3:41 PM on October 19


So we can relitigate the 2016 primary.
posted by This time is different. at 3:39 PM on October 19 [+] [!]


....
posted by AdamCSnider at 3:42 PM on October 19 [20 favorites]


now we're all talking about Clinton and Gabbard

The salience of this conversation to our present state of affairs—and what Clinton has drawn attention to—should be obvious.

(And please, the superdelegate thing is a total derail, 2016 or 2020 focus aside.)
posted by LooseFilter at 3:43 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


[This Is Just to Say: I have deleted / the superdelegates / that were in / the thread. // and which / you were probably / derailing / by talking about // Forgive me / they were offtopic / so extraneous / and so unrelated.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:59 PM on October 19 [173 favorites]


Agreed. Query, why didn't Hillary just name names without name shaming. Or rather what gain from this tactic if it is going to not fair well or iffy in the media.
posted by clavdivs at 4:03 PM on October 19


Hillary Clinton has been in the upper echelons of US politics for decades. She's incredibly intelligent. She was the Secretary of State. Like her policies or not, when has she ever been wrong about something like this? One single time?
posted by fshgrl at 4:06 PM on October 19 [32 favorites]


I don't necessarily think she's wrong, I just think it was a blunder.
posted by Justinian at 4:07 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


My first thought was, I believe Clinton because literally everything she said about Trump is true. She certainly still has contacts with information on foreign actor actions and shenanigans. She was the fucking Secretary of State. She is extremely credible.

So yeah, i believe her.
posted by emjaybee at 4:08 PM on October 19 [60 favorites]


I don't necessarily think she's wrong, I just think it was a blunder.

to say a Presidential candidate is likely a foreign asset? In this day and age I don't think speaking the truth can be a blunder. If Obama had been more forceful and truthful about what he knew about the Russians interfering and backing Trump and not backed down from McConnell we'd all be better off.
posted by fshgrl at 4:10 PM on October 19 [47 favorites]


the "groomed" bit which implies that Gabbard is a knowing participant and cooperating with the Russian psyops.

Except I don't think grooming really does imply that? It implies intent on the part of the person doing it, not the person being groomed. If that person knows, they might welcome it and be cooperating with it as much as possible, sure. But that doesn't mean they do. "To groom" is a thing one does to another entity. Grooming goes better when, say, you can get a dog who will sit still, but that doesn't mean the dog really understands what's happening and is a "knowing participant" in the process. It leaves open the idea that Gabbard hasn't solicited this or knowingly benefited from it--and the point where I start to question that wasn't at the time of the original claim, it was when Gabbard responded.
posted by Sequence at 4:16 PM on October 19 [53 favorites]


Hillary Clinton has been in the upper echelons of US politics for decades. She was the Secretary of State. I don't like all her policies but when has she ever been wrong about something like this? One single time?

I mean, she's had genuine failures of judgement before - the Iraq War vote being the most well-known. And she is a notoriously ruthless political infighter. I don't think that trusting her on this is naive, but it's hardly mandatory.

The election is still a year away. Presumably more information will emerge in the meantime. This is not an issue on which anyone has to lock in their views right this minute (and I'm very glad that Clinton chose to bring this up this early in the primary, precisely for that reason).
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:17 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Definitely not a Clinton fan or voter and still believe Gabbard's up to no good. Source? I look at what she says and who she hangs out with.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:33 PM on October 19 [11 favorites]


“ when I drove across South Carolina last month there were billboards along all the major interstates saying "TULSI 2020" (and nothing else), outnumbered only by the South of the Border signs. None of the other Democratic candidates had any ads up”

“ Most of the campaign signs I see here in Iowa are for Tulsi”

In my part of New Hampshire, there are more Tulsi signs than all other candidates combined. There’s also a group of Tulsi supporters that demonstrates at major intersections. I told a friend today that the level of support is making me feel conspiratorial.
posted by kevinbelt at 4:40 PM on October 19 [21 favorites]


And yet she's polling at 0% to 2% in New Hampshire
posted by octothorpe at 4:51 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Kevinbelt it would be extremely interesting to interview these demonstrators. How did they get recruited? Who reached out to them? I'm not saying you have to but if you get the chance, I can't help but think there's a story there
posted by emjaybee at 4:51 PM on October 19 [9 favorites]


Any of those billboards running in high-population areas, or, really, places where billboard prices are on the high side?
posted by rhizome at 4:59 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


In my part of New Hampshire, there are more Tulsi signs than all other candidates combined

I was in NH a few years ago and all the signs were for one candidate, yet when the Primary came through another candidate won. Signs mean that someone walked around for a few hours on a Saturday with nothing better to do.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 5:00 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]


Why does Hillary Clinton still have a 'team'?

I dunno, why'd she hold a $50k/plate fundraiser the night after the last debate? Why's she in the prediction markets for every state?
posted by kafziel at 5:02 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


Any of those billboards running in high-population areas, or, really, places where billboard prices are on the high side?
Last time I flew out of Des Moines, there was one on the road leading up to the airport, which is a fairly prime location. I think there was some speculation that she put it there because it's across the street from the headquarters of the Iowa Democrats, although I'm not totally sure I see what the logic behind that is. Where I live, she has a lot of yard signs adjacent to heavily-trafficked roads. They're clearly on someone's property, but not really in anyone's yard. I don't know if she's paying to put them there or what. It's all a little weird, but I don't necessarily think it's Russian-asset weird. And I think billboards are pretty cheap in Iowa, even in high-population areas.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:09 PM on October 19


Exactly a week ago: What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To? (NYT, Oct. 12, 2019) As she injects chaos into the 2020 Democratic primary by accusing her own party of “rigging” the election, an array of alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her.

“She’s taken a series of policy steps which signal to the right that she has deep areas of alignment,” said Neera Tanden, a longtime policy adviser to Hillary Clinton who now leads the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. [...]

Still, Democrats are on high alert about foreign interference in the next election and the D.N.C. is well aware of the frequent mentions of Ms. Gabbard in the Russian state news media.

An independent analysis of the Russian news media found that RT, the Kremlin-backed news agency, mentioned Ms. Gabbard frequently for a candidate polling in single digits, according to data collected by the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a group that seeks to track and expose efforts by authoritarian regimes to undermine democratic elections.

Disinformation experts have also pointed to instances of suspicious activity surrounding Ms. Gabbard’s campaign — in particular, a Twitter hashtag, #KamalaHarrisDestroyed, that trended among Ms. Gabbard’s supporters after the first Democratic debate, and appeared to be amplified by a coordinated network of bot-like accounts — but there is no evidence of coordination between these networks and the campaign itself. [...]

Laura Rosenberger, a former policy aide to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign and director of the Alliance [for Securing Democracy], sees Ms. Gabbard as a potentially useful vector for Russian efforts to sow division within the Democratic Party. “The Russian activity could be part of a longer-term effort to drive a wedge among Democrats,” she said. “This messaging has echoes of 2016.”


The story got little traction; here we are today, hearing from Clinton directly.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:16 PM on October 19 [31 favorites]


I've also seen a billboard of hers along MLK in Des Moines, and there's lots of her yard signs in front of houses up and down MLK north of University. This is the greatest concentration of her yard signs in the Des Moines metro that I've noticed. Their placement in this neighborhood suggests her campaign is looking to win black voters here.
posted by TrialByMedia at 5:19 PM on October 19


when has she ever been wrong about something like this? One single time?

I don't know how to answer this question - what is "something like this?"
posted by atoxyl at 5:29 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]


This comment on Reddit, with at least two dozen bullet points of info, most of them linked to sources, has me more convinced than ever—Gabbard is not being passively groomed, she knows what’s up. If you can read through that list and not think that something is up, I don’t know what would be persuasive.
posted by LooseFilter at 5:31 PM on October 19 [45 favorites]


I feel like election interference is kind of like hacking. Hackers are constantly scanning the internet for unsecured machines. An unsecured machine is hackable; whoever gets to it first gets control of it. Hope is not a strategy for avoiding hacking; it takes constant monitoring and a lot of hard work hardening up all points of weaknesses.

Would it be so bad to think skeptically about every single candidate, and who they could be/become beholden to?
posted by mantecol at 5:33 PM on October 19 [17 favorites]


Why does Hillary Clinton still have a 'team'?

She runs an organisation, Onward Together, which gives funding, advice and assistance to other progressive groups. Also, she and her daughter Chelsea are doing a tour to promote the book they just published. A person who does all that generally has a team.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:50 PM on October 19 [53 favorites]


I honestly feel terrible for Hillary Clinton. She’s not my ideal candidate, she does have baggage I’m not fond of. On the other hand, I don’t deny the comments running up to the election in 2016 that she was probably the most competent and prepared candidate we’ve ever seen for president. Would I have liked her to somehow have proved that she wouldn’t just be running the same sort of absurdly conservative in dems clothing presidency we got with Bill, hell yes.

But the thing is, she was an incredibly prepared and eminently capable person, and she made the terrible mistake of being a woman and acting self-assured, and that gave misogynists all they ever needed to crawl out of the woodwork. Had she not run against the living personification of the worst possible parts of American capitalism given shape, she would likely have won, but she didn’t, and anyone who says that fear of a competent woman wasn’t a part of her loss (along with intense Russian interference, whatever Comey’s bullshit was, etc) is either lying or ignorant.

What we’re left with is Clinton, with a wealth of knowledge and expertise that we would be lucky to be able to access (even if not necessarily her views), but she’s been rendered toxic because of all the bullshit she’s had to endure. That she still speaks out when she feels it’s necessary, though she must know that her mere act of existing will set this shitstorm off every time speaks to a strength I can’t imagine ever possessing. Literally, in her position, I’d just disappear and never be heard from again because I’d be tired of being every single person’s reason for why the world sucks.* But she doesn’t, and she hasn’t, because she believes she can still help.

*If she did just walk away, people would shit on her for that, too.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:07 PM on October 19 [129 favorites]


I'm also in NH, and yes, there are more Gabbard signs, because that's how she's spending her money, apparently. Which doesn't inspire confidence in her ability to do much.

(I say this as someone who had a Facebook memory pop up of the very sad Trump 2016 office in town with a sort of a "look how bad his ground game is!!" and well he lost the state but um. )
posted by damayanti at 6:16 PM on October 19 [4 favorites]


The problem with "Russian asset" or "being groomed" to describe Russia backing Gabbard as a way to screw with the Democrats is that by that criterion, one can equally say that portions of Black Lives Matter were Russan assets or were being groomed by Russia, as was Sanders. And if in a few months they choose to support Warren to fuck with Biden and the Democrats -- which seems quite likely -- we'll have to say that she is a Russian asset too. Or I suppose we can adopt some double-standard where, even though in all cases there is no hard evidence that the individual participated in or actively encouraged Russian support, we can selectively accuse our opponents of passively encouraging it in some impossible-to-falsify way that mainly reflects whether we are BLM, Sanders, Warren, or Gabbard supporters.

This NYT article from 2018 illustrates the problem fairly clearly:
But the New Knowledge report gives particular attention to the Russians’ focus on African-Americans, which is evident to anyone who examines collections of their memes and messages.

“The most prolific I.R.A. efforts on Facebook and Instagram specifically targeted black American communities and appear to have been focused on developing black audiences and recruiting black Americans as assets,” the report says. Using Gmail accounts with American-sounding names, the Russians recruited and sometimes paid unwitting American activists of all races to stage rallies and spread content, but there was a disproportionate pursuit of African-Americans, it concludes.... Of 81 Facebook pages created by the Internet Research Agency in the Senate’s data, 30 targeted African-American audiences, amassing 1.2 million followers, the report finds. By comparison, 25 pages targeted the political right and drew 1.4 million followers.
Just because Russia was supporting hundreds of black activists to fuck with us doesn't actually make them "assets" or "groomed" -- not unless they knew it and actively or passively encouraged it. It shouldn't hold for BLM, for Sanders, for Gabbard, or if they choose to target her, for Warren. Stein is the exception that proves the rule -- we have lots of evidence of her active cooperation. And there may be evidence mounting for Gabbard too, though that Reddit list illustrating why she's a terrible person isn't it. Until the evidence hits a pretty high bar, we should avoid the terms because they are so easily weaponized against anyone.
posted by chortly at 6:48 PM on October 19 [21 favorites]


I dunno, why'd she hold a $50k/plate fundraiser the night after the last debate? Why's she in the prediction markets for every state?

She holds fundraisers because she's still involved in running political organizations. She's in betting markets because people will bet on anything. The idea that Clinton is making a 2020 run requires a truly impressive combination of conspiratorial thinking and Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
posted by schroedinger at 6:57 PM on October 19 [32 favorites]


I'm sorry, when did BLM start stanning for the friends of Putin? I'm just not seeing a slippery slope of paranoid finger pointing when fingers are only being pointed at those who are, quite loudly, aligning themselves with the source of their "covert" support.
posted by wierdo at 7:07 PM on October 19 [14 favorites]


Had she not run against the living personification of the worst possible parts of American capitalism given shape, she would likely have won

I'm much more skeptical about Clinton's counterfactual success. Before election night, the general consensus was that she was going to win in large part because Trump was so easy to beat. There was even an SNL skit that had Future-Clinton cheer up Past-Clinton by telling her that she'd be running for president...against Trump! Clinton herself seemed to think so too.

We were wrong about that. Clinton wasn't a strong candidate in large part because of misogyny, in part because of exhaustion with neoliberalism*, in part because of bad advisors and hangers-on, in part because of being the target of bizarre right wing conspiracies and vendettas for decades...but that didn't make Trump a strong candidate. He was still an idiotic, thin-skinned buffoon with nothing going for him other than racism, sexism, and xenophobia. He fell ass-backwards into the presidency despite a completely incompetent campaign that was built more around feeding his narcissism and his wallet than well-informed strategy.

Rather than thinking that he was the Only One who could defeat Clinton, I worry that the Democrats will struggle to win against any Republican candidate who runs on those themes. Remember all those "presidential moment" articles at the beginning of his term? Imagine the coverage Trump would be getting if he were just as fascist but just marginally better at giving the press and others plausible deniability.

*If one more person tries to gaslight me about whether she's a neoliberal, I'm going to just explode, so if you're considering doing that, read the problem being that people *thought* she was a neoliberal whether she was or not.
posted by This time is different. at 7:23 PM on October 19 [19 favorites]


As this devolves into a pro vs anti Clinton thread, I am realizing a) these two camps will never agree b) we're all completely sick of it but c) how we negotiate Russian state interference in our election process is really hard and complicated but also very important!

Russian state manipulation focuses on stirring discord and chaos. And as chortly (and the NY Times) points out, they are eager to weaponize all of us, especially African American internet users and farther left activists and candidates. There's not a clear formula for how to respond if, for example, Tulsi IS being funded by the Russian state... What would be the response that would minimize their impact on our electoral process? Tighter regulation of social media companies and their impact on elections, updating our electoral processes and technology, my take is these are the interventions we (and the Democratic party) should be forcefully throwing ourselves behind.
posted by latkes at 7:30 PM on October 19 [12 favorites]


Trump's buffoonery is precisely the point. The goal of the project is to make a mockery of the entire concept of western democracy and a free and open society. The more incompetent he appears, the more stupid we look, which is good for authoritarians everywhere.

Trump's ability to survive depends on the existence of social spaces where "alternative facts" thrive. The project depends on our belief that most of our fellow citizens are stupid, when in fact they have been indoctrinated into a cult which reinforces the fantasies they are fed and act upon.

It isn't an attack on the Democratic Party, or an attack on America, or even an attack on NATO. It's an attack on the very concept of classical liberalism, personal freedom, and democratic self-rule.
posted by wierdo at 7:43 PM on October 19 [32 favorites]


most of our fellow citizens are stupid, when in fact they have been indoctrinated into a cult which reinforces the fantasies they are fed and act upon.

If such a large portion of the population are being indoctrinated, then they are just plain stupid. We're left with a difference without a difference,
posted by Dumsnill at 7:55 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


I feel like we should all watch some Adam Curtis right now.
posted by latkes at 8:02 PM on October 19 [10 favorites]


And behind it all... an immense amount of stupidity.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:07 PM on October 19


If such a large portion of the population are being indoctrinated, then they are just plain stupid.

The desire for belonging, the fierce protection of the in-group, the reaction to identity threat, all of these things are hard-wired into the human brain and great in an evolutionary sense for building strong social groups, but pretty bad when those social groups are supposed to have more than 10-20 members. It isn't stupidity. We are psychologically predispositioned to indoctrination, and some of us happened to be indoctrinated into social groups that employ more facts than others. When you are surrounded by people who are all saying the same thing then saying the opposite thing is dangerous, no matter whether the opposite thing is factual or not. Cultivating awareness of the methods of indoctrination, awareness of one's own foibles, and finding ways to extend one's definitions of who is or isn't within the group are the only way one gets around the groupthink. When you throw up your hands and say "well, they're just stupid" you're not just losing the battle, you're showing a lack of understanding of how humans work.
posted by schroedinger at 8:08 PM on October 19 [20 favorites]


You and me and a hell of a lot of us have read and learned about these thing, yet we still behave like idiots. That's idiocy on a gigantic and apparently unavoidable scale. Let's not be idiots, by all means, but it's not working. I'm all for a plan that might work. So let's do that.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:17 PM on October 19


That, sadly, is the human condition in a nutshell. It's essentially impossible to reliably apply intellectual knowledge in times of extreme stress, and becomes difficult long before you get to extreme duress.

Cults persist by maintaining a sense of fear and persecution, being there to influence the targeting of those thoughts, and training and reinforcing a set of habits and patterns of thought which the members will return to in times of crisis, real or imagined.

Unfortunately, deprogramming large swaths of a society is not nearly as easy as identifying the condition.

Oh, and just to be clear, the cult isn't the doing of the Russians. It was created by red blooded God Fearing (and Oxycontin addicted) Patriotic Americans, many of whom have already departed their Earthly presence. Only relatively recently has it been hijacked by foreign influence. It would be easy to blame Putin for creating conditions he has been able to exploit for his own gain, with success quite beyond his wildest dreams, I'm sure.
posted by wierdo at 8:34 PM on October 19 [9 favorites]


Rosie M. Banks: "I don't see how this is going to make that big a difference, except for cutting a possible third-party bid from Gabbard off at the knees, and boosting donations to Kai Kahele, both of which would be good things."

Which you can do right here.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:05 PM on October 19 [12 favorites]


Interesting to see the fault lines on this. Cory Booker, MSNBC, Metafilter (I guess) pro-Hillary; Nina Turner, Ilhan Omar, Yang, Beto, Marianne Williamson, Van Jones coming out pro-Tulsi; nothing from Sanders or Warren yet...
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 9:09 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Ilhan Omar supporting a well-documented Islamophobe is pretty disappointing.
posted by bardophile at 9:21 PM on October 19 [11 favorites]


Ilhan Omar supporting a well-documented Islamophobe is pretty disappointing.
posted by bardophile 4 minutes ago [1 favorite +] [!]


She's saying it's wrong to accuse someone of being a Russian asset without evidence, not saying she loves Tulsi. This seems like a really simplistic gotcha... It is totally fine for different people to have different opinions on this and it doesn't make them islamophobes?? Why is this even a thing? Who fucking cares? This is being really amplified into a competition by the media AND Gabbard and Clinton's people. I have to mute this thread before it makes me crazy.
posted by latkes at 9:32 PM on October 19 [17 favorites]


Ah, I see. I was simply responding to the list above. Good to know that it's not support of Gabbard per se. I'm certainly not accusing Omar of being an Islamophobe. That would be really bizarre.
posted by bardophile at 9:47 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


To be completely accurate: Hillary Clinton did not accuse Gabbard of being a Russian asset. She accused Jill Stein of being a Russian asset (which seems almost inarguable). She did say that it looked like Russia was grooming one of the candidates (clearly Gabbard) to be a third party spoiler but it was, again, Stein she accused of being the flat-out Russian asset.

I'm okay with her calling Jill Stein a Russian asset because Jill Stein is pretty obviously a grifter and Russian asset.
posted by Justinian at 9:48 PM on October 19 [54 favorites]


I promise this is my last comment on the Ilhan Omar support thing. She's one of a very small number of Muslims in Congress. I take her actions/words with regard to Islamophobes even more personally than those of other people in government. The set of our defenders is very small, even in the Democratic party. To have one of our own make common cause with the likes of Tulsi Gabbard, who's love for Narendra Modi makes her double anathema to this desi Muslim woman, would be quite unbearable.

Having now looked around, I'm unable to find an actual clear response from Omar on this whole spat. She's retweeted Nina Turner, but also posted a horrified meme gif as a response to Gabbard's tweet. I'm unclear as to why she was included in the list of Gabbard supporters by nicolas léonard sadi carnot.
posted by bardophile at 10:12 PM on October 19 [29 favorites]


How do I send Hillary a letter? I’ve heard she replies to mail.
posted by gucci mane at 10:51 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


howfar: "I really don't think that this sort of "we're doomed" stuff, which comes up constantly and has done forever on here, helps people moderate their expectations, organise their actions or do anything positive at all; actually being realistic is what helps people do that. "

howfar, if I could favorite that a hundred million times, I would. I may go create a few thousand sock puppets just so I can get a little closer.

Thank you.
posted by kristi at 11:26 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


If you're feeling doomed and depressed and cynical and just about ready to give up on political engagement altogether as a hopeless pointless endeavour that can't possibly achieve anything because for fuck's sake will you just look at how all these arseholes carry on and really they're obviously all as bad as each other and that's just how it always has been and how it always will be: try reminding yourself that this exact mental state is exactly what the propaganda machinery controlled by the ruling classes has been built to induce in you in order to keep you quiet and compliant, and get fucking furious at how close they got to making it work, and then go link up with other people who feel the same way and get organized.

Little people outnumber oligarchs 99 to 1. Don't let them forget it. Build robust local political structures with accountability, transparency and democracy in their very fibre, and use them to get. shit. done. Because you can. You know you can. There are just too many of us to keep suppressed all at once. Make the fuckers herd cats.
posted by flabdablet at 1:41 AM on October 20 [38 favorites]


One of the big reasons we're in this mess is because people in power wouldn't and won't speak the truth because it will upset some people, and we decry that. Yet when someone does they're attacked.

Takes some guts to do it.

I fell like Tulsi is a test. If you can't recognize it in her you may not have recognized it in Trump and others.
posted by bongo_x at 1:56 AM on October 20 [28 favorites]



It should probably be noted that "Hillary is a warmonger!" was literally Russian propaganda messaging that was bot-boosted in the 2016 election, frequently taking the form of "Hillary wants a war with Russia, Trump doesn't!" (a false choice) and "Trump was against the Iraq War from the start!" (no proof of this, he later hired John fucking Bolton) so it's interesting to Rep. Gabbard repeating that messaging.

I don't think it's been mentioned in this thread yet, but Rep. Gabbard signed up for the military *after* the beginning of the Iraq War. So one could argue politicians shouldn't have voted for and enabled Bush's war (very, very true) and that maybe a soldier's experiences in Iraq forced them to evolve their thinking on military intervention (okay, understandable) but throwing around the word "warmonger" for someone else when she made the choice to go into a recruiting station to sign up to fight in an active unjust war is, uh, something else. I mean... her information page at the House.gov website touts with pride that she "volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone." Claiming territory on every side of this, tailoring your words to whomever you're speaking to feels very Trumpian to me - "I alone will stop a war with Russia! Also, I am harder on Russia than anybody else!" etc.
posted by bluecore at 6:39 AM on October 20 [27 favorites]


Bill Browder tweeted this (5 hours ago). I know who Browder, Magnitsky and Veselnitskaya are, but does anyone know the details on Chris Cooper?

"Tulsi Gabbard say that she doesn’t control the Russian bots that support her, but she did control the hiring of Chris Cooper, the smear campaigner who was paid by Natalia Veselnitskaya and her Russian backed sponsors to smear me and try to repeal the Magnitsky Act in DC"
posted by puddledork at 7:22 AM on October 20 [13 favorites]


Little people outnumber oligarchs 99 to 1

It's more like 99,999 to 1. The number of really malicious actors is quite small but they can do things like establish parallel news systems, etc.
posted by benzenedream at 7:33 AM on October 20 [3 favorites]


Chris Cooper is a former WSJ reporter who now leads the Potomac Square group, a DC crisis-communication PR firm that was linked to the 2016 Trump Tower meetings (Fox News). He also worked for the government of Bahrain (Sunlight Foundation), and he is one of the people Browder identified as lobbying (Chuck Grassley's website) against the Magnitsky Act (Radio Free Europe).

Hawaii Free Press (not really familiar, seems to be conservative-leaning) and Meanwhile in Hawaii (not really familiar, seems to be liberal-leaning) have stories about him working for Gabbard.

This guy, who I also don't know, has what looks to be a pretty good series of Tulsi tweets.
posted by box at 8:02 AM on October 20 [11 favorites]


Also are you suggesting Russia played no major role in Trump’s victory, or didn’t put resources behind Jill Stein or stoking Bernie/Hillary antagonism? Because that would be denying proven facts.

It is not at all "proven" that Russia played a "major role" in Trump's victory.

When you are surrounded by people who are all saying the same thing then saying the opposite thing is dangerous, no matter whether the opposite thing is factual or not. Cultivating awareness of the methods of indoctrination, awareness of one's own foibles, and finding ways to extend one's definitions of who is or isn't within the group are the only way one gets around the groupthink.

Well said!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:09 AM on October 20 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile in Hawaii also has a series of articles from 2017 about the former-Moonie splinter cult that Gabbard grew up in and is still very much part of....this is new to me, but reading the article and the diagram of connections, is pretty whoa.

“Meanwhile in Hawaii” is not a familiar news source because the woman who did this reporting couldn’t get it published in Hawaii because of the Gabbard family’s and Cooper’s influence—so she’s been self-publishing her research and writing online for two years.

The closer one looks, the more corrupt Gabbard, in fact, appears to be.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:43 AM on October 20 [15 favorites]


It is not at all "proven" that Russia played a "major role" in Trump's victory.

What are the working definitions of "proven" and "major" here? I'd ordinarily expect the terms to mean something like "shown to be more likely than not" and "other than trivial."

Are you asserting that Russian operatives have not been shown to have more likely than not provided nontrivial assistance to the 2016 Trump campaign? Or are you defining these terms in some other way?
posted by Not A Thing at 8:51 AM on October 20 [16 favorites]


I'd argue that major and non-trivial do not mean the same thing to most people. I'd put a minor and substantial between them, too. Possibly a significant, too.
posted by bardophile at 9:01 AM on October 20 [5 favorites]


I guess I'm not seeing how one could operationalize that kind of gradation in this context. I can't imagine anyone saying in good faith, "well, you've proven that Russian assistance played a significant role in Trump's ability to squeak out a technical win, but not that the role was major." What would that even mean?

But I guess this is all probably a derail in a thread about a weird political Twitter beef.
posted by Not A Thing at 9:23 AM on October 20 [8 favorites]


New York Magazine did a deep dive into Gabbard's religious background. She grew up in, and seems to still be part of, a new religious movement called Science of Identity, which spun off from the Hare Krishnas. She refuses to talk about it and accuses anyone who asks her about it of anti-Hindu bigotry, but her aunt describes it as "the alt-right of the Hare Krishna movement." And to be honest, I'm a little uncomfortable raising this, because I'm not sure people would be discussing it about someone who was a member of an equally-creepy religious movement that was more mainstream. Her religious beliefs aren't any weirder than Mike Pence's. Which may not be the best example, come to think of it, because I wouldn't vote for him, either.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:25 AM on October 20 [20 favorites]


That New York piece links to a Jacobin article called 'Tulsi Gabbard is Not Your Friend,' which observes that Gabbard was one of three Democrats invited to the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum (Bloomberg, paywall) in 2015--the other two? John Delaney and Cory Booker.
posted by box at 10:01 AM on October 20 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm not seeing how one could operationalize that kind of gradation in this context.

It's possible to believe that the election was influenced by Russian actors, that US media and democracy is highly vulnerable to foreign influence, and simultaneously believe that Russian interference is focussed on to to the exclusion of other factors.

There's a lot of rhetoric, often tied to winning the popular vote, that everything is fine and good and Trump, fascists, the alt-right, are all the result of Russian meddling.

The process by which Russian interference worked points to the potential downfalls of this perspective. Divisions were magnified - but those cracks had to be there to be taken advantage of. Those who are convinced that Russian influence bears the majority of responsibility are inevitably saying that domestic white supremacy, patriarchy, class conflict, etc is less of an issue than those who locate the core problem in one or some of those factors would argue.

And obviously from there flows more implications about how to approach 2020, and what politicians should be talking about.
posted by Acid Communist at 10:18 AM on October 20 [8 favorites]


No one in this conversation has said that Russian influence bears all (or even the majority) of responsibility for what happened in 2016; it has, however, been documented that it was a significant factor. Surely we can talk about parts of this without having to talk about all of it: yes, Trump is terrible and many Americans are terrible, and we were persuaded to do this to ourselves in most practical ways. But THIS conversation in this thread is not about that part of it. This conversation is about foreign influence and disruption in American politics, elections and society.

I’m just very weary of all the finger-wagging that presumes we don’t know all the homegrown awfulness that Americans are dealing with—we’re living it every day! But if a bully keeps coming over and triggering my dysfunctional family, I need to keep the bully out if I’m ever going to find peace at home.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:48 AM on October 20 [20 favorites]


A question was asked about how people can both believe in significant interference and make still a distinction about how significant they feel it was and what should be the response.

Surely we can talk about parts of this without having to talk about all of it

I don't know why we would assume a spherical voter.
posted by Acid Communist at 12:30 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


And there may be evidence mounting for Gabbard too, though that Reddit list illustrating why she's a terrible person isn't it.

It's a fine list to summarize why she sucks as a candidate, though, but I don't really need anybody to persuade me of that.
posted by atoxyl at 1:15 PM on October 20


What I'm getting from these exchanges -- perhaps inaccurately -- is that (a) it is not disputed that some nontrivial Russian assistance for Trump occurred, and (b) the dispute is over whether that nontrivial Russian assistance is properly characterized as "major" rather than "significant" or perhaps "substantial," but (c) the problem with the term "major" is not over the quantitative extent of the actual assistance (or the unknowable degree to which it may have contributed to the electoral outcome) but the degree to which that assistance should be emphasized over other factors that may have more bearing on actions a typical US-based Mefite can realistically take.

I'll confess this is quite far from what I imagined when I read the phrase 'It is not at all "proven" that Russia played a "major role" in Trump's victory', which I interpreted as a statement about the extent/certainty of Russian assistance rather than an argument about rhetorical strategy. So I feel rather illuminated.

And I guess this does tie back to the Twitter beeving at issue in this thread after all, to the extent that a key question here is over the advisability of going after Gabbard for her N > 0 skeevy authoritarian pals rather than just for being an awful person with awful positions.
posted by Not A Thing at 1:19 PM on October 20 [6 favorites]


I feel like this is some kind of 2nd-generation win for Russian interference. Here we are obsessing over a spat between a failed candidate and a candidate polling at 1% ... .meanwhile we have MULTIPLE fantastic and strong actual candidates actually in the running.

As for Tulsi Gabbard, I'd much rather see her taken on on her merits, particularly on foreign policy.
posted by schwinggg! at 1:58 PM on October 20 [6 favorites]


the degree to which that assistance should be emphasized over other factors that may have more bearing on actions a typical US-based Mefite can realistically take.

My sense is that there is a consistent part of any conversation on this, where some folks feel overwhelmed and would prefer only to focus on what’s actionable, which I completely understand. But for me, not all conversations point to a praxis, and simply understanding what’s happening brings some measure of clarity, if not comfort or calm. My own push back occurs when people say, in a thread that is about Russian interference in U.S. elections, that it’s not worth talking about Russian interference in U.S. elections because there’s nothing that we the people can do about it, or it’s not worth talking about until it’s all figured out and confirmed, or etc. Our media is clearly not doing any real (or at least, effective) public vetting of political candidates, so that’s something that the people just need to do for ourselves—and we thankfully live in a time where that’s actually feasible. This thread is part of that process.

I don’t think that there’s any reason to “go after” Gabbard at this point, she’s polling slightly above 0%. However, if media manipulation and astroturfing continue to increase around her, and coordinated propaganda starts to be effective again, this time maybe we have a hope of seeing it coming and defending ourselves against it. I thought it was inexplicably crazy when I first saw that photo of Jill Stein sitting with Flynn and Putin at an RT dinner, but now we know that the leader of the Green Party was/is likely on Moscow’s payroll. So it’s actually not crazy, and to know that it’s not crazy means that we are forewarned, and forewarned means that we might be able to see the next one coming.

Here we are obsessing over a spat between a failed candidate and a candidate polling at 1%

Well, QED as I type, I guess, because this is another unfair characterization: this thread is about this topic, but you may notice that there are several other, much larger and much more active threads on this site, about those candidates, and about Trump’s impeachment, and all kinds of aspects of all of this. Moreover, the conversation in this thread has largely NOT been about a personal spat between Clinton and Gabbard, but about Gabbard herself and possible connections to Russia. It’s a big site, and we talk about multiple things at once.

Frankly, this is happening so often on the blue lately, that I’ve developed a habit of checking a user’s join date when they drop in with context-free, dismissive comments that appear to be intended to shut down conversation (like the one above). Far more often than not, they are fairly new accounts, which may or may not mean anything, but the media manipulation we are all suffering through is far, far more pervasive than is popularly acknowledged.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:11 PM on October 20 [28 favorites]


Having followed today's tweets etc it is becoming more clear that Gabbard isn't simply an unwilling participant in the Kremlin's psyops but deliberately courting it. So my sole objection to Clinton's statement is now that I think it was a blunder as Gabbard has no chance of winning the nomination so why inject yourself into the story.

It's possible, I suppose, that as others have guessed it's an attempt to head-off any independent-run shenanigans by preloading the story. Hard to say.
posted by Justinian at 2:17 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Frankly, this is happening so often on the blue lately, that I’ve developed a habit of checking a user’s join date when they drop in with context-free, dismissive comments that appear to be intended to shut down conversation (like the one above). Far more often than not, they are fairly new accounts, which may or may not mean anything, but the media manipulation we are all suffering through is far, far more pervasive than is popularly acknowledged.

Dude, did you seriously just accuse me of being a Russian troll? I'm tempted to flag this for the mods to take down, because that is so outrageous. But I'll leave it up, because it just goes to demonstrate a certain paranoid style in realtime. By the way, I have been on MeFi since 2003, under different usernames. I have the receipts.
posted by schwinggg! at 2:20 PM on October 20 [17 favorites]


Frankly, this is happening so often on the blue lately, that I’ve developed a habit of checking a user’s join date when they drop in with context-free, dismissive comments that appear to be intended to shut down conversation (like the one above). Far more often than not, they are fairly new accounts, which may or may not mean anything...

Dude, did you seriously just accuse me of being a Russian troll?

Though your comment pattern suggests earnest engagement, and though I can't speak for others, I myself certainly HAVE seen accounts on here, other than yours, which do make me wonder.
posted by halation at 2:22 PM on October 20 [9 favorites]




Here we are obsessing over a spat between a failed candidate and a candidate polling at 1%

It's easy to get sucked into these arguments and then to end up feeling like it's a waste of time and like most reasonable people are just going to read the thread and think "oh boy, there they go again!" I don't even do it that much here but I still feel like it's too much sometimes. But I'm going to make one good attempt to summarize my position, which I think has been pretty consistent since this stuff started coming out:

The idea that elections might be tipped by a direct intervention in the process (e.g. hacking voting systems) is highly alarming to me and is probably under-discussed as a possibility going forward. That would be major!

Attempts by the Trump campaign to collaborate directly with Russia (to the extent they can be substantiated) should obviously be considered to disqualify him for the office. But so should a lot of other things!

When it comes to stuff about foreign actors putting out propaganda for a preferred candidate, or trying to play existing domestic factions off each other, though - on some level that's par for the course in the era of global communications. We have agencies that are supposed to do this, too. It is likely that there is an impact, but it's diffuse and complicated and certainly impossible to cleanly separate from the impact of homegrown propaganda, and the plausible countermeasures - media literacy, better moderation of information platforms - are the same. I'm not sure there's a difference in kind when MAGA-grandpas get the same talking points from a Russian account as they get from Fox News. Short of something like an actual hack, then, I don't think it's a useful perspective for a candidate to suggest that a loss is unfair or illegitimate because of factors like this - it's always going to be your messaging against everybody else's and you're always going to have to play the hand you're dealt. If you're going to pick one factor to focus on as a bad break, something like the spectacularly ill-timed Comey letter is at least relatively concrete.

I'm also just uncomfortable with the casual way terms like "asset" - which to me imply a clear quid pro quo - get thrown around. I think Chortly's comment covers my feelings about this part pretty well though.
posted by atoxyl at 2:48 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


so, what have the relevant politicians had to say today?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:12 PM on October 20


I have the receipts.

yeah, I guess that bnd stuff does add up after a while.
posted by valkane at 3:35 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter is the next front of the InfoWars. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty within the sordid cloak-and-dagger black chambers of the Blue.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:57 PM on October 20


so, what have the relevant politicians had to say today?

As far as I've seen today, both Warren and Sanders are wisely staying silent on this.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:59 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


Yesterday, Tulsi Gabbard told an NBC reporter (Guardian): “This smear campaign is coming from people like Hillary Clinton and her proxies, the foreign policy establishment, the military industrial complex, who obviously feel threatened by my message and by my campaign because they know that they can’t control me.” (She said something similar to CBS on Friday.)

She also went on Tucker Carlson's show, where she said that Clinton has "blood on her hands" (Real Clear Politics), and that "Anyone watching at home who is fighting for peace and who is calling for an end to these regime change wars, this new Cold War and arms race, they are saying that you are also a Russian asset, that you are also a traitor to this country. That's really what's happening here."

Today (Mother Jones), she released a video in which she claims that Clinton attacked her because she backed Bernie Sanders in 2016 and says "if they can falsely claim me to be a traitor, then they can do it to anyone."

On Friday, Clinton withdrew from her speaker slot at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit (Slate) (depending on who you believe, this may be because Gabbard was scheduled to speak, or it may be because Kirstjen Nielsen was).

Meanwhile, MeFi fan favorite Evan McMullin tweeted (Axios): "I believe it's true. Tulsi Gabbard is with the Russians and the Russians are with Tulsi Gabbard. She confirms it every time she opens her mouth."
posted by box at 4:00 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


The Atlantic: How Hillary Clinton Boosted Tulsi Gabbard
Clinton’s defenders claim that it was good to expose Gabbard and to prevent a third-party run. This is wishful thinking. Hillary Clinton is not the arbiter of Democratic Party politics. And a third-party challenge isn’t the only way to damage the eventual Democratic nominee.

Gabbard herself has already ruled out such a challenge, but that is beside the point. Gabbard has now vowed to take her fight to the convention, where she might argue that the nominee, whom Clinton will applaud and support, is just another tool of the Democratic, neoconservative, neoliberal, warmongering, globalist establishment.

This is where Gabbard’s efforts, Trump’s strategy, and Russian hopes will coincide. The goal will not be to turn Democratic voters into Gabbard voters or Trump voters. It will be to confuse them, dispirit them, and alienate them from their own party—and then persuade them to stay home. This will strike at the Democratic Party’s two most exposed weaknesses: turnout, and the inefficient distribution of Democratic voters in the Electoral College. If Gabbard can convince enough voters that “Russia” is just something cranky losers chant whenever things don’t go their way, she can strike directly at these weaknesses and do material damage to the nominee.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:02 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


On Friday, Clinton withdrew from her speaker slot at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit (Slate) (depending on who you believe, this may be because Gabbard was scheduled to speak, or it may be because Kirstjen Nielsen was).
I really don't think there's any reason to believe that has a thing to do with Gabbard. She pulled out before this whole thing blew up, and she was one of several speakers who pulled out to protest Nielsen being invited to speak at the event.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:10 PM on October 20 [7 favorites]


I agree, though I'm sure that not all Gabbard fans share this perspective.

Fox News' coverage is a little, uh, 'we report, you decide.' It leads with: "Hillary Clinton has backed out of a Friday appearance at an event also scheduled to include Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, among other guests, according to a report."
posted by box at 4:18 PM on October 20




I'm surprised that a congresswoman with an 88% voting rating from the ACLU and a 100% voting rating from the Human Rights Campaign is getting slammed on MeFi as being an "Islamophobic, homophobic, Assad-loving hack".

Not wanting to rush US troops into another disastrous middle eastern war doesn't make her a "dictator lover," any more than opposing the insane Iraq war made millions of global protesters into Saddam Hussein lovers.

Since serving in the Iraq conflict, Tulsi has fought hard to avoid American involvement in three new wars: first in Syria, then Yemen, and now Iran. And she also has introduced strong legislation that would actually stop Russian interference in American elections, if enacted.

I don't know if opposing those wars aligns with Russian interests or not, but it certainly aligns with both the interests of the people of those countries and with ours. Humanitarian warfare isn't a real thing.
posted by warreng at 5:03 PM on October 20 [7 favorites]


Humanitarian warfare isn't a real thing.

I strongly agree, but as the Jacobin article linked somewhere above and others have argued, Gabbard's concern with these wars appears to be based more on the costs to America than any concern for the primary victims of any such conflict.
posted by Acid Communist at 5:20 PM on October 20


That Jacobin article is also strongly critical of the Obama administration's foreign policy, BTW, so don't take that as contradicting the critique of Clinton.
posted by schwinggg! at 5:26 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised that a congresswoman with an 88% voting rating from the ACLU and a 100% voting rating from the Human Rights Campaign is getting slammed on MeFi as being an "Islamophobic, homophobic, Assad-loving hack".

that's cool but Gabbard is actually those things and you can spend like 30 seconds on google to figure that out yourself
posted by lazaruslong at 5:34 PM on October 20 [24 favorites]


I'm surprised that the HRC gave her that rating, given her reputation in HI. You're saying you were aware of her voting record before the history of homophobia?
posted by Selena777 at 5:35 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


also Gabbard doesn't have a history of like, background radiation passive homophobia. her history is explicitly anti-gay activism. she was all for conversion therapy and though that even civil unions were surrendering to "homosexual extremists" basically she can go fuck herself.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:38 PM on October 20 [32 favorites]


I don't think the not-recent Gabbard-as-Russian-asset-or-stooge suspicions (NBC in February: "Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard" after Gabbard's January announcement she'd seek the nomination; in May, Rolling Stone took issue with NBC's report) are about a third-party run. Gabbard's polling is, as discussed above, abysmal, and in sporadically defending Biden and picking fights with Kamala Harris, she's angling for the VP slot.

(Side note: the Biden/Gabbard Quora questions are odd, but so are the Sanders/Gabbard queries; boosters for either ticket argue that a young, female, POC VP candidate balances a ticket with an elderly white male occupying the top slot. Sanders did well in the last debate; no idea if the heart attack earlier this month affected his standing.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:42 PM on October 20


As far as I've seen today, both Warren and Sanders are wisely staying silent on this.

Yeah. I wish Clinton had stayed silent on it too. And I say this as someone who truly supported Clinton's 2016 run. She must know by now that she's such a lightning rod that everything she says can and will be used against her. It's not right, since the things she says are usually correct. But she is so hated by so many people, and she's treated so unfairly by the press, that saying these things usually causes more problems than they solve.

What she said about Gabbard won her tons of free publicity and put her name in front of people who may not have been familiar with her before. On tonight's politics segment of the local news, they started by talking about frontrunners such as Sanders and Warren and Harris, and then they mentioned the Gabbard story as an aside and said Clinton said what she said "without evidence." I mean, that phrase is usually reserved for things Trump says. It made Clinton look ridiculous. They also quoted Gabbard's very pointed Twitter response.

My point being that Gabbard wouldn't have been mentioned at all if not for this story, and it was presented in a way that showed Clinton in a more negative light than Gabbard. So this gives Gabbard the ammunition to be able to say she's being attacked by those nasty elite Democrats who are opposed to her because she's not like them, and it sets her apart from them, which seems to be a position she's pretty comfortable with.
posted by wondermouse at 5:48 PM on October 20 [12 favorites]


So this gives Gabbard the ammunition to be able to say she's being attacked by those nasty elite Democrats who are opposed to her because she's not like them, and it sets her apart from them, which seems to be a position she's pretty comfortable with.

But then, as you say, it's already a position she's pretty comfortable with. I dunno how this affects Gabbard's standing locally but as far as the presidential race it seems more just... kind of a strange episode.
posted by atoxyl at 6:34 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]



Since serving in the Iraq conflict, Tulsi has fought hard to avoid American involvement in three new wars: first in Syria, then Yemen, and now Iran


Again, that's all well and good. But it's one thing to say "it's not in our interest to be involved there." Or better yet, to say "we should make it so it stops being in our interest to be involved there."

It's another thing altogether to be an apologist for Assad as the only legitimate ruler for the former French mandate of Syria (minus Lebanon and Hatay Province. ) For some reason, Gabbard crossed that line.
posted by ocschwar at 6:49 PM on October 20 [8 favorites]


The Jacobin article was pretty interesting, and I think its core critique - that Tulsi is against some wars, not but against war -- is valid. She clearly wants to crush ISIS and Al Qaeda militarily. But Jacobin's claiming that she only opposed trump's Muslim ban because she wasn't put in the cabinet seems very unfair.

She's not a perfect candidate, and her PAST opposition to marriage equality will continue to be her political Achilles heel. It's convincing for me that Tulsi has spoken in favor of gay rights repeatedly and unambiguously in youtube videos, and more importantly that her pro-LGBTQ voting record as a congresswoman backs those videos up, as i pointed out before.

Could she just be pretending to support equal rights for the past 6 years to have a chance at the nomination? Maybe --but I'm not personally worried that she will turn back the clock. Instead, I think Tulsi will fight for and finally pass ENDA / Equality Act as president, just as she has repeatedly supported those bills while in the House.

On the other hand Tulsi's embrace of Modi really bothers me. I think it is quite possible she is blind to human rights abuses by Hindus. Her campaign has again and again emphasized religious tolerance and Aloha: (eg: this panthestic keynote speech from 2017 that she gave to Muslims for Peace. ) But when Modi's BJP put a curfew on Kashmir last month, all she could muster was an equivocating tweet. (now deleted)


So while I want to believe a president Tulsi would apply as much pressure to India in Kashmir as she would to Saudi Arabia in Yemen, I agree with the Jacobin article that she has a blind spot where Hindu abuses are concerned, and that it is a problem.
posted by warreng at 6:57 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Could she just be pretending to support equal rights for the past 6 years

So the most charitable interpretation here is that in 2013, as a fully-grown adult for many years, Gabbard maybe finally came to be persuaded that equality means for everyone, no conditions or exclusions? I am less than impressed with that moral fortitude, and that’s disqualifying regardless of whether or not she is now sincere. That is far too late to the party for any thoughtful person. We have plenty of candidates who weren’t advocating hate and exclusion until half a decade ago.

a president Tulsi

Why are you calling her by her first name? Are you personal friends? That’s very peculiar to me.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:42 PM on October 20 [12 favorites]


(Non-edit edit: I see on search that her campaign signs use her first name, like Sanders, so that’s less peculiar I suppose.)
posted by LooseFilter at 7:46 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


The 6 years are since being elected. I'm no expert, but Jacobin puts the transformation at the age of 23.

Warren was a Republican till what, 45? And Kamala Harris was using her position to harm trans people more recently than that. This article questions Bernie's commitment to LGBTQ+ rights at what, 58?

It doesn't redeem her other flaws, but it seems disingenuous to pretend this is a huge millstone around Tulsi's neck none of the other candidates share.

(Edited for missing link).
posted by Acid Communist at 7:57 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


I feel like there is a distinct difference between say, generally supporting gay rights somewhat lukewarmly but being against marriage equality until the tides change and being pro-conversion therapy until relatively recently. Like there's bad praxis and being lukewarm and me thinking can I trust you? and someone like Tulsi who's entire family/cult supported the edifice of torturing children. And I believe while she may have recently lukewarmly disavowed that, the rest of her powerful clan has been silent on the issue. Like what she "used" to support but supposedly no longer does was so SO much worse, and there's the fact that apparently in Hawaii various LGBTQ groups still have bad run-ins with her and don't think she's changed at all. Like I trust the Hawaiian queers who hate her guts.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:05 PM on October 20 [31 favorites]


Like I trust the Hawaiian queers who hate her guts.

That's fair, but I don't feel similar concerns about other candidates are treated in the same way. One of the above mentioned candidates has been on the hard no list for pretty much every queer and sex worker I've met since they nominated and yet has received a mere fraction of the criticism Tulsi has for homophobia, and is still advocated for here.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:13 PM on October 20


To Tulsi's credit she has evolved despite her family upbringing and of course also DADT during the military. Most people cannot do that, because social constraints like those are powerful.

The Russian asset thing, I actually think Tulsi failed to capitalize on it. The mother of dragons retort is a pointed and honest comeback, but there's nothing personally wrong about being an unwitting target of Russia, so what she should have said was admit to that possibility and vow to fight and plan to be vigilant against foreign meddling. Instead, by being defensive and hostile towards the unsupported allegation (which echos Cold War discourse, shame on Hillary for not being more nuanced), Tulsi Gabbard has unwittingly raised many questions, and people on the left aren't stupid--there will be more scrutiny now, including from leftist groups, because unlike the antiintellectual right, we love to scrutinize.
posted by polymodus at 8:43 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Warren was a Republican 23 years ago, as a private citizen. As a private citizen she switched affiliations and it would be another 15 years until she ran for office.

Tulsi didn't decide to rescind her statements until earlier this decade when she decided to run for higher office. Meaning she pushed her homophobic agenda while in the Hawaiian legislature.

Also it's rich that Gabbard throws around the term warmonger when she joined the military in 2003, likely in part due to her own Islamophobia as well as her career ambitions. And I'm not even going to touch her fondness for Modi and Assad
posted by asteria at 9:00 PM on October 20 [22 favorites]


As of this article, published in January 2016, Gabbard said her personal views on gay rights hadn't changed; she just now believes that the government shouldn't impose religious views on people.
posted by naoko at 9:11 PM on October 20 [14 favorites]


Once again, Hillary is my hero. Why'd she do this? Because it needed to be done, and no one else could or would do it.
posted by xammerboy at 9:15 PM on October 20 [17 favorites]


Also, Tulsi knew she was playing with fire when she decided to wear a white pantsuit to the debate.
posted by xammerboy at 9:24 PM on October 20 [8 favorites]


On the one hand I love Clinton and I think she's probably right on this. On the other hand, how can we miss her if she won't go away?

On the third hand, maybe this is Clinton's Holdo Maneuver? [massive spoiler for SW:The Last Jedi there btw]

As polarizing as she is, I wish she were not a factor in this election cycle, but if she pops up to take a dangerous piece off the board in dramatic fashion and then mostly stays out of sight, I'd be entirely on board with that.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 10:25 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


It's incomprehensible to me why Clinton, who as far as I know is not participating in the upcoming election, would boost the profile of an also-ran like Gabbard. I absolutely fail to see why this needed to be done, and even assuming necessity, I fail to see why Clinton had to be the one to do it.
posted by dmh at 10:41 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


Because there presumably will be presidential elections after 2020 in which Gabbard might do better. If Clinton has cause to believe Gabbard is falling prey to a Russian intelligence op best to nip it in the bud.
posted by um at 10:59 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


Clinton's got a mixed record on this, as it can easily backfire. The alt-right did the opposite of fading after she helped to popularize them with the infamous meme speech.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:15 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


Have we forgotten about Obama who didn't come out until 2012 after an entire first term? Also the context of the era:

Democrats, widely, did not support same-sex marriage in the 90s and early 2000s. In 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—a federal law that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman—was supported by 32 Democratic Senators and opposed by only 14 before it was signed into law by Bill Clinton. In the House, DOMA was also supported by a steep majority of Democratic Representatives. Only 40% of Democratic Americans supported same sex marriage in 2004. Hillary Clinton, in 2004, voiced support on the Senate floor for marriage to be between one man and one woman.
Tulsi Gabbard was not out of step with the Democratic Party in 2004.

some medium piece in Jan 2019

Also, Gabbard's positions wiki explicitly says she changed because of working with LGBT military abroad and at home. That's the same sort of narrative as Obama in 2012 when he explained how he changed his mind because he finally met his daughters' friends one day (paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact story he tells).

I think horrible people sometimes do get better and as a leftist who happens to be gay, I am always settling for suboptimal candidates anyways. If Gabbard is still horrible I would need to find much stronger evidence.
posted by polymodus at 11:28 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


Have we forgotten about Obama who didn't come out until 2012 after an entire first term?

That’s a good point, you’ve persuaded me not to vote for Obama in 2020.

If Gabbard is still horrible I would need to find much stronger evidence.

You should check out this thread, then.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:05 AM on October 21 [21 favorites]


Because there presumably will be presidential elections after 2020 in which Gabbard might do better. If Clinton has cause to believe Gabbard is falling prey to a Russian intelligence op best to nip it in the bud.

Speculation about Gabbard's presidency puts us at minimum six to ten years in the future. That's a political eternity. In ten years time we may see Clinton handing Putin a second reset button. Given the evident short-term consternation such advanced warning seems decidedly unproductive.

As to the substance, according to Clinton there are Russian "bots and sites" supporting Gabbard. I believe this is true. But it is an established fact that during the last election Russian-controlled media also supported Sanders and, as mentioned upthread, BLM. There is no reason to suspect Russian meddling has abated, in fact there is evidence it has increased. All this raises the question of why Clinton is specifically singling out someone who's polling at the margin of error.

By speaking out against Gabbard, Clinton made a hopeful out of a nobody and catapulted Gabbard from has-been onto center stage. If I was the spook responsible for handling Gabbard, I would expect a bonus and a raise.
posted by dmh at 2:38 AM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Six to ten years is nothing in geopolitical time. How long do you think it took Russia to thoroughly own the current shithead in charge?

But I get it: Clinton is always wrong. Any time she speaks is by definition the wrong time.
posted by um at 3:47 AM on October 21 [10 favorites]


[A couple deleted. Let's keep this about the Russians / Gabbard claim rather than just general fighting about HRC. ]
posted by taz (staff) at 4:54 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]


In ten years time we may see Clinton handing Putin a second reset button.

Only if they’re playing Duck Hunt at the retirement home. HRC will be 81 in ten years. She is not going to be President. Give it a rest.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:02 AM on October 21 [11 favorites]


A friend of mine came to the US as a Russian refugee as a kid, and she and her family are extremely sensitive to things that make them feel like Putin's standing right behind them. It's almost a trigger for them. She called out a bunch of suspicious stuff about Trump early on, and she's been warning everyone in our social circle about Gabbard for almost two years now. She doesn't have access to the vast array of intelligence that Clinton did when she was in government, but she understands the cultural playbook of the Kremlin pretty well because she lived that world of propaganda, disinformation, and manipulation of facts. She doesn't see this so much as a conspiracy as a "but of course they're doing this, it's what they do."

It is known that the bot networks have done a lot of work to amplify Gabbard after debates. This is not a conspiracy theory. Republican acquaintances were, right on schedule, telling me that they'd read that Gabbard had "won the debate" at one point - exactly what the bot networks were pushing into the right-wing media. This stuff is all definitely happening. What Gabbard's knowledge or active participation in it is may be up for debate, but I'm gonna guess Clinton knows more than we do about the facts on that.

As for why her and why now, well, any one of the active candidates calling out such a thing would have had them raked over the coals by everyone and probably would have spelled the end of their candidacy. In some ways, Clinton might be taking one for the team here - "The people who already think I'm crazy will still think that, the people who trusted me when I called out Trump will trust me here, none of the actual legitimate candidates gets hurt." And timing-wise, this is well before the primaries start, so it's not caught up in that news cycle and anyone who might actually listen will actually think before they go to the polls.

(FWIW, my friend's other "something's wrong" callout she's been on for a couple of years now: the amount of Russian money that seems to be behind a bunch of Netflix productions. Dear White People's executive producer is the daughter of a major Russian oil oligarch, What Happened to Monday opens with a news montage and the only media brand shown is RT, she refers to the OA as an "active measure". So watch that space I guess)
posted by olinerd at 7:18 AM on October 21 [46 favorites]


(By the way when I say her family are "triggered" by this kind of stuff, I mean it - on election night 2016 she called her mother as soon as the results came in and said "this was Russia, wasn't it" and her mom replied "Not on the phone." and immediately hung up on her. Their spidey senses are pretty well tuned.)
posted by olinerd at 7:19 AM on October 21 [16 favorites]


The important thing, and the thing Clinton pointed out, is that there doesn't need to be collusion for a candidate to be boosted by Putin, or any other foreign actor. It's quite possible no one in the Gabbard campaign has ever even spoken with an intermediary, much less an actual FSB agent.

But that doesn't prevent Putin from exploiting Gabbard to sew more chaos and potentially get a second Trump term by dividing the Democratic votes.

America has always been a nation held together by duct tape and hope. From the very outset there's been a deep, irreparable, and frankly unbridgeable rift among the citizens about the absolutely essential question of just what America even is.

Is America to be a white Christian ethnostate, or is it to be a multicultural, multiracial, melting pot where anyone can become American?

It's an issue on which there can really be no meaningful compromise. You can't both be an ethnostate and let immigrants become full citizens.

Putin isn't the origin of that rift, but he's identified it, exploiting it, and working to widen it as much as possible. The powers in America have always sort of papered over the fact that a majority of white Americans reject the melting pot idea. We get flare ups where people force the powers to sort of, briefly, confront the fact that a majority of white Americans think people of color can't really be American, but as soon as they can declare victory and pretend the problem doesn't exist the powers do because addressing the issue is a threat to their power.

Putin wants Trump to win in 2020, but he'll take just having a very weak Democrat with lots of internal party strife as a consolation prize. Gabbard is a good tool to achieve that. If she can be persuaded to run third party she might even peel off enough DINO voters to give Trump a win, if she can't she can at least be used to cast doubt on the process, embitter some people, and so on.

So I have no doubt at all that Clinton is correct about Gabbard. Given Gabbard's history, I wouldn't be surprised if she was an active participant in the FSB's games rather than just benefitting from them. But she doesn't need to be for what Clinton said to be true.
posted by sotonohito at 7:42 AM on October 21 [15 favorites]


Jill Stein challenges Hillary Clinton to debate after "Russian asset" smear (Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams/Salon)
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:43 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


Jill Stein challenges Hillary Clinton to debate after "Russian asset" smear

Ha. Ha. Wow so It's totally true about Stein and Tulsi isn't it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:46 AM on October 21 [22 favorites]


At an event in Cedar Rapids, IA (The Gazette, Eastern Iowa's leading daily newspaper), last night, Gabbard stuck to her stump speech and didn't mention Clinton or the Russia accusations:
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard stuck to her stump speech without mentioning her recent accusation that she has been “smeared” by Hillary Clinton as a “Russian asset” for her defiance of the national party establishment in 2016.

Referring to the hatred and bigotry in the country, “so much of it coming from the current occupant of the White House,” Gabbard said it’s time to get back to the nation’s roots.

“When we think about who we are as Americans and what patriotism really means,” Gabbard said, “what could be more patriotic than caring for and fighting for the well-being of our fellow Americans no matter where we come from, no matter our race, our ethnicity, our religion or who we love, all of these things are too often used to divide us.”
posted by box at 7:50 AM on October 21


This AP story ran with the Gazette article quoted above in the print edition.

When you look at Gabbard’s comments, I think it’s clear she doesn’t want to acknowledge how her message is being coopted by the alt-right and Russian bots. Whether that’s because she’s just that oblivious, is engaged in wishful thinking, or as an actual asset is immaterial imho. She is disqualified and that is enough for me. Playing the “is she or isn’t she” game is, ultimately, self-destructive (to you and me, not Tulsi).

The quicker we can leave her and her bad ideas behind us, the less effective any outside interference will be come next November. Let’s not turn ourselves into Leftist Qanon, searching for conspiracies behind every person we find disagreeable.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:26 AM on October 21 [5 favorites]


The quicker we can leave her and her bad ideas behind us

Serious question - what do you think are her "bad ideas" specifically?
posted by schwinggg! at 8:31 AM on October 21


I'd go to this post which is linked at the top of this post if you'd like to learn about Tulsi Gabbard and how closely her beliefs align with Putin/Russian foreign policy.

These all have links in the post, but I'm just going to quote it here without all the links, again click mine and scroll down a few paragraphs.

Gabbard's foreign policy positions are generally consistent with Trump's. She has made friendly advances to dictators, and including meeting with and defending Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad. She has said she is "conflicted" about the use of torture. She is running as an anti-war candidate, but she favors military action against terrorists: “In short, when it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk,” she told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I’m a dove.” Regarding the US role in Syria, she tweeted: "Al-Qaeda attacked us on 9/11 and must be defeated. Obama won’t bomb them in Syria. Putin did.” She added that it’s “bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nursa in Syria” and that “it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists.”

She supports Putin's positions on other issues as well, perhaps explaining her previously mentioned support from Russian media and Putin supporters. Like Putin, she is "skeptical" about Assad's use of chemical weapons (in defiance of the scientific consensus.) Like Putin, she says we should move on from Russian interference. Like Putin, she is interested in cryptocurrencies. Like Putin, she defends Julian Assange.


It's hard not to blink at you if you're trying to get us to reiterate what we've stated over and over. That's a tactic designed to tie up and exhaust people used in bad faith. I see above where you are incredulous about people wondering at a new account, but you're using the exact tactics designed to derail things.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:37 AM on October 21 [31 favorites]


The Real Trouble With Tulsi (Jeet Heer, The Nation)
Gabbard’s hawkish nationalism, with a strong undercurrent of Islamophobia, has manifested itself in many forms. Like the reactionary right, she frames the problem of terrorism in religious terms and mocked Barack Obama for his refusal to say “radical Islamic terrorism.” Gabbard opposed the Iran nuclear deal. She’s worked to limit the number of Muslim refugees America takes in. She’s also celebrated authoritarian leaders who have cracked down on political Islam, ranging from Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

These are all positions that bring her in alignment with the Trumpian right, a congruence she has occasionally pursued by trying to work with reactionaries. In the early days of the Trump administration, she met with the President and there was talk of her being offered a position in his government. Erstwhile Trump advisor Steven Bannon talked up Gabbard, saying he “loves her” and “she gets the foreign policy stuff, the Islamic terrorism stuff.” The rumored position never materialized, but she was clearly more open to engaging with Trump than almost all other Democrats.
posted by box at 8:41 AM on October 21 [6 favorites]


I think I kind of understand the repeated cries of "no evidence, no evidence," as evidence of our rosy, cheerful, naive American attitude when it comes to politics as a "free marketplace of ideas". It feels like a particularly American weakness.

I don't think people have fully realized what changes Citizens United has really made in crippling our ability to have evidence.

at the same time the circumstantial evidence for Gabbard being a useful idiot and probably an asset is a very long list. I think I would focus on her anti-gay sentiments and her support of Assad as positions that are very strange for a Democrat from Hawaii.

If you think of it as question of "why would a Democrat from Hawaii have the exact same talking points as the Kremlin? Down to the use of chemical weapons?" Then I think the matter of Gabbard being an asset is a testable Popperian hypothesis. Occam s razor suggests it as the simplest explanation.

I can also see another, better criticism, that we're wasting valuable brain cells and time on all of this, when we should be focused instead on a positive politics of possibility and mobilizing Democratic Grassroots. The more of the conversation turns to the importance of Kremlin interference, the higher the likelihood that we forget to talk about what is possible through Grassroots campaigning and movement-building within our own country, states, and local jurisdictions.

Talking about Kremlin strategies becomes demobilizing, in exactly the way that the Kremlin actually needs it to be.

So there's also a pattern of Clintonista fragility, where those of us who would really just prefer to focus on talking about Medicare for all are instead having to read and study other things, and losing time with our basic core political drives.

I'm going to paste the list that was linked to earlier. I think we can all agree that, at the very least, structurally,
Gabbard is not playing on the democratic team. And I say this as a resident of a "blue dog" kind of state, where our democrats are often very conservative. Gabbard is not a blue dog, not a DNC type, not a grassroots type, like Warren or AOC, and takes money from Sheldon Adelson.

The public vetting of Tulsi shows how much more sophisticated voters are this election cycle. Here is her record:

• Said "it's time to move on" from the Mueller Report after it was released.

https://www.newsweek.com/tulsi-gabbard-twitter-trump-russia-probe-1380775

• Said indicting Trump would lead to a Civil War

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/435780-tulsi-gabbard-trump-indictment-might-have-led-to-civil-war

• Said there is "no compelling cause" for impeachment and that "Congress needs to exercise oversight over the information that’s been leaked" and that, regarding impeachment, "what I think most people will see is, ‘Hey, this is another move by Democrats to get rid of Donald Trump,’ further deepening the already hyperpartisan divides that we have in this country.”

• Lawsuit against Google for the false claim of 'only defending liberals'

• Attacked, then resigned from, the DNC (likely in preparation for a 3rd party run)

• Said she would drop Julian Assange charges (Via Newsweek, 2019)

• Defended WikiLeaks in their 2016 interference: ‘spurred some necessary change’ (Via APNews, 2019)

• Touted working for anti-gay group that backed conversion therapy (Via CNN, 2019)

• During the 4th democratic debate in 2019, Gabbard parroted Russian disinformation claiming the US was arming Al Queda in Syria.

• During the 4th democratic debate, she called for ending sanctions against the genocidal Bashar al-Assad. Assad is America's enemy and Russia's close ally

• In 2017, Tulsi went to Syria and met with Bashar al-Assad, who is America's enemy and Russia's close ally

• Went on Fox's Tucker Carlson's show and used Project Veritas as proof

• She’s an Islamophobe. Each stance she takes is usually one that involves making people more fearful of Muslims. She also has ties to the RSS in India, a group founded based off of Nazi ideals.

• Tulsi Gabbard comes from a family of conservative activists, most famous for their opposition to gay marriage in Hawaii:

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/05/tulsi-gabbard-president-sanders-democratic-party

• Tulsi Gabbard is rated "F" by Progressive Punch for voting with Republicans, despite the strong progressive lean of her district

https://imgur.com/wDhVNKq

• Tulsi Gabbard was vetted to be in Trump's cabinet at Steve Bannon's suggestion

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/democratic-rep-tulsi-gabbard-consideration-trump-cabinet/story?id=43696303

• Tulsi Gabbard has also been praised multiple times by Steve Bannon, Trump's former strategist and prolific white nationalist propagandist

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/36352314/bannon-name-drops-hawaii-congresswoman-in-national-interview/

• Tulsi Gabbard declined to join 169 Democrats in condemning Trump for appointing Steve Bannon to his cabinet

https://mauitime.com/news/politics/why-didnt-rep-tulsi-gabbard-join-169-of-her-colleagues-in-denouncing-trump-appointee-stephen-bannon/

• Tulsi Gabbard isn't anti-war. She's a self-described hawk against terrorists. Her narrow objections center around efforts to spread democracy: "In short, when it comes to the war against terrorists, I'm a hawk," Gabbard said. "When it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I'm a dove."

https://www.votetulsi.com/node/27796

• Tulsi Gabbard was praised by conservative media for publicly challenging President Barack Obama over his refusal to use the term "Islamic extremism" when discussing terrorism

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/28/tulsi-gabbard-slams-obamas-refusal-to-say-islamic-/

• Tulsi Gabbard voted with Republicans to block Syrian refugees

https://medium.com/@pplswar/tulsi-gabbard-voted-to-make-it-virtually-impossible-for-syrian-refugees-to-come-to-the-u-s-11463d0a7a5a

• Tulsi Gabbard has multiple connections to Hindu nationalists

https://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/curious-islamophobic-politics-dem-congressmember-tulsi-gabbard

• Tulsi Gabbard was one of only 3 representatives to not condemn Assad for gassing Syrian civilians and the only Democrat

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-concurrent-resolution/121/text

• Tulsi Gabbard has introduced legislation pushed by GOP-megadonor, Sheldon Adelson

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-adelson-idUSBREA2P0BJ20140326

• Tulsi was later awarded a "Champions of Freedom" medal at Adelson's annual gala in 2016

https://www.thedailybeast.com/tulsi-gabbard-the-bernie-endorsing-congresswoman-who-trump-fans-can-love

• Tulsi was endorsed by David Duke for 2020

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/rep-tulsi-gabbard-gets-2020-endorsement-from-david-duke-2019-10-19

posted by eustatic at 8:42 AM on October 21 [46 favorites]


Serious question - what do you think are her "bad ideas" specifically?

Supporting conversion therapy should be a criminal offense.
posted by davros42 at 9:02 AM on October 21 [16 favorites]


Well Gabbard at the very least has copied the Putinocracy technique of punching up at real contenders with dangerous nonsense, just to at least keep the brand seeming relevant.
posted by Harry Caul at 9:12 AM on October 21


Since Gabbard's campaign is not going anywhere, I think the worst outcome of all this is that she gets hired by CNN or MSNBC to be a foreign policy analyst and her weird mishmash of 20% good takes and 80% WTF takes gets framed as the "left" position on FP issues because actual leftists critical of US foreign policy aren't allowed on the air. Since I've decided that this is the worst outcome I've also decided that this is what will happen.
posted by mcmile at 9:24 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Said she would drop Julian Assange charges Good.

she called for ending sanctions against the genocidal Bashar al-Assad.

Didn't she say
"...ending the draconian sanctions that are really a modern-day siege, the likes of which we are seeing Saudi Arabia wage against Yemen that have caused tens of thousands Syrian civilians to die and to starve"

Which is a very different thing indeed?
A lot of people I know blame sanctions at least in part for Assad's power and ability to be terrible, because it makes a convincing argument that the US really is the enemy when the US is proudly trying to stop your healthcare system from working.

The rest of the reasons are better, but including these right-wing ideas - that sanctions on the people already suffering under Assad are good and that whistleblowing is bad doesn't seem to help the argument from a left-wing perspective.

And I honestly think this is most of the problem.
her weird mishmash of 20% good takes and 80% WTF takes gets framed as the "left" position on FP issues because actual leftists critical of US foreign policy aren't allowed on the air.
posted by Acid Communist at 9:46 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Hey, guess who else likes Gabbard? The publisher of The Federalist.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:04 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


Big fans of hers, The Federalist.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:06 AM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Just an observation, but with Hillary taking a lot of the hate from the right it seems like that might give some breathing room to the actual candidates to continue their positive and constructive campaigning. She's effectively an ablative hate-shield and never has there been a better target to draw the worst bile the GOP (and others) have to offer.

The Democrats were forming their raid group and went looking for an off-Tank who could hold aggro on all the adds, trash mobs, and secondary bosses. Hillary saw that and responded, "invite plz".
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 10:12 AM on October 21 [34 favorites]


gucci mane, you mean like snail mail?
Secretary Clinton's current post office box is on her website.
posted by The Devil's Grandmother at 10:19 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


I've long observed that Tulsi Gabbard is a kind of Cool Girl for those who are otherwise suspicious of or repelled by women in leadership positions. Now that Elizabeth Warren is not just running for real, but is a front-runner, Gabbard has become the new "I'd vote for this particular woman" because she has little to no chance of actually winning. And her right-wing supporters (which are legion) find her to be a Margaret Thatcher type - a woman who has none of the "feminine weaknesses" that "most women" are cursed with.

Gabbard symbolizes, to me, a particular type of "token" woman that makes my teeth itch. And I say this as someone who is supporting Warren, with Harris as my second choice, and Gillibrand would have been an alternate second if the Frankenbot army hadn't driven her from the race. Gabbard has no chance of winning the Democratic nomination, and there's no real indication that a third party wants her (or that a third party will even be viable in 2020!).

One reason I left Twitter and deleted my account was that it was getting hard to tell which were real people with real, albeit eccentric and/or inflammatory, opinions and which were bots and trolls trying to divide and discourage Democrats. Even if Gabbard herself is not in league with Russia, or with right-wing operatives, or anyone else - we have no hard proof about Russia, though we do have lots of evidence that the right-wing loves her, see The Federalist - she is attracting some very, very dubious stans, and it is those stans, not just Gabbard (who, I repeat, will not get the nomination), who have the potential for harm.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:24 AM on October 21 [29 favorites]


Gabbard would be far less of a problematic- and relevant- candidate if the Gravel campaign was still active and presenting an explicitly anti-imperialist option. Shame on the rude teens for pulling the plug on that one.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:53 AM on October 21 [5 favorites]


I don't think people have fully realized what changes Citizens United has really made in crippling our ability to have evidence.

If I had to pick one thing that people would remember from this thread, this snippet would be it. Evidence of election-related shenanigans is hard to come by these days because the law has been rewritten to allow candidates to avoid generating any useful evidence.
posted by wierdo at 11:08 AM on October 21 [28 favorites]


Just an observation, but with Hillary taking a lot of the hate from the right it seems like that might give some breathing room to the actual candidates to continue their positive and constructive campaigning. She's effectively an ablative hate-shield and never has there been a better target to draw the worst bile the GOP (and others) have to offer.

Bullshitghazi.

The bile fountain is found at the center of the Party, and she's the Viagara for all of their sad hate-ons.

Take her away and they lose their favorite and most profitable scripts.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:32 AM on October 21 [2 favorites]


Take her away and they lose their favorite and most profitable scripts.

Agreed. I always like challenging Trump voters "tell me what you like about the Republicans and Trump without mentioning Obama or Clinton". You can almost see the mental car crash happening.
posted by benzenedream at 12:05 PM on October 21 [27 favorites]


Playing the “is she or isn’t she” game is, ultimately, self-destructive (to you and me, not Tulsi).

If you're like me, and your standard is "Beyond the appearance of impropriety", the fact that there's a game to be played is the showstopper.
posted by mikelieman at 12:23 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Hey, guess who else likes Gabbard? Glenn Beck.

Speaking of Gabbard's actual platform, she was stringently anti-abortion, and now her public stance is only a couple of decades out of date: "safe, legal, and rare" & Gabbard added that she would also ensure that “abortion is not an option in the third trimester". Public; as noted in the 2017 "Tulsi Gabbard is Not Your Friend" Jacobin piece linked in a previous post:

But suspicion of Gabbard lingers. Her state Democratic Party LGBT caucus, for instance, openly distrusts her, and backed her Democratic primary opponent in 2016. When questioned why the LGBT caucus, which had actually supported her three years earlier, had turned against her, the chairman cited two things. One was her less-than-stellar answers to a questionnaire the LGBT Caucus had sent. The other was a 2015 interview with Ozy, in which she confirmed that her personal views on gay marriage and abortion hadn’t changed, just her view on whether the government should enforce its vision of morality.

Emphasis mine. It's unlikely that for foreign policy, she'll consult her conscience, and sees doing so as a strength, yet park her personal feelings on the doorstep in domestic policy matters.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:14 PM on October 21 [18 favorites]


And now Gabbard is using the Tucker Carlson interview as the basis for an online ad.

Because if there's one thing I look for in a candidate, it's putting more Tucker Carlson out there.
posted by kewb at 1:44 PM on October 21 [15 favorites]






Man I am sick of someone’s “service to the country” being used as a excuse or a shield from any and all criticism. Hearing it from a supposed leftist like Bernie is even worse.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 4:08 PM on October 21 [26 favorites]


Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, Everyone Is A Russian Asset
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 4:42 PM on October 21 [8 favorites]


Not everyone - some of us old fogeys are still taking money from the Reptilians.
posted by AdamCSnider at 4:52 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


NO, BERNIE, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? That's not even an accurate characterization! Is this a good position to take? Welp, there is still some rancor in the Bernie camp for Clinton, so perhaps this position only consolidates that support. I still think he should've just ignored it...

Also, if you listen to the actual segment on the David Plouffe "Campaign HQ" podcast, Clinton makes a few points when discussing GOP strategy, but not that Tulsi is a Russian asset. Basically, she said Jill Stein is the Russian asset, and Gabbard is being groomed (wittingly or uniwttingly) to be a possible spoiler in 2020. In my read, Clinton basically says:

-It's virtually impossible for today's GOP to get a majority of votes (>50%). Due to polarization and party platform, their support maxes out in the 40s.
-Therefore the GOP's strategy in 2020 (as in 2016) will necessarily have "dividing the opposition vote" as a key component so they can win with a simple plurality of votes.
-They are of course preparing for this and have begun grooming a candidate in the 2020 Democratic primaries (insinuating Gabbard) to split the vote, perhaps via a 3rd/Green party run. If you examine online bot and official Russian media accounts, this candidate already seems to be a favorite of the Russians.
-This would happen assuming Jill Stein, who is a Russian asset, decides to give up the role of spoiler herself.

I don't know where the disconnect happened, but I do think political media loves to mis-characterize more nuanced positions into simple bludgeons in order to force a cockfight (as in the "basket of deplorables" debacle). A more honest take would have been "Clinton hints that Gabbard might be used by the GOP and Russia to split the Dem vote in 2020". But here we are.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 5:32 PM on October 21 [33 favorites]


Apocryphon, Gravel endorsed Gabbard and came out supporting her against HRC recently, too...he, at least, seems pretty confident about Gabbard's anti-imperialism bonafides.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 5:41 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


I absolutely fail to see why this needed to be done...

Because everyone is ignoring the fact that Russia is interfering in our elections again. We even know how they're doing it, and we're still not discussing it. We even know who they're promoting. We're still not discussing it.


...and even assuming necessity, I fail to see why Clinton had to be the one to do it.

Because no candidate make the simple observation that Russia is supporting Gabbard without it being called out as a political move, and no one else has the clout for the issue to gain first page coverage.

You can hate Hillary, but if you're a candidate who's thinking it's okay to ignore Russia's support of your campaign, you're now on notice. Hillary's observation and Gabbard's response just turned her political career into a dumpster fire.
posted by xammerboy at 7:44 PM on October 21 [15 favorites]


Tulsi Gabbard is garbage, and could be an unwitting dupe of Russian counter-intel trolling, but I am not liking this sudden movement to regard everyone to the left of Kamala Harris as Secret Russian Agents

Just because the Trumpists are probably compromised doesn't mean we need to start seeing Putin in every shadow.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:11 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Is Gabbard to the left of Harris?
posted by biogeo at 8:32 PM on October 21 [10 favorites]


Like, if the definition of "asset" includes (absurdly) "working towards similar policy ends", then is anyone who pushes for an end to Trump's trade war with China a "Chinese asset"? And is every policy end that Russia works toward axiomatically bad in some way? Russia would LOVE the USA to retreat from its role as global hegemon, because yeah, it means Russia can be more freely imperial in its own sphere, but does that mean that American hegemony is actually good? Is that seriously the MSNBC Democrat position now?
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 8:35 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


First, Hillary didn't call Gabbard an asset. Hillary said she was being groomed. Second, assets include what are called Useful Idiots, people who are manipulated into working toward achieving your goals without realizing they are. Is Trump a Russian asset whether he knows he is one or not? Yes he is.
posted by xammerboy at 8:41 PM on October 21 [17 favorites]


Ray Walston, LD: I think I know how you might feel.

However, we know that this kind of interference in U.S. elections, by Russia, has already happened before. We have plenty of indictments to support this. We know that Russia is doing it now and will do it again, and perhaps they'll have to do it to a greater degree in order that the GOP win by a safe margin given Trump's current unpopularity and the size of the actual GOP "base" today. I think there is value in learning perhaps not to see "Putin in every shadow" but in knowing what he might look like and how to spot him in the shade.

Also, on preview, what xammerboy said.

Aside from Twitter, reddit, and fringe media, no one I know is saying everyone "to the left of Kamala Harris" are "Secret Russian Agents". This whole thing started when Clinton implied Gabbard might eventually be used by the GOP and Russia to split the vote. Yes, Bernie was used by Russia in 2016 to the same effect, and Jill Stein also played a large role as a target for "protest votes". We were a lot more innocent then; we can be a lot more vigilant now.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 8:50 PM on October 21 [6 favorites]


Facebook on Monday disclosed it had taken down four new foreign interference operations originating from Iran and Russia, including one targeting the US 2020 presidential elections that appears to be linked to the Russian troll agency, the Internet Research Agency (IRA). The suspected IRA campaign “had the hallmarks of a well-resourced operation that took consistent operational security steps to conceal their identity and location”, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in a blogpost.

The campaign used 50 Instagram accounts and one Facebook account with about 246,000 followers to publish nearly 75,000 posts, according to Graphika, a social network analysis company that reviewed the campaign for Facebook.

The accounts adopted various political identities, such as pro-Donald Trump, anti-police violence, pro-Bernie Sanders, LGBTQ, feminist, pro-police and pro-Confederate, according to Graphika’s analysis. Most posts were not explicitly related to electoral politics, Graphika said, but were focused on general political commentary for “persona development and branding”.
posted by xammerboy at 9:00 PM on October 21 [9 favorites]


Bernie and Warren are to the left of Harris, and nobody’s calling them Russian assets.
posted by Selena777 at 9:24 PM on October 21 [6 favorites]



Facebook on Monday disclosed it had taken down four new foreign interference operations originating from Iran and Russia


That's like the San Francisco mayor announcing they've gotten 40 homeless people off the street. As long as FB doesn't let it slip how bad the problem really is (they probably don't know), every development will be hailed as significant. Every time it comes up I wonder more and more what proportion of the traffic flowing in, out, and among Facebook's servers is for features that any of us use, with a portion of the rest being valid advertising and commercial purposes, and the rest being trash being used to scam people one way or another. I doubt the good stuff is very much at all.
posted by rhizome at 9:24 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


Bernie and Warren are to the left of Harris, and nobody’s calling them Russian assets.

I've definitely seen people call Bernie a Russian asset.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:34 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


> Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, Everyone Is A Russian Asset

Here's another recent Taibbi gem: We're in a permanent coup

Come for the Russiagate"both sides"-ism, stay for "the people pushing hardest for Trump’s early removal are more dangerous than Trump."

No More Mister Nice Blog responds: Matt Taibbi Finds His Audience (with special guest appearance by Mefi's Pwned Scott Adams)

Scott Lemieux chimes in: And I do not support a full investigation
I have questions!
  • Does he understand that a “coup” against Donald Trump would require upwards of two dozen Republican senators?
  • Does he understand that in the unlikely event of such a “coup,” the result would be…President Mike Pence?
  • Does he think that literally any removal of a political leader from office is a “coup”? Was it a “coup” when Senate Republicans told Nixon he’d be convicted so he reigned? Is the impeachment power itself illegitimate? What about votes of confidence in the Westminster system? Are elections the only possible form of accountability for any misconduct by a top elected official?
  • Is “Trump’s opposition is worse than Trump” the point where any distinction between “anti-anti-Trump” and “supports Trump” becomes meaningless?
posted by tonycpsu at 9:43 PM on October 21 [8 favorites]


Have we forgotten about Obama who didn't come out until 2012 after an entire first term?

That’s a good point, you’ve persuaded me not to vote for Obama in 2020.


What does this even mean? I wrote something in response to asteria and naoko's comment, I have no idea what this supposed to mean.

If Gabbard is still horrible I would need to find much stronger evidence.

You should check out this thread, then


That's such a glib deflection. Of course people, myself included, are trying to sort out information in face of the fact that much information is not easy to access. That problem is quite separate from people employing bad or incorrect arguments/analyses, and so recognizing and admitting that some arguments aren't great is also important. If you can't respect that process, you're not really practicing progressive values, but reactionary ones.
posted by polymodus at 9:51 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


Gravel gets fired up: "It's awesome that Hillary stole the nomination from Bernie and lost a gimme election to a rapist. It's awesome that the coterie of assholes who gave us Trump blame Bernie and shitty Russian Facebook ads so they don't have to hide their heads in shame every single day. Fuck them."
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 10:12 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


[No, please don't relitigate the 2016 Democratic primary.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:33 PM on October 21 [9 favorites]


Good to know that even Mike Gravel is so buried so deep in Hillary Derangement Syndrome that he can't understand that a candidate having faults does not make it OK for a foreign power to interfere in our elections in order to keep that candidate from being elected. And it especially isn't OK to deny or downplay those efforts because you can't stand the thought that anything but Hillary's own blunders were responsible for Trump's win.

Or maybe it's about avoiding the bad feelings that might be generated if one was forced to confront one's silence in the face of a foreign attack on our very democracy.

It is actually possible to think both that this is a very big and very real problem and that chest beating and military conflict are not the answer. Acknowledging Russian interference and the knowing acceptance of support by some politicians does not require the endorsement of imperialism, strangely enough.

It's almost enough to make me wonder if there aren't a lot more targets waiting for fingers than I realize.
posted by wierdo at 10:54 PM on October 21 [17 favorites]


Based on replies from the account, the Gravel tweet was actually from the teens who run the @MikeGravel account, not from the former senator. However, as mentioned above, Gravel himself has expressed strong support for both Gabbard and Sanders.

The sad fact is that if your principal criterion is that a candidate be willing to speak out against the military-industrial complex, you don't have a lot of choices.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:06 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


The whole point of the Russian interference is to instigate real tweets just like that one to further divide Americans.
posted by xammerboy at 11:12 PM on October 21 [11 favorites]


Hillary's observation and Gabbard's response just turned her political career into a dumpster fire.

Given that Clinton was the one to make it, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see her fundraising jump this quarter, or for her to do better in the po-

Michael Tracey: "New qualifying poll for Tulsi in Iowa. She is now *tied* with Kamala and ahead of Booker, Yang, Beto, etc."

Sahil Kapur:
Iowa poll: USA Today/Suffolk

Biden 18% (-6 since July)
Warren 17% (+4)
Buttigieg 13% (+7)
Sanders 9% (-)
Steyer 3% (n/a)
Gabbard 3% (+2)
Harris 3% (-13)
Klobuchar 3% (+1)

**undecided 29% (+8)**
posted by Apocryphon at 11:28 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


Jeet Heer:
1. This "Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed to be a Russian asset" thing is another depressing example of how a subset of centrists & liberals have allowed CIA cosplaying to replace the actual work of politics

2. Part of the problem is the term "asset" is deliberately vague, covering both those actively being compromised by foreign powers & those promoted by foreign power (which is not something can control). This was the logic FBI used to spy on antiwar movement.

3. Let's see how the logic plays out. a) main evidence Gabbard is Russian asset is Russian bots promote her b) Gabbard gained 50,000 followers after Clinton attack c) so is Clinton a Gabbard asset (and by extension a Russian asset)?

4. Which is not to defend Gabbard's politics. She's an Islamophobic ultra nationalist who wants "war on terror" to be fought with drones & commandos. But that's congruent enough with centrism that she doesn't get attacked on it.

5. Some more thoughts on the real trouble with Tulsi.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:18 AM on October 22 [5 favorites]


Wow, that Mike Gravel (and his teens) tweet is terrible. It's like it was grown in a lab for tweets that induce an emotional response from two broad factions to be weaponized across a social network while maintaining an air of comedy, an almost perfect example of what needs to be amplified to repeat the mistakes of the 2016 election. But maybe it's not for me and I'm being a wet blanket...

Full disclosure: I like Bernie (supported him in early 2016, but switched to Clinton when the fandom became toxic), dislike Tulsi (what's her specific case for being president? is she angling for the more centrist VP slot a la Lieberman/Kaine/Biden?), and I dislike the candidates' rushing to her defense against a straw man that never existed, instead of simply dropping the topic. Also, not an imperialist, whatever that implies.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 12:33 AM on October 22 [11 favorites]


How do Gabbard defenders feel about her support structure from conservatives and the alt-right--support not shared by other candidates? Is it her ability to reach across the aisle? Perhaps they're really into anti-imperialism? Or could she be sending out dog-whistles that they're cheering?
posted by schroedinger at 2:31 AM on October 22 [12 favorites]


The Sanders tweet in support of Gabbard is an interesting look at how even "left" campaigns end up having to tap into the same kinds of imagery to try to make public appeals. It basically argues that it's grossly unjust to imply that Gabbard could be somehow serving foreign interests. But the main line of defense is that Gabbard was a soldier in the second Iraq War under George W. Bush.

So, essentially, it's an appeal to patriotism and military service in defense of a candidate whose main appeals seems to be her opposition to U.S. military intervention. And not just any military service, but service in probably the prime example of U.S. imperialism in recent years.

I understand, to some extent, those who are essentially single-issue voters on U.S. militarism, and I think it's a change we need. But it's frustrating to see how rarely that "single-issue" perspective comes with anything more coherent than, I guess, a kind of isolationism. I think this dodges the issue of what non-military and intelligence services interventions a wealthy, powerful country should undertake, and it seems to assume that other bad actors on the international scene impose no moral responsibility on anyone but themselves. What is an appropriate U.S. response, if any, when Russia annexes Crimea, or when China sends the Uyghurs to reeducation camps?

Gabbard is particularly incoherent on this issue; she's willing tp say supportive things about other countries' bombing campaigns in certain countries, has voiced support for what she calls "limited" drone strikes to fight what she insists we call "Islamic extremists," favors non-Muslim refugee acceptance but has voted against accepting Syrian refugees, is on record as broadly pro-Israel but favors a two-state solution, and has said that any attack on U.S. troops would require a military response.

This is the problem with single-issue voting and single-issue candidates. The question of what to do - as opposed to what NOT to do -- never seems to have a particularly systematic, coherent answer. OK, regime change wars are bad. Agreed. What should happen when one country invades another, or when we get credible reports of a genocide in progress? what happens if someone does fire on U.S. troops?

So often, the responses I get from single-issue "U.S militarism is bad" folks are often poor guides to what should or could be done. "Russia is just defending its interests against European Union meddling in Crimea," I'm told. "Those troops shouldn't have been there in the first place." And "Well, the U.S. once did something similarly bad, so the U.S. lacks the moral standing to do anything." Worst of all, I sometimes get a variant of, "This is only happening now because of the U.S. incentivizing it; no other country really wants to do these things, so they'll stop once the U.S. stops throwing its weight around."

And, you know, those aren't actually answers so much as desires to exist in an alternate history where these things never happened, or where they'll never happen again as long as the United States simply withdraws entirely from the world stage. Interpreted int he worst light, they seem to be statements that something is only really bad, or at least only worth discussing, if it's the United States's action.

The thing is, I don't think those resposnes are really representative ones. They're on-the-spot answers, the kinds of things you say when you suspect someone's trying to undermine your ideals, to lay a "gotcha" game.

What does a coherent non-imperialist foreign policy look like, then? Is it built on massive increases in refugee and asylum quotas? Does the U.S. convert military bases into humanitarian or regional refugee centers (which would, of course, raise questions about the permissibility of a U.S. presence or even of defensive violence)? Does or can the U.S. offer any support to nonprofits or political parties in countries our foreign policy has harmed, groups that seem to be pushing for real reform or state-building? what can be done to discourage other countries from trying to become hegemonic powers, within the bounds of an anti-0imperialist foreign policy?

I have my own ideas of the answers -- some of these questions suggest them -- but I'd love to hear a broader articulation of what a non-hegemonic major economy does in the world and what it should do.
posted by kewb at 3:47 AM on October 22 [29 favorites]


I really can't see most of the leftist defenses of Tulsi as anything but a left-unity response to the fact that the people who are loudest in their anger about Tulsi do endorse imperialism.

Gabbard is not of the left. The people loudest in their anger about Gabbard as far as I can see are the people she has said she be denied marriage, though I'm sure if I could see them the Syrians she has endorsed Assad's empire over would probably be more angry. Except she has worked to keep Syrian refugees out of the country so I can't ask them. Etc. But good to know all the queers and all the folks who had to flee Syria "endorse imperialism."

One has to twist "imperialism" pretty far to claim that Gabbard herself doesn't endorse imperialism (as long as it's by other than the US).
posted by PMdixon at 3:54 AM on October 22 [10 favorites]


I have my own ideas of the answers -- some of these questions suggest them -- but I'd love to hear a broader articulation of what a non-hegemonic major economy does in the world and what it should do.

There is also no discussion anywhere I know of about what a leftist monetary policy looks like, and I think those two discussions would/should/could be deeply intertwined.
posted by PMdixon at 3:55 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


[A couple deleted; don't make things personal. Discuss the issues, not other people in the conversation.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:39 AM on October 22


Modi is a Hindu nationalist. Gabbard is explicitly pro-Modi and anti-Muslim. She opposes Muslim immigration to the US. All of this aligns her much more with the white nationalists of the Republican Party than anything on the US left.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:40 AM on October 22 [16 favorites]


It's a unity response perhaps mistakenly generated but it's not because Tulsi is left, it's because the criticism coming from HRC makes this whole debate an obvious arena for discussion about the Democratic party's position on Russian assets and imperialism. Which people are debating, it's not a derail, it's taking something of value from this whole exchange.

I agree Tulsi is also an imperialist, but she's perceived as being less of one by the more conservative Dem voters and the criticism is coming from someone considered the figurehead of that right bloc. Which, again perhaps mistakenly, aligns the left bloc against the criticism with a similar effect coming from sympathizing with the as accusations of Russian trolling.
posted by Acid Communist at 5:42 AM on October 22


All of this just makes me think that some people who identify as "left" in the US have been really affected by disinformation campaigns. I just don't understand how anyone who knows anything about Gabbard can think that she's to the left of pretty much anyone in the Democratic Party. Yes, they really hate Hillary Clinton, but I'm not sure that they even know why.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:24 AM on October 22 [33 favorites]


I'm having a really hard time with the fact that Sanders defended Gabbard. Like I don't know if it was a meaningless remark to get the controversy off his radar, which is OK I guess. Or if he really meant it, which would not be great.
posted by great_radio at 6:54 AM on October 22 [10 favorites]


the criticism coming from HRC makes this whole debate an obvious arena for discussion about the Democratic party's position on Russian assets and imperialism

wut
posted by PMdixon at 7:08 AM on October 22 [5 favorites]


You know what I'm really stuffing up whatever it is I'm trying to communicate here so basically, sorry for wasting people's time, have a good one.
posted by Acid Communist at 8:37 AM on October 22


Is there a coherent statement from Gabbard that explains how she differs from Sanders and why she didn't just support him again this time?
posted by benzenedream at 8:42 AM on October 22 [6 favorites]


I for one am totally fucking sick of Bernie Sanders and would very much like him to drop out of the race right after Biden. His whole yell grandpa routine wore really thin really fast. Don't get it. Don't care how good his politics are, he's obnoxious.

Tulsi Gabbard and Andrew Yang and that meathead rich dude whose name I can't be arsed to remember can also fuck off. Maybe then the remaining candidates can talk like grownups instead of talk show morons.
posted by aspersioncast at 9:03 AM on October 22 [10 favorites]


His whole yell grandpa routine wore really thin really fast. Don't get it. Don't care how good his politics are, he's obnoxious.

If you're not yelling angrily at this point then your politics aren't good enough.
posted by Rust Moranis at 9:21 AM on October 22 [13 favorites]


Just because Russia was supporting hundreds of black activists to fuck with us

Russian state manipulation focuses on stirring discord and chaos. And as chortly (and the NY Times) points out, they are eager to weaponize all of us, especially African American internet users and farther left activists and candidates.



Look at the language here. African Americans are somehow being stirred into discord and prompted to create chaos.

Could it be, gosh, the African Americans are getting a short, brown, sticky end of the stick and others are pointing this out? Naw, must be The Russians getting them upset.

Historically the Soviet Union pointed out the lack of civil rights for African Americans back in the 1960’s VS the stated position of foundational legal documents of the nation and at few of the politicians of the day said ‘Hey, if we stop doing what the Soviets are pointing out we are doing they can’t make the claim anymore’. Of course the predictable reaction of some was “you are supporting the Godless Commies”.

Instead of looking at the problems and doing the hard work of correcting them far simpler to wail “whataboutisem” if one points out the past behaviour or “its just a few bad apples” or whatever.


The goal of the project is to make a mockery of the entire concept of western democracy and a free and open society. The more incompetent he appears, the more stupid we look, which is good for authoritarians everywhere.

Or, perhaps, it is hard to claim you should live this way and not that way while you are not actually living the way you are saying you are living?

Now if I thought people here cared I’d try and track down the ex-Chinese diplomat who states how back in the early 2000 timeframe the job was simpler VS 2018 because the US wasn’t doing very similar things to the Chinese.


It should probably be noted that "Hillary is a warmonger!" was literally Russian propaganda messaging that was bot-boosted in the 2016 election,


Yea, them thar dirty Russians* for noting that someone who voted for a kinetic action that has Blue-talk of war crimes or the health outcomes of women in Libya are sure bad people for slapping the word “warmonger” on someone.

Nope, criticisms of the world’s largest military and the world’s reserve currency should not be spoken of by other nations or their citizens. And gosh, no WAY should other nations try to influence the elections in some other world-shaping nation.

VS actually not doing the thing that gets you criticized. Like not claiming there is a directed effort to suppress you by one person, hiring people tied to “Russian Propaganda”, and showing up on RT.

The world tried giving a peace prize to a guy who’d not actually done the peace promoting thing he ran on as some kind of inspire to be better than the last guy and that didn’t work out. If the rest of the world is being told “don’t stick your nose into our business” what is the viable path to a more calm world?

*s/facist/Russian/
posted by rough ashlar at 9:26 AM on October 22 [5 favorites]


It's pretty simple, actually. Gabbard's anti-nation-building stance makes her seem like she's an anti-interventionist dove, and her wartime service makes it sound like she experienced the foreign policy mistakes of previous governments firsthand. Of course, the truth is much more muddled than that.

The problem is, as I've pointed out before, is that the desires of the political class has been decoupled from the needs of the people. The people don't care for foreign interventions, for the surveillance state, for austerity, and so on. But a change to the present course- it doesn't even need to be disengagement, so much as a better plan- has been so unthinkable to the political establishment, that fringe figures from Gabbard to Stein to the presidential incumbent start looking a more palatable, because they're the only ones who seemingly speak truth to power.

And this isn't even just specific to the U.S.- it's a global phenomenon that's only accelerated after 2016. You see populists and radicals of both right and left appearing.

So if establishment conventional politicians towards the center want to stop this, the solution simple: stop pushing for policies that suck. The status quo sucks.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:31 AM on October 22 [7 favorites]


I'm having a really hard time with the fact that Sanders defended Gabbard.

I didn't see it that way based on what I saw on Twitter. The tweet was how he thought it was bad to call someone else an asset. Based on the politically reflexive "support the troop". More of a jab at Hillary.

Twitter did a fine job of pointing out that flaw with the thinking of soldier == support.

Now perhaps there is now further comments on the idea the Democratic Party members have their personal postions leak into party actions and Old Man Sanders has a valid reason to shake his fist at that cloud based on the documents Sanders had no access to but (to be on topic we'll say) The Russians did and then shared with the world.

The simple solution to the issues of Wasserman/Podesta was not to do them in the 1st place.

Unless, of course, The Russians are bad for letting the world know what was going on and dirty laundry should go unaired.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:41 AM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Emerson shows Gabbard polling at 3% nationally, compared to their previous national poll with her at 1%, and higher than Booker/Beto/Klobuchar, so Clinton's attempt to destroy a dangerous fringe figure or movement is seemingly backfiring, as usual.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:41 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


[Folks please lay off the "old man Sanders" stuff. I get that it's referring to an archetype, but it ends up reinforcing some ageist ideas and it's better if we can avoid that.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:47 AM on October 22 [8 favorites]


Tulsi is something like "one step forward, four steps back."

@GregOlear: "This man is Chris Butler (b. 1948), aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa. He's the founder of the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF), a fringe yogic sect based in Hawai’i.

He is the “guru” of #Tulsi Gabbard, who was a child of the Science of Identity cult."

I've had misgivings about the limits of the First Amendment as practiced, the narrow definition of "religion" that is allowed to exist without public debate, but I'm also aware of the Tolerance Paradox, and this one sounds problematic.
posted by rhizome at 10:14 AM on October 22 [5 favorites]


> Emerson shows Gabbard polling at 3% nationally, compared to their previous national poll with her at 1%, and higher than Booker/Beto/Klobuchar, so Clinton's attempt to destroy a dangerous fringe figure or movement is seemingly backfiring, as usual.

It's rare to see such a glaring example of working backwards from a conclusion to find facts to support it.

Gabbard was at 3% in August, then at 1% as you cited in September, and now 3% in Ocotber.. The margin of error of these polls has varied in the last 3 polls from 2.7% to 4.5%, meaning any bounce from 3% down to 1% and then back to 3% is easily explainable by sampling error. To make a plausible case that HRC's comments had any effect, you'd really need to see her make a more meaningful jump, and ideally from more than just a single poll.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:47 AM on October 22 [27 favorites]


(Also: the fact that the field is narrowing to the point where there are twelve candidates in the debates rather than twenty would naturally push up the numbers of those that remain.)
posted by tonycpsu at 10:53 AM on October 22 [3 favorites]


In re: "going after Gabbard for being in a cult wouldn't happen to a non-Hindu": I have this article about Amy Coney Barrett on speed dial, any time the next Supreme Court opening gets speculated on.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:13 AM on October 22 [2 favorites]


It's pretty simple, actually. Gabbard's anti-nation-building stance makes her seem like she's an anti-interventionist dove, and her wartime service makes it sound like she experienced the foreign policy mistakes of previous governments firsthand. Of course, the truth is much more muddled than that.

I don't think my Muslim students and neighbors are super happy that people are defending an Islamophobe like Gabbard based on how she makes them feel about foreign policy. I can't believe that in the year 2019 anyone is calling a bigot like her a member the US left. It's appalling.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:33 AM on October 22 [23 favorites]


Because of the inherently constricting nature of America's two-party system, coupled with a political culture that is seemingly stuck on subjects like foreign intervention, it becomes easy for swindlers and grifters to rise to prominence by piping a different tune. Again if you hate the state of affairs, then it's up to those "responsible" non-fringe politicians who are in the core of power to actually step out of their boxes and adopt policies that would appeal to those who want "anti-imperialism" or "anti-neoliberal" policies. Otherwise people will just get seduced by those claiming to be "left"!

Or maybe the majority of the electorate is fine with intervention as is, or just not worked up enough to actually call for change. Or they are demoralized by the failures of the peace movement to stop the Iraq War back in 2003. Or because since Vietnam, Congress has ceded the ability to declare war to the executive branch. At any rate, in 2019, three years into this presidency, everyone right, left, and center; fringe or establishment, should have an understanding of how populism works, and it's not simply because of the Rodina, or racism!
posted by Apocryphon at 12:01 PM on October 22


Please explain "how populism works". As far as I can tell, as practiced in the US, it becomes nationalism and white supremacy pretty quickly every single time.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:13 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


The rise of Bernie Sanders, AOC, the Squad, even Elizabeth Warren (via Occupy Wall Street) are also expressions of populism. In Mexico, AMLO is also an expression of left-wing populism. In Canada and throughout Europe, Green parties are seeing unprecedented electoral success (well, prior to the most recent federal election). A crack-up of the existing political order is happening, and not all currents within it are necessarily nationalist, nor right-wing.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:22 PM on October 22 [5 favorites]


What's frustrating about this for me, as a person who thinks Tulsi is shitty, is wary of Hillary's impact on politics, and wonders why the Gravel teens are still relevant, is that there are shades of grey here which nobody wants to acknowledge, because acknowledging it would keep us from getting to score points against our favorite political bullseye. Regardless of whom that bullseye is.

It feels to me like the people who are mad at Hillary's comments are misrepresenting what she actually said. At the same time, there're a lot of people who're pro-Hillary but hate the "Sanders left" who are equally misrepresenting the arguments that those folks are making. I think that my view on this probably lines up with the "Sanders left", in that I think Gabbard going to make virtually no discernible impact on the 2020 election, and find some of the talk about Russia's attempt to involve itself to have a bit of a paranoid, hysterical tinge to it. That's not the same as saying that I don't think Russia's up to some shady shit, or that Tulsi's weird politics make her a prime mark.

There's room, I think, to be somewhat dismissive of this narrative, and somewhat disinterested in what Hillary said (or says period), without jumping to thinking that Tulsi's a good politician or that foreign influence on elections either isn't happening or is fine. But if this thread is any proof, we don't need "Russian bots" to polarize the Democrat base—we're more than capable of shrieking counterproductively at each other without their influence. Which, in turn, is why I don't find Russia's Manchurian candidate nearly as distressing as, y'know, everything else in American politics.

And to preempt whoever was going around earlier accusing MeFites of being a bot: I absolutely am one, so please disregard this comment.
posted by rorgy at 12:41 PM on October 22 [6 favorites]


I'm failing to understand why anyone thinks Gabbard is to the left of any Dem candidate.
She's alt right, completely supported by alt right politicians and pundits and pretty much no one else, so where does this idea come from?

That's one of the things that makes people suspicious.
posted by bongo_x at 1:21 PM on October 22 [20 favorites]


The idea comes from the fact that in 2016 she quit the DNC and endorsed Sanders early in the process. That's the reason. You would (and still do) see some people saying things like Sanders should pick her as his running mate.
posted by Justinian at 1:27 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


If you're not yelling angrily at this point then your politics aren't good enough.

IT IS INDEED NATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY.

I think that my view on this probably lines up with the "Sanders left", in that I think Gabbard going to make virtually no discernible impact on the 2020 election, and find some of the talk about Russia's attempt to involve itself to have a bit of a paranoid, hysterical tinge to it.

Me too, actually, although I think some of it is also probably true.

It just gets exhausting to shout about the obvious actually shambling horror that is the current presidential administration, and so sometimes you end up shouting about "your side." They seem slightly more likely to actually be responsive.
posted by aspersioncast at 1:28 PM on October 22


The rise of Bernie Sanders, AOC, the Squad, even Elizabeth Warren (via Occupy Wall Street) are also expressions of populism. In Mexico, AMLO is also an expression of left-wing populism. In Canada and throughout Europe, Green parties are seeing unprecedented electoral success (well, prior to the most recent federal election). A crack-up of the existing political order is happening, and not all currents within it are necessarily nationalist, nor right-wing.

Is there some reason not to call this simply democracy?

To me, the word populism is completely tainted by its association with every isolationist bigot in the history of our country. And people rooting for Tulsi Gabbard isn't helping that much.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:45 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Good to know that taking about actual documented interference, well beyond fake Facebook ads and Twitter brigading, along with the actual documented continuation of the very same activities up to the present day is somehow being "hysterical."

The induction of a significant portion of our population into a literal cult is just politics as usual. I realize that it's been going on a long time now so it's hard to see that it isn't normal, but it's not. It wasn't that many years ago that open and overt white supremacy was rare enough to make the national news. The KKK was a fucking joke, even literally a few minutes' drive outside their few remaining strongholds of overt identification.

I think we tend to have this mental picture of the casually racist as just waiting for any fig leaf of an excuse to join a posse and start threatening and/or killing all the "others." To a great extent, I don't even think that is an incorrect assessment of the situation as it stands today. That has not always been the case. It takes some kind of push for so many people to go from telling racist jokes in what they perceive as "safe" company to agitating for the removal or extermination of everyone not like them.

Did Russia start the process? Hell no, it would be stupid to make that argument. However, there are some odd coincidences of timing regarding its escalation into open violence that bear further scrutiny. They've been funding the increasingly racist NRA for over a decade now, so is it really such a leap to think they could be involved in other aspects of the situation?
posted by wierdo at 2:37 PM on October 22 [20 favorites]


From Wapo: Some 2020 Democratic candidates are defending Tulsi Gabbard against Hillary Clinton’s accusations. A lot of intelligence experts aren’t.
posted by Justinian at 3:20 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


The Russians are bad for letting the world know what was going on and dirty laundry should go unaired.

Qu'on me donne six lignes écrites de la main du plus honnête homme, j'y trouverai de quoi le faire pendre.
posted by PMdixon at 3:31 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


I think one aspect of this that we've sort of brushed past here is that, from the standpoint of a Putin-like authoritarian disruptor, there are two alternative outcomes to this kind of plotting that are beneficial from the disruptor's standpoint. In one, he gets people into power who answer to him or at least know better than to cross him. In another, even if he gets no power within the system at all, the knowledge of these widespread conspiracies itself destabilizes and delegitimizes democratic procedures (see: all the comments on MeFi and beyond doubting the validity of future US election results), so that international arguments based on democratic legitimacy rather than authoritarian strength become weaker and weaker (as they have).

Which is to say that Putin may be almost as happy to have his operations be exposed as to have them succeed, because that exposure, and the concomitant spread of conspiratorial and paranoid thinking, is itself a kind of success.
posted by Not A Thing at 3:38 PM on October 22 [9 favorites]


Unless, of course, The Russians are bad for letting the world know what was going on and dirty laundry should go unaired.

I've thought about this a lot and I think it comes down to a misstatement of the goal. Our goal is for people to be able to make the best decision possible rather than having as much information as possible. Those goals are usually aligned. But they don't have to be!

I think the perfect analogy is a used car salesman who has 2 cars you are interested in. The sticker price is $2000 on either car. The salesman tells you *truthfully* that car A's brake pads are kind of shot so it'll probably need $500 worth of work in a few months. So you figure the cost of the car is actually $2500 and buy Car B. However, unbeknownst to you but known to the salesman, Car B's transmission is also kind of shot and it'll need $1500 worth of work in a few months. Which means you end up paying way more than if you'd bought Car A.

So, the salesman has told you nothing untrue. He has given you more, true information than you had before making the decision. However, has his telling you of the problems with car A while holding back what he knows are problems with car B increased or decreased your ability to make a good decision? The answer is obviously decreased. Through selective sharing of real, true, nominally important information he has led you to a terrible decision.

That's what happened and what may happen again. Real, true, nominally important (though that's debatable) info was shared in a manner which badly decreased the electorate's ability to make a good decision. (Remember: The Russians hacked the RNC as well. Just as in the analogy they had information on both sides which was accurate but only provided it with regard to one side.)
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on October 22 [27 favorites]


but I'd love to hear a broader articulation of what a non-hegemonic major economy does in the world and what it should do.

The major economy that is the most non-interventionist would be Japan.
On the military side, they are constitutionally prohibited from waging war overseas. There is some limited wiggle room if forces alongside theirs are attacked (like, a Japanese ship and American ship traveling together, and the American ship came under fire).
Abe wanted to change this, but it's unlikely to happen at this point since he didn't manage it when his position was still strong, and most Japanese oppose this.

This is paired with a basically head-in-the-sand approach to world problems. They avoid stances on human rights abuses in other countries as much as possible, take in almost no refugees, etc.

Thats about as non-interventionist as you can get. It's not likely to be a stance that appeals to a majority of Americans, I suspect.

Would it be possible to have the first part without the second part? Maybe, but then the question is what influence you would use to achieve results (certainly the US leans heavy on the threat of or actual use of force today).
posted by thefoxgod at 3:58 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


Hillary Clinton claims Russians are Grooming Tulsi Gabbard for a third-party run.

Okay, stop the thread. Reboot.

The New York Times has corrected their story which incorrectly quoted Hillary Clinton with an inflammatory misdirection.

Here is the new, corrected story:

Hillary Clinton ... suggesting that Russia was backing Tulsi Gabbard [true] and that REPUBLICANS were "grooming" her as a third-party candidate [also true, given the comments of Rove and other Republicans leaping to her defense].

Nothing about Russians grooming Tulsi. Nothing about her being a Russian asset. Really. The New York Times is absolute garbage. They just make shit up about Clinton all the time.

And here, once again, you have an entire very long thread based on false accusations against Clinton by the New York Times. The emails. The Foundation. Give it up.
posted by JackFlash at 5:22 PM on October 22 [40 favorites]


Point of information: the piece linked in the OP is from CNN, not the NYT, and mentions the NYT only in the context of this non-Clinton-related article.
posted by Not A Thing at 5:40 PM on October 22


Also point of information -- all, and I mean CNN and all the rest, including Gabbard's response, were basing their reports on the original story in the New York Times. The New York Times started this whole flame war with their misquotation of Clinton. This whole thread is based on a lie by the New York Times.
posted by JackFlash at 5:45 PM on October 22 [7 favorites]


This was a quote from a podcast, no? Has no one actually listened to it??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:53 PM on October 22


all, and I mean CNN and all the rest, including Gabbard's response, were basing their reports on the original story in the New York Times.

Please substantiate. Playing the video, the CNN report uses a snippet that appears to be taken directly from the Plouffe podcast. And again, it does not mention the NYT.

It seems like the Clinton camp is making some sort of argument about the correct antecedent of "they" in her quote, but even if her quote is ambiguous (which it really doesn't seem to be in my reading), it's hardly a "lie" to give it the most obvious interpretation.
posted by Not A Thing at 5:53 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


You're missing the biggest revision of the quote. The word "Russian" has been changed to "Republican" before the grooming bit.
posted by Justinian at 5:55 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


Has no one actually listened to it??

I'm doing it right now. I'm 9 minutes into the 57 minute episode. Will report back.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:56 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


Politifact has a fairly extensive transcript of the podcast, which I am grateful for since my loyalty to this community does not really extend to listening to a David Plouffe podcast.
"They're also going to do third party again. And I'm not making any predictions but I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up. Which she might not, 'cause she's also a Russian asset."

Plouffe: (Inaudible)

Clinton: "Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean, totally.

"And so, they know they can't win without a third party candidate and, so, I don't know who it's going to be it but I will guarantee you they'll have a vigorous third party challenge in the key states that they most need it."
The antecedent of "they" is unclear, but even if it refers to Republicans, the thrust of Clinton's assertion is pretty clear.
posted by Not A Thing at 5:59 PM on October 22 [3 favorites]


some sort of argument about the correct antecedent

If you have an ambiguous antecedent, as a reporter, you don't just insert your own interpretation and then imply that it is a direct quote. That's a lie.
posted by JackFlash at 5:59 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


Clinton: "Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean, totally.

This seems like a fairly unambiguous claim. Bald-faced, but difficult to misinterpret.
posted by kafziel at 6:09 PM on October 22


Just by way of clarifying the issues here... There doesn't appear to be any question Clinton described the unnamed candidate [Gabbard] as a "favorite of the Russians" who have "a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far." And that she followed that up with a mention of Jill Stein, who is "also a Russian asset." (emphasis added)

If I'm correct on those understandings, I'm honestly unsure why it's even particularly important whether Clinton said that Russians were "grooming" Gabbard (important side note that grooming is something abusers do and doesn't imply intentional participation by the groomee), or merely implied it with an arguably-ambiguous use of the impersonal "they."
posted by Not A Thing at 6:10 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


I completely disagree with your reading that Clinton was saying Tulsi was a Russian asset. I know you don't want to listen to the podcast for context, and that's part of the problem with all the talking heads that don't care to check whether the cockfight they're instigating is based on accurate reporting because they've already put the popcorn in the microwave. The NYTimes should be ashamed of the horrendous garbage they've been putting out in the last few months. It's completely irresponsible. Baqet seems hellbent on turning them into print CNN.

Anyhow,
---
From the politifact article:
...
Plouffe: "You know, Donald Trump, as you know better than anyone in the world, only got 46.1% of the vote nationally. You know he got 47.2 in Wisconsin, 47.7 in Michigan, and if you had said those before the election you would have said he's going to lose in a landslide."

Clinton: "Right."

Plouffe: "But one of the reasons he was able to win is the third party vote."

Clinton: "Right."

Plouffe: "And what's clear to me, you mentioned, you know, he's going to just lie. ... He's going to say, whoever our nominee is, ‘will ban hamburgers and steaks and you can't fly and infanticide’ and people believe this. So, how concerned are you about that? For me, so much of this does come down to the win number. If he has to get 49 or even 49.5 in a bunch of…"

Clinton: "He can't do that."

Plouffe: "...which I don't think he can... So he's going to try and drive the people not to vote for him but just to say, ‘you know, you can't vote for them either.’ And that seems to be, I think, to the extent that I can define a strategy, their key strategy right now."

Clinton: "Well, I think there's going to be two parts and I think it's going to be the same as 2016: ‘Don't vote for the other guy. You don't like me? Don't vote for the other guy because the other guy is going to do X, Y and Z or the other guy did such terrible things and I'm going to show you in these, you know, flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they're on the dark web, and nobody can find them, but you're going to see them and you're going to see that person doing these horrible things.’"

"They're also going to do third party again. And I'm not making any predictions but I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up. Which she might not, 'cause she's also a Russian asset."

Plouffe: (Inaudible)

Clinton: "Yeah, she's a Russian asset, I mean, totally.

"And so, they know they can't win without a third party candidate and, so, I don't know who it's going to be it but I will guarantee you they'll have a vigorous third party challenge in the key states that they most need it."
---

There was absolutely no mention of Russia until after she had already said Gabbard was being groomed to be the third party candidate by the Republicans/Trump. She then says Jill Stein is a "Russian asset" and reinforces it. The only ambiguous part is the "also", which could be seen as Jill Stein also being used as a thrid party candidate.

The final sentence also makes it abundantly clear that Clinton is commenting on the fact that they (Trump/GOP) will need a third party candidate in the swing states to win, and that she still doesn't know "who it's going to be". It's not at the beginning or end of the podcast, more like the middle, and that's a strange place to fit the killer swipe you're looking for if she was looking to make news. She's just making the rounds again to promote her newly released book on women. I can't believe I'm defending Clinton here, in 2019. (Aside: Can you imagine if we spent as much time discussing the exegesis/hermeneutics of anyone else's commentary? It's fucking ridiculous. Hillary Derangement Syndrome is real.)
posted by donttouchmymustache at 6:38 PM on October 22 [29 favorites]


Final note, Tulsi's status as "the favorite of the Russians" has arguably been demonstrated several times in several investigations. She doesn't have to be a "secret agent." The podcast is almost an hour long and this is about 20 minutes in or so IIRC. But yeah, let's cover this aside on GOP strategy by Clinton and turn Tulsi into a purity test about standing up to DNC corruption and respect for our military. The whole thing is nuts.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 6:47 PM on October 22 [8 favorites]


Jesus christ. This whole thing is like a stupid little microcosm of how journalistic failure helped deliver us President Donald Trump in the first place. What a disgrace.
posted by biogeo at 6:56 PM on October 22 [34 favorites]


Jeez... If Clinton Derangement Syndrome gets people this spun on MeFi, how the heck are we going to expect any sort of rational discourse from the country as a whole?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:11 PM on October 22 [23 favorites]


Thank gawd someone found transcripts!

the only ambiguous part is the "also", which could be seen as Jill Stein also being used as a thrid party candidate.

To me, "that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up. Which she might not, 'cause she's also a Russian asset." means "I'm using "also" to imply that the woman Democratic candidate I'm not naming is a Russian asset, just like Jill Stein is a Russian asset." Clearly, other people interpreted it more positively than me, but that "also" she threw in is vague as hell.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:29 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Stein isn’t even running for the Green Party nomination in 2020.
posted by Apocryphon at 7:33 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


Language is ambiguous. My own read (and also those of a few people I've shown the transcript to who haven't yet seen the new framing) is that the "also" means that Stein is a Russian asset in addition to Gabbard being one, not that Stein is a Russian asset in addition to being a Republican one. But who the heck knows. What's more notable is that there is a lot of ambiguity and slippage in those statements, starting with "They're also going to do third party again," which is a lot less specific than Plouffe's previous focus on Trump. After bringing up Gabbard and the Russians, she then talks about how "They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far," which strictly speaking is still referring to the unspecified "They" at the start, which is probably the Republicans, but uses language usually associated with critiques of Russian interference ("sites and bots"). And then we get Stein, who is both the third party that "They" (Republicans) are doing, but is also a Russian asset being used by the Russians in a similar spoiler fashion. So it's unclear which "they" is responsible for Stein if she's both a tool of Russia and of They/Republicans doing a third party spoiler. In the end it returns to "They know they can't win unless..." which again seems to resolve back to the Republicans ... but phew is that a lot of ambiguity. And that's not even to mention the stuff earlier, "I'm going to show you in these, you know, flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they're on the dark web, and nobody can find them, but you're going to see them and you're going to see that person doing these horrible things." Does anyone know what that's referring to? Is that something about the Republicans, or Russians, or what? This is all just a casual conversation, so I personally don't feel like everything needs to be nailed down and thus I don't blame anyone for ambiguities, but it's also kind of striking how all the various "they"s do kind of flow together here.
posted by chortly at 7:37 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


It's as I suspected. We may have no choice but to convene the New Council of Nicaea to determine whether Hillary's epistle to the Plouffe podcast subscribers is truly "Baphomet-breathed".
posted by donttouchmymustache at 7:53 PM on October 22 [11 favorites]


[Y'all I was tired of fights about the 2016 primaries in 2016. Let's try and steer this back to talking about whatever the hell there is that's new to talk about if there's anything left there on this.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:36 PM on October 22 [10 favorites]


From metafilter's new guidelines: "Treat each other like fellow community members. Be considerate and respectful. MetaFilter discussion threads are conversations, not contests; add your own informed perspective and nuance instead of shutting others down. Extend the benefit of the doubt in conversations, and earn the benefit of the doubt that others are extending to you. Listen if someone says they're upset, and be willing to apologize and step back if you've said something hurtful, even if it was unintentional."
posted by 23skidoo at 7:43 AM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Now over here via a different comment from a metafilter post more vaguness:

"Clinton did not provide any evidence for her claim, though a spokesman later insisted to CNN, “This is not some outlandish claim; this is reality.” Gabbard, though, has previously ruled out an independent campaign."

Not some outlandish claim about Gabbard being groomed for a 3rd party run, but is "realifty"?


With all the "They"'s and "They're"'s of the actual statement it reads like an Alex Jones conspiracy theory about the 'thems' in power that need to be stopped.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:07 AM on October 23


Tulsi Gabbard has been quasi-aligned with Bernie Sanders ever since her endorsement of him in the democratic primary. She was endorsed by Bernie Sanders's Our Revolution in 2018, and the group of people endorsed seem pretty tight (for example, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also campaigned in Hawaii for Tulsi). So it doesn't surprise me too much that he defended her.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 12:34 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


Gaslit Nation's latest podcast episode reluctantly deals with the topic (from about 18 mins in): they go with "also" referring to Gabbard, but address the issue with their typical pith, context and overarching ethical analysis.
posted by progosk at 12:42 PM on October 23


" [...] flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they're on the dark web, and nobody can find them, but you're going to see them and you're going to see that person doing these horrible things." Does anyone know what that's referring to?

I would read it as referencing to surgically/algorithmically targeted videos part of campaigns bought on Facebook (interesting to see it painted into the "dark web" corner) by Russian entities, as were reported in the aftermath of 2016.
posted by progosk at 12:51 PM on October 23


Gaslit Nation's latest podcast episode reluctantly deals with the topic (from about 18 mins in) conveniently including the HRC audio, from "They're also going to do third party again" to "I mean, totally."
posted by progosk at 12:54 PM on October 23


chortly: "I'm going to show you in these, you know, flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they're on the dark web, and nobody can find them, but you're going to see them and you're going to see that person doing these horrible things."

Does anyone know what that's referring to?


I think she's just using "dark web" to mean the underbelly of the internet, like 4chan, 8chan, etc. (which aren't actually on the dark web.) In this sense she could mean videos crafted and shared in the alt-right meme factories before bubbling up to the mainstream and shared by our uncles on facebook. It's not entirely her fault for mistakenly calling it the dark web, since publications seem to be fast & loose with the term--

Vanity Fair: Why the Right's Dark-Web Trolls Are Taking Over YouTube

And Bari Weiss popularized the term "intellectual dark web" in a column.
posted by bluecore at 3:46 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


She's referring to deep fakes. Schiff has said that during the 2016 election his biggest concern would be that fake videos would circulate the web that intelligence agencies could not prove were fakes. Additionally, they were concerned that false information would be leaked with truthful information online, making it hard to disprove.
posted by xammerboy at 8:17 PM on October 23


I presumed she was talking about the ephemeral misleading Facebook ads, disinformation posts, and fake news videos that pop up for a short while and disappear without ever being catalogued due to their narrow targeting and short lifetime before being deleted.

You know, the shit that is driving the opinion of a freakishly large number of voters that we never even know exists aside from the distorted version filtered through the apparently insane ranting of Uncle Jim.
posted by wierdo at 8:34 PM on October 23 [4 favorites]


It's not entirely her fault for mistakenly calling it the dark web, since publications seem to be fast & loose with the termIt's not entirely her fault for mistakenly calling it the dark web, since publications seem to be fast & loose with the term

I thought the dark web was just wherever all those hackers are at.
posted by flabdablet at 9:20 PM on October 23


It is generally understood, in the geek community, that "dark web" refers to one of the various encrypted and decentralized networks. TOR and Freenet being the two biggest, TOR being easier to set up and quicker to use and Freenet being slower and more complex but also theoretically much more secure.
posted by sotonohito at 6:23 AM on October 24


The most glaring well documented version of what I'm talking about is along the lines of "15,000 low income possible voters in $city get targeted ads and/or messaging talking about $city prosecutor vows to prosecute anyone found voting without valid identification" leading a good fraction of them to worry that their voter registration card isn't good enough (assuming there is an ID requirement in the first place).

Or "20,000 men living in $afewruralcounties who "like" Glock see messages about $race in $nearbycity doing $horriblething to innocent people for a few hours at a time" on random days throughout a month.

The blending of user-created and advertiser-created content has made it ever easier by reducing the need for masses of fake accounts duping or exploiting people into friending them to get content in front of people's eyeballs. Microtargeted campaigns make it cheap to quickly evolve the message while only risking the account that can be replaced more easily than "mole" accounts since social media companies are perfectly happy to look the other way for the people paying the money as long as they think they have at least a fig leaf of plausible deniability.

Only once they see they have a winner do they risk the more time consuming to create deep cover bot networks. Those are the ones we hear about in the news, in coherent form, with receipts. The rest just add to the confusion, anger, and paranoia driving this train.
posted by wierdo at 11:11 AM on October 24 [9 favorites]


Charles Gasparino of Fox Business: SCOOP: @TulsiGabbard breaks bread with Wall Street fat cats at @huntandfishnyc; event sponsored by Dem fundraiser @robertwolf32 as she is said to weigh third-party run more now @FoxBusiness @TeamCavuto dotcom story to come.

Hah hah. Hah. haaah.

Surely a coincidence that what Clinton said would happen is happening. She is still wrong, wrong, wrong.
posted by Justinian at 4:36 PM on October 24 [12 favorites]


She is still wrong, wrong, wrong.

I mean, I'm sure people are saying that, but they're not in this thread. I don't want to reread this whole thread, but I did search for the word "third", and the biggest pushback I could find was one Mefite saying that there wasn't enough evidence that Gabbard is being groomed for a third party run, and another Mefite expressing doubts that any third party would want her.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:53 PM on October 24


I was mostly snarking at people like Van Jones who excoriated Clinton on CNN. Hell, I'm having trouble thinking of a talking head who didn't.
posted by Justinian at 4:59 PM on October 24 [3 favorites]


Oh, sure. I mean, I haven't watched the talking head reactions, but your take on them seems about right.
posted by 23skidoo at 5:03 PM on October 24


And today she showed up on Fox yet again, spewing Republican talking points about how terrible the impeachment committees are for "meeting behind closed doors."

Whether she's paid or just a useful idiot for free I don't know, but Clinton was right about her, just like she was about Trump.
posted by tavella at 7:17 PM on October 24 [21 favorites]


Gabbard going full MAGA apparently.
posted by Justinian at 8:07 PM on October 24 [2 favorites]


Gabbard announces she will not seek re-election to her House seat.

I'm still not sure Clinton's remarks were politically wise but boy howdy do they look prophetic.
posted by Justinian at 9:26 PM on October 24 [16 favorites]


A lot of people said Hillary was wrong in this thread.
posted by xammerboy at 10:10 PM on October 24 [9 favorites]


Charles Gasparino of Fox Business: SCOOP-Democratic insiders tell @FoxBusiness party brass believes only viable new candidate is @MikeBloomberg because he can self finance and get in the race as late as January we discuss this & the massive anxiety over @JoeBiden’s ability to last the distance on @TeamCavuto

seems like a legit source

And even if it's true, and also true that Gabbard was planning to launch an eventual third party run and completely flip-flops on her statements to the contrary- who do we have to thank for giving her free, unsolicited, unfunded publicity on a national level that no social media bot can hope to match?
posted by Apocryphon at 1:42 AM on October 25


Opened up the Twitters today and see that #tulsistein is trending.
posted by octothorpe at 4:03 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Her strategy seems pretty Trumpian at the moment. Or maybe these are GOP strategies. I can’t tell the difference anymore.
posted by wondermouse at 4:04 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


who do we have to thank for giving her free, unsolicited, unfunded publicity on a national level that no social media bot can hope to match?

And that's how it works (worked) - creating this miasma in which it starts to look like everyone is saying or doing a thing, which sparks actual engagement of real people lining up to be part of that thing. Mirror neurons. I can't recall now where I read this, but a story post-2016 talked about how a particular Facebook page in an Eastern European nation was built and populated initially by bots and their human seeders, and gradually drew thousands of real-person participants. As the content of the page slowly shaped the views of the participants, the page owners started reaching out to individual humans with private messages like "hey I saw you are really active on our page. I can't handle adminning alone but wondered if you'd want to help" and offering some money to take on the task. So it was a way of kicking off a flywheel that then happily turned on its own by channeling the energies of real people who got involved and/or reacted, and soon enough, the whole thing is sparking action and having consequences for people who have no sense that were initially stirred into the mix through an intentional process of recruitment. Look, it happened to us!
posted by Miko at 4:44 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Clint Watts: Sure Russia will amplify Gabbard, but when I hear what Gabbard says I always remember this article from 2016:
Bannon set up Trump-Gabbard meeting (11/21/16)

Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon contacted Tulsi Gabbard to arrange Monday’s meeting with the president-elect, according to a source close to Bannon.

“He reached out to her, not vice versa,” the source told The Hill on Monday.

Many in the media raised their eyebrows when the news broke that Trump was meeting at Trump Tower Monday morning with Hawaii’s Democratic congresswoman.
posted by bluecore at 5:16 AM on October 25 [4 favorites]


A lot of people said Hillary was wrong in this thread.

I mean, there are many ways to define wrong, so for some definition, sure. But very few people said that Hillary Clinton was factually incorrect, while a larger number were critical of her for her decision to talk about Gabbard in the way that she did. It's a distinction that's pretty clear, but there's lots of pro-Hillary Clinton people in this thread who feel there's absolutely no reason to distinguish between the two. I mean, to me, it's a truth older than time itself that you can be 100% factually correct and it still might be a foolish idea to say the 100% factually correct thing, so I just don't get all the push-back on people being critical of Clinton's decision to say something that lots of people are saying is 100% factually correct.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:52 AM on October 25


This is a tough one. Do I believe Hillary or Jill Stein, David Duke, Steve Bannon, Tucker Carlson, Bashar al-Assad, Cassandra Fairbanks, as well as all those Russian bots?

In all seriousness, this shouldn't be about a one sentence comment Hillary made an hour into a podcast interview anymore. Gabbard's actions speak for themselves.
posted by xammerboy at 6:57 AM on October 25 [17 favorites]


Ahem. *puts on Sherlock Holmes hat, produces pipe, lights pipe and coughs horribly* When considering the solution to a crime, I usually default to the simplest explanation. Is Tulsi knowingly doing this to sabotage the democratic party? That would take brains!

Is Tulsi wanting to have a cushy, lucrative job talking about shit on Fox News? Indubitably, my good humans.

Is Tusli wanting a mid-Q1 nomination as Trump's new VP or gasp as Mike Pences? Why, now, that is a banger.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:00 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Gabbard's actions speak for themselves.

Agreed, which is why I think Clinton didn't need to say what she said.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:00 AM on October 25


So Clinton pointing out that Gabbard is a tool of the alt-right is worse than Gabbard being a tool of the alt-right?
posted by octothorpe at 7:20 AM on October 25 [25 favorites]


So Who'll Fall for Tulsi Gabbard's Ratf*ck?
I don't think Gabbard will make much headway with 2016 Trump voters, even the incel/Gamergate/alt-right crowd. Yes, they call Gabbard "Mommy" on 4chan, the way Milo Yiannopoulos used to call Trump "Daddy" -- but these are dudebros we're talking about, and for them I'm sure "Daddy" is always superior to "Mommy." [...]

She'll deserve to be in the debates if the ratfuckers achieve their goal, which, I suspect, will be to make her seem like a middle-ground alternative to President Trump and (I assume) Elizabeth Warren. She certainly takes a lot of positions -- in favor of a late-term abortion ban, against the Democrats' handling of the impeachment investigation ("Tulsi Gabbard echoes Republican frustrations with impeachment inquiry: 'I don't know what's going on in those closed doors,'" reads a headline at FoxNews.com right now) -- that put her to Warren's right. Yet the goal is also to sell a portion of the lefty electorate on the notion that Warren is a closet Republican and Gabbard is the true progressive in the race. And all of this has to be done for a candidate who frequently appears on Fox News. I'm not sure it's going to work. [...]

I really don't know how this will play out. Maybe she can be turned into a surfer-girl Ross Perot by the Masters of the Universe and Fox News. More likely, she'll run as a Green, spend a lot of time on TV chatting with Tucker Carlson, and get about as many votes as Jill Stein did. Stein got only 1% of the vote -- but she got more votes than Trump's margin of victory in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. This time, we simply have to outvote both Trump and the ratfucker in every key state.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:03 AM on October 25 [7 favorites]


Agreed, which is why I think Clinton didn't need to say what she said.

What is she supposed to do? She can't have a public life or go on podcasts or answer questions about what dangers she thinks the party faces in the future?
posted by xammerboy at 8:07 AM on October 25 [18 favorites]


Seriously. The folks on the left demanding she willingly exile herself are buying into the “lock her up” thing hook, line, and sinker.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:15 AM on October 25 [18 favorites]


Yet the goal is also to sell a portion of the lefty electorate on the notion that Warren is a closet Republican

This is really noticeable everywhere around the web right now, it's pervasive.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:22 AM on October 25 [9 favorites]


At this point I’m more curious to see if the foretold prophecy about Gabbard will play out exactly as Clinton said it would, as if she'd never said anything at all. That's usually how these things seem to go.
posted by wondermouse at 8:31 AM on October 25 [4 favorites]


The co-worker of mine who supports Gabbard told me that Trump won because of Clinton's comment about deplorables just to give you an insight into her supporter's minds.
posted by octothorpe at 8:36 AM on October 25 [7 favorites]


It won't play out exactly like Clinton said, somehow now it will also be spun as Clinton's fault.
posted by jason_steakums at 8:36 AM on October 25 [16 favorites]


So Clinton pointing out that Gabbard is a tool of the alt-right is worse than Gabbard being a tool of the alt-right?

It is when she unwittingly boosts Gabbard’s profile to the point where she looks like she’s so dangerous that a third party run is unstoppable, as opposed to being simply the Rand Paul 2016 of this race, whose only role was to Chris Christie berserker tackle opponents like she did Kamala and then fade into obscurity.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:36 AM on October 25


It's not like Clinton shouted this from the rooftops, she talked about it partway through a podcast that it increasingly looks like no one ever actually listened to. And it took a major news organization badly misrepresenting what she said before anyone paid attention to this.

Blaming the shitty things that Republicans (and Gabbard whatever she is) do on Democrats is just astonishing unproductive.

Blame who is at fault here. Gabbard for at least being possibly the worst Democrat ever. Or the News Media for endlessly screwing this stuff up.
posted by cirhosis at 9:53 AM on October 25 [23 favorites]


No one is forgiving Gabbard. People are saying she was on her way into fading from the spotlight anyway. Agreed that the media is very much culpable for blowing all of this out of proportion. There’s a tendency for the press to breathlessly latch on to any sign of Russian interference and hype it in such a way that it becomes sensationalistic, or else alienating. They identify a problem but then magnify it in an unhelpful way that doesn’t actually solve the problem.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:59 AM on October 25


Charles Gasparino of Fox Business: SCOOP: @TulsiGabbard breaks bread with Wall Street fat cats at @huntandfishnyc;

Other reporting (at crooks and liars) claims 2 "Wall Street" people and the hunt and fish NYC is a scaramuchi run outfit.

event sponsored by Dem fundraiser @robertwolf32 as she is said to weigh third-party run more now @FoxBusiness @TeamCavuto dotcom story to come.

and

Surely a coincidence that what Clinton said would happen is happening.

Or, gosh, Fox News is referencing Clinton's (and spokepersons) own words with "is said to".

And what Clinton actually said was vague - some people assumed they == Russia and others they == Republicans.

Part of the vague words were about what will happen in the future - a 3rd party run. Is there formal registration as this 3rd party thus validating "would happen is happening"?

Tulsi Gabbard appears on Hannity and criticizes the impeachment inquiry process by saying she doesn’t know what’s going on behind closed doors and that she wants transparency --> Gabbard going full MAGA apparently.

Ok, so "she doesn't know what's going on behind the closed doors" has the virtue of being true, reflecting the reality for the bulk of us AND happens to be a "Republican talking point" so its bad to bring it up? Because she has a D as a label?

"she wants transparency" Transparency is a find thing to want, is it not?

Now whomever was in the SCIF talking about whatever was deemed by fellow congress-kritters to need to have that status. The SCIF and other things exist so that secrets can be exposed to elected officials and that's better than no accountability chance at all - its the deal with the devil we've got on secrets.

If the position of Gabbard is the process is crooked, then say that Tulsi. Say that the Republicans in these hearings are as crooked as the Democrats and therefore openness is needed.

Gabbard announces she will not seek re-election to her House seat.
I'm still not sure Clinton's remarks were politically wise but boy howdy do they look prophetic.


Really? Because that link looked to me like a variation of 'here is an excuse as to why I don't want to try and hold the seat' and the thing she is doing right now is running as a Democrat for the 2020-2024 job as Pres gives her the out on the running for Congress.

I get where Hillary, pro-Hillary and people who are party 1st feel somehow 3rd parties act as a spoiler and Hillary got spoiled VS Hillary being a bad enough choice to lose to DJT.

Gabbard is polling at under 3%. How sad must be the choice of the Democrats to put up VS DJT if Gabbard's X%age makes the difference if she actually made a 3rd party challenge? She'd have to be accepted by an existing 3rd part or start having a flow of money now to really soon to stand up an independent in time. AND somehow any votes she gets would be only from Democrats bacause she's a Democrat ATM.

Rather than worry about not-Democrat Gabbard running worry about not picking someone DJT can wipe the floor with.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:01 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


What is she supposed to do? She can't have a public life or go on podcasts or answer questions about what dangers she thinks the party faces in the future?
posted by xammerboy at 10:07 AM on October 25 [8 favorites +] [!]


Seriously. The folks on the left demanding she willingly exile herself are buying into the “lock her up” thing hook, line, and sinker.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 10:15 AM on October 25 [8 favorites +] [!]


hahahah, I didn't say ANY of that. Never said she couldn't have a public life, never said she couldn't go on podcasts. Never said she couldn't answer questions about what dangers she thinks the party faces in the future. Never demanded anything, and I certainly didn't demand that she willing exile herself. I dunno, maybe just take people who disagree with you at face value instead of hypothesizing about other views they may hold, because I don't believe in any of what you're implying I do. Time for me to bounce out this thread.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:39 AM on October 25 [3 favorites]


No one is forgiving Gabbard. People are saying she was on her way into fading from the spotlight anyway.

You and are reading very different threads, then, because a few people said repeatedly in this conversation that Gabbard isn’t that bad, to the astonishment of many of us. And the particular problem that the U.S. is having with foreign interference in our elections includes the ability to artificially amplify (and even make viable) otherwise fringe candidates, via media manipulation. At this point, it’s either willfully naive or purposefully disruptive to ignore that.

Rather than worry about not-Democrat Gabbard running worry about not picking someone DJT can wipe the floor with.

The persistent number and volume of straw-man arguments in this thread, to me, are indistinguishable from trolling (of the foreign or domestic variety). Please stop policing what you think the rest of us ought to be worrying about.
posted by LooseFilter at 10:41 AM on October 25 [13 favorites]


I mean, it's possible that Gabbard looked at the polling in her district (2/3 Dem primary voters think she should drop her presidency run, half of all voters want someone else in her seat, but she's tied for third as a pres candidate) and said "hey, the numbers tell me I'm in for a big struggle here, let's see where fortune takes me in the Dem primary, maybe even angle for the VP" but... if she's scared by how she's polling there, she should be terrified by how she's polling in the Presidential primary. We're coming up on 3 months from Iowa and she is just not in the running.

The only good faith motive I can think of would be if she's a message candidate like Inslee, but I don't see the message.
posted by wildblueyonder at 10:49 AM on October 25 [1 favorite]


I don't think Gabbard will make much headway with 2016 Trump voters, even the incel/Gamergate/alt-right crowd.

They aren't aiming her at *Trump* voters, she's aimed at the Berniebros. I had one in my hockey feed that I removed for that. I tolerated the Bernie-stanning even when annoying because I assumed it was sincere, but if you are stanning Tulsi, then you aren't any kind of progressive and the Bernie fandom comes from other places.
posted by tavella at 11:00 AM on October 25 [18 favorites]


What is she supposed to do? She can't have a public life or go on podcasts or answer questions about what dangers she thinks the party faces in the future?

Nope. Not in the middle of a smashingly good news cycle(s), all focused on Trump's corruption, his disastrous foreign policy approach, etc.

Seriously. The folks on the left demanding she willingly exile herself are buying into the “lock her up” thing hook, line, and sinker.

Do you really think that wanting someone who is massively unpopular to avoid any risk of hijacking the news media's attention is...equivalent to wanting her to go to prison and shouting about it at a massive rally?

I mean, do you not understand prison? It's about a bit more than avoiding press. It's a teeny tiny bit worse than being expected to demonstrate intraparty message discipline.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:24 AM on October 25 [5 favorites]




She could be doubling-down on getting picked as someone's veep. Or hell even Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, National Security Advisor, or Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:38 AM on October 25


what is she trying to be?

A rider on the right-wing gravy train for the next decade or so, giving well-compensated speeches and writing books (that never recoup the advance) about how unreasonable the Democrats are. And expect her to be cited as "Major Gabbard" a lot more than "Representative Gabbard".
posted by Etrigan at 11:38 AM on October 25 [10 favorites]


Sigh. Wanting Hillary Clinton to just shut up and go away doesn't sound like "Lock Her Up" but it does sound like "Ewww, go away, you have COOTIES and you contaminate everything you touch!" It's casting Hillary Clinton as a kind of political Typhoid Mary, and I don't think it's a good look. Really. Hillary Clinton is not running for any kind of office and, pinky swear, she's not going to get our recess taken away and all of us sent to detention. Let's avoid invoking Murc's Law (only Democrats have any agency).

And she was right - Gabbard is up to some kind of no good, whether it's the innocuous (angling for a Fox job) or potentially disastrous (a third-party run). Gabbard is the unprincipled opportunist that the howling Frankenbot mob accused Kirsten Gillibrand of being, but she's a Cool Girl, so she's OK.

This won't be a distraction from the Trump mess - he's just spiraling more and more downwards. He thinks he's got what it takes to play with the big boys in the big time, but...it's Fredos all the way down. I read Fire and Fury and came away thinking, "when Steve Bannon comes across as the brains of the outfit, what you have is a clown car." And this is where Trump's habit of stiffing those who work for him and showing no loyalty and no protectiveness of his underlings is coming back to bite him. Yes, John Bolton is evil. No, he doesn't take being run over by a bus very well.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:50 AM on October 25 [20 favorites]


I have not encountered the term "Murc's Law" before, so thank you for giving me a name for it. Because damned if it doesn't seem to be in full effect a lot of the time on Metafilter.
posted by biogeo at 12:01 PM on October 25 [5 favorites]


Is criticizing segments of the left for only criticizing the other segments of the left an instance of Murc's law or not?
posted by chortly at 12:37 PM on October 25


Only if you think they're exercising their agency in doing so?
posted by biogeo at 12:47 PM on October 25


I think part of the misunderstanding here is that some people are under the false impression Hillary Clinton is unpopular.
posted by bongo_x at 12:54 PM on October 25 [12 favorites]


Do you really think that wanting someone who is massively unpopular to avoid any risk of hijacking the news media's attention

Are you referring to the person who got 66 million votes, 3 million more than her opponent?
posted by JackFlash at 1:12 PM on October 25 [14 favorites]


Is criticizing segments of the left for only criticizing the other segments of the left an instance of Murc's law or not?

That's not the point that was made; it's when segments of "the left" are critical of other segments of "the left" for something they didn't do, but that other people did, i.e., because you didn't stop Republicans from doing x, it's your fault that x was done. It's criticism that either blindly or willlingly ignores actual agency.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:20 PM on October 25 [11 favorites]


Oh, and just so it's clear, Hillary Clinton was polled by Gallup as the Most Admired Woman in the world in 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and again in 2017 even after losing the election.

To be fair, she did lose out to Mother Teresa in 1995 and 1996.
posted by JackFlash at 1:56 PM on October 25 [15 favorites]


Ok, I think I understand. It's an interesting corner of moral responsibility or causation, I suppose: if agent A is 99% responsible for some outcome and agent B is 1% responsible, it presumably shows bad faith if you only criticize B. I suppose the issue here is what to do if you know that B is the only one who actually comprehends and responds to criticism: both A and B technically have agency, but only B's agency is reasons-responsive. A is far more morally responsible, but there's not much point in arguing with them or preaching their perfidy to the choir, so you get this odd imbalance where B gets all the attention from reasoning folks. Though I suppose "Murc's Law" implies that that's all just a ruse and critics of B are just doing it because they derive more pleasure in criticizing B than A.
posted by chortly at 1:57 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think it's something like that. Or to use everyone's favorite silly problem in moral philosophy, it's like A contrives a trolley problem scenario and places B at the controls of the trolley. No matter what B does, someone's going to suffer, and if you're on the track that B sends the trolley down, you're going to be justifiably upset. But B's only choice is who suffers, and doesn't really have a good option. Being angry at B as the proximate agent of your suffering is certainly understandable, but A is the one who tied you to the track and set the trolley going.

Also hypothetically, A has access to a lever that could end the whole scenario, but is a psychopath who would never choose to willingly, but if everyone on both tracks plus B work together they can force A to pull it, but the people on the track B has currently selected are too angry and frightened to work with B or the people on the other track. But maybe I've stretched this metaphor past its breaking point.
posted by biogeo at 2:16 PM on October 25 [6 favorites]


And what Clinton actually said was vague - some people assumed they == Russia and others they == Republicans.

I was catching up in this thread and got to this point. No. Hillary said "Republicans are grooming" not "Russia and others".
posted by xammerboy at 2:22 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Are you referring to the person who got 66 million votes, 3 million more than her opponent?

And yet, she wasn't popular enough to win where it counted, to secure the electoral vote. And so here we are, in a world where we can't assume every single move by Hillary Clinton is the best political move to take.

It's not unreasonable to think of Clinton as a great statesman, as a capable administrator, but also as a questionable campaigner- even with 3 million more votes, her margin could have stood to be much higher against such an opponent. She objectively lost the election, and it should call into question her actions.

Again, I partially base skepticism on how she handled the alt-right question. As linked before, the fascists in 2016 loved the exposure her campaign brought to them. And after the election, they certainly didn't fade away.

Is it not possible to both think of Clinton as great at some things, while lacking in other things, namely being effective at fighting fringe forces? Because her record both during and after the election does not exactly reflect well at her capacity to do so. And if she's bad at that, is it not then unreasonable to postulate that she might be counterproductive to fighting those forces?

It's not as if she should do nothing, but maybe change tactics? I'm sure there are many many surrogates she could use to carry out her message.

A is far more morally responsible, but there's not much point in arguing with them or preaching their perfidy to the choir, so you get this odd imbalance where B gets all the attention from reasoning folks.

It's also perfectly possible that, as mentioned previously, that B's role in this has been blown out of proportion by C, who hyped up B and used her as a scapegoat in drumming up sensationalism.

To wit- New York Times: Anxious Democratic Establishment Asks, ‘Is There Anybody Else?’

Clinton is almost certainly not going to run, but the media sure looks like it wants her, or Bloomberg, or Michelle Obama, or Kerry, or Holder, or Sherrod Brown to run, when they're spreading rumors and whispers for the sake of drama. So in the same way, our Russiagate-focused media has been ginning up Clinton's podcast interview to boost Gabbard's national profile. The same media who also trumped up Howard Schultz's run for no reason, other than it provided intrigue and sells stories.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:32 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Are you referring to the person who got 66 million votes, 3 million more than her opponent?

Her favorability is low, her unfavorability is high. I'm sorry if that bothers you but it's not my fault and I didn't invent it. Pretending like it isn't the case is politically selfish, frankly. It's not about how much Hillary should be treated fairly or how much you identify with her or whatever.

There is an election to win and she can't seem to stay on message. If she's not willing to do that, then it's time to stop talking. This kind of message discipline is basic party politics. It's not "fair" because it's about winning, not about being right in some kind of amorphous sense while the world burns around you in a decidedly unfair fashion.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:49 PM on October 25 [5 favorites]


But again, we're talking about a single off-the-cuff comment buried in the middle of a wonky podcast that apparently no one other than a NY Times journalist looking for something to sensationalize actually listened to, which was then misquoted to make it seem more inflammatory. This isn't really about Clinton staying on message, this is about the failure of the news media under capitalism to perform its role as the fourth estate in favor of the profit motive. The question of whether this is fair to Clinton or not isn't really the important one. The important question is whether any Democrat can get honest treatment from the media, and whether journalists are too compromised by the lure of clickbait to fulfill the role we need them to in a democracy. Because right now it looks like the answers to those questions are "no," which means whatever Clinton does or doesn't do, or says or doesn't say, simply don't matter. This will keep happening with or without her.
posted by biogeo at 3:07 PM on October 25 [20 favorites]


But again, again: why are we talking about the messenger instead of the message?
posted by LooseFilter at 3:16 PM on October 25 [11 favorites]


So in the trolley scenario in paragraph 1, A is by most moral logics 100% responsible, and B is not really even 1% responsible -- at most B is responsible only for the mode of suffering, not really "causing" it in most moral senses. But in the paragraph 2 scenario, B & C (B's critics on the left) are jointly responsible for stopping A, though of course A is the one most morally responsible. The second one seems like the more common source of strife, though perhaps that's just my anecdotal perception (eg, in the UK the Corbynites and the anti-Corbyn remainers both think of themselves as B and the other as C).

One issue seems to be how the remaining responsibility is divvied up among B and C; it seems common for B to apply "Murc's Law" against C and implicitly argue that either B has no power to stop A whatsoever or that it can only be done if C would stop criticizing B and focus on A; C by contrast thinks that B does have non-zero unilateral power to stop A, hence the criticism in the first place. I guess what I'm getting to is that it's hard to see where they might be a value-neutral application of "Murc's Law": in the end, B will claim that they have no power to stop A or can't do it unless C stops criticizing, whereas C of course thinks that B has significant power to stop A. All agree that A is fundamentally to blame, but disagree over whether criticism of B is just (if B can do something on its own) or an unjust instance of "Murc's Law" (if B can't do anything on its own). I suppose the confusing aspect is that "Murc's Law" seems to be about the unfairness of focusing on the 1% rather than the 99% responsible party, but really the disagreement turns on whether B has 1% or 0% unilateral power to affect A.
posted by chortly at 3:22 PM on October 25


Yeah, I'm pretty disgusted at the people in this thread who after Clinton *quite correctly* pointed out that Gabbard was the favored tool to replace (or augment) Jill Stein to draw off votes, decided to whine about how evil she was for speaking out, and they didn't like being told the truth so obviously she was not 'on message' and should be blamed preemptively for a loss to Trump.
posted by tavella at 3:26 PM on October 25 [12 favorites]


No one's making moral judgments here. People are debating efficacy, and well, political competence.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:30 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


No one's making moral judgments here. People are debating efficacy, and well, political competence.

This is sophistry. It's also inaccurate at the very least in the sense that multiple people have (correctly) objected to Gabbard in moral language.
posted by PMdixon at 3:51 PM on October 25 [8 favorites]


Her favorability is low, her unfavorability is high. I'm sorry if that bothers you Her favorability is low, her unfavorability is high. I'm sorry if that bothers you but it's not my fault and I didn't invent it.

Yeah, but I'm seeing a really awesome effort toward making this discussion about Clinton, not Gabbard. All with an argument that boils down to "If everybody just ignores the house fire it'll go away."

The derailment tools I'm seeing being used here are classic: "make the debate about the accuser, not the crime." I works with sexual harassment accusations, it works with politics.
posted by happyroach at 4:00 PM on October 25 [15 favorites]


But again, again: why are we talking about the messenger instead of the message?

All I know is a whole lot of people who had no idea who Gabbard was now have strong opinions about her. I'm sorry people hate Clinton, I'm sorry the media doesn't treat her fairly, but the reality is Gabbard now has a ton of support she didn't have before Clinton criticized her. If I was worried about someone running as a third party spoiler or getting a national Fox News platform to spread their bile the absolute last thing I would want is for Clinton to say anything negative about them.
posted by Cezar Golescu at 4:51 PM on October 25 [2 favorites]


the reality is Gabbard now has a ton of support she didn't have before Clinton criticized her.

Can you help me understand why you believe this to be self-evident? It's entirely possible I've missed something, but I've seen no one refer to evidence supporting this claim.
posted by PMdixon at 5:03 PM on October 25 [11 favorites]


Oksana on Nextdoor said that her and all my other neighbors are all in on Tulsi now. Am I not supposed to trust my very own townsfolk??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:37 PM on October 25 [10 favorites]


If they're all in on Tulsi, probably not.
posted by biogeo at 5:44 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Aren't these the same arguments that some people use against Bernie? He's a proven loser, too polarizing, motivates Republicans, etc? Should we all demand that Bernie stay out of public life? What about AOC?
posted by xammerboy at 5:45 PM on October 25 [6 favorites]


What election has AOC lost?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:53 PM on October 25 [1 favorite]


I assume you just happened to miss the “too polarizing, motivates Republicans, etc”, immediately after “proven loser” and aren’t arguing in bad faith quite as much as it appears, Apocryphon?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 6:37 PM on October 25 [8 favorites]


Pet theory: Seeing Clinton causes a subconscious sense of anxiety and panic as it brings up unresolved trauma from Trump's "victory" in 2016.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]


Goodness, count how many on this thread are to here to demand that Clinton should sit down and shut up. Has anyone ever said this about any male politician?
posted by MiraK at 7:14 PM on October 25 [7 favorites]




I don’t know what other people in this thread think, but “proven loser” is certainly a worthwhile point to focus on, given that Clinton has been losing electorally since 2008. The point is that her ability to politically compete- which in this case isn’t through an election but still involves taking down a threat- seems secondary to her legislative and administrative abilities.

I’m fine with withdrawing from this logjam until we see any change to Gabbard’s polling and fundraising numbers.

Pet theory: Seeing Clinton causes a subconscious sense of anxiety and panic as it brings up unresolved trauma from Trump's "victory" in 2016.

Among Democrats, the prospect of any sort of third party challenge left of McMullin seems to do the same, inducing flashbacks to 2000 and Florida. Never mind that the spoiler effect in 2016 is debatable, and in 2004
Nader received 465,642 votes, for 0.38% of the total vote while finishing 3rd place once again, though with far fewer votes compared to four years prior.
Third party spoiler effects are often overrated. And judging by how poorly Gabbard is doing in the primary, the only way she can even do better in a third party race would be by drawing votes away from Trump- which she seems to be doing, at least for public recognition points, by tacking right.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:03 PM on October 25


I think the technological/political environment of 15 to 20 years ago is different enough that Nader may be an inappropriate case study for the 2020 election. I think third party spoiler effects by themselves may historically (and on average) not have been very significant, but combined with much more effective targeted disinformation campaigns (x demographic in y swing state), increased global participation, and an increasingly fatigued electorate suffering from information overload, it might be easier to see how it could exploited by certain groups.

So it seems to me we could try to make a few decisions at this juncture.

-Should we stay quiet about Gabbard because she's not a threat or so nobody notices her?
-Should we speak up about Gabbard to explain why Clinton should stay quiet about Gabbard so nobody notices her?
-Should we speak up about Clinton's thoughts that Gabbard might be employed as a vote-splitting spoiler so people are prepared and ready to explain this to their friends and family who don't follow politics as closely?
-Should we call attention to the fact that this is yet another example of how the profit motive in journalism and online social network algorithms are combining in a feedback loop which is causing a real-time failure in the 4th estate and therefore a key foundation of democracy?

-Should we wait and see what happens so we don't further accelerate this or any other failure accidentally?

Re: Clinton Derangement Syndrome, If Clinton upsets you personally, I think there's enough here to blame her for pretty much any negative outcome of this, so I wouldn't worry about trying to drum up more reasons to hate on Clinton here. I think we're all aware that she's a polarizing fixture of the current U.S. political landscape. I think it might be better to discuss the ideas in abstract to prevent poisoning the discourse by attacking the messengers, the way you might discuss politics with your Fox watching friends and relatives.
posted by donttouchmymustache at 8:36 PM on October 25 [5 favorites]


My takeaway from this thread is there may be more liberal Gabbard supporters than I would have thought. It's not a happy realization.
posted by xammerboy at 10:35 PM on October 25 [8 favorites]


If some people choose to support a Democrat who chooses Fox as her preferred media outlet, is endorsed by David Duke, is championed by Karl Rove, is signal-boosted by Russian bots, and has called Hillary Clinton “the embodiment of corruption”, then I’m not sure they’re reachable by any counter-arguments I could muster.

I respectfully wish them good luck following their preferred candidate.

I do hope that if and when Gabbard fails to win the nomination — as I do not expect her to win — that her supporters find it in their hearts to vote for whomever the Dem nominee is. Because we are individually and collectively in an existential fight with the corrupt Republicans, and we need every vote possible to defeat them.
posted by darkstar at 10:53 PM on October 25 [19 favorites]


I think anyone who supports an Islamophobe and (possibly former) homophobe "who chooses Fox as her preferred media outlet, is endorsed by David Duke, is championed by Karl Rove, is signal-boosted by Russian bots, and has called Hillary Clinton “the embodiment of corruption”, was probably not actually a Democrat or otherwise on the left to begin with, despite their protestations to the contrary.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:10 AM on October 26 [17 favorites]


I have two FB acquaintances who seem to be Gabbard supporters. One of them grew up conservative, found her new liberal life in Hawaii and California, has lived out of a van for long stretches of time, and has a bit of a reflexive distrust for authority and structure. I think she sees some of herself in Gabbard (hawaii surfer chick! doesn't trust either party! war is bad, man!). She was hard for Sanders last cycle.

The other is a longtime New England liberal who was also hard for Sanders last cycle, I think eventually cast her vote for Stein, is anti-war/anti-imperialist, and regularly rants about Democratic party corruption.

Lots of us here like to think liberal/left is naturally where the good and/or smart people land, and I want to agree because it validates my values, views, and choices. But I think it's smart to realize that our values can be exploited in certain ways. A distrust of power can be turned on those who have worked to acquire and are wielding it, even on our behalf. Enthusiasm for peace and civility can be turned to a categorical aversion to military intervention. Wariness of oligarchs can be turned to guilt by association with anyone who's made money. I'm seeing this play out in a number of people I know personally who are not knowing Russian assets, their politics have simply become binary black-and-white to the point where they're apparently easily persuaded that sure Republicans are bad but Democrats are bad too and so before we do ANYTHING we have to fix the Democrats, we need a revolution, and letting Republicans win isn't that bad because they're not that different and if they are accelerationism will totally work man.

I don't know how we manage this but I do think "they were never Democrat/left anyway" misunderstands the dynamic, and perhaps with it the solutions.
posted by wildblueyonder at 3:21 PM on October 26 [10 favorites]


Why do you figure neither of those people stuck with Bernie for 2020?
posted by Selena777 at 5:15 PM on October 26


In one case, because of the Hawaii & personal identification (they're actually not far distant in age and appearance), though I think she would also vote for Sanders again, Gabbard is just preferred.

In the other case, I suspect that if it came down to Sanders vs Gabbard, the vote would go to Sanders, but since that isn't a practical choice that has to be made right now, support is distributed for throughout the constellation of voices who complain about the legitimacy of the whole system, hence Stein, Sanders, Gabbard, and of course a hefty helping of complaints about warmongers and the DCCC and DNC (as you know, there is no difference between the two, just like there is no difference between the Democrats and Republicans).
posted by wildblueyonder at 5:37 PM on October 26 [5 favorites]


Spot on, wildblue. My experience is similar to yours, except I know about half a dozen people who are currently defending Tulsi. All are strong Sanders 2020 supporters, all were strong Sanders 2016 supporters, all believed (and still believe) that the DNC cheated to hand Clinton the 2016 primary. Two of them sat out the general in 2016, and one voted Stein. The other three voted Clinton.

Granted, my sample set is inherently biased because I run with a lefty crowd exclusively. If I knew any conservatives, I would likely find Tulsi defenders among them too.

But lefty Tulsi supporters are real. If Sanders doesn't get the Dem nomination, some of these lefties will be in play for a potential 3rd party Tulsi candidacy, just like some Sanders supporters in 2016 ended up voting Stein.

Tulsi is basically alt-right. David Duke endorsed her and she has a mutual love affair with Fox News... Leftists who support and/or defend her aren't stupid, they see all that surely? But see, the lefty defense of Tulsi seems to be motivated entirely by a hatred of Clinton. It's all connected. And it's scary.
posted by MiraK at 6:44 PM on October 26 [8 favorites]


Yes, I'm saying a lot of your proud "leftist" friends aren't as leftist as they think. They may be all "War is bad, man", but they don't care about intersectionality or the actual impacts of their vote on real live people like the Muslim refugees Gabbard would gladly see left in their home countries to be murdered by nationalists like her hero Modi.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:57 PM on October 26 [12 favorites]


IDK if I get to define their label or politics for them. They're perfectly nice people who are against all of those things that Tulsi stands for in every other instance, but they defend her (it seems to me) because they hate Clinton.

You can see it on this very thread: smart and thoughtful intersectional feminists who speak up against misogyny in other cases, but are here repeatedly calling for Clinton to shut up, sit down, stay home - she's been proven to be right here in every possible level, and they admit she's right, but STILL insist her tone is wrong or timing is wrong or just plain want her to shut up. I know some of them are Sanders supporters. Are they, too, not to be considered "true" lefties, given this obvious display of misogyny?

I don't think we can say that. We don't get to define what "true" leftism is in a way that excludes those among us who act badly only when it comes to special trigger issues. I'm likely guilty of the same sin except my trigger issues are different.

So no, we can't "No True Lefty" this away. We have to confront the weakness that's been exposed among our ranks.
posted by MiraK at 7:08 PM on October 26 [14 favorites]


One can't actually assume that everyone who speaks approvingly of Tulsi is actually aware of her objectionable aspects. We aren't all actually reading the same news any more. It's very easy to not go beyond the stuff fed to you by the algorithm and thus very easy to have an almost comically narrow view of a subject.

It's entirely possible they've only seen headlines, snippets, and short articles that talk about the things Gabbard says and does that they are likely to agree with and very little, if anything, about her support of conversion therapy, making excuses for ethnic cleansing and authoritarianism, and other deplorable views.

This is a big part of why verifiably real people often trigger my "Russian" troll detector. The very tools most people use to communicate are playing a big role in fracturing the polity in the name of improving "engagement." It's not (necessarily) their intended result, but their focus on that one metric stacks the dice in favor of misinformation and sensationalism and makes it easier for active disinformation to go unnoticed.
posted by wierdo at 7:30 PM on October 26 [4 favorites]


I feel obliged to point out that in this very thread, there have been several comments that succinctly summarize the issues with Gabbard but that's done nothing to curb the apologia.

And also, at least in the case of my half dozen acquaintances, they're quite aware of her record and they make various excuses for it, such as "she doesn't believe in conversion therapy anymore" and "she isn't a major player in Indian politics, so her support of Modi is irrelevant".

We shouldn't look away from this phenomenon, imo. It exists, it's happening right here. It's not a product of innocent ignorance - it's coming from wilful ignorance. There has never been any reason for any leftist to support or like Tulsi except that she endorsed Sanders in 2016. Apparently, that's all some leftists need to know to defend her. It's not like she has any other lefty cred!
posted by MiraK at 7:55 PM on October 26 [15 favorites]


Obviously many people are capable of astonishing feats of cognitive dissonance. What I'm saying is that in the current environment it is not safe to assume that other people are operating on the same facts, or at least a subset of them, as we are since the medium itself may be working against shared understanding.

They superficially resemble tools that might elevate voices that were previously little heard into broad public awareness, but far more often sort us into silos, each with a different common understanding, and each having its own set information presented with its own unique slant and emphasis based on an algorithmic filter's "belief" about what will keep you on the site the longest.
posted by wierdo at 8:46 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Just a Couple of Totally Normal Centrists Writing a Totally Normal Centrist Op-Ed
Siri, show me the worst op-ed of all time.
Romney-Gabbard, Make America Decent Again
Yes, you read that right: This is an op-ed proposing a Romney-Gabbard presidential ticket. It's in Newsday. It's real. It's written by two academics of a sort -- I'll tell you about them later. [...]

This op-ed isn't a plea from the "sensible center." It's a plea from Kochistan. Two guys living off Koch wingnut welfare are heaping praise not only on Romney, but also on a "Democrat" we actual Democrats are being told we owe a much more respectful hearing. Of course Kochworld would like Romney, but this tells me a lot about phony Tulsimania. I wonder just how much of the right-wing praise for Gabbard is being instigated by the Koch network.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:45 PM on October 26 [13 favorites]


I think when dealing with isolationists, some are coming from a place where they know the terrible history of US intervention and want us to do better by supporting UN peacekeepers instead and more humanitarian efforts. But some in my experience are motivated by "why are we wasting good American tax dollars saving those horrible savages from themselves". I think those in the second group wish Bernie would be less intersectional and talk less about brown people, and now they have Tulsi to vote for.
posted by benzenedream at 10:40 PM on October 26 [9 favorites]


So no, we can't "No True Lefty" this away. We have to confront the weakness that's been exposed among our ranks.

The thing about the No True Scotsman fallacy, though, is whether it applies depends on the definition of the thing it's applied to. The point of the fallacy is that the actual definition of a Scotsman is "a man from Scotland," and nothing else. So for this example:

A: Every Scotsman loves haggis.
B: Angus is a Scotsman, and he hates haggis.
A: Okay, but no true Scotsman hates haggis.

it is a fallacy, but for this example:

A: Every Scotsman is born in Scotland, lives in Scotland, or has some significant Scottish ancestry.
B: Idi Amin said he's a Scotsman, but he was born in Uganda to a Ugandan family, and lived there his whole life.
A: Idi Amin wasn't a true Scotsman.

it's not.

So what is leftism? Is it an identity? A political allegiance? An ideology? Does being anti-war make you a leftist regardless of your other beliefs? Does political indifference to the plight of Muslim refugees make you not a leftist regardless of your other beliefs?

If leftism is only an identity, then yes, we don't get to define these people's identities; they're leftist if they say they are, regardless of their beliefs. But that renders leftism a politically impotent concept. If leftism is actually about politics, then it matters whether people are acting in accordance with that political movement's goals, and if it's an ideology, then it matters whether their actions and beliefs are compatible with that ideology.

I want to emphasize this point because I think it's necessary to be clear-headed about the second sentence I quoted, which I strongly agree with. "Our ranks" in general are a complicated alliance of many groups with various goals and interests, many of which in other times and contexts might be political opponents rather than allies. I know that I am part of this alliance, but I honestly don't know whether I'm a leftist, because I can never quite get a bead on what a leftist really is. Setting aside the definition of that term, if I consider former Sanders supporters who now support Gabbard, I have to consider several possibilities, each of which is important to know for deciding how to proceed:

1. They are misinformed about Gabbard's politics, or Sanders's, or both. In this case, they can be informed better. (Example: I remember a friend of mine, who is a climate change and social justice activist, back in 2008 told me that he thought Ron Paul was a pretty good candidate. I told him that Paul's a free market libertarian who wants to abolish the Fed and return to the gold standard, and my friend was immediately like "Never mind.")

2. They are inconsistent in their political beliefs due to factors like an irrational hatred of Clinton. In this case, they can be debated to try to point out the inconsistency and help them make a better choice reflecting the beliefs and values we share.

3. They have beliefs that are consistent with those that are shared between Gabbard and Sanders (such as being anti-interventionist), but not consistent with mine. In this case, it's simply important to acknowledge that they are allies of convenience on some issues but shouldn't be trusted past our limited common ground. In fact it may be that although both they and I share some beliefs with others in our political alliance, we actually have essentially no common ground with each other. I might choose to avoid direct opposition to them to avoid provoking my other political allies, but they are not true allies of mine, only opponents with whom I have a truce.

I don't mean to suggest that any one of these three possibilities is what's actually happening: I genuinely don't know.
posted by biogeo at 10:42 PM on October 26 [16 favorites]


I do enjoy reading your comments.
posted by darkstar at 2:53 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Just a Couple of Totally Normal Centrists Writing a Totally Normal Centrist Op-Ed

Ah, gotta love fantasy unity tickets, ever since the original doomed one. Then in 1984, one Theodore Sorensen proposed pairing Gary Hart with a Republican, and then
President Hart will form a Coalition Government, dividing the cabinet, the subcabinet, and the White House staff into two equal halves, Democratic and Republican. Also, he will appoint a Council of Elders, consisting of all living ex-Presidents, ex-Secretaries of State, ex-Speakers of the House, and ex- Senate Majority Leaders. Also, he will appoint a National Council of Economic Cooperation and Coordination (a lot of this Stuff gets capitalized), which will come up with answers for the economy. Also, there will be a joint executive-legislative delegation to any arms control talks, the better to ensure that any treaty that gets negotiated also gets ratified.
In '08, McCain wanted to pick Lieberman and was overruled by his advisors and the rest is history. And in the spirit of this FPP, that year there was no shortage of people who wanted Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul to run on a joint neo-isolationist ticket. There were also the hopeless bores of Unity08 who wanted to run perennial not-candidate Bloomberg.

Quixotic unity campaigns are often either the province of establishmentarian centrists or fringe radicals, so it's funny to see an op-ed that manages to fuse both. On the latter point, I'll repeat myself:
so many "common sense" policies, whether it be progressive economic policies, to disengagement from foreign wars, to a scaling back of the surveillance state, has become totally verboten to this country's political class. And when that happens, populists on both the left and right, third parties, and fringe figures are the only ones who voice these opinions, because they are already marginalized and hence have nothing to lose. (That's also how you get both Greens, paleocons, and Libertarians all agreeing on certain topics where Democrats and Republicans fear to tread- it's not always about shadowy foreign espionage.) Woe to those in the mainstream who fail to grasp this.
So sometimes you see Kucinich and Paul converge on certain policies, just as you might see Jill Stein and Gary Johnson do so as well. This convergence of the "unthinkable" (to the political establishment) precedes Russian meddling, but it provides an opportunity for such interference to occur, because there then appears a dissatisfied (and often very online and/or conspiratorial) subgroup that is underserved, except by these fringe figures. And that's why Gabbard is "coded" left because she's staked out an antiwar bent to her rhetoric, even if her actual policies aren't nearly as left as she positions herself. It also explains the popularity of other fringe figures such as Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, or even Mike Gravel. There is general dissatisfaction with politics-as-is, and so everyone gets their fringe figure of choice.

The solution to this really should be for political elites to adopt those policies to prevent whatever external actors to take advantage of this situation, but they're not ever gonna do that, so, well.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:16 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


They are inconsistent in their political beliefs due to factors ...

In. A. Nutshell. 🤷 I've learned from experience that it's unproductive to challenge certain people's lefty cred based on their decidedly non-lefty actions, speech, or alliances. Sanders himself supports and defends Gabbard - this one goes all the way to the top. Until he signals a shift, his supporters can't diverge. This is just something to wait out, I think. The new and younger crop that's coming up, AOC and Omar and Tlaib and Pressley, have none of these issues.
posted by MiraK at 5:01 AM on October 27 [9 favorites]


I second everything that biogeo said.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:10 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


the medium itself may be working against shared understanding

Well, of course it is, but it's not just "the medium itself" - it's the conscious manipulation of the structures and effects of these media to create the division.
posted by Miko at 6:11 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


My point was that even seemingly innocuous "manipulation," like optimizing the particular things you see on a website to keep you on the site by showing you things you presumably like is itself perfectly sufficient to erase shared understanding.
posted by wierdo at 4:31 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Apocryphon: "Ah, gotta love fantasy unity tickets, ever since the original doomed one. Then in 1984, one Theodore Sorensen proposed pairing Gary Hart with a Republican"

This seems like weird wording on both halves. Lincoln-Johnson wasn't a "fantasy" unity ticket, it really happened (unfortunately). And, while admittedly Ted Sorensen was way off base here, he wasn't just Some Dude. He was a Kennedy speechwriter and adviser, ran for Senate in CT, and was nominated for CIA Director.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:16 PM on October 27


Let's just repeal the 12th Amendment and go back to the Second-place Vice President method.
posted by rhizome at 2:25 PM on October 28


Not necessarily looking forward to the Obama / Palin administration in such a case.
posted by Justinian at 2:51 AM on October 29


Oh it woulda been McCain not Palin. Duh.
posted by Justinian at 2:52 AM on October 29


Both parties are now hostage to minorities that will not bend on some issues. There are areas of Trump country that have been devastated by mining and manufacturing that has moved to China. They will feel the pain for generations. They have lost everything. Good luck telling them they can leave everything behind, be re-trained, and start over somewhere else. The notion that manufacturing can be brought back will always be an irresistible lure for them.

Many of the young people of the alt left have enormous debt simply because they got an education. They will pay for the rest of their lives. When they complain the system is corrupt and rigged and sold them into a form of slavery, they're right. Good luck telling them to compromise and vote for small piecemeal change. A vote for piecemeal change is a vote for the same system that's already scammed them into lifelong debt.

This is the new political reality. Usually a minority wing of a party attempts to negotiate compromise solutions or incremental change, but both these alt groups will vote only for all or nothing changes to the system. In each case, those are the only kinds of changes that will meaningfully improve their situation.
posted by xammerboy at 7:34 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


What the heck is the “alt-left”??
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 8:08 AM on October 29 [12 favorites]


In each case, those are the only kinds of changes that will meaningfully improve their situation.

That's what they believe, yes. But it isn't true. Obama's ACA made things meaningfully better for people who are drowning under student loan debt - even though it was piecemeal. CHIP was a piecemeal compromise that Clinton implemented, and it made things meaningfully better for AOC herself, as she recently acknowledged during a Sanders rally.

There are lessons to be learned from the rise of the minority factions on either side: the piecemeal-peddlers are often too conciliatory, give too much away, don't set their sights high enough -- Obama's Merrick Garland and Clinton's $12 minimum wage are both examples of failures resulting from the inherent wimpiness of the 'incremental change' worldview. Both would have done much better to start from the minority faction position and then bargain down if absolutely necessary.

But that doesn't mean the all-or-nothing mentality of the minority factions is valid in real world terms. Incremental progress is responsible for almost all the progress we've ever made. Revolutions are few and far too bloody, and even they almost never deliver the 'all' that minority factions are looking for.
posted by MiraK at 8:15 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


xammerboy Wait, what?

Are you claiming the Democratic Party is in thrall to the left wing of the Party? Seriously?

Further, you seem to be claiming that wanting not to have crippling debt for life due to medical incident or education is somehow equivalent to wanting the establishment of a white ethnostate?

Am I just totally misunderstanding your position here?
posted by sotonohito at 9:21 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


To make a plausible case that HRC's comments had any effect, you'd really need to see her make a more meaningful jump, and ideally from more than just a single poll.

Dave Weigel:
New CNN poll of NH (trend since July):

Sanders: 21% (+2)
Warren: 18% (-1)
Biden: 15% (-9)
Buttigieg: 10% (+0)
Gabbard: 5% (+4)
Klobuchar: 5% (+5)
Yang: 5% (+4)
Harris: 3% (-6)
Steyer: 3% (+3)

Gets Gabbard one step closer to November debate.

https://www.cnn.com/cnn/2019/10/29/politics/new-hampshire-poll-2020-cnn/index.html
One wonders how she’d be polling now if she didn’t suddenly get her name plastered all over the news.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:56 AM on October 29


Is this an intra-Dem-party version of Murc's Law mentioned upthread?

(1) Clinton mentions Gabbard in the middle of a random podcast
(2) NYT misquotes her and writes a salacious article which goes viral... then prints retraction & correction
(3) Fox News and Republican politicians speak up in support of Gabbard and provide her a platform for her views
(4) Prominent Democratic primary candidates speak up in support of Gabbard
(5) ... including Bernie Sanders, who BTW is literally the only reason Gabbard has come into minor prominence since two years ago: she endorsed him therefore he endorsed her back, pulled her into his campaign events, sent AOC to campaign for Gabbard, and continues to speak up in support of her till today.

But only (1) is supposedly the reason for Gabbard's surge from 1% to 5% in polling? Because none of the people who have since spoken up in support of her - not even Sanders who is has built her entire brand for her and continues to lend her his progressive cred - have any agency or ability to affect Gabbard's polling. Only Clinton has all the power.
posted by MiraK at 10:19 AM on October 29 [17 favorites]


Murc's law is particularly silly when it's combined with stubborn confirmation bias that leads one to repeatedly conclude that a single cherry-picked poll result with a high margin of error (± 4.1% !!!) and a rapidly-thinning primary field is somehow meaningful.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:19 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


The notion that manufacturing can be brought back will always be an irresistible lure for them.


Can you help me understand why that is a more important political fact than, say, the collapse of retail employment?

What the heck is the “alt-left”??

It's a thing people who are allergic to principles made up.
posted by PMdixon at 11:27 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Retail isn't a "real job." REAL JOBS are wresting ore from the earth and smelting into metal and bending that metal into useful items. Preferably with your bare hands.

Retail is for, you know, ladies.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:02 PM on October 29 [7 favorites]


Are we interested in how the world outside the left bubble sees the left, or are we just interested in our own opinions? Because among the general population (not just conservatives) there absolutely is the perception that there's a growing radical left taking over the Democratic Party. And yes, retail is real work, but the conservatives that xammerboy is referring to fetishize manufacturing and coal mining and bullshit and pretending their opinions are otherwise won't really get us anywhere.
posted by schroedinger at 1:59 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


I'm not pretending they don't fetishize it, I'm just pointing out that it *is* fetishizing. A good job is a good job, and the fact that they don't believe that distorts policy.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:02 PM on October 29 [9 favorites]


> Are we interested in how the world outside the left bubble sees the left, or are we just interested in our own opinions?

We can be aware of how the left is perceived without becoming prisoners to the attitudes of a bunch of unpersuadables by offering them either empty promises or policy concessions that decrease cohesion and muddle the message.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:10 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


IDK what xammerboy meant by alt-left? I have always assumed alt-left = tankies, and tankies aren't really a loud voice in American politics atm, so why would anyone bring them up).

But perhaps we need a term for the species of faux-progressive being discussed on this thread right here: the group of people that still supports/defends Tulsi Gabbard... who, when informed of her various alt-right leanings and supports, dismisses this info as irrelevant and continues to cast Tulsi as a progressive because "she's an isolationist" or "she endorsed Bernie." What might be a good name for that set? Because these folks certainly do have a loud voice in Dem politics today, and I am increasingly wary of them.
posted by MiraK at 2:50 PM on October 29 [11 favorites]


"Alt-left" is most often used an epithet used toward those who identify as leftists, generally pro-Sanders, #NeverHillary types. It's a term POTUS45 himself has latched onto in the past to distract from the Nazi horror show known as the alt-right and that alone should be reason enough to keep it out of a MetaFilter politics thread.

Suffice it to say nearly nobody really self-identifies using the term, and anyone using it nowadays is either confused or wants to start a fight.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:56 PM on October 29 [5 favorites]


Agreed, there is no equivalency between the alt-right and any version of alt-left anyone may care to conjure.

Is there a specific subset of Sanders supporters who defend Gabbard? What defines the Gabbard defender of the left? I'm curious, because it doesn't seem to map neatly onto just the Bernie crowd. Only six out of the dozens of Sanders supporters I am acquainted with seem to defend her all the time.
posted by MiraK at 3:08 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Alt-left is a term made up by the alt-right (or just right) to bolster both-sidesism and minimize fascism. That's it. That's all it is.
posted by avalonian at 3:10 PM on October 29 [11 favorites]


And yes, retail is real work, but the conservatives that xammerboy is referring to fetishize manufacturing and coal mining and bullshit and pretending their opinions are otherwise won't really get us anywhere.

Focusing on teaching being a real job that deserves a real wage (and unions!) has been great for pushing back against this stupid sexist narrative. Of course the right knows fighting public school teachers themselves is a losing fight, so they decided to undermine the concept of public school itself in favor of charters.
posted by benzenedream at 3:16 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Are we interested in how the world outside the left bubble sees the left, or are we just interested in our own opinions?

I did not understand the comments I was responding to as anything other than xammerboy's opinions about the 'new political reality.' It is unclear to me why statements presented as objective facts by another MeFite who has previously expressed an antipathy towards Trump constitute anything like "how the world outside the left bubble sees the left," so I don't really understand the dichotomy you are raising.
posted by PMdixon at 4:17 PM on October 29


IDK what xammerboy meant by alt-left?

What I'm referring to are left wing absolutists. A good example might be the voter who won't vote for Elizabeth Warren for president, because she labels herself a capitalist. You would expect that any voter with socialist sympathies would automatically vote for the candidate whose policies are the most socialist, but I have met some that are all or nothing. For them, you either identify as a socialist are you are a fraud. I suspect there are more people like this than I thought.
posted by xammerboy at 7:57 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Can you help me understand why [the loss of manufacturing / mining] is a more important political fact than, say, the collapse of retail employment?

When a mining operation or manufacturing plant moves to China, it often takes takes the entire economy of a town or even city with it. If the town was primarily populated by miners, not only will they be out of jobs, but the entire town's businesses (including retail) schools, and homes are now worthless.
posted by xammerboy at 8:17 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


But perhaps we need a term for ... the group of people that still support Tulsi Gabbard, who, when informed of her various alt-right leanings dismiss this info as irrelevant?

Right. I find myself in conversations lately where I think I'm in agreement with someone, but mistake how committed they are to certain positions. For instance, I'm generally non-interventionist, but Trump's withdrawal of a small number of troops whose presence was protecting an army of democratic freedom fighters seems crazy to me. Add to that that supporting Gabbard means dismissing civil rights concerns. In these cases, I may support the same policies as the person I am talking to, but clearly we see things differently.
posted by xammerboy at 8:59 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


If the town was primarily populated by miners, not only will they be out of jobs, but the entire town's businesses (including retail) schools, and homes are now worthless.

In the long run, if nothing takes its place. We, both individually and collectively, as government, fail to make use of the breathing room afforded by the mechanisms already in place that turn what would otherwise be an immediate implosion to a relatively slow decline.

In some ways it's a relatively modern thing to expect small (hundreds to low thousands of residents) communities in the US to be anything but ephemeral. For most of our history they have been an as-needed thing.
posted by wierdo at 11:43 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Murc's law is particularly silly when it's combined with stubborn confirmation bias that leads one to repeatedly conclude that a single cherry-picked poll result with a high margin of error (± 4.1% !!!) and a rapidly-thinning primary field is somehow meaningful.

Speaking of thinning, Gabbard appears to be closer to getting into the November debates than previously-established conventional candidates:

TrackerDebate:
What do candidates need to qualify for November?

@TulsiGabbard: 2 polls at 3%+, or one early state poll at 5%+.

@BetoORourke: 2 polls at 3%+, or two early state polls at 5%+.

@JulianCastro: 4 polls at 3%+, or two early state polls at 5%+.
Also:
What candidates need to qualify for December:

1 poll:
@KamalaHarris

3 polls:
@AndrewYang, @amyklobuchar

3 polls, and donors:
@TomSteyer, @TulsiGabbard

4 polls:
@BetoORourke

4 polls, and donors:
@CoryBooker, @JulianCastro

(Donors = 0-35K more)
PopulismUpdates:
Tulsi: down 17 points in favorability, up 4 points in voter support.

Proving that polarization can still work as a political strategy
Guess we'll have to check back in a week or two. The seeming implosion or at least deflation of the Biden and Harris campaigns is... complicating.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:16 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


When a mining operation or manufacturing plant moves to China, it often takes takes the entire economy of a town or even city with it. If the town was primarily populated by miners, not only will they be out of jobs, but the entire town's businesses (including retail) schools, and homes are now worthless.

I grew up just outside Grants, New Mexico. I am well aware of what a former mining economy looks like. I asked you why I should care more about that than say Walmart locations closing up after taking out all of the local places to buy food. Your answer as far as I can tell is that we should reward companies and communities specially for having set up de facto company towns that are dependent on a single source of income. You have not actually presented a comparative argument that a local manufacturing or primary resource extraction effective monopsony on labor is more to be worried about than any other effective monopsony or any given monopoly, you have just made cause and effect assertions without context.
posted by PMdixon at 5:38 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


If a Walmart closes, other places to buy food will open, as long as there are people with money to buy food in the area. If the mine closes, the Walmart and all other businesses will close too, because there is no longer anyone with money to buy food. No new businesses will open, because there is no viable economic future. This will be true for all businesses in the area. The miners' salaries supported all the businesses.

Walmart is just one part of a town's economy and as long as there are still people in a town with money other alternatives will open. The business opportunity is there. If the mine that supports 90% of the town closes, no ones going to open up a business of any kind there. No one's going to buy a home there. If a local Walmart closes your town may take a hit, but if the mine closes your town is done.
posted by xammerboy at 7:17 AM on October 30


But that's a situation that makes a town hostage to the fortunes of a single employer. We should be helping towns diversify their economic base, not encouraging them to put all of their eggs in one basket.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:35 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


xammerboy, have you spent time in these towns that you speak of? There are scores of towns where these Walmarts are the last business standing after manufacturing/mining left town, never to return. Walmart is the sole economic driver remaining in many places. These areas are profoundly fucked, and the notion that all these spenders (who can’t support a Walmart, mind you) will just kickstart a functional local economy is quite optimistic.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:40 AM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Yes, we should encourage all towns to have a diverse economic foundation, but there are always going to be businesses that employ thousands of people in certain geographic areas. This is a business that is "too big to fail" for that area, except that in a capitalist system not only do we allow it to fail, we allow it to pull the plug on a day's notice in the pursuit of an extra dollar or two. There are smarter ways to do this. For one, let's make that company pay the costs society will have to bear by them leaving.
posted by xammerboy at 7:48 AM on October 30


If a Walmart closes, other places to buy food will open, as long as there are people with money to buy food in the area.
If a mine closes, other places to sell labor will open, as long as there are people with labor to sell in the area.

I too can construct tautologies that have rhetorical effect only by treating variable thresholds as constant: if a person "ha[s] money to buy food" under one set of arrangements of capital deployment, it does not follow that they will "ha[ve] money to buy food" under a different set of arrangements of capital deployment. This is true whether the deployment in question is about obtaining money by selling labor or obtaining necessities by selling money.
posted by PMdixon at 8:19 AM on October 30 [6 favorites]


Walmart is the sole economic driver remaining in many places.

I am talking about businesses that employ thousands of people. When they pull the plug, they take down the entire local economy. Businesses of this kind will always exist, but should have to pay the costs of pulling the plug if they leave, especially if it's to save a cent on ten dollars. If they're failing, society should look for ways to mitigate the costs of that failure to society. If that applies to Walmart, then that applies to Walmart.

We bailed out big banks because they had gotten so big the entire economy would have fallen with them. We had no choice. There was no bailout for blue collar towns that depended on manufacturing or mines or Walmarts that suddenly closed. If a Walmart closing can do that much damage to a local economy, they should be broken up for the same reason big banks should be broken up.
posted by xammerboy at 8:21 AM on October 30


Businesses of this kind will always exist

Why? Assuming we are refraining from the sophistry of declaring the state a business (and the anarchists would say we needn't even assume that).

This kind of reasoning has historically tended to have a policy outcome of massive subsidies and regulatory capture more than anything else.
posted by PMdixon at 8:28 AM on October 30


Alt-left is a term made up by the alt-right (or just right) to bolster both-sidesism and minimize fascism. That's it. That's all it is.

I do believe that James Wolcott (who, whatever you think of him, is certainly not a member of the alt-right) coined the term alt-left in early 2017.
posted by holborne at 9:09 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


WorldNetDaily, August 2016: Let's take a look at the 'Alt Left'
posted by Cezar Golescu at 1:09 PM on October 30 [3 favorites]


I stand corrected.
posted by holborne at 2:13 PM on October 30


Businesses of this kind will always exist Why? Automobile manufacturing, for instance. Those plants need a lot of workers.
posted by xammerboy at 4:02 PM on October 30


Those plants need a lot of workers.

Well, if their functioning without massively disrupting societal fabric requires the state to force them to put up a bond or equivalent thereof on the scale of the cost to restructure the economy of a county or so, why don't we just cut out the intermediary and nationalize them? The feds have a much better track record of not defaulting on its debt than any firm.
posted by PMdixon at 4:52 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Zach Montellaro:
New Suffolk/USA Today NATIONAL poll (counts for both the November and December debates)
Biden 26%
Warren 17%
Sanders 13%
Buttigieg 10%
Gabbard 4%
Yang 3%
Harris 3%
Everyone else at or below 2 percent

https://www.usatoday.com/amp/4096461002
And:
The debate ramifications: This gets @TulsiGabbard ONE POLL away from qualifying for the November debate. She's also halfway through the polling threshold for December. Also notably, @KamalaHarris still hasn't qualified for December, needing one more poll
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dHSFg0jrAeIAqDlFZqAu-5N2x-wk8PT-6H4DbCendUM/htmlview
posted by Apocryphon at 6:03 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Tulsi Gabbard Drops a Big Hint About Running a Spoiler Campaign for Trump
Gabbard’s op-ed is structured as an apparent refutation of the claim Clinton made about her. In fact, nothing could do more to vindicate Clinton’s suspicion that Gabbard is being groomed by the Republican party as a spoiler candidate than a Wall Street Journal op-ed previewing her case for a spoiler campaign.
posted by LooseFilter at 6:22 PM on October 30 [4 favorites]


Tulsi Gabbard is having a moment, and the party is getting nervous
Who knows if this strategy will ever translate into an actual third-party run? Gabbard said in August that she has “ruled that out,” and unless she ignores the ideological mismatch and joins an already established party such as the Greens or the Libertarians — which choose their nominees before the Democrats — she would have a difficult time securing ballot access.
A fair point- there's a reason why Nader joined the Greens, and why the Reform Party went from Ross Perot's personal club to every fringe figure's plaything: our ballot system is very dilapidated and favors entrenched candidates, and even entrenched no-hope third parties. You have to hitch a ride to a preexisting party. Evan McMullin had only 84 EVs in terms of ballot access.
But more interesting than the level of Gabbard’s support is its source: namely, Republicans and 2016 Trump voters. Only 23 percent of self-identified Democrats who are planning to vote in the Granite State’s open primary view Gabbard favorably, for instance. Among self-identified Republicans who are also planning to participate, however, that number leaps to 59 percent. The split between Clinton voters and Trump voters is similar; 20 percent of the former have a favorable view of Gabbard, versus 55 percent of the latter. The only other Democrat who comes close is Sanders (35 percent).

Superficially, it might seem that it would help Democrats if Gabbard were to run outside the two-party system and attract support from 2016 Trump voters while doing it. But remember: The Trump voters and Republicans who responded to the CNN poll were deemed likely to vote Democratic this time around. In other words, they’re exactly the sort of swing voters Democrats are hoping to win in 2020. The fact that they’re disproportionately pro-Gabbard suggests that her antiestablishment grievance politics are resonating — and could continue to resonate if the party nominates a more establishment figure.
She's running for VP or cabinet position for whomever ends up as Democratic nominee.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:43 PM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Why don't we just cut out the intermediary and nationalize them? I'm open to talking about it, but feel that conversation should probably be in its own thread.
posted by xammerboy at 7:17 PM on October 30


She will under no circumstances be offered VP or a Cabinet slot.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:55 PM on October 30 [11 favorites]


Yes, but she doesn't know that.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:33 PM on October 30


Worst Year Ever podcast just did Tulsi Gabbard. Robert Evans from Behind the Bastards is one of the hosts, this is basically a Behind the Bastards episode since Tulsi is most likely still in a cult.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:41 AM on October 31 [5 favorites]


Oh hey: Tulsi Gabbard Floats 9/11 Conspiracy Theory
For an American with Gabbard’s prominence to speak in this darkly paranoid way is a boon for leaders like Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It bolsters their strategy of pointing to American failings, real or imagined, to distract from their own abuses and of trying to undermine public faith in the U.S. political system to delegitimize democracy and shore up their own tyrannical rule.

Coming from a Democrat, it’s also political gold for Trump, a way to say there’s bipartisan approval for his assertions that he is unfairly victimized by members of a so-called “deep state,” largely in the U.S. foreign policy apparatus.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:47 PM on November 5 [1 favorite]


FWIW, Gabbard just told Tom Perez again that she would not run indy or third party.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:22 AM on November 6 [2 favorites]






CNN, Henry Enten: Tulsi Gabbard got a boost following Hillary Clinton's attacks on her
Before the Democratic debate on October 15, Gabbard looked like she was going to miss November's debate. Candidates needed to hit at least 3% in four qualifying polls. Gabbard had never hit that 3% mark in any qualifying poll this entire year.

Then Clinton's remarks came on October 17.

Following Clinton's podcast appearance, Gabbard got a qualifying poll from Suffolk University Iowa poll that was taken partially before Clinton's comments and partially after.

She then reached 5% in a CNN/University of New Hampshire poll conducted the following week. Over that same period, Suffolk gave Gabbard another qualifying poll. Finally, she earned 3% in a Quinnipiac University poll from Iowa this past week. [...]

An Ipsos Knowledge Panel poll taken after the debate but before Clinton's remarks seem to back up the reviews of a mediocre Gabbard performance. Among those who debated in October, she ranked lowest for the percentage of Democratic primary voters who said they'd consider voting for her. Gabbard had the lowest favorable rating and worst net favorabilty (favorable - unfavorable) rating. She also had the highest jump in unfavorable ratings comparing Ipsos poll taken before and after the debate with the same respondents.

Then in nearly perfect succession, Clinton spoke about Gabbard and Gabbard started hitting the debate threshold in qualifying polls.
posted by Apocryphon at 1:39 PM on November 11


Gabbard’s lawyers demand retraction, apology from Clinton
The letter demanded that Clinton hold a press conference immediately to verbally retract her comments, post it on her Twitter page and distribute it to major news outlets with the following script:

"On October 17, 2019, I made certain statements about Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Among other things, I accused her of being a Russian asset and that Russia was grooming her to be a third-party presidential candidate.

I was wrong. I never should have made these remarks, and I apologize. I did not have any basis for making the statements. I acknowledge my grave mistake and error in judgment in this matter.
I support and admire the work that Congresswoman Gabbard has done and will continue to do in serving our country."
posted by octothorpe at 2:02 PM on November 11 [1 favorite]


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