A RARE SIGN THAT THE PARTY
IS NOT QUITE DEAD… YET
If ever new blood & change
were urgently needed,
the time is now
DEMOCRATS INERT & INBRED
By Bjarne Rostaing
It was startling to see Rep. Tulsi Gabbard nominating The Bern at the Democratic Convention last week. Many gave her up as politically dead after her March DNC kerfuffle with Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Subtle is not DWS’s style, and the stench of blatant favoritism emanating from the Democratic National Committee was not manageable. A blatant Clinton ally, she pulled out all the stops.
That was over the top for Gabbard, her No. 2 at the DNC. Gabbard was a Sanders fan and she didn’t accept seeing him screwed every day and twice on Sunday. She would also have been his perfect running mate and heir apparent.
Few took special note of Gabbard’s defection, and it might have been forgotten in the heat of the convention, but for DWS. Debbie knew she was being fired because of leaked emails revealing her machinations and she refused to go quietly, placing herself stage-center and treating her fellow Dems to a pile of streaming scat that destroyed the all-important Party unity theme on Day 1 and disrupting what should have been a fairly routine process.
People wondered what she has on Clinton to be getting up in her grille like that and getting away with it.
Gabbard was in political limbo after leaving the DNC behind, going from anonymous to endangered. The courage to confront DWS (and by implication, Clinton, her close ally) was striking.
It made Gabbard visible and interesting, especially in light of serious non-political credentials that gave her a real-world perspective. For a machine politician like DWS, the Near East would be a political problem, but Gabbard had been there on the ground as a military officer. She emerged not as another hawk, but someone who saw that messing around in Syria and the Near East generally was a bad idea.
Significantly, Gabbard is not a lawyer, and her business degree is another indication of her hands-on approach to getting things done. And if anyone embodies 21st Century America, it would be her.
She’s a classic American Hybrid — Euro-Samoan by blood, a practicing Hindu with Roman Catholics in the family.
Her unconventional education includes home-schooling, public schooling, and a girls-only missionary school. That background adds up to a strong, independent woman, good-looking enough to turn heads but who can keep her eye on the ball.
In today’s sluggish influence-driven Democratic Party she is a rare sign that the party is not quite dead yet; and her speaking time at a convention where her ex-boss was demanding attention and making a general mess was encouraging.
If ever new blood and change were needed, now’s the time — that’s obvious from populist uprisings in both major parties.
When Gabbard nominated Sanders, most TV viewers didn’t know who she was, and her speech was not a stirring event. He was going to lose, and Gabbard isn’t a big speechmaker.
What she is, is a talented hardworking real-world woman in a party led by a speechmaking president with real-world issues. Refreshing.
People who get things done are at a premium in American politics and we yearn for them — it’s the secret of Trump’s success.
Apart from that, the two have nothing in common. Gabbard isn’t elusive and insulting; she does her homework and goes to work in the morning as a well-informed member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.
Her backers include the Sierra Club, Emily’s List, and VoteVets, and no one has tied her to anything suspicious.
When Elizabeth Warren failed to show up for Sanders in the crucial Massachusetts primary, I wondered in print: Is Tulsi Gabbard the Real Elizabeth Warren?
She’d stayed the course and was definitely qualified, and she would never turn into the snarling pit-bull Warren has become on Clinton’s behalf.
It took a pair of big ones to walk away from her gig at the DNC — and by implication, Clinton — who basically controls the party. She stood by principles, ran a big risk, and prevailed; and appears to be moving up in the party as DWS is ousted.
The Democrats are inert and inbred, and can use some new blood that comes without distracting baggage.
That’s always needed of course, but with Sanders aging out and leaving his legions leaderless, it’s urgently needed right now.
Trump is clearly upending normal expectations, and a flabby, complacent Democratic Party needs fresh juice to deal with him. If he were to try to tell Gabbard that military school is the equivalent of active service, her answer would be well worth hearing.
“Inside Pitch” is a Voice of Baltimore commentary/opinion column authored by various contributors, along with VoB editors and staff. It has been a regular feature of this website since 2013.
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013. Until February 28th of this year she was one of several Vice-Chair- persons of the Democratic National Committee, required to stay neutral in party primaries. Although seen as a rising star she has publicly opposed the leadership and took a huge risk by opposing presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. (View her gutsy YouTube endorsement of Vermont Senator Sanders by clicking here and her nominating speech at the Democratic Convention — click here.)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz represents Florida’s 23rd District in the United States Congress and resigned in disgrace last week as Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee. Former Harvard Law School Prof. Elizabeth Warren is the senior Senator from Massachusetts. A Democrat and the state’s first female in the U.S. Senate, she defeated the Republican who had been elected to finish out Ted Kennedy’s unexpired term when the long-time Senate leader died in 2009.
Bjarne (Barney) Rostaing is the author of Epstein’s Pancake, a novel published by St. Mark’s Press and available for purchase on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble — click here and here.
He was an editor at the SoHo Weekly News, won a First Place AFI Award for a sports video, and worked with Uma Thurman in her film debut in “Kiss Daddy Goodnight” (1987). As a sports writer, Rostaing exposed — in Sports Illustrated — the 1984 U.S. Olympic blood doping scandal.
His earlier works include Breeders (St. Mark’s Press/2011), a crime novel set in the world of horse racing; Phantom of the Paradise (Dell), based on the 1974 horror film written and directed by Brian De Palma; and Bill Walton’s Total Book of Bicycling (Bantam Books/1985).
Originally from Bantam, Conn., the “Red Diaper Baby” lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.
To learn more about Epstein’s Pancake, click here.