In the US, the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination continues and does so with one less person. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has dropped out of the race.
One of the greatest problems with this campaign season has been sexism. There's not a woman running for the nomination who hasn't been harmed by the institutionalized sexism of the press. A brief moment of unity among the women existed for a photo shoot. That moment ended when US House Rep Tulsi Gabbard decide to play attack dog on Senator Kamala Harris. We'll get back to that in a moment but, as we said in real time, the 'sisterhood' didn't mean Tulsi couldn't act the way she did.
But in the brief moment of unity, it's a shame that the women couldn't come together to discuss the sexism that they all experienced. For Tulsi, she was presented as a thing by much of the early press -- and the term "Barbie" was bandied about. No male Iraq War veteran was treated as she was. They were treated as experienced and wise (even Mayor Pete with his driving duties in Afghanistan), but she was denied the experience she had by the press for much of the race. For Amy Klobuchar, the press tried to play 'is she a bitch?' over and over. Now if Amy is rude to employees, that is a story and it's a story regardless of gender. But there is no denying that the press was trying to craft a narrative around her that was not supported by the facts.
The ridiculous Joe Biden campaign, to explain this point, keeps pouting that the press reports all of Joe's gaffes. That's because they keep happening. They need to report on those the same way they needed to report on Amy's former employees complaining about her. But they kept the Amy story alive even when it wasn't. It was one group of employees and one news cycle at best but they continued to go there. With Joe, he can't speak accurately and that's a daily issue so it will be in each news cycle. They are not repeating the same incident from a month ago with nothing to add. He's daily unaware of where he's speaking or unaware of what years he was Vice President or of this or that. There's a difference between a narrative that Joe feeds daily and a narrative that the press imposes with nothing new to add.
Marianne Williamson? She's a successful business woman. Unlike the laughable H. Ross Perot, she didn't do that via the government. Taxpayer money did not make her rich. Her intelligence and her ability to market something people wanted made her rich. She was not shown the respect that she deserved for her business skills.
Kamala Harris? She could go back up in the polls but the press chose to play it as a cat fight in a way that they did not with any male against male moment in the debates. Kamala was hit in the face with a two-by-four by Tulsi in the July debate and then forced to explain why Tulsi did that. Kamala didn't help herself by falling into the trap the press set. There was no answer she could give that would have satisfied them because what should have been a discussion of the issues was now the press gleefully braying 'cat fight!'
Elizabeth Warren? Why wasn't she seen as electable from the start? Only now will the press admit, begrudgingly, that she might be electable. The electability argument around her was always gender-based and always sexist.
Kirsten. Stereotypes hurt her most of all. She was 'plucky' or some other term when the press was being kind -- as though she were the widow Sally Field trying to save the homestead for the kids. The adjectives they repeatedly applied to her were belittling.
Sexism played a huge part in the campaign so far and it's a real shame that the women could be brought together for a photo shoot but not for a roundtable on the way their campaigns were being portrayed as a result of their gender.
Again, bad news needs to be reported. Reporting that Amy has a group of former employees who do not like her is news and should be reported. Reporting it is not sexism. Making it a narrative with nothing else to add is feeding into gender stereotypes.
Joe Biden and Tulsi Gabbard have been the biggest whiners in the campaign. Joe has a fit that all of his stupid remarks are reported on. Tough. They are news. He is running for the presidency and if he can't get it together for campaign events it is news. And it does raise the issue of whether or not he is fit to be president. Those of us on the left, made much of Bully Boy Bush's stupidity when he ran and when he occupied the Oval Office. Tulsi can't stop whining about Syria.
No one asked her to go. She made the decision to go. She was a member of the US Congress. She courted press coverage of that visit. Now that she runs for the presidency, she and some of her more ridiculous supporters want to whine every time the subject is raised. As we've said here repeatedly, I have no problem with the trip. I think it was a smart move. When she's asked about it, she should be glad, it gives her a chance to explain it and to stress the need for diplomacy. Instead, it's whine, whine, whine every time she's asked. Some people need to grow up.
Speaking in terms of her campaign and her issues, Kirsten did a strong job and hopefully everyone can agree on that. Or at least this community. Outside the community there is a vicious hatred for Kirsten that goes to that fact that she stands up for women. That is threatening to some men and to some women. She put women first even when the press ignored women. In terms of that, she was a success, she made her campaign about what she believed in.
John Stauber's an important voice and he's entitled to his opinion. But there's opinion and there's reality. He's taken to slamming Aaron Mate for Aaron's support of Bernie Sanders and that's fine, that's John's opinion. But this "I'd rather see #Tulsi"? That's nonsense.
She was in the July debate. Her issue is supposed to be war. She was on stage with Joe Biden and she gave generic responses that were weak. After Joe basically lied yet again (about both Afghanistan and Iraq), Jake Tapper went back to Tulsi, who had already answered before Joe. He gave her a chance to respond. Joe is one of the War Hawks who sold the Iraq War, who voted for it, who kept it going, as vice president, he was part of the group who overthrew the votes of the Iraqi people in order to give thug Nouri al-Maliki a second term. And Joe knew Nouri did not represent the people. Joe had addressed that in an April 2008 Senate committee hearing he chaired. He and then-Senator Russ Feingold were on the same page, we shouldn't be negotiating deals with the Iraqi 'government' because there was no government there -- not one that was represented the people of Iraq. Nouri was prime minister at that time. So in 2010, for Joe to be part of the effort to overturn the Iraqi people's vote to unseat Nouri is appalling. Nouri's second term as prime minister gave rise to ISIS. Barack Obama said that himself. Sometimes carefully, sometimes not so. That's why they forced Nouri to step down when he was insisting he would be prime minister for a third term.
I'm sorry Tulsi is too stupid or too lazy to learn the history. I'm sorry she's too weak ass to confront Joe Biden. I'm appalled that she spent the days after the debate minimizing what Joe had done and lying that he's apologized -- he never apologized.
But Tulsi is flat out useless in a debate.
She went after Kamala who was not the front runner. That was her choice. It doesn't make her a bad woman or even mean that she's not a feminist. (I doubt Tulsi would claim to be a feminist, but she might.) It does mean that while Kirsten repeatedly fought for the campaign beliefs she held, Tulsi elected to throw out her supposed anti-war beliefs so that she could attack Kamala.
That was strategically stupid. Kamala was not the front runner.
It was strategically stupid because she really didn't know what she was doing and if you come to a debate with prepared talking points, maybe learn how to deliver them. Sotto voice doesn't come off strong.
She was a disgrace in every way but most of all in betraying her supposed beliefs. If she was against war, truly against war, she should have taken on Joe Biden. She didn't. She's a coward.
And she doesn't belong on the stage at the next debates.
In a moment of justice, she won't be on the stage.
Rachel Sandler (FORBES) reports:
As it looks now, these are the candidates who qualify for the ABC News debate in Houston:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Senator Bernie Sanders
- Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Senator Kamala Harris
- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Senator Cory Booker
- Senator Amy Klobuchar
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
- Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
- Author Marianne Williamson
- Billionaire Tom Steyer
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- Sen. Michael Bennett
- Montana Governor Steve Bullock
- Rep. John Delaney
- Rep. Tim Ryan
- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Former Rep. Joe Sestak
- Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam
While some might read the room and take a hint, Sophie Cocke (HONOLULU STAR-BULLETIN) notes, "Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is forging ahead with her campaign for president despite missing the cut for the third Democratic primary debate." HAWAII NEWS NOW quotes Tulsi stating, "I would have liked to have been on that stage, but that’s not everything and we’re gonna find ways to work around it and really focus on bringing our people-powered campaign directly to the people, connecting directly with voters and continuing to do exactly what we have been doing in building and growing the momentum on what we’re seeing in the interest and support for the kind of leadership that I seek to bring."
There is no interest in her campaign. The press glommed on her after the July debate and she couldn't translate all that exposure into any real bump in the polls. She remains incredibly unpopular. Of the others who didn't qualify? Bill de Blasio has been much more vocal on anti-war issues (including in the July debate). Marianne is addressing issues that no one else is so she might want to stay for that reason as well. Only Tulsi has no real issue and no real base and no where left to go.
There is a push for Tulsi and others (including Marianne -- whom I know and love) to drop out if they are polling low. And that should be the case if they're running to win. If at this point, they're still at 1%, it's really unlikely that any more exposure is going to make a difference. I don't believe Marianne is now running to win (this is my opinion, I have not spoken to her about this). I do believe she is running to raise the issues she feels are important -- which do include the health of our democracy. If a candidate, even the hideous John Delaney, is remaining in the race because they want to raise issues, that is their business. But if someone's running to win and they're still at one percent, they should grasp that they do not have the support needed to continue their campaign.
And if, like Tulsi, they have betrayed what they supposedly stand for, they should certainly drop out.
Kai Kahele is challenging her in the primary. Tulsi has ticked off her district. I don't vote there but I do have a home there. My policy is I don't endorse in any race I can't vote in. But I will donate to races I can't vote in. Neil Abercrombie has asked me to donate to Kai. So far, I haven't. But Tulsi should grasp that 2021 may end up as the year that she's not in the White House or in the Congress. Dropping out of the race for the presidential nomination might allow her to focus on saving her House seat. Kai is a worthy challenger.
Whether she chocked in the July debate or just had fake-assed her way previously, her campaign stands for nothing currently and that's no one's fault but her own.
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