Tulsi Gabbard, who served four terms in Congress and sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, announced her exit from the party on Tuesday.
The former representative from Hawaii said, in a video posted online:
I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party that is under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers who are driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoking anti-white racism, who actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution, who are hostile to people of faith and spirituality, who demonize the police but protect criminals at the expense of law-abiding Americans, who believe in open borders, who weaponize the national security state to go after their political opponents, and, above all, who are dragging us ever closer to nuclear war.
One senses that ghosts of Democratic presidents past join the surfing soldier in saying boo to all that.
John F. Kennedy drastically reduced taxes, increased the defense budget, and took action to combat the communist menace.
Jimmy Carter signed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, appointed Paul Volcker to chair the Federal Reserve, reversed course by increasing defense spending, and imposed a grain embargo on the Soviet Union.
Bill Clinton ended welfare as we know it, supported the death penalty, balanced the budget several times, and signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act.
Is there space anywhere in today’s Democratic Party for tax cutters, defense hawks, and opponents of illegal immigration? Because at one time the party saved a space at the top of the ticket for such people.
The few areas where Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton parted company from their party’s liberal wing does not make them conservatives by today’s standards. It just goes to show that the lockstep nature of the current Democratic Party did not always prevail. Even presidents who advanced various aspects of the liberal agenda frequently reached a hand across the aisle — and not to slap the other side. They also battled elements of their own party when necessary, such as in the case of Clinton’s Sister Souljah moment.
Politicians back then made law not through jamming legislation down the throats of the minority through wholesale support of the majority party but through coalitions made from both parties. Presidents compelled compromise, discouraged good-is-the-enemy-of-the-perfect mindsets, and limited the power of the extremes.
How did this work in practice?
More than 80 percent of Republicans in Congress and more than 60 percent of Democrats in Congress voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Not only did Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts pass Democratic Congresses, but the majority of Democrats voted to slash rates in 1981 and then again in 1986.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) won the support of House Democrats, including David Bonior, Rosa DeLauro, Bobby Rush, Dick Durbin, Steny Hoyer, Dick Gephardt, Jim Clyburn, and Chuck Schumer, who voted for DOMA by an almost 2-to-1 ratio. More than two-thirds of Senate Democrats also supported the 1996 legislation, including Paul Wellstone, Patty Murray, Harry Reid, Tom Daschle, Patrick Leahy, and Joe Biden.
Compare these diverse coalitions with Barack Obama’s convincing one Republican congressman to vote for Obamacare, Donald Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees receiving a total of four Democratic votes, and Biden’s essentially using the executive order to enact a “legislative” agenda. The approach favored today necessarily breeds enmity, rancor, and division. It also makes a pariah of any politician who refuses to toe the party line. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s dismissing Gabbard as a “Russian asset” comes as an example of this marginalization. (READ MORE from Daniel J. Flynn: Will the Real Fascists Please Stand Up?)
A politician as heterodox as Gabbard not only finds no place at the Democratic Party table but finds parts of the menu revolting as well. This poses no problem when the chefs allow diners to order. But Democratic Party politicians must swallow everything listed on the menu. This force-feeding started with abortion. It now extends to such outré issues as free puberty blockers for children identifying as transgender, the abolition of bail even for some violent criminals, the Taliban-ing of statuary, and open borders.
Gabbard changed from endorsing presidential nominee Bernie Sanders in 2016 to extolling faith and freedom in 2022. The Democratic Party changed more.