[guest post by Dana]
[Ed. I thought JVW might post about his Little Aloha Sweetie but maybe the thoughts of her going to such a far away place makes him too sad to post…]
Tulsi Gabbard announced that she was leaving the campaign trail for two weeks to participate in National Guard training in Indonesia:
“While some people are telling me, ‘Gosh, this is a terrible time to leave the campaign. Can’t you find a way out of it?’ That’s not what this is about,” the Hawaii Democrat said in a news release. “I look forward to joining my fellow soldiers for a joint-training exercise with the Indonesian military, focused on counterterrorism and disaster response.”
“I love our country,” Gabbard said Monday. “I am grateful to be able to serve our country and the American people in many ways, including as a soldier.”
Gabbard has demonstrated her love of country and a willingness to serve wherever, whenever. While politics certainly played a part in her decision-making, I think ultimately she is honoring a commitment that she takes very seriously, in spite of her political campaign. And yet, a huge part of what draws supporters to her is her military service and experience. And she makes no bones that it is what anchors her in the quest for the presidency:
…her military experience has become a central selling point to her campaign. During the second night of July’s debates — wherein Gabbard finished the night as Google’s most-searched candidate — she wielded her credentials as an Iraq War veteran to speak about foreign policy decisions with a personal tone.
“For too long, we had leaders who have been arbitrating foreign policy from ivory towers in Washington without any idea about the cost and the consequence, the toll it takes on our service members, on their families,” Gabbard said. “We have to do the right thing. End the wasteful regime change wars and bring our troops home.
“The leadership I will bring to do the right thing, to bring our troops home within the first year in office, because they shouldn’t have been there this long.”
“It’s impossible to separate the experience that I have serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, on the Armed Services Committee, as we’re going through these exercises and I think it’s an added value in bringing these two different perspectives together — those of the policymakers in Washington and that of a soldier.”
Gabbard is clearly in an uphill battle on the campaign trail. While she has met the threshold of 130,000 contributions from individual donors, she still hovers at 1% support in the polls, which makes her short of the “two percent in four surveys” polling criteria. She is also rightfully facing scrutiny for her meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Here she is being interviewed by (ironically) Chris Cuomo on CNN, where he demanded she denounce Assad (at the 1:23 mark):
Anyway, Assad aside, Gabbard clearly loves America, and I’m grateful for her willingness to serve our country.