Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has been in the news a couple of times in the last week. She went after a clutch of Democrat Senators (Dianne Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and fellow Hawaiian Mazie Hirono) over their creation of an actual religious test for federal court nominees: that is, if they are observant Catholics they are disqualified. This caused some of them to call foul:
Wow: Mazie Hirono spox knocks Tulsi Gabbard for op-ed on "religious bigotry" over Qs for Trump judicial nominee.
"It is unfortunate that Congresswoman Gabbard based her misguided opinion on the far-right wing manipulation of these straightforward Qs.” https://t.co/Nf7QLr9oMy
— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) January 9, 2019
That Gabbard has drawn the ire of the Democrat establishment is demonstrated by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski, the guy who specializes turning up high school term papers written by Republicans and excoriating their grammar and spelling, delving into Gabbard’s background and he finds her wanting.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the early 2000s touted working for her father’s anti-gay organization, which mobilized to pass a measure against same-sex marriage in Hawaii and promoted controversial conversion therapy.
Although Gabbard’s positions on LGBT rights have shifted dramatically in more recent years (she signed a 2013 amicus brief supporting Edith Windsor’s challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act), the extent of Gabbard’s past anti-gay activism has already drawn criticism from prominent Democrats and will likely be a major issue for her as she seeks the party’s nomination.
During her run for state legislature in 2002, Gabbard told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, “Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good. I will bring that attitude of public service to the legislature.” The quote, which CNN’s KFile found during a review of Gabbard’s early career, shows how closely she aligned herself with her father’s mission at the time.
Gabbard’s father ran The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee aimed at opposing pro-gay lawmakers and legislation that organized and spent more than $100,000 to pass an amendment in 1998 that gave the Hawaii state legislature power to “reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” The amendment to the state’s constitution passed.
Gabbard was 17 at the time of the vote and cited working with her father and the organization during her run for the state legislature in Hawaii four years later when she was age 21. Gabbard would win her race, becoming the youngest woman elected to the Hawaii state legislature.
Gabbard’s father Mike was a prominent anti-gay activist in Hawaii. He was also the director of Stop Promoting Homosexuality and also served on the steering committees of the National Campaign to Protect Marriage and the Hawaii-based coalition, Save Traditional Marriage. He also once hosted an anti-gay radio show, Let’s Talk Straight Hawaii.
So we have a woman who was a teenager and working with her father on a political campaign. We have a woman who was a candidate in 2002 and held views on homosexual marriage indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And we have a candidate who disavowed all of that no later than 2013.
While I think she abandoned a rational and defensible position for the sake of political viability, that doesn’t make her alone among Democrats. What really stands out is that she is being attacked by a Democrat party media hit man for doing exactly what most of the Democrats in Congress did.
I’m only half joking about Kaczynski’s M.O., and this marks one of the few times he’s ever pulled this stunt on a Democrat. And the degree to which Kaczynski and his muse are counting on this demolishing Gabbard is evident. Gabbard has apologized:
And her actions actually demonstrate that her apology is sincere.
And yet he persisted:
Never mind that the offending position is 20 years old and that she is not her father.
Gabbard trying to carve out some political space for herself at the expense of other Democrats and that is causing them to target her. The source of the allegations here is obviously Mazie Hirono’s operation…who else would know what position Gabbard’s father held 20+ years ago? But the fact that a CNN hit was ordered shows that other senior Democrats want her marginalized. Personally, I’m happy no matter how this plays out. Either Gabbard will be marginalized and disappear from the national scene, or she’ll learn her place and become just another backbencher in the House until Hirono retires or croaks.