"Why Tulsi’s Vote On Impeachment Was Correct"
The Jimmy Dore Show (January 27, 2020)
Michael Tracy: “Having watched Tulsi’s campaign progress, what I find is that she has gotten increasingly radical as the campaign goes on. Maybe ‘radical’ is not the right word. But more penetrating, more incisive, more unwilling to put up with nonsense. For example, at some of the events I’ve been to, usually someone will bring up Israel. And Israel is one of the points on which she has engendered some left-wing skepticism, because she had that vote on BDS which you asked her about a few months ago, et cetera. But now, when she’s asked about Israel, she’s essentially denouncing what she calls “the continued illegal occupation by Israel of Palestinian territory.” Which I think is even farther than Bernie goes. Bernie will call the settlements illegal, but I don’t know if he has called the entire occupation framework illegal. So that’s not going to get Tulsi any more invitations to, like, AIPAC soirees.Right? Or, you have her going on tirades against the corporate media as she did just last night. Or, you have her talking about genocide in Yemen. She is just using starker terms and putting it all into a coherent message. The impeachment stuff being a perfect example. Her ‘present’ vote I think is going to be looked back on – and I don’t want to be melodramatic or too sycophantic about it – but I think the ‘present’ vote that she took will be looked back upon as a true profile in courage.”
[2:13] Jimmy Dore: “You know, Michael, when people say her vote of ‘present’ was an act of cowardice, and I’m like ‘Well, Do you see the unbelievable, over-the-top, universal smearing and pounding she’s taking? It would be cowardice if she voted another way to avoid that kind of pounding. So, whatever you want to say, like Bill Maher when he talked about the terrorists. They weren’t cowards. They flew their fucking plane right into the building knowing it was going to kill them. So she’s not a coward. Because she knows making this ‘present’ vote is going to get her a world of shit. And she did it on principle.”
[2:33] Michael Tracy: “She was the only person who voted the way she did in the entire congress. And she had a separate rationale from every other single Democrat and every single other Republican. So, she’s obviously exposing herself to an extreme amount of condemnation and criticism. And people call that ‘cowardice.’
[2:56] Jimmy Dore: “It’s the exact opposite. So you can disagree with the vote, but it’s the exact opposite of cowardice."
Michael Tracy: “But on the merits of the vote, it was totally correct. And one reason was the answer that I gave before about the elevation of National Security State functionaries as somehow being the guardians of American foreign policy, who are not susceptible to any kind of democratic checks. I think a democratic check ought to be exerted against Trump such that in November he is voted out of office. Right. But I’m not also going to accept that these long-standing bureaucrats have any kind of metaphysical right to be the sole determiners of what U.S. foreign policy consists of. That’s not how you achieve reform. That’s capitulation to vested interests who are responsible for making it such that American foreign policy stays roughly the same across bi-partisan administrations. And that’s exactly what Tulsi is campaigning to upend.”
“So, it was 100% in keeping with her overall campaign themes. And it’s very frustrating for me that in the media in particular, don’t have any sophisticated enough understaning – not that you need sophisticated understanding, I’m not sophisticated, and I’m sorry to say that you’re not sophisticated, either, Jimmy. But you and I get it. These journalists who just want to create buzz and create phony controversy, they can’t even bother to look a few levels deeper to understand what the broader implications of this impeachment stuff are. How it could potentially backfire, as it already is. And what it’s going to do in terms of American governance going forward. And impeachment is a precedence that is now going to be with us for the remainder of U.S. history. I know it sounds a little crazy to put it that way, but it’s true. There now have been only three impeachments since the founding of the country. So when you take as dramatic a step as that, it’s going to dictate how future presidents are going to behave and are constrained by.”
[5:06] “So I think that vote is going to be looked upon as courageous, at least in my mind it ought to be. Again, because it was a repudiation of Trump for not just mentioning Joe Biden in the phone call, which is sort of trivial, but also his many other abuses. I mean, one of the things that she mentioned in the censure resolution that she proposed simultaneously when she voted ‘present’ was that Trump had taken the country to the brink of war with Iran. And sure enough, a couple of years later, he does it. I mean, we’re not at full-scale war yet, but we’re in a state of war because we have direct state-to-state warfare between Iran and the United States for the first time since 1917. And so it’s encouraging to me in a way, that she has gotten more radical.
There was an event – again, ‘radical’ might not be the word for it but she’s gotten more penetrating in her critiques – she had this event last week in Concord New Hampshire with Dennis Kucinich. So when people tell me that she’s this right-wing plant. You get that narrative sometimes. She’s this right-wing plant. She secretly wants to help Trump with these stealth conservative views or something. Yes. She has a conservative temperament, a conservative, sort-of, familial background, but what she’s proposing is not in away recognizably conservative. So when she appears on stage with Dennis Kucinich, one of the other anti-war candidates who was exiled and demeaned, portrayed as nuts in two earlier presidential cycles. She appears with him, and has the endorsement of a Mike Gravel, for instance. She’s the only person who Ron Paul says has an acceptable approach to foreign policy. These are all people who staked their entire political identities on an anti-war platform. And all of them are backing Tulsi to one degree or another, so when I hear that she’s this right-wing plant, I have to ask ‘What are you talking about in terms of ‘right-wing’?
“And if you haven’t done it, go and listen to the live-stream that she did last week with Kucinich, Stephen Kinzer, and Lawrence Lessig, where they get into the history of U.S. regime change, how a coup was fomented in  and how it kind of plays into this kind of crazy inertia that the United States policy apparatus operates on. And now we get to a point where they just manufacture crises with Iran. So someone needs to state with a degree of foresight and discernment how that model can be uprooted so we’re not just lurching from crisis to crisis over and over and over again.”
“Even just today, and if I sound like a Tulsi sycophant at this point, so be it, even just today, she was at the Martin Luther King Day kind-of commemoration in South Carolina. And what did she do? She just didn’t recite the generic, superficial homages to Martin Luther King that you can just turn on the TV and see on any corporate media channel. No. She emphasized that Martin Luther King was staunchly anti-war, opposed the Vietnam War, and said what an affront to justice it was that they were spending billions of dollars a year in Vietnam but couldn’t spend a fraction of that to eradicate infestation of impoverished communities in the United States. That’s what she was talking about today.”
“So, I’ve totally lost patience with people who kind of want to portray her as this cryptic infiltrator who has some kind of ulterior sinister motive. Especially since she’s the one Democrat who stood up for Bernie once again when Warren launched her sleaze-fest attack. What more does she have to do?”
[9:07] Jimmy Dore: “She’s an anti-war vegan for Single Payer Health Care and she sticks up for Bernie Sanders at every turn. WTF?”
Most of her staff and volunteers sand even like really committed upporters are like these lefty, peacenik, anti-war Vegan types. So we’re talking like they’re all complicit in some kind of right-wing infiltration conspiracy theory? I mean she talks about Trump needs to go every single time she speaks. And so its just insane. So when I talk about the trajectory of Tulsi’s campaign [heading] toward the radical, granting the inadequacy of that word ‘radical’ to encapsulate what she’s doing, I contrast that with Bernie who does make, over and over again these really awkward and almost certainly unnecessary concessions to establishment Democratic party thinking. And so it’s a useful contrast to bear in mind as things shake out.”
Jimmy Dore: “I really want, if I vote for Bernie in November, I want it to be a vote for a revolutionary. I mean, you want to upend how we do 20% of our GDP which is Health Care. You want to totally upend that. You’ve got to be a revolutionary. You’ve got to ruffle some f...-ing feathers. And people are ready. People were ready, Michael, I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember, but people were ready in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected. They were ready for big, structural change, as Elizabeth Warren likes to say. They were ready. They were ready for him to undo the Health Care system. They were ready to undo our banking system and give us a new one. They were ready for him to stop all the wars. They were ready for all this shit. And he did none of it.”
[11:16] Michael Tracy: “I was here in New Hampshire twelve years ago at this very time, in January of 2008, I was here as a private citizen campaigning for Obama. Canvassing. Knocking on doors. Phone-banking. That type of thing. Because that was what I thought he was going to do. And I still feel like there was something correct about my instincts at the time as a nineteen year old. But the lessons of the Obama presidency – or should we say the Obama-Biden presidency? – show that you need a little more than rhetoric that seems attuned to the prevailing sentiments of the time. Even Trump shows that. I mean, go and listen to some of Trump’s speeches at the climax of the campaign in 2016, when he’s talking about all the trillions of dollars squandered in the middle east and how that needs to be directed home towards infrastructure kinds of things. They all say it. But nobody actually does it.”
[12:10] One of the very first interviews I did with Tulsi, almost a year ago when, by the way, she said the exact same thing about her meeting with Bernie in December of 2018 that she said last week. So she didn’t invent that out of thin air for political opportunism. You can go check the record where she said the exact same thing over a year ago. In contrast with Lyin’ Liz who obviously fabricated something and was just sitting on it to use at the right moment to drop a bombshell when Bernie is getting a couple of good polls in Iowa.” .”
[12:37] Michael Tracy: “I asked her in that interview: Obama sort of said he wanted to take on the foreign policy establishment, Trump in his own way said it. What about you? What would enable you to actually take on the establishment and change something. And she says that you need to actually install the correct personnel: people who are not going to undermine you at every turn. And what this impeachment has done, it has created an obstacle to actually dislodging those entrenched interests that perpetuate the status quo in terms of foreign policy. Now, it can be seen as a High Crime or Misdemeanor to override their will. And so it’s going to make it even more difficult in the future. So, you’d think that somebody who is the standard-bearer for Socialism or left-wing activism in the form of Bernie would think about that kind of thing on a little bit of a deeper level. Or at least have somebody in his orbit who could relay that to him. But, unfortunately we haven’t seen it. Instead, we get him on a live-stream talking about Lev Parnas.”
Jimmy Dore: “I mean, it’s pathetic. Again. His people are great on policy. He’s great on policy. Bernie has won elections. I’ve never won an election. Right? But it seems painfully obvious that at best they are putting out a muddied message. And they are fucking themselves by doing this time and time again, by having one foot in the establishment and one foot in the revolutionary camp. Become a revolutionary. Get those hundred million people who didn’t vote last time out to vote. That’s all you’ve got to do. And they’re going to come. They’ve been waiting for someone to vote for. I know this. How? I used to be a bricklayer. I’m going to suppose that most of the people voting for Bernie grew up in cul-de-sacs. I don’t know what’s wrong with them. They don’t have any grit. Why they roll over at every god-damned turn. I don’t get it. I used to be a bricklayer. I used to get my head beat in just to go to work. And so maybe I have more grit, or something, and I can see this clearer than they can. Because they can certainly see clearly on policy. But it seems like at every opportunity to fall down on the job strategically, the Bernie campaign does so.”
Michael Tracy: “And if you don’t think, if Bernie himself and the people around him don’t think that – last week it was sexism. This week, who knows what it will be.? But on some week they’re going to bring up the fact that in the Mueller Report – remember that? – there’s a whole section about how the Russian trolls were infiltrating the American political system to ‘Boost Bernie,’ Right? And if he’s reciting Maddow talking points, how is he going to have the standing to refute or rebut that line of attack. He’s sort of forfeiting his credibility when he gives in to aspects of this narrative, because this narrative is inevitably going to boomerang back on him. The Trump campaign which exists now as a campaign, just last week I believe, put out a rapid-response e-mail saying that Bernie is parroting Russian talking points by criticizing the Solemani assassinations. And how is Bernie going to be equipped to deal with that style of attack from a Democrat or whether it’s from Trump or anyone in between when, for years, he has basically been giving progressive legitimacy to this insane hysteria which everyone warned from the beginning was eventually going to come back to bite him."