Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii is taking heat from Democrats for her strong criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the Islamic State threat. Although she is a Vice-Chair of the Democrat National Committee, she may face a primary fight to keep her seat in 2016.
“While Gabbard is correct in her ‘emperor has no clothes’ moment, she may have lost her future seat on Hawaii’s political bench,” Hawaii political analyst Michael Perry said. “The knives are coming out.”
Gabbard, who served two deployments in Iraq, criticized Obama’s refusal to use the term “Islamic extremism” when discussing terror attacks by the Islamic State.
“This is not just about words,” Gabbard said. “It’s not about semantics. It’s really about having a real, true understanding of who our enemy is and how important that is, that we have to understand what their motivation is and what their ideology is — the radical Islamic ideology that is fueling them.”
Hawaiian political news site Civil Beat, owned by Obama bundler and eBay billionaire Pierre Omiydar, slammed Gabbard for not “presenting serious policy arguments.” The influential journal dismissed her critique as “as pandering from a young pol with lofty ambitions.”
It should be noted that more than ten years ago, Gabbard resigned her seat in the Hawaii state legislature so she could deploy with her unit to Iraq. A politician giving up office to serve in a war zone is extraordinarily rare and suggests someone operating beyond simple political ambition.
Of course, for the left, even her service is open to criticism if it can undercut her rebuke of Obama. Bob Jones, political columnist for Hawaii’s MidWeek newspaper, huffed that: “I take serious issue when somebody who’s done a little non-fighting time in Iraq, and is not a Middle East or Islamic scholar, claims to know better than our President and Secretary of State how to fathom the motivations of terrorists, or how to refer to them beyond the term that best describes them — terrorists.”
Ponder that statement, “non-fighting time.”
Consider too that the “Secretary of State” in question, subject of Jones’ typical leftist appeal to authority, is the same official who thought it wise to deploy the aging James Taylor to serenade the French after the American leadership snubbed that nation’s rally in support of the victims of a vicious terror attack.
This is not a person to whom one should automatically defer on navigating the shoals of international diplomacy.
The controversy over Gabbard’s criticism of Obama will likely fade. The news cycle usually moves on even before the ink is dry on the most recent dust-up. The attacks on her, someone who in every other way is a multi-cultural poster child of the modern Democrat party, are nevertheless instructive.
If you criticize Obama, there will be blood, no matter the semantics.