Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard made an appearance on the popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast yesterday alongside former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink. It was her third overall appearance on the show and second of this year; she was also a guest this past May.
This was a savvy move on Gabbard’s behalf. At last week’s debate, she spoke for only 9.2 minutes — the third shortest speaking time of all 10 candidates. She was also attacked by fellow candidates Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. Afterwards, she was tabbed as one of the debate’s losers by several national outlets including the Washington Post and the New York Times. The Joe Rogan Experience gave her a platform to respond to the debate and its fallout, as well as a number of other issues she felt has been lost in the noise of media coverage.
Gabbard had much to say, and plenty of time to say it — the episode is over two and a half hours long.
Her thoughts on the last debate
“That’s the challenge of this debate format that’s so frustrating. You’ve got 60 to 75 seconds to get your point across. ‘Here’s what I would do with North Korea, here’s how I would deal with immigration reform’ — in 60 seconds or less.”
Host Joe Rogan joined in: “We are going to let our potential future leaders discuss the most important things on Earth, and it’s going to be interrupted by what, gum [commercials]? It’s so dumb.”
Gabbard agreed: “People are getting really turned off by it. They’re not getting anything of value from the conversation that’s happening in these debates that are really political reality TV. They are completely set up for conflict and confrontation, to drive up ratings so that they [TV stations] can make more money. The first debate had something like 22 million viewers. The one we just did had 6.6 million viewers. I meet people almost every single day who say ‘man I don’t have time for that. I don’t get anything from it anyway.’ Rather than it being this money driven, ratings driven venture which the media is doing across the board, let’s go back to the League of Women Voters who used to actually host presidential forums that would have real questions and real issues that people care about in a way that’s not broken up by commercial breaks and advertisements.”
Thoughts on the democratic party
When asked what it feels like to be attacked by her own political party, she responded: “I feel like I’m used to it. It’s nothing that I’ve ever really taken personally, because I understand the situation. I understand that whatever the smears are, however radical they are, it shows me that they feel threatened, and they are concerned about the unifying message that I’m bringing. We have democrats, republicans, libertarians, independents joining this coalition that is fueling our campaign, and it’s a campaign by and for the people and one that’s actually speaking the truth. It’s calling for an end to these regime change wars, calling for a deescalation of tensions between the United States and other nuclear armed countries. Let’s focus our limited taxpayer dollars on actually serving the needs of our people. That’s really the message that we’re bringing, and it scares the hell out of them.”
It should be noted that who “they” or “them” are was left nebulously unsaid.
Rogan added: “[You’re a] congresswoman, veteran, minority, from Hawaii — all these positives. They should be behind you! They should have winds in your sails!”
“In order for a democrat to beat Donald Trump in 2020,” Gabbard responded, “you’re going to have to be able to take Trump voters away from him. You’re going to have to win over those independents who stayed home in 2016, or even some of those democrats who voted for Trump because they feel like our party has left them behind. Guess what? Check, check, check, check. We’re doing all those things. Instead of saying, ‘hey this is something really we should get behind,’ they’re saying ‘oh my gosh there’s something very suspicious and weird about her because she’s actually stealing voters from Trump.’“
Thoughts on feud with Hillary Clinton
“Back in 2016 I was the vice chair of the democratic national committee, therefore as an officer of the DNC I had to remain neutral in the presidential election, which was my plan. I made the decision to resign from that seat so that I could endorse Bernie Sanders, largely because of his difference with Hillary Clinton in foreign policy. Hillary Clinton had very much an interventionist, war hawk, regime-change policy. Bernie Sanders leaned the other way. He’s more of a non-interventionist. I saw in those debates at that time, the conversation that the media was not bringing up was the difference between the two of them so that voters could make an informed choice of who they want their Commander in Chief to be. How could you not be putting this issue at the forefront?
“The most recent thing that came up with what Hillary Clinton said about me is not a spat between two people. It really just shows the complete difference and conflict in our foreign policy views: what I call the Bush-Clinton doctrine of interventionism and regime change wars and warmongering vs. what I’m putting forward, which is to stop the regime change/world police policies, work to end this new Cold War and arms race, put the interests of the American people first, always ensuring that we have a strong and capable military ready to defend our nation and our people, and honoring that service and sacrifice that our troops give by only sending them on missions worthy of their sacrifice. Maximizing diplomacy, engagement with other countries in the world through cooperation rather than conflict and always seeing war as a last resort. So the conflict that you’re seeing in the media that’s been playing out…is because of this difference in foreign policy.”
Thoughts on meeting with adversarial foreign leaders
“If we lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends in the pursuit of our own national security and peace, the only alternative is war. I will always choose to maximize all diplomatic means and measures and talks and negotiations to further our interests of peace and national security, recognizing that war should always be the last resort if necessary.
“Trump was right to have direct negotiations with Kim Jong-un, but he hasn’t gotten anywhere. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is continuing to escalate, continuing to grow. It poses a threat not only to my folks in Hawaii given our proximity to North Korea, but North Korea’s capabilities are extending across the west coast…These policy decisions that are being made are very directly connected in having the effect ultimately of undermining our national security and making the american people less safe.
Thoughts on foreign policy
“There are important distinctions to be made. My opposition to regime change wars should not be mistaken for isolationism, nor should it be mistaken for anything other than what it is. Let’s stop regime change wars that are so often waged in the guise of humanitarianism, but they’re pushed forward for other reasons — political reasons, corporate reasons, whatever. They try to get the sympathy of the American people and they use the same words — ‘this guy’s a monster’ — but when you actually peel back the layers, there are ulterior motives in place that set the pretext to use our military to overthrow a regime in another country or topple a dictator. That ultimately ends up more often than not resulting in more suffering for the people in the countries we’re supposedly trying to go and help.”
She said that if we see a situation happening in the world, like the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, and we have the capacity to help and protect innocent people, we should do that.
“The problem we’ve seen a lot more recently is, you’ll see the word genocide being used very loosely as an excuse to go and say ‘hey, topple this dictator who is inflicting a genocide on their own people’ without it actually meeting the criteria of a genocide, when really there’s a conflict within the country based on power or politics or whatever. That’s a very different thing than what we saw in Rwanda.
“Before we go in and make this decision to take military action, we’ve really got to look very carefully at what is the situation, and where is the information coming from? Is it coming from people who are pushing their own narrative for their own interests? We’ve got to be able to know that and understand that and approach this decision not based on a kneejerk emotional reaction.”
On Donald Trump
“I think the trouble with the approach that Trump has taken is the zero-sum mentality, that in order for us and our economy and our people to win, then the people or economies of these other countries have to suffer.”
She discussed the trade disputes Trump has initiated with other countries, especially China.
“An economic war can very easily turn into a hot war. These ever-escalating tensions push us closer and closer to the brink of nuclear catastrophe.
“It’s maybe funny when Trump is [tweeting] out something with Trump Tower in Greenland, but when there are such real consequences in the day-to-day lives of the American people and we’re pushing closer and closer to the brink of nuclear catastrophe, escalating tensions with countries like China and Russia, it’s serious. The stakes are very high. This is more about how Trump is doing this in such an irresponsible way that’s creating destabilization and uncertainty, both in our economy and in our relationship with other countries.”
She detailed these and other topics in the rest of the episode, which can be seen here.
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