Frank Carroll


A stilted debate and weekend terror sharply defined two politicians whose party lines are different but whose style is similar. Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s performance at the second Democrat debate last week was a breath of political fresh air. Genuine, authentic, plain-spoken, she didn’t mince words, and there was no confusion about where she stands on her issues, just like President Trump’s remarks on Monday morning.

Her attack on the California district attorney and now senator from San Francisco Kamala Harris was surprising and effective. Sen. Harris has a glass jaw and was not able to effectively answer Gabbard’s thoughtful attack on Harris’ record on criminal justice reform in California. It turns out Harris put 1,500 Californians in prison for marijuana offenses while she was in office, laughed about it, and refused to release key evidence that may have exonerated people on death row until she was forced to do so by the courts. Gabbard forcefully challenged Harris’ weak record on criminal justice reform.

Google and Twitter lit up with Tulsi Gabbard searches, the most searched name on the internet for the next 24 hours. Harris could not manage to mount a coherent response until hours later when her staff gave her a red herring zinger, that Gabbard is an apologist for Bashar Assad of Syria. The Democrat Party and Harris’ own communications people floated the absurdity that Gabbard was trending so high on Twitter and Google because she was being supported by Russian bots. The only American soldier candidate, who served two tours in Iraq, who joined the Army after 9/11, and who continues to serve us faithfully and with honor, was smeared by a prosecutor whose best shot is Russian collusion.

Gabbard deserves recognition because she shares a key characteristic with President Trump, a characteristic most Americans appreciate: She is transparent and direct, and says what’s on her mind in an age of gobbledygook. We had only to listen to President Trump’s poignant and powerful remarks on the weekend violence to understand that President Trump a legitimate leader. It was an uncompromising and powerful condemnation of white supremacy, terrorism, racism, and social weakness and waffling on important issues.

Likewise, the plain-spoken congressman drew so much attention following the debate because she is a fighter willing to take the battle to her opponents in a refreshing, unflappable, uncompromising way, just like Trump. The internet responded accordingly. Not once did Tulsi say anything was an “existential” anything about anybody. I wondered how many Americans understood the ill-considered Democrat talking point that President Trump is an “existential threat.” What does that mean? It must be hard to be so out of touch with ordinary Americans that politicians would imagine regular people would understand “existential” as anything other than intellectual double-speak.

"Existential angst," sometimes called existential dread, anxiety, or anguish”…not even the dictionary offers a coherent definition. Any party reduced to existential fog language should be anxious, dreading the election, and in anguish about their candidate field. It was like watching the Green Mile roll out on the CNN stage in Detroit. Surely the Democrats can field a better candidate than we have seen so far.

It’s why Tulsi Gabbard, a person of substance, style, and authority rose so decisively and so easily to seize the public’s imagination. Her performance was as much about who is not a candidate as it was about her. She’s a dang good hand, a quality human being, and would be so in whatever party she represents. It will take someone like Gabbard to mount a credible threat to the President who is winning through direct action.

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Frank Carroll is a freelance writer and columnist. He can be reached by emailing frank@wildfirepros.com or visiting wildfirepros.com

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