Friday, November 22, 2019

Is Tulsi Gabbard Perfect?

Tulsi Gabbard
By Robert Wenzel

Every time I put up a post supporting Tulsi Gabbard with regard to some position she takes, I get a few emails pointing out that Tulsi is not against all wars, that her position is not good on this or that issue.

The implication of these emails is that Tulsi should not be supported at all. But what these emailers fail to recognize is that as libertarians we should consider politicians as tools to advance liberty.

This means supporting them on a limited basis if it makes strategic sense to do so.

And right now when it comes to the Democratic presidential candidates, she is the only candidate that makes sense on just about anything.

She is hammering at the point that the US should not be involved in regime change wars. And yes, I know that she is not against fighting terrorists "that are a national security threat."

But the point is, she is the only candidate objecting to any wars and she pretty much sticks to attacking the "regime change wars."

This is a message that needs to be gotten out there. It is fine, when we support her on this point, for us to make the observation that she should be against all wars or that she is terrible on economics,  but she is a valuable tool on the debate stage to get at least a minor debate going about wars of the Empire. And it is a very valuable opportunity for us to point out how she is attacked by the other establishment candidates and by mainstream media for her anti-war positions.

It highlights how pro-war the establishment is.

The great libertarian Murray Rothbard understood that it is important for libertarians to form alliances when we can, given how small the libertarian movement is.

This, most certainly, does not mean we should support alliance partners on their anti-libertarian positions but there is absolutely nothing wrong in cheering on high profile individuals when they are advocating libertarian positions. It forms a stronger movement on those issues and we can try and co-opt some of the followers of the individual to move them in a more libertarian direction. Indeed, it should not be ignored that on the Democratic debate stage on Wednesday, Gabbard mentioned libertarians, which was a plus all by itself. It shows she knows she is getting support from some of us and it is going to mean that she will become more aware of our positions.

Up until now, she has chosen to turn down all requests to be interviewed by libertarian podcasters---and they have all asked. But maybe that will change down the road if she is in a position where she needs a little more support to get over a key hurdle and she knows appearing on libertarian podcasts might bring in the necessary additional support.

That said, we must always keep in mind that for libertarians she is a tool. We can throw her overboard at any time in the unlikely event her focus turns away from ending some wars.

And in the unlikely event that she does get elected president, her usefulness as a tool may end if as president she starts implementing a lot of non-libertarian laws and regulations. Then we should attack, attack and attack.

Right now, there is nothing wrong with pointing out where she holds anti-libertarian positions. But this should be done in a very low key manner such as when I write a generally positive post about her but add "I wish she understood economics."

Tulsi is very far from perfect, but of all the Democratic candidates on stage, she is the only one that is bringing pretty much any libertarian message.

As long as the key focus of her campaign is anti-regime change war, we can support her. It helps us get the anti-war discussion going.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.comand Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bankand most recently Foundations of Private Property Society Theory: Anarchism for the Civilized Person Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn. His youtube series is here: Robert Wenzel Talks Economics. More about Wenzel here.


  1. She is undoubtedly the best democratic candidate they have who is able to competently assert her views and stand up to her critics on foreign policy that libertarians can get behind. It's not perfect, but it is much better that any other democrat and probably every republicans.
    Scott Horton was speaking to Jimmy Dore about trying to change her mind on the things she isn't perfect on concerning foreign policy, to become an even better candidate. This is better than just saying "nah, she isn't perfect, not interested".

  2. As one of those that have been critical of Tulsi Gabbard, I agree with RW 100%.

    Gabbard’s anti regime change position is the only speck of clean clothing in the toxic laundry that make up the candidates for POTUS. Even though the rest of her shirt is filthy we can give her stile points for the speck.

  3. Didn't John Stossel interview Tulsi? I guess there might be some argument about how libertarian Stossel is, but he uses that term to describe himself.

  4. LOL, Tulsi knows who is a real libertarian and who is not.

    She is not concerned about an appearance on Stossel.