Here’s what professional Republican gossip Meghan McCain tweeted about Tulsi Gabbard just after the Democratic Congresswoman announced her presidential run:
Tulsi Gabbard once touted working for anti-gay group that backed conversion therapy – CNNPolitics – she is the absolute worst, ethically nebulous, apologist for dictators who chemically gas women & babies – and apparently always has been truly awful.
I was disgusted by that tweet. And you should be too.
It’s a perfect example of the worst kind of Washington swamp politics: What the late Catholic philosopher Rene Girard called “victimism.”
Instead of sincerely supporting truly vulnerable people, victimists like Meghan McCain cynically use people–in this case, the LGBT community–to empower themselves and their own agendas.
The LGBT Community Should be Offended to be Used as a Victimist Group
It’s no coincidence that McCain mentioned the LGBT community and attacked Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy in the same tweet.
What she was doing was trying to hijack the momentum of the relatively successful and popular LGBT movement in a desperate attempt to prop up the deeply unpopular and disgraced regime-change legacy of her late father, former GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
The beltway foreign policy establishment has used this victimist tactic for years. If you stand up to their disastrous policies, they don’t argue with you. Instead, they use innocent people as victimist tools to smear you and build themselves up.
Tulsi Gabbard “defended Assad” in the same way that people who sought a diplomatic resolution in Iraq “defended Saddam,” or critics of regime change in Libya “defended Gaddafi.” The list goes on, and on, and on. It’s the same tired, mindlessly-repeated, 100% bogus talking point.
That’s right. Except it’s not just a talking point. Talking points can be legitimate, and they’re used in every civil debate. But the suggestion that Tulsi Gabbard is an enthusiastic supporter of dictatorial brutality is more than a talking point; it’s a victimist lie, and a kind of slander.
The kind of vicious slander that victimists like Meghan McCain use to try to ruin people they see as threats to their own political agendas.
Luckily, the Republican Party and Victimism Don’t Mix
I say all this as a proud member of the Republican Party, who disagrees with Tulsi Gabbard on fundamental issues.
But as I’ve written elsewhere, what makes me proud of the Republican Party is its history of standing with those in most need of advocacy, from American slaves to victims of discrimination in the Jim Crow South to the unborn in danger of abortion today.
What I’m proud of is the golden thread that connects the dots of the Republican Party’s history: its firm commitment to defending the truly vulnerable, even–no, especially when powerful elites stand against them.
And it’s for that same reason that I am grateful to Tulsi Gabbard.
I’m grateful that she has been willing to take a stand on behalf of the most vulnerable minorities in the Middle East, even when the foreign policy establishment attacked her for it. I’m grateful that she defended the religious liberty of Catholics, even when Washington elites seemed to reject that principle.
This is what the Republican Party is all about. And it’s the opposite of the victimist rhetoric of Meghan McCain and the Washington swamp.
A Welcome Contrast
I have no doubt about Tulsi Gabbard’s personal courage, and nothing could prove her sincerity more clearly than her willingness to face down leading members of her own Party.
America could use more of her brand of sincere and courageous politics.