Tulsi Gabbard looks sad.

Tulsi Gabbard’s Logic for Only Voting “Present” on Impeachment Is Deeply Flawed

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Tulsi Gabbard is bad. Let’s just get that out there. She’s a fan of dictators. She supported wildly homophobic policies in Hawaii, and oh yeah, there’s that whole thing where she’s probably in a cult. Tulsi Gabbard is not a friend of Democrats, even though she’s running as one for the presidential nomination, and is an asset to Russia, as she proved so yesterday when she voted “present” on Donald Trump’s impeachment.

Two and a half Democrats voted against impeachment: Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey were full Nays, while Jared Golden of Maine voted only in favor of one of the two articles of impeachment. We’ll get to this nonsense some other day, but Gabbard was the only representative in the house to vote “present” and her reasoning for doing so is deeply flawed.

Gabbard thinks she can play the center here. She released a statement on her vote saying she couldn’t vote against impeachment, because she believes “President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” but (and there should not be a “but” here, but alas) she also stated, “I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting president must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

No, Tulsi, no. This is not about “tribal” animosity; it’s about the laws and constitution of the United States being violated. Impeachment is not a partisan move; it’s one of the foundational checks and balances of our democracy, and to reduce it to partisanship is to basically rehash Republican talking points. The partisan act here is refusing to impeach just because the president is on your team. She’s reducing one of the most important political moments of this era to a partisan squabble, and that’s not correct.

But then again, this is the gal who we know likes dictators, so of course, she’s not going to be comfortable with congress exercising their constitutional right to remove a president who is abusing his power. Her language of “partisanship” and finding the center may also confirm what Hillary Clinton warned us about: that Gabbard might be setting herself up (or being set up by others) as a third party spoiler and could be, yes, an asset to Russia.

Gabbard won’t be at the democratic debate tonight, so maybe this is a transparent attempt to get some press before the viable presidential candidates take the stage, and she also won’t have to answer for herself. Even so, I’m sure this isn’t the last weirdness we’ll see from Gabbard, and that she’ll continue to prove she’s bad at being in congress, very bad at being a Democrat, and terrible on the presidential side.

(via: The New York Times, image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Jessica Mason
Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.