By S.T. Patrick
“It has been firmly established beyond any doubt that it is now literally impossible for an American political figure to vocally oppose U.S. warmongering without being labeled a Russian agent.” This was an Oct. 19 tweet from news analyst Caitlin Johnstone regarding Hillary Clinton’s thinly veiled insinuation that presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is a Russian asset.
On a podcast with former Barack Obama adviser David Plouffe, Clinton said that the Russians are “grooming” a Democratic candidate to represent their interests in the 2020 campaign. “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton said. “She’s the favorite of the Russians.” The Clinton team followed the interview by pointing out that Gabbard’s (anti-war) foreign policy goals closely align with the Russians.
Gabbard, who served in a medical unit and is a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, didn’t take Clinton’s remarks lightly. She took to Twitter to blast the 2016 presidential loser, tweeting, “Thank you @HillaryClinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know—it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose. It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me. Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
That Clinton’s unfounded comments were about Gabbard and not any of the other women in the Democratic race was the worst-kept secret since Ross Perot finally decided to run for president in 1992. So, when Gabbard responded to the comments that were obviously about her, Clinton’s team called her a “conspiracy theorist.” Clinton spokes-man Nick Merrill said, “Divisive language filled with vitriol and conspiracy theories? Can’t imagine a better proof point than this.”
Clinton hasn’t been the only entity claiming Gabbard is a Russian asset. There has been an almost unified effort on the part of the mainstream media to discredit Gabbard’s anti-war, anti-Russiagate stances. The New York Times claimed she was being supported by Russians on Twitter, and one CNN commentator directly stated that she was a Russian asset. “Completely despicable,” Gabbard said of the attacks.
For the most part, Gabbard’s challengers in the Democratic primaries have been silent in responding to Clinton’s attacks. One Democratic candidate that came to Gabbard’s defense was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “Tulsi Gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country,” Sanders tweeted. “People can disagree on issues, but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset.”
In recent months, Gabbard has criticized U.S. policy in Syria, she has said she would release Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning while allowing Edward Snowden to return home without legal turmoil, and she has expressed concern that the impeachment inquiry is going on behind closed doors.
Gabbard has also been at the forefront of Democrats who are appalled at the “New Mc-Carthyism” that is spreading like a virus throughout their party. When the specific Russiagate/collusion hoax proved unsubstantiated, a wider Mc-Carthyism rose from its ashes. There is no proof required to level an accusation of being a Russian asset. One must simply be anti-war, especially in Syria, and must espouse some level of dissatisfaction with the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Supporting Assange, who may have actually leaked the Clinton-Podesta emails in 2016 that showed how the DNC was secretly undermining Bernie Sanders, is just the thick icing on the red cake needed to label someone a Russian sympathizer, wittingly or unwittingly doing the business of the Kremlin.
Whether this is a shot across the bow, an opening salvo, in preparation for a Clinton 2020 campaign to commence has yet to be seen.
Last week, former Clinton adviser Dick Morris said, “If you feel a pulse, you know Hillary’s going to run.”
But Gabbard is tough. In a lighter moment amidst the barrage, she tweeted, “Never confuse aloha for weakness.”
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]. He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.