Tuesday, October 15, 2019


So what's in the New York Times Opinion section today? Oh, just some press agentry for Tulsi Gabbard, from a writer whose credentials are a wee bit opaque:

Under President Trump, a small slice of America’s electorate seeks a reason to call the Democratic Party home for the very first time. But without adequate hospitality to welcome them, they will disappear quickly.

With a few exceptions on particular policies, the Democratic presidential field neglects abundant pools of potential Democrat converts, leaving persuadable audiences — like independents and Trump-averse, anti-abortion Christians (some of whom are white evangelicals) — without options.

The exception is Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the candidate making the most visible effort to help moderates and newbies feel included. Like a majority of Americans but unlike a majority of House Democrats, before the Ukraine revelations she did not support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump (it would be “terribly divisive” — though she now supports one because it would otherwise set a “dangerous precedent”). And she’s not afraid to push back on the Democratic National Committee, complaining that its process for debate qualification “lacks transparency.”
("I would have voted Democratic in 2020, but the party's criteria for the selection of qualifying polls to determine eligibility for debates several months before the primaries started was a dealbreaker," no one will say ever.)
She has a progressive agenda that includes Medicare for All, but she’s also one of only two candidates who supports abortion restrictions in the third trimester. “Unless a woman’s life or severe health consequences is at risk,” she told the conservative podcast host Dave Rubin, “then there shouldn’t be abortion in the third trimester.”

Appearing on right-leaning media is another clue that she’s serious about attracting new voters (something Andrew Yang, the businessman candidate, has also prioritized.) She balances a set of reliably progressive positions with ideas that abandon the status quo and offer an invitation to a new kind of voter.
Wait -- wasn't Joe Biden also against impeachment until very recently? And isn't support for Medicare for All just the sort of policy centrists are deemed to hate? And what are Gabbard's "ideas that abandon the status quo"? Support for Assad?

The author of this piece, Ericka Andersen, is identified only as "a freelance writer in Indianapolis." I assume she's this Ericka Andersen:

Some information about the Independent Women's Forum:
he IWF originally grew out of a group called "Women for Clarence Thomas," formed to support Clarence Thomas, then a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, against allegations of sexual harassment.... It has vocally opposed the Violence Against Women Act.

In an editorial, The New York Times called the IWF "a right-wing public policy group that provides pseudofeminist support for extreme positions that are in fact dangerous to women." ...

From 2003 to 2008, IWF was closely affiliated with the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity....

Speaking at Senate hearings on gun control in February 2013, IWF senior fellow Gayle Trotter stated that gun control regulations were "sexist" ...

IWF has repeatedly defended right-wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, ... including supporting Limbaugh after his misogynist comments towards Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke on his show in 2012.

A report by The Nation and the American Independent Institute found that Limbaugh gave about $273,000 to IWF in 2007, making him the group's largest donor that year....

IWF formed a group called Balanced Education for Everyone whose goal is to stop the teaching of global warming in U.S. schools, according to the Denver Post. The group calls global warming "junk science," and claims teaching it scares children unnecessarily.
Oh yes, I want someone who's been an employee of this organization telling Democrats how we should pick our presidential candidate.

Andersen pitched this perfectly to the Times: Here's an oh-so-sincere-seeming voice from the heartland, here to advise all the silo-dwelling lefties that they really, really should do a better job of outreach to Middle America, for the lefties' own good. This is catnip for the Times. In that guise, we get propaganda for the candidate most likely to run as a third-party spoiler in 2020. Thanks, James Bennet.


UPDATE: In search of Andersen's leanings, I missed some of the most important résumé items.
... she was ... the Online Media Director for GOP House Leadership under Vice-President Mike Pence. She also worked as the Digital Manager at The Heritage Foundation for four years.

Oh yeah, I'm sure she'd vote Democratic in 2020 if we asked her really nicely.

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