Saagar Enjeti on Gabbard: 'I'm becoming a fan of hers'

Opinion by: Saagar Enjeti

Yesterday, Congresswoman Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSaagar Enjeti: Tuesday's Democratic debate already 'rigged' against Gabbard, Sanders Former 2020 candidate Mike Gravel: 'No question' Sanders is physically fit to be president So many issues, too many candidates and so little time to debate MORE stopped by for a wide-ranging interview. What’ll get the most attention from our 20-minute interview will undoubtedly be her lack of support for impeachment of President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE and her knock of Senator Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSupport drops for Medicare for All but increases for public option Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Feehery: Trump may be down, but he's not out yet MORE's record when it comes to being Commander in Chief. For me though, what caught my eye was her answers to a question I asked her about identity politics.

I know that bemoaning identity politics on Youtube isn't exactly original for somebody on the right, but Tulsi's answer to me is a thread that runs throughout her entire politics. It’s all about protecting American citizens at home and it’s about rejecting extremism in many forms to actually unite this multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-party democracy that we have.

Over and over again, I have been struck by her courage in just calling it how she sees it, her overriding theme of championing majoritarian politics, and standing up to the Washington political establishment without blinking for a single second. It takes guts for a Democratic Congresswoman running for president to stand up and say she doesn't believe in impeachment.

When I tweeted out the segment yesterday, I had people accusing her of being a Russian asset, people asking for Democrats to donate to her primary opponent, and dozens of slurs in the comments sections.

Does that sound like a compromised individual to you, or an honest politician calling it as she sees it? Tulsi's answer demonstrates that while she is no fan of Trump and is running to defeat him, she fundamentally recognizes that it’s undemocratic to try and impeach a duly elected president of the united states if the majority of the country does not support it and especially if the so-called crime is very much up for dispute.

This isn't the first time Tulsi has broken from the Democratic consensus. In a recent interview with conservative host Dave Rubin, she knocked many of her Democratic opponents for embracing effectively open-borders policies. I've long noted on this show that immigration extremism is the electoral and moral blackhole that progressive candidates risk falling into and her sensibility there endeared her to approximately zero people in the Democratic Party.

The thread that runs through Tulsi's politics is one of majoritarian consensus: that war should be considered only as an absolute last resort. That’s a concept from politics that was lost long ago and I champion anyone who is trying to bring it back. She reminds me of Andrew YangAndrew YangHillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Saagar Enjeti: Tuesday's Democratic debate already 'rigged' against Gabbard, Sanders Analysis: Warren and Booker most cyber-aware 2020 candidates MORE in some ways. I've never met two other people running for office who are so open and honest about what they actually believe.

For a long time, I confess, I was not a fan of Tulsi Gabbard. I was appalled when she met Bashar al-Assad in the middle of the Syrian Civil War. At the time I was a foreign policy reporter chronicling the daily death toll in Syria. I wasn't really able to think about the bigger picture of American involvement in the region. And unlike her, I had never served in uniform. I was very critical of her at the time.

I stand by some of that criticism, but the mistake I made at the time was putting a moral judgement not just upon he, but upon the bipartisan consensus in Washington that is so ready to send other people's children to die in endless wars abroad. I wasn't humble enough to understand that perhaps somebody who stitched the wounds of American service-members in Iraq had a better understanding of how things might turn out if the us were to become involved.

All of this is really to say that I'm becoming a fan of hers, and I’m very glad to see her up on that debate stage in October.