She says the U.S. should talk to its enemies. She was criticized for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
But Democrats were supposed to be the anti-war party.
"They're heavily influenced by a foreign policy establishment ... whose whole power base is built around continuing this status quo," Gabbard tells me. "So much so, to the point where when I'm calling for an end to these wasteful wars, they're saying, 'Well, gosh, Tulsi, why are you such an isolationist?' As though the only way that we can relate with other countries in the world is by bombing them."
Gabbard is a veteran, and now says, "Honor our servicemen and women by only sending them on missions that are worthy of their sacrifice."
She enlisted because of the 9/11 attacks. However, there, too, she thought a limited response was necessary but now says that our government has "used that attack on 9/11 to begin to wage a whole series of counterproductive regime-change wars, overthrowing authoritarian dictators in other countries, wars that have proven to be very costly to our servicemembers."
She blames both parties. "I call out leaders in my own party and leaders in the Republican Party (and all) who are heavily influenced by the military-industrial complex that profits heavily off of us continuing to wage these counterproductive wars."
She also wants to end our big domestic war, the war on drugs. She'd start by legalizing marijuana.
"I've never smoked marijuana," she says. "I never will. I've never drunk alcohol. I've chosen not to in my life, but this is about free choice. And if somebody wants to do that, our country should not be making a criminal out of them."
Even if they use stronger drugs? Heroin? Meth?
"That's the direction that we need to take," she says.
Although Gabbard just barely polls well enough to make the Democratic debates, she made a big impact at one debate by basically knocking Sen. Kamala Harris out of the race.
Gabbard simply pointed out Harris' hypocrisy in suddenly becoming a criminal justice reformer.
Gabbard said, "She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana."
That debate clash crushed Harris in betting predictions about who the Democratic nominee would be. Harris' numbers started dropping from that moment, and she quickly fell from first place to, as I write this, seventh.
Good for Gabbard for bringing up the drug war — and for running an ad that at least mentions America's huge federal debt.
But like most Democrats, Gabbard would spend billions on expensive new programs, funding it with military cuts.
But Bernie Sanders admits that "Medicare for All" alone would cost $3 trillion. The budget for the entire military, by comparison, is $700 billion per year.
"The money that we are going to save by ending these wasteful wars — you're right, it won't cover every other thing that we need to accomplish," Gabbard admits.
At least she's willing to debate with me. No one else polling over 1% has been willing so far.
"Our leaders are increasingly unwilling to sit down with those who may be 'on the other team,'" she explains. "Look, I love my country. You love our country. Let's come together as Americans with appreciation for our constitution, our freedoms, civil liberties and rights, and have this civil discourse and dialogue about how we can move forward together."
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