It’s been a weird week or so for the presidential campaign of U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii). She announced and then abandoned plans to boycott the Democratic-candidate debate in Ohio after denouncing it as the product of a DNC/“corporate media” plot to rig the nominating contest. At the debate itself, she didn’t get much attention other than some raised eyebrows for saying this (according to the Washington Post’s transcript):
I agree with Hillary Clinton on one thing, disagree with her on many others, but when she said abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, I think she’s correct.
Actually, although Clinton did use that language (famously deployed by her husband in 1992) in her 2008 campaign, she’d abandoned it by 2016 in response to a growing concern from reproductive-rights advocates that the “rare” part demonized women who wanted to have abortions, which were, after all, mostly legal. I don’t know whether this comment annoyed HRC, but in any event, she sure as hell unloaded on Gabbard a couple of days later, as Axios noted:
Hillary Clinton said on David Plouffe’s podcast, Campaign HQ, this week that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) is Russia’s “favorite” 2020 candidate and said the country could be “grooming” her to become a third-party candidate.
“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. She’s the favorite of the Russians …”
Clinton didn’t finger Gabbard by name, but the odds are very high that she was talking about her. Gabbard certainly took it that way and fired back with a tweetstorm of near-Trumpian grandiosity:
Sorry, Elizabeth Warren. Sorry, Joe Biden. Sorry, Bernie Sanders. Sorry, Mayor Pete and Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar and all the others: This primary is between me and you.
While it would most definitely enliven the Democratic race if Clinton leaped in, I would bet the farm I don’t have that, even in that incredibly unlikely event, the race would not wind up being a Clinton-Gabbard throwdown. Perhaps the Hawaiian will get some fresh lefty street cred for saying nasty things about HRC out loud that others have simply thought, though even Hillary haters don’t typically think of her as the “queen of warmongers.” But this is more likely just a bizarre incident in which one pol tossed off a random remark in a podcast and another happily rose to the bait, happy for the attention.
Besides, everybody knows the queen of warmongers is Cersei Lannister, not Hillary Rodham Clinton!