In trying to defend herself against accusations of being an “apologist” for Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, 2020 Democratic Party presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) turned to history. As a possible riposte, she quipped to Anderson Cooper that President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) worked with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin during the Second World War.
“But I’m sure, you know, Roosevelt would have acknowledged that Stalin murdered millions of people,” Cooper initially responded, before (eventually) getting Gabbard to concede that she doesn’t dispute Assad tortures and murders countless Syrians.
It has long been a subject of controversy whether FDR was too restrained on his criticisms of Stalin. Ronald Reagan would often criticize the infamous Yalta agreement as a bad deal. Yet one of Roosevelt’s last major actions was to replace Henry Wallace with Harry Truman as his vice president.
His reason: Wallace was an apologist for Stalin. And after the war, Wallace ran as a “peace candidate” in the 1948 presidential election — a campaign dedicated to defending everything Stalin did and attacking Harry Truman as a “warmonger” in league with global fascism.
The lengths to which Wallace would go for Stalin’s sake were remarkable. When taken on tour of the Kolyma Gulag, Wallace met one person after another who told him how great it was there — reports he relayed with much enthusiasm. When Truman wanted to give aid to the government of Greece so that the Greeks could defeat a Communist insurrection, Wallace said Truman was trying to prop up fascism. When Stalin orchestrated a Communist coup in Czechoslovakia, Wallace said it was Truman’s fault and accused the U.S. ambassador of trying to orchestrate a fascist coup that Stalin needed to put down.
Likewise, today we have Gabbard touring Aleppo with people walking up to her to tell her how grateful they are for Assad and the Russians who carpet bombed the city. We have Gabbard blaming National Security Advisor John Bolton for Iran attacking tankers in the Persian Gulf, and we have her assurances that all resistance to team Iran/Assad/Putin anywhere in the Middle East takes the form of U.S.-funded al-Qaeda terrorists. Iran/Assad/Putin seem incapable of telling a lie, in Gabbard’s eyes.
Gabbard’s base of Code Pink-ers — the irksome blame-America-first crowd — are up in arms that she is being called out. Well, so be it. As with Henry Wallace, whose only support came from pawns of an evil empire, the baying of the beast betrays its presence.