Thursday, December 6, 2018

What was Tucker Carlson thinking?

Did he think doing an interview for a foreign publication would go unnoticed here?
While Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson may laud President Donald Trump and his agenda unconditionally on a nightly basis, a new interview with a Swiss publication reveals previously unknown sentiments from Carlson bashing the President.

“I hate that about him,” Carlson said of Trump when asked about the Commander-in-Chief’s boastfulness. “It’s not my culture. I didn’t grow up like that.”

Well, let's just jump right on over to that publication, shall we?
"Excuse me", Tucker Carlson apologizes as his assistant, Emily, ushers me into his airy Fox News office in the Washington DC bureau. The phone on his desk is ringing.

"This probably should be quick", Carlson promises as he picks up.


Carlson spins fast laps in the office, phone to his ear. “Hey. No, it's totally fine. I told the guy to fuck off.” From his mouth spills a torrent of profanities. His facial expressions change like clouds in a storm gust. "What? No. Stop!”, he shouts. “I'm not a whiny victim.”


Carlson has a Swiss great-grandfather, Cesare Lombardi. One of Carlson’s children went to school in Switzerland. As a teenager, Tucker, himself, had a brief stint at a Swiss elite college at Lac Leman. “I got kicked out”, he sheepishly confesses but refuses to reveal why.

One of the reasons I love Switzerland is the cheese, which I think is better. I like the Alpine environment, the climate, the people, the food, skiing. I love to fly fish. You have trout. You’re mountain people. Love them. You know why? Because they're suspicious, that's what I like about them. I would live there.

In your book you speak a lot about people who attack Trump, but you actually don't say very much about Trump's record.
That's true.
Do you think he has kept his promises? Has he achieved his goals?
No. [...] His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund planned parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn't done any of those things. There are a lot of reasons for that, but since I finished writing the book, I've come to believe that Trump's role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does. I don't think he's capable. I don't think he's capable of sustained focus. I don't think he understands the system. I don't think the Congress is on his side. I don't think his own agencies support him. He's not going to do that.
  Die Weltwoche
We'll be expecting some nasty tweets. Unless CNN doesn't put this on air and he never finds out.
Trump asked basic questions like' "Why don't our borders work?" “Why should we sign a trade agreement and let the other side cheat?” Or my favorite of all, "What's the point of NATO?" The point of NATO was to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe but they haven't existed in 27 years, so what is the point? These are obvious questions that no one could answer.
Apart from asking these very important questions has he really achieved nothing?
Not much. Not much. Much less than he should have. I've come to believe he's not capable of it. [...] Because the legislative process in this country by design is highly complex, and it's designed to be complex as a way of diffusing power, of course, because the people who framed our Constitution, founded our country, were worried about concentrations of power. They balanced it among the three branches as you know and they made it very hard to make legislation. In order to do it you really have to understand how it works and you have to be very focused on getting it done, and he knows very little about the legislative process, hasn't learned anything, hasn't and surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn't done all the things you need to do so. It's mostly his fault that he hasn't achieved those things. I'm not in charge of Trump.


I just think the system that we have now the meritocracy, which is based really on our education system, on a small number of colleges has produced a ruling class that doesn't have the self-awareness that you need to be wise. I'm not arguing for populism, actually. I'm arguing against populism. Populism is what you get when your leaders fail. In a democracy, the population says this is terrible and they elect someone like Trump.


If you leave Washington and drive to say Pittsburgh, which is a manufacturing town about three and a half hours to the west, you drive through a series of little towns that are devastated. There are no car dealerships, there are no restaurants. There's nothing. They have not recovered. I remember driving out there one day, maybe eight or nine years ago and thinking, boy, this is a disaster. Rural America, America outside three or four cities is really falling apart. I thought if you're running the country, you should have a sense of that. I remember thinking to myself, nobody I know has any idea that this is happening an hour away. That's kind of strange since we're the capital city in charge of making policy for everybody else... Massive inequality does not work in a democracy... You become Venezuela.


Donald Trump, who is often seen as this world-changing figure is actually a symptom of something that precedes him that I sometimes wonder if he even understands which is this realignment. He served the purpose of bringing the middle class into the Republican Party, which had zero interest, no interest in representing them at all. Trump intuitive, he felt, he could smell that there was this large group of voters who had no one representing them and he brought them to the Republican side, but the realignment is still ongoing.

In other words, the Democratic Party used to represent the middle class, it no longer does, it now hates the middle class. The Republican Party which has never represented the middle class doesn't want to. That is the source of really all the confusion and the tension that you're seeing now. I do think, going forward the Republican Party will wake up and realize these are our voters and we're going to represent them whether we want it or not.


In other words, the elite in our country is physically separated in a way that's very unhealthy for a democracy, very unhealthy.
Gee. Is this the real Tucker Carlson? Do go on.
I find myself in deep sympathy with a lot of the aims of 1970s liberals. I believe in free speech, and I instinctively side with the individual against the group. I think that the individual matters, I am deeply suspicious of foreign adventurism, voluntary wars, wars of self-defense are not controversial, I'm for them completely, there's an invasion repellent. The idea that you would send 100,000 troops to a country to improve its political system is grotesque to me. It would've been grotesque to them.


[C]apitalism is not bad, it's also not a religion. We don't have to follow it blindly. We can make autonomous choices about how we respond to market forces. People get crushed beneath its wheels. Capitalism drives change, innovation change, the old ways give way to new ways of doing things, and in the process of change the weak get hurt always, this was true in industrialization 100 years ago and it's true in the digital revolution now. What's changed is that nobody is standing up on behalf of the people who are being crushed by the change.
Is that really so? Look at the grassroot movement on the left: Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and her socialist group. It is probably a 100 years ago when Americans last saw a socialist movement of substance emerging?
Yes. You're absolutely right. That's the future.
Okay, who are you and what have you done with Tucker Carlson?
Your way of debating is very tough. You're sitting there, hammering your guests. Sometimes we have a bit of a problem to understand that. For us it's a bit disturbing.
Of course, it is. It’s disturbing for me too!
How tough do you need to be nowadays to have an audience?
Less, I think than sometimes we put into it or I put into it. I'm actually, in my normal life, I think a pretty gentle person. I've never had a yelling fight with my wife in 34 years. I mean, I've never yelled at my children. No, I don't ever.
Not one time. No, it's not how I communicate. I never want to be impolite. I have been impolite. I've lost my temper a couple times, but I don't want to. I don't like that. I believe in civility.
How do you prepare for those shows? How do you prepare to be so tough?
Well, I just know what I think and I actually read a lot about whatever the topic is, I write the scripts,
You do it all yourself?
We have a writer, but for the opening the long script I write that myself. That's like a thousand words. By the time you've finished writing a thousand words, your mind is limbered up and you know what you think because writing helps you think things through. Then I walk the length of the bureau, and I discard all the complex questions, and I keep only the dumbest questions because the dumbest questions are the most evocative. They tell you the most, I think. Don't you find that interviewing people if you have a super complex question?
Absolutely. Is it true that your microphone is turned up higher than the one of your guests.
No. Somebody said that, really?
Somebody wrote that. I think in the GQ Magazine.
I've never read an article about myself ever. Because then it makes you self-conscious.
You never do?

You are very different from your colleague, Sean Hannity, who even joined the President on the campaign stage.
No, no. I've never been that with any politician. Nothing personal but that's just not my role. If I wanted to be a policy adviser I probably could. The bar seems to be very low. Most policy advisers are very stupid. I think I could get that job if I wanted, but I don't want that.
Okay, now we're well into the real Tucker Carlson.
The key is to not go crazy.
How do you stay sane?
I worry about it a lot and I self-consciously try not to go crazy. I spend the morning at home with my wife, usually in bed drinking coffee.
Not reading news?
No, no, no. I wake up at 7:30. My wife brings me a cup of coffee. She gets back in bed. She takes the dogs out and we sit and we talk for two hours. [...] I sit and I keep my world small. I don't go anywhere. My brother lives two blocks away. My high school roommate lives three blocks away. I had lunch today with my father as I do every week, the same club we've been eating lunch at every week since 1985. Yes, I just keep it small and keep normal people around me.
Brilliant. Now you know why Tucker Carlson knows jack shit. And, pardon me, but: not crazy?
Where do you get your energy from? Where are you getting a source of life?
Yes. I use nicotine lozenges, a lot of them.
It shows, Tucker. It shows.
How close to a revolution is your country?
By revolution, let me be clear, I don't think that we're anywhere near an outbreak of civil war, armed violence between two sides for a bunch of different reasons... Testosterone levels are so low and marijuana use is so high that I think the population is probably too ... What you don't have, prerequisite fall revolution, violent revolution, is a large group of young people who are comfortable with violence and we don't have that. Maybe that will change. I hope it doesn't. I don't want violence for violence. I appall violence, but I just don't see that happening. What I see happening most likely is a kind of gradual separation of the states.
He "appalls" violence.
“I'd rather my daughter married someone who's Hispanic than liberal”, someone might say. That is one measure. There are many measures, but that's one measure of how politically divided we are and I just think that over time, people will self-segregate. It's a continental country. It's a very large piece of land and you could see where certain states just become very, very different. Like if you're Conservative, are you really going to live in California in 10 years? Probably not. [...] You're going to move and if you're very liberal, are you really going to want to live in Idaho? Probably not.


The EU has been doomed since the first day because it's inconsistent with human nature. The reason we have nation states is because people wanted them, it's organic. A nation-state is just a larger tribe and it's organized along lines that make sense. They evolved over thousands of years. To ignore it and destroy it because you think that you've got a better idea, is insane!
Not crazy at all.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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