Why won’t the media take no for an answer?
No, I’m not talking about the journalism profession’s eagerness to ignore the sleazy antics of the vast majority of elected Democrat party members or their similar lack of probing into President Joe Biden’s faltering mental capacity. I’m referring to Fox News Host Tucker Carlson’s repeated denials to the oft-posed question of, “Are you planning a run for president in 2024?”
For months (years?) conjecture has swirled around Carlson and his political ambitions, mostly perpetrated by media personalities who hate or envy him or wish their own reporting sphere reached as far as the 52-year-old who was born in ultra-liberal San Francisco. Tucker is one of those rare personalities who is so well-known and well-regarded that the mere mention of his first name engenders intense reactions from all sides of the ideological spectrum. His willingness to speak the truth about politicians -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- has earned him a reputation as a hard-hitting truth teller, which these days is rare indeed.
There’s an overused disclaimer that just about everyone employs when mentioning politics, “I don’t agree with everything he says or stands for, but I respect his opinion.” This is the way many people, including myself, think about Carlson. The FOX host took much heat from conservatives and Republicans last fall when he refused to accept the Trump lawyers’ (primarily Sidney Powell) word that they had overwhelming evidence of fraud and it would inevitably overturn the result.
Who knows? In today’s world, perhaps the measure of an effective media host or reporter or commentator is how proficient he or she is at ticking off the highest percentage of people at some point in their presentation. In that sense, Carlson is virtually unmatched.
But Tucker still doesn’t want to run for president. The Hill’s Thomas Moore reported:
“Fox News’s Tucker Carlson said he has no interest in running for the White House during an interview Friday with the conservative podcast ‘Ruthless.’ ‘Oh God, come on!Yeah. I'll be running,’ Carlson said facetiously when asked if he was running for president.
“Carlson said the job has no appeal to him and would also not be very popular with his family. ‘That seems like a fun job. I'm sure my poor children would love that. Can you imagine?’ he said. ‘I've known and talked to every president, you know, for a while, for like more than 30 years. And you know, I can't think of anyone whose life was improved by that.’
“’I mean, I guess if like I was the last person on earth, I could do it, but I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy,’ he added.”
All joking aside, Carlson could find himself as the last person on earth if the American population turns on itself, the result of feckless leaders in both parties who can’t seem to say anything plainly -- or anything at all -- unless it’s approved by a political consultant and reinforced with data from a focus group. There’s a marked cowardice in today’s political class that shrinks from taking stances that would be considered controversial by half the population.
It’s one reason why over-the-top billionaire reality-TV celebrity Donald Trump was able to go from novice politician to the top job in about a year-and-a-half’s time. Trump either did it naturally or decided through the course of strategy deliberations that he wasn’t going to curtail his personality in order to win votes from party-pampered donors and media. That’s why there weren’t any candidacy-killing statements in Trump’s repertoire. How else could he get away with saying Megyn Kelly was “bleeding from her wherever” and still live to talk another day?
Carlson’s sentiments regarding running for office are certainly understandable. He has four children and their lives would be turned upside down by the public spectacle. As a lighting rod for controversy who’s been in media for three decades now, every aspect of his record would be dissected and scrutinized, mostly by people who had no interest in presenting the positive attributes of his background.
Carlson’s home has already been besieged by Antifa and he’s been accused of adultery and sexual improprieties, pretty standard stuff in today’s social media driven world. The left wouldn’t allow a man with Tucker’s importance to go unmolested. The Fox host says a lot of things everyday and has written a multitude of articles and books. There’s a ton of material out there for liberal detractors to delve into, twist and exploit for their own purposes. It’s arguable that Carlson’s quote library is even more extensive than Trump’s was.
The late Rush Limbaugh was asked many times why he showed no interest in a political career. I don’t recall offhand what his straight answer was, but I believe it had to do with his ability to reach people to a much greater extent with his radio show than he ever could in the political realm. Unless you’re someone like Donald Trump who is universally recognized and have the resources to self-fund your own campaign (at least for a time), top-level politics is a lose-lose situation for almost everyone else.
Think about it. The media beats you up. Your opponents demonize you and try to brand you. If you’re a white male like Tucker Carlson, you’re instantly deemed a racist unless you adhere to the left’s notion of politically correct secular dogma and the “woke” realities of LeBron James and Oprah Winfrey. Of course, if you’re a Democrat, the media assumes the opposite, which explains why a man like Joe Biden could get as far as he did with a spotty record and a proven predilection to plagiarize.
Carlson would also face firm pushback from the Republican establishment, which has already been through this type of challenge once before in the recent past. Simply put, the bluebloods don’t take kindly to being told what to do by an outsider who isn’t controlled by party loyalists and donors who write big checks. There are many, many people who would finance Carlson’s political operation -- probably the same ones who contributed to Trump -- but such an individual would encounter a crosswind of resistance.
There’s also the fact that Carlson wouldn’t necessarily need to run for the presidency to guarantee that someone who shares his principles and values would do it in his stead. The media would argue that Trump’s legacy is one of constant tweeting and divisive rhetoric based on nativism, racism and all of the “deplorable” characteristics of normal people who live and work and love their country, etc. But if there’s anything that Trump brought to the Republican Party, it was an open invitation for bomb-throwers and message-carriers to speak for the masses.
There are a number of “outsider” Republicans who will run in 2024 and all possess the credibility to do well right from the start. Trump opened the door for them. Whereas the 2016 GOP primary voters propelled Trump to the nomination, there were others -- such as Sen. Ted Cruz, pediatric surgeon and first-time politician Ben Carson, Sen. Rand Paul and even businesswoman Carly Fiorina -- who were not considered establishmentarians.
The Jeb Bush’s, Mitt Romneys and John McCains are history. Here’s thinking anyone too intimately associated with the “old” GOP won’t make it past the early primary states next time around.
If you need a visual, look back to 2012 when Romney captured the Republican nomination simply because conservatives didn’t have a good alternative to the flip-flopping former Massachusetts governor. Late in the game a number of prominent conservatives threw their support behind Rick Santorum in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a disastrous loss to Obama. The former Pennsylvania senator wasn’t perfect -- or really even that good -- but we were desperate.
As we’ve heard a lot lately, Donald Trump may or may not run in 2024. But Trump voters demanding an America First Republican alternative who will stand up to the left and fight the good fight are not in small supply. It’s fun to toss out Tucker Carlson’s name as someone who could be part of the GOP’s future, but he doesn’t have to run to “save” the party or defeat the decrepit Joe Biden or giggling incompetent Kamala Harris.
If Carlson says he’s not running for president, I’m inclined to believe him. And the media should do their job. How about asking Hunter Biden if he’s planning to use the proceeds from his art sales to re-compensate the Ukrainian and Chinese energy conglomerates who paid him? Sounds like a more productive use of time to me.
Tucker Carlson run for president
2024 GOP field