Dreams. They’re the stuff life is made of.
At a time when American voters are staring down the distinct possibility of a 2024 presidential election rematch between hopelessly compromised and corrupted physically and mentally faltering president senile Joe Biden and the eternally controversial but usually reliable policy person of former president Donald Trump, many folks are reflecting on who they’d rather see running for president, even if the possibility of said person launching a campaign is remote at best and unattainable at worst.
You might even call it dreaming. One name that’s popped up in the news lately – for a variety of reasons – is former Fox News primetime host Tucker Carlson. Carlson supposedly remains an employee of Fox but hasn’t been seen much since the network ignominiously announced that they and Tucker had “agreed to part ways” two weeks ago, not citing a reason or explaining how or why any TV management group would consent to slitting its own ratings throat by ditching the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg for them. Not even the eye-pleasing Kayleigh McEnany has helped poor Fox fill the void left from the network’s inane decision to terminate Tucker.
For his part, the other day, Tucker did announce “a new version” of his show will soon appear exclusively on Twitter and promised to speak freely. What else would you expect from him?
In the meantime, much has been written about what Carlson’s next potential move would be, with most observers suggesting the longtime conservative firebrand commentator could enrich himself beyond his wildest desires by choosing between a wealth of different platforms to continue doing what he’s always done – speaking truth to power and laying waste to the easily discredited notions of the political establishment. In so doing, Tucker made legions of friends – and backers – among the grassroots and probably spawned an equal number of enemies and haters in the elite ranks.
Put it this way – do you think Mitch McConnell regards Tucker as a friend or a pain in the back side? “Walk a mile in my shoes” is the retort from many who’ve felt the sting of Carlson’s tongue lash, but someone has to watch the dealers. It’s a duty Tucker appears to relish. So why not become in charge of the whole smash, Mr. Carlson?
Tucker Carlson for president? The idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds. The notion that a non-politician major media figure opting to run for the highest office in the land couldn’t win was dispelled by Donald Trump himself. Trump’s 2016 campaign laid the groundwork for others like Tucker to follow him, namely, a candidate who’s not the least bit afraid to mean what he says and say what he means along with an innate ability to articulate what’s in everyone’s heart -- and look good doing it.
Like Trump, Carlson’s had extensive experience with media of all types for a long time. The camera is no stranger to Tucker and neither is his willingness to mix it up in front of a large viewing audience. And he does it live, too. Can you imagine Tucker Carlson in a debate format against anyone – Trump, Ted Cruz, senile Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez or… Michelle Obama?
How would anyone attack Carlson? Would they say he’s been accused of sexual harassment? That he’s rude? That he always has that strange quizzical look on his face when he’s listening to folks talk? That he said some mean things (as was revealed through the leak of some of his texts and emails during the Dominion lawsuit)? That he’s been fired a number of times? That he didn’t get along with his employers? That his straight-and-to-the-point manner of speaking turns some people (liberals) off? That the powerful elites in both parties despise him?
You’re forgiven if you think I’ve just described Donald Trump. The former president set the standard for Americans who took on the stodgy DC ruling class – and won. No one’s saying that it would be just as simple for Carlson to accomplish the same thing, but he’d have a lot of advantages going in to his own national campaign, not the least of which is wide name recognition in the same hemisphere as Trump before him. Here’s also thinking that Tucker could raise the money to get a campaign started and also largely avoid the “retail politicking” in the early states just as Trump did.
Carlson could mimic Trump by conducting mass rallies and collecting data from attendees to build a large grassroots network. Think of all the “Tucker for America” signs that would start popping up in front yards. What current conservative political personality wouldn’t crave to have Carlson the presidential hopeful on their show? Tucker’s share of free media would rival Trump’s in 2015/16.
All of this and Tucker doesn’t have the legal goons chasing after his every step as Trump does. At age 53 (he turns 54 on May 16), Carlson is plenty young enough to contrast the older generation that seemingly dominates contemporary American politics. Critics couldn’t legitimately claim that he wasn’t seasoned enough (as they might for another brilliant new face, Vivek Ramaswamy), nor that he wasn’t well versed in the nitty gritty details of the day.
Dipping into the ol’ memory banks here, but didn’t conservatives used to implore the late great Rush Limbaugh to run for office? Every so often the subject would come up with Limbaugh arguing that he could be much more effective in advancing conservatism from behind the EIB microphone than he ever could as a member of the unruly and often anonymous House of Representatives, or as one of 100 senators in the upper chamber which never seems to move. As usual, Rush was right, but that was before Trump came along and rewrote the unwritten political rulebook to compete for and then win the Republican presidential nomination – and then the presidency itself.
Because Trump was from outside the usual channels for politicians, he was able to turn heretofore novel ideas into policy reality and not worry about whose heads he was stepping on to get there. Trump’s was a frankness and freshness that’s persisted to this day – why else would he be so far ahead in the current Republican primary race? Trump is virtually unbeatable among GOPers.
The time would be now for Tucker Carlson, and the opportunity would never be greater. Perhaps he’s considering it. And if he’s not… he definitely should.
In the alternative, some conservatives, apparently including Tucker himself, think the man would make for a terrific GOP debate moderator. In a piece titled “Tucker Carlson floats moderating alternate GOP primary debate with Trump: report”, Stephen Neukam reported at The Hill:
“Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News prime-time host whose exit from the network sent shockwaves through political media … is reportedly floating the idea of hosting a Republican primary forum. Carlson’s unexpected departure from the company has left the media world wondering what he will do next. Carlson, according to the Washington Post, citing people familiar with his thinking, is interested in hosting a forum for 2024 GOP candidates.
“Carlson has even chatted about the idea with former President Trump, according to the report, who has threatened to skip one or both of the first Republican debates that are scheduled for the summer. The first GOP debate is slated to be hosted by Carlson’s former network, Fox News.
“Carlson’s contract with Fox News reportedly runs through the end of 2024, which could limit his ability to dip his toes into other ventures until then.”
I wonder if Tucker’s Fox contract would prevent him from “dipping his toes” into a personal presidential campaign? I’m a non-practicing lawyer but I’d imagine there’s some sort of an “out” clause in his contract that would govern such non-eventualities. It’s at least worth a perusal of the terms to check on it, don’t you think?
As far as Tucker hosting an “alternative” Republican debate with the announced competitors (which will likely include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sometime soon), I think it’s a terrific idea. For years, conservatives have groused over the lack of salient questioning to Republican presidential candidates, with liberal establishment media figures usually posing stupid and/or prurient salacious subjects involving candidates’ personal lives in lieu of relevant topics.
Who can forget Newt Gingrich’s famous retort to CNN’s John King in 2012? This exchange about sums it up in most conservatives’ minds.
Why didn’t the talkers ask Hillary Clinton in 2016, “Madame Secretary, your husband is a notorious lothario whose hand has been caught in too many cookie jars, yet you’ve stuck with him anyway. Did you essentially just use these women to further your own political career?”
Tucker Carlson, the world recognizes, would stick to the issues conservatives care about and probe the candidates for real answers and ideas. How do we know he’d do it? Because that’s precisely what he’s done for all those years on his various TV shows. Tucker would never berate his guests, though he wouldn’t allow them to crawl into a safe space, either.
Having Tucker moderate a “debate” is the best possible scenario for conservative and Republican voters looking to see substance in candidate forums.
It would definitely be a dream to see Tucker Carlson run for the Republican presidential nomination. Who knows whether Tucker’s candidacy would catch fire the way Donald Trump’s did in 2016, but it would be fascinating to witness either way. Carlson’s unique ability to get to the heart of the matter will always be well regarded by the grassroots. Tucker’s not going away – and that’s great for us.
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