Observations On Tucker

I am not a great person to write about Tucker Carlson’s contributions to the conservative movement, since I almost never watch television. I have seen clips of Carlson’s Fox News show on the internet, but have only watched it live a time or two. But I did spend some time with Tucker a few years ago, and was deeply impressed.

He was the keynote speaker at American Experiment’s Annual Dinner in 2018. He drew an enthusiastic crowd of 1,200. My wife and I had the assignment of meeting him at the Hilton Hotel, where he stayed, and walking a few blocks to the Minneapolis Convention Center, where our event took place. Tucker traveled by himself, with no aide. We met him at the bottom of the Hilton elevators, and didn’t go 100 feet before fans started walking up to Tucker and asking for selfies with him.

He was endlessly obliging, to the point where I was looking at my watch and trying to hustle him to the Convention Center. We finally arrived there, and I got to the top of some stairs where a VIP photo line was to take place, only to turn around and see that Carlson was AWOL. He had been buttonholed by some fans on the way up, and was happily chatting with them. He was, in short, a genuinely nice guy.

When the VIP event was done, we had a half hour in the schedule for me to interview Tucker for an upcoming issue of Thinking Minnesota. His answers to my questions were breathtakingly candid. Several times I thought to myself, “Did he really just say that?” (You can read the edited Q and A here.) At the same time, I could see that there was no sign of a speech tucked into his coat pocket. I began to worry about whether he had actually prepared a speech for our event. So I asked what he intended to talk about. “Oh, mostly just some recent developments in Washington,” he answered.

Soon thereafter the dinner got underway, and Tucker took the podium, still with no script in sight. He started talking off the cuff and gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard, reflecting meticulous preparation and well thought-out ideas. His theme, copiously illustrated, was that our country is under attack by the Left on a number of fronts, we conservatives are backed up against a wall, and we have no alternative but to fight.

Tucker seems to me to represent the MAGA philosophy in its best form. Together with Donald Trump, Carlson was instrumental in making conservatism the philosophy of the common man. His exposure of the machinations of our so-called “elites” has been relentless. We live in an emperor’s new clothes world, and Tucker, more than anyone else, fearlessly pointed out the shortcomings and outright frauds perpetrated by those who claim to be our betters.

I didn’t always agree with Tucker, but I always respected his views and never doubted that his goal was to benefit the United States of America. That made him a hero to most, but a dangerous threat to the liberals who are trying to highjack America’s history and institutions, and turn them toward their own perverse ends.

I have no idea what is next for Tucker Carlson. He isn’t likely to go away; he is, arguably, bigger than Fox News. I assume we will continue to hear from him. Given that he is by far the most popular figure in cable news, he won’t have any problem finding new outlets for his talents.

It is typical of Carlson that he is not a creature of Washington. Most who watched him on Fox News probably didn’t realize it, but he did not broadcast from Washington or New York. He once owned a home in the D.C. area, but sold it. In the warm months, he broadcast from a town in Maine where he had a summer place and Fox News had set up a studio. In the colder months, he did his show from Florida’s Gulf Coast, where again he had a Fox studio.

The last time I saw Tucker was a few weeks ago. There is a restaurant across the street from his studio (which was unmarked, in a nondescript building) where reportedly he had a standing reservation for dinner every night, following his show. We happened to eat in that restaurant one evening, and sure enough: on the way out we saw Tucker Carlson at dinner with several young men, presumably aides or producers of his show.

I don’t know where Carlson will land, but I am pretty sure he will continue to be a voice for America’s forgotten working class. The qualities that caused millions to tune in to his show nightly are not going away.

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