Tag Archives: Tucker Carlson

Hot Water

Sometimes, I think America’s constitutional democracy is the frog in that over-used parable–the one that gets boiled because the pot of water it’s in is being heated just slowly enough that the frog doesn’t notice until it’s too late.

Every single day brings new evidence of our dysfunction–the capture of one of our political parties by people who range from evil to detached from reality to objectively crazy; the episodes of increasingly militant and unashamed racism and anti-Semitism; the growth of belief in QAnon and other bizarre conspiracy theories; and the public embrace of what most of us previously considered a European form of rightwing nationalism.

The water has become hotter this week, with news that Fox News’ most bankable  and pompous right-wing cheerleader, Tucker Carlson–he of the smarmy sneers and bow ties–had met with Hungarian autocrat and strongman Viktor Orban. As Talking Points Memo reported,

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is billed as a speaker at a far-right conference in Hungary on Saturday, according to a flier for the event. The appearance will come days after the Fox host met with the country’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Carlson will purportedly offer his insights at MCC Feszt, an event hosted by the Mathias Corvinus Collegium, which the New York Times described in June as a government-funded plan to “train a conservative future elite.

A program for MCC Feszt touts Carlson as speaking on Saturday, delivering a talk called “The World According to Tucker Carlson.”

It’s part of a larger, four-day long program that also advertises a talk from a representative of one of America’s esteemed conservative institutions of higher education: Dennis Prager of PragerU, which makes up for what it lacks in physical space, accreditation, and discernible curriculum in Facebook virality. Prager will deliver a talk on “media and free speech.

MCC, the sponsor of the “Feszt,” reportedly benefits from both $1.7 billion in grants from the Hungarian government and the open support of Orbán, who has characterized his approach to governance as “illiberal democracy.” Orbán’s government has used anti-Semitic imagery to demonize George Soros, a native of the country and a favorite target of the Right, and has pressured universities associated with Soros and his Open Society to close. Talking Points Memo also notes that Orban has “gone out of his way” to clamp down on LGBTQ rights during his tenure.

Josh Marshall–the editor of TPM–commented on the meeting and what it reflects about the direction of the GOP:

One thing that a number of us have been saying for some time is that increasingly over the last decade-plus, the GOP has continued to present itself as a center-right party of government while increasingly operating as a rightist revanchist party on the European model. This intentionally conspicuous hobnobbing with Orbán is part of that story. Obviously, Carlson isn’t formally representing the GOP. But in practice he does. He’s far more influential in conservative politics than any elected official currently in office.

This lurch from genuine conservatism to what Marshall quite accurately labels “rightest revanchism” is one more reflection of the party’s current identity, which is as a White Nationalist cult. When you cut through all the BS, by far the most dominant conviction held by members of today’s Republican Party is a deep-seated, racist belief that the only “real” Americans are White Male fundamentalist Christians.

That belief is the reason Republicans in Congress have stopped legislating in favor of performative insanity. The party is no longer about policy or actual politics of any kind–liberal, conservative or even (as it sometimes seems) fascist. The GOP is interested only in maintaining power, but not in order to govern– it needs that power in order to protect White Male Christian privilege, and to ensure the continued dominance of “real” Americans over all of us “others.”

The members of today’s GOP now realize that White Christian Male cultural domination will inevitably erode in the absence of a governing autocracy committed to its preservation, and they are willing to trade both the American Idea and the rule of law for a despotism that will protect that domination. With his visit to Viktor Orban, Tucker Carlson has made that willingness impossible to ignore.

The water in the pot is getting very, very hot.

Read My Lips: No Heckler’s Veto

I sure wish those Faux News pundits who claim to revere the Constitution actually knew what was in it.

Evidently, Satanists in Oklahoma City are planning to hold a “black mass.” Whatever that is. Now, insofar as we can tell, these folks have been entirely peaceful–however much their views may offend  adherents of more traditional doctrines, the only “harm” they’ve inflicted has been to religious sensibilities.

Enter know-nothing Tucker Carlson.

Tucker Carlson opined that the Satanic leader “clearly just wants publicity.” He asked if “Christians are playing into his plan” by protesting. In response to whether Christian should ignore him, Fr. Morris said that everybody needs to do what they think is best, such as talking about it on Fox. He encouraged prayer for the Satanic leader’s soul. When Clayton Morris interjected that the city is standing on free speech, Fr. Morris asked “what about if I want to desecrate a Koran…and speak pro-Nazi stuff right in front of my church and get people all fired up on a public sidewalk.”  (The Satanic mass is not being held on the street). Despite his (and Fox’s) belief about limited government, he opined that “government has to step in and say you can’t incite violence in the name of free speech.” The chyron validated his point: “First Amendment Foul, City: Constitution Protects Right to Gather.”

This approach–oh, no, we can’t let [fill in the blank] speak, because what they have to say will anger people and spark civil unrest. We have to shut them down in order to preserve the public peace!–was the argument used across the American south to shut down people like Martin Luther King. It’s called the Heckler’s Veto, because it allows “hecklers”–people who disagree with what is being said–to veto the message.

The courts have consistently ruled that they can’t do that. The message from the bench has been clear: If the authorities are genuinely worried about breaches of the peace, they need to beef up security, not shut the speaker down.

Isn’t it interesting how many pompous frauds want the protections offered by the Bill of Rights for themselves–but don’t want those same rules applied to others?

I have news for Tucker Carlson: It’s only freedom when it applies to everyone. Even people you don’t like. If the government gets to pick and choose who gets to assert a right, it’s no longer a right. It’s a privilege.

And privileges can be revoked.