A few days ago, The USA came very close to launching military strikes against Iran after an unmanned drone was brought down by the middle-eastern country, allegedly over international waters but widely speculated to be over its own territory. POTUS Donald Trump said in public statement later that he called off the attack with only 10 minutes to spare as he believed the estimated 150 deaths was disproportionate to the loss of a single unmanned drone.
The military strikes, no doubt, would have elicited an equally strong response from Iran and inevitably, the two countries would have been at war before too long. The entire establishment was clamouring for it, too. However, Trump ignored the advice of people in his own administration, the military generals and the mainstream media which was clamouring for war. But he did listen to one person and that man is being credited with stopping a potential US-Iran War. That man is, of course, Fox News Talk-Show host, Tucker Carlson.
It’s not really a secret that Donald Trump is quite fond of Tucker Carlson. He often quotes Tucker on Twitter and links his videos. He has been doing that often in the past. It’s not surprising since after all, Tucker Carlson is the solitary voice of the Trumpian Right in the US mainstream media and arguably, the most popular talk show host on the Right
The Trumpian Right is very distinct from the traditional base of the Republican party. It is very populist, not obsessive about libertarian economics, is skeptical of unchecked free-market Capitalism, wary of the ever-growing power of tech giants, extremely worried about illegal immigration and very much concerned about the breakdown of traditional culture.
The greatest difference of opinion between the Republican establishment and the Trumpian Right is their opinions on Russia. While the establishment considers Russia a great enemy, the Trumpian Right, like POTUS, believes if the two countries can get along without the looming threat of nuclear war and some collaboration on certain common issues, it would be great.
For a long time, Carlson has advocated strongly against US military intervention abroad and with regards to Iran, as well, he maintained that it will have a devastating impact consistent with the fates of every military adventure since the turn of the century. Tucker praised Trump for not going through with the strikes on Iran and ripped into his National Security Adviser, John Bolton, who he described as a “bureaucratic tapeworm”. He also claimed that Bolton was not “normal”.
“According to John Bolton, [Iraq is] a raging success. We killed hundreds of thousands of people, lost thousands of our own troops, spent more than $1 trillion — all to eliminate a WMD threat that, despite John Bolton’s assurances, never existed in the first place,” said Carlson. “Bolton is glad we did all that. Really happy about it. That’s demented. Normal people don’t talk about that. There’s nothing normal about John Bolton,” he added.
The New York Times reported, “He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson. While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran’s provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president’s best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.”
It is well known that Donald Trump’s candidacy for Presidency was a remarkable shift from traditional politics in America. One of the primary reasons why he succeeded in defeating Hillary Clinton was his staunch opposition to wars in the Middle East while Clinton had her disastrous track record as Secretary of State during the Obama administration. The Americans were tired of everlasting wars and Trump promised to end that.
While he hasn’t succeeded in ending any wars yet, he has demonstrated a remarkable tenacity in resisting the warmongers in his midst. However, for all the tectonic shift he succeeded in bringing about in US politics, his administration has extremely few members that reflect that shift and in the mainstream media, there’s only one person reflecting the opinions of the Trumpian Right. And that person is Tucker Carlson.
The Trumpian Right has a lot in common with the Bernie Left. One of the major reason Trump succeeded in defeating Hillary Clinton was that a significant section of Bernie Sanders supporters voted for him in the Presidential elections in swing states. The difference between the Trumpian Right and the traditional establishment of the Republican party became evident in the interview he gave to Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.
Unlike the traditional Republican establishment, Tucker is not a devotee of Capitalism and recognizes that the system has its own follies. He says, “Anyone who thinks the health of a nation can be summed up in GDP is an idiot.” In a critique of Capitalism, as it exists today, Tucker wrote, “The overriding goal for America is more prosperity, meaning cheaper consumer goods. But is that still true? Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy? They haven’t so far. A lot of Americans are drowning in stuff. And yet drug addiction and suicide are depopulating large parts of the country.”
He proceeded to add, “The goal for America is both simpler and more elusive than mere prosperity. It’s happiness. There are a lot of ingredients in being happy: Dignity. Purpose. Self-control. Independence. Above all, deep relationships with other people. Those are the things that you want for your children. They’re what our leaders should want for us, and would want if they cared.”
Criticizing the Conservative approach to market economics, Tucker says, “Social conservatives, meanwhile, come to the debate from the opposite perspective, and yet reach a strikingly similar conclusion. The real problem, you’ll hear them say, is that the American family is collapsing. Nothing can be fixed before we fix that. Yet, like the libertarians they claim to oppose, many social conservatives also consider markets sacrosanct. The idea that families are being crushed by market forces seems never to occur to them. They refuse to consider it. Questioning markets feels like apostasy.”
The entire critique is worth reading in its entirety and it reflects a very observant mind with sound intellect. It can be read here. Tucker accurately describes in great detail what exactly has been going wrong with America. On a particular segment, he touched upon the notion that Young Americans are being drawn towards Socialism because the current economy is not working for them and not merely because they are misinformed idiots. Even entertaining such notions are considered heresies by the American rightwing.
In his interview with Shapiro, Tucker admits that he won’t hesitate to ban self-driven trucks to allow the truck drivers to still hold a job. The societal cost, he argues, will be much greater to whatever money that could possibly be saved by having self-driven trucks. When Shapiro asks him if he would consider banning self-driven trucks, he replied incredulously, “Are you joking?! In a second.” He then proceeded to assert that if he were President, he would tell the Department of Transportation that ‘we are not letting driverless trucks on the road’ because driving trucks was the most popular job with high school graduated students in the country.
Tucker appears to have a real concern for people living with limited income and worries that the expected AI revolution will take away most of their jobs. In one of his segments, he said, “Automation is accelerating. This is real. It’s going to have a nearly unimaginable effect on what Americans do for a living, and on American society itself. Our country’s low-skilled workers already live in a pretty precarious spot. Their wages and their benefits have stagnated for decades. In fact, millions of them aren’t really workers at all but, instead, get by on disability payments or other government programs.”
More than such matters, Tucker often touches on controversial matters as well which others are too afraid to say. In his critique of Capitalism, he mentions how the entry of women into the workforce and the loss of manufacturing jobs for men has led to a situation where women earn more than men and marriages simply don’t work. He mentions that study after study repeatedly shows that women do not want to marry men who earn less than them. Consequently, it has a devastating impact on social stability.
Tucker has developed a knack of saying uncomfortable truths as a matter of fact. Recently, on North Korea, he said, ‘There’s no defending the North Korean regime, which is a monstrous regime, it’s the last really Stalinist regime in the world, it’s a disgusting place obviously, so there’s no defending it.”
He went on: “On the other hand… you’ve got to be honest about what it means to lead a country, it means killing people. Not on the scale that North Koreans do, but a lot of countries commit atrocities, including a number that we’re closely allied with… it’s important to be honest about that.”
“It’s not necessarily a choice between the evil people and the great people, it’s a choice most of the time between the bad people and the worst people,” Carlson added. “That’s kind of the nature of life, and so the nature of power.”
Tucker’s book ‘Ship of Fools’ which was released last year became a No. 1 Best Seller. In the book, he argues that the ruling elite of America has failed Americans in every way. It’s an opinion he has voiced on numerous occasions. The core of his argument is: The ruling elite is no longer accountable to the people of America. They simply do not care.
Despite accusations of being a White Nationalist from some quarters, he is well liked by a lot of progressives. Jimmy Damore, a committed progressive, regularly quotes Tucker Carlson in his show. After news broke out that Tucker may have convinced Trump to not launch strikes against Iran, Damore in his talk show on YouTube was all praise for him and expressed his relief that Trump was listening to Tucker and not the likes of Rachel Maddow and CNN and MSNBC.
Another issue where progressives such as Damore agree with Tucker is the Russian collusion delusion. There is a significant section of progressives which believes that the entire Russian interference propaganda was launched to protect Hillary’s image. They agree that Hillary was such a terrible candidate that it’s no wonder that many people considered even Trump to be a better choice for President.
Tucker Carlson, on his part, does not hesitate to admit that his criticisms of the market do sound a lot like Bernie Sanders’ or someone from the Left. However, the difference between the two sections comes with respect to illegal immigration, gender politics, the abortion debate and the sort. However, the critique of the market is one thing that both sides agree on.
When Trump decided on his cabinet, many of his core supporters believed that it was filled with establishment politicians and not enough who represented the Trumpian Right. And their criticism does appear legitimate on the wider aspect of things. However, on the question of Iran, Trump’s core supporters will be glad to know that it is Tucker Carlson who has the President’s ear and not the Republican Establishment.