For a long time I’d heard of Tucker Carlson but had little idea who he was beyond a Fox commentator with a face for radio. Then I began seeing references to him in terms of the emerging national populist movement but still wasn’t that interested. Then I started hearing about a great monologue he did at the beginning of the year.
I’ve I’ve finally had a chance to listen to it.
The good is that it’s the single clearest statement of the discontents caused by neoliberalism. Some might say it longer, or better, or more academically or with more emotional force but it’s the single best introduction to the topic for general audiences that I’ve heard (I didn’t watch it I listened while doing other stuff which is my usual MO when the visuals aren’t critical).
The bad is that it won’t convince anyone who doesn’t already think that neoliberalism is a social (and moral) dead end that needs to be replaced (there’s no fixing it anymore than there was any way to fix Polish socialism in 1989). Neoliberal progressives will dredge up some sexist incident form 50 years ago or some racist public policy from 60 years ago (and ignore the fact that Obama facilitated the largest transfer of wealth from working people to financial elites in the nation’s history). Neoliberal conservatives will cackle to themselves that they’ve got their jack and if you don’t then too bad for you (and dream of the glory days of Rush Limbaugh) and dream of war with Iran.
Tucker just isn’t charismatic enough to be the carrier of the message for a large audience (so…. no, no Tucker 2024 or 2020). It’s good as an info point for the intellectually curious or as a data point for those whose minds might be eventually changed.
A charismatic politician who knows how Washington works and who can think on his feet and isn’t encumbered by a massive ego could easily take this message to the White House. And I hope one does.