Tucker Carlson Establishes Himself As The Chief Advocate For MAGA

Tucker Carlson is no stranger to criticizing Washington politicians.  He regularly takes on pundits, operatives and elected officials, grilling them on politics, policy and other tactics.  Initially, Tucker used his talk show on Fox News primarily to take on left-leaning guests - a "own the libs" exercise. But as time wore on, Tucker started to focus more his fire on conservatives and, lately, president Donald Trump.

In a recent interview with Die Weltwoche, a weekly Swiss magazine, Tucker's commentary has come to rest on criticism of the perceived failures of the Trump administration at enacting its campaign agenda.  He pointed out that the president has failed to deliver on building the wall, de-funding Planned Parenthood and repealing Obamacare. Carlson added that he doesn't believe that Trump is "capable" of delivering on his promises. He said:

"I don’t think he’s capable of sustained focus. I don’t think he understands the system. I don’t think the Congress is on his side. I don’t think his own agencies support him. [Trump] knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t surrounded himself with people that can get it done, hasn’t done all the things you need to do so. It’s mostly his fault that he hasn’t achieved those things."

In his new book, Ship of Fools, Carlson makes many points eerily reminiscent of conversations my colleague Cinzia Croce and I have enjoined since Trump announced his candidacy some three years ago. An excerpt from the introduction, quoted on the inside and back cover: 

“Trump’s election wasn’t about Trump.  It was a throbbing middle finger in the face of America’s ruling class.  It was a gesture of contempt, a howl of rage, the end result of decades of selfish and unwise decisions made by selfish and unwise leaders.  Happy countries don’t elect Donald Trump president.  Desperate ones do.

 In retrospect, the lesson seemed obvious:  Ignore voters for long enough and you get Donald Trump.  Yet the people at whom the message was aimed never received it.  Instead of pausing, listening, thinking, and changing, America’s ruling class withdrew into a defensive crouch.”

Carlson exhibits a very nascent understanding of the situation.  He criticizes not the MAGA agenda but the failure of its primary messenger at implementing it. Further, he rightly recognizes that the president, his administration and the MAGA movement have faced tremendous opposition right from election night two years ago. As it became clear that the procession of Hillary Clinton from Democratic nominee to president-elect had been stopped, forces on both sides of the proverbial aisle, whether conspiring or Democrats taking an active and Republicans a passive role, “withdrew into a defensive crouch,” as Carlson put it, to oppose the new administration’s agenda.

This is the first of a series of articles I plan to write to delve into the details of Carlson’s book.  His perspective that Trump’s election was one of desperation, his failures to implement his agenda and his inability to enact MAGA policies going forward are important topics deserving of further attention and discussion. Especially in light of the Democrats winning control of the House, a discussion about how the president may achieve his campaign agenda is imperative. If it is determined that the president cannot, other options leading into the 2020 presidential election must begin to be considered. Carlson’s book is a stellar vehicle to begin the discussion.