For the record, I believe Fox News host Tucker Carlson is by far the best high-profile TV commentator of our time. I frequently cite him in my news-oriented articles, and his monologues are tours de force. Thus is it notable that I’ve never seen him stumble so badly as on his last Wednesday evening show.
Aside from taking at face value a rather portly Google engineer’s claim that a computer he’d been working with, which he calls a “person,” has become sentient (highly improbable at this time), Carlson launched an attack on the Republican Party that, while containing some truth, failed to see the forest for the trees.
The pundit’s point was that while Democrats are alienating even their traditional “minority” base with woke baseness, the GOP is not only failing to capitalize but is aiding the Biden administration in effectuating political correctness. He provided a number of examples, and let’s jump right in with one to illustrate where he went wrong.
Carlson cited Arkansas Republican governor Asa Hutchinson’s shameful veto of a 2021 bill that would ban the child abuse euphemistically known as “gender reassignment” treatments (e.g., puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones). With the veto, Hutchinson signaled that he adheres to a self-destructive fantasy about and fear of “government overreach” (his claim), is profoundly ignorant on the subject or is actually in bed with the sexual devolutionaries. Regardless, he should be primaried. Carlson, however, didn’t tell the rest of the story. To wit:
That bill is now law because the Republican-controlled legislature overrode Hutchinson’s veto by wide margins the very day after it was announced.
As Ballotpedia reported last year, “The House and Senate voted 71-24 and 25-8 in favor of the override, respectively. All Democrats, one independent, and three Republicans voted against the override. The remaining Republicans voted in favor of the override. Seven assembly members—one Democrat and six Republicans—did not vote.”
Again, “All Democrats” voted for child abuse’s perpetuation, whereas virtually all the Arkansas Republicans voted to end it — and did so.
This is a real change, a real blow in the culture war, that makes a real difference in real people’s lives. It’s also something that wouldn’t have even been proposed had Democrats controlled Arkansas’s legislature.
This is reminiscent of how, in 2007 and 2013, after immigrationist GOPers (e.g., the late Senator John McCain) forged disastrous amnesty bills, they were deep-sixed by other congressional Republicans.
Carlson also mentioned the 15 leftism-enabling Senate Republicans, such as Texas’s John Cornyn and Utah’s Mitt Romney, who conspired with the Democrats to pass the unconstitutional “red flag” gun bill. Yet while this is lamentable, the reality is that almost 89 percent of Republicans opposed the bill in the Senate and House combined — versus zero percent of Democrats who did so.
Perhaps most notable, however, is that all five Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn the unconstitutional, nation-rending Roe v. Wade opinion were appointed by Republicans; three out of the four voting unconstitutionally were Democrat choices.
Realize, too, that as bad as the GOP establishment is, we have one of its members to thank for Roe’s demise: The often enraging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He did, after all, hold up the thoroughly unjust Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS nomination while also later helping elevate Amy Coney Barrett to the Court.
(Additionally, McConnell helped Trump elevate 220 Article III federal judges, the second most of any president in a four-year period.)
Whatever one thinks of abortion, the difference between overturning Roe and not doing so is like night and day — and that historic day, Friday’s Dobbs ruling, was delivered by the GOP.
All this makes two conclusions plain: First, the Republican Party is far from perfect.
Second, it’s still head and shoulders above the Democrats.
The Real Distinctions and The Uniparty Mentality
Those who, despite the above, paint both parties with the same brush should consider something: Before complaining of a “uniparty,” remember that the GOP itself is not a uniparty. It includes “MAGA” figures ranging from Ron DeSantis, Chip Roy and Marjorie Taylor Greene to liberals such as Susan Collins and Romney to establishment operators such as McConnell to possible sociopaths such as Adam Kinzinger. There’s a lot of ideological real estate among these groups and, consequently, a bit of an intra-party civil war. And apropos to this, understand that the most instructive distinction here is not Republican and Democrat.
It’s people who more or less care about the country and its Constitution and traditions (though they have varying understanding of such) — and everyone else. But here’s the significant point:
There is one and only one viable home for the anti-establishment MAGA set, and that’s the Republican Party. As for its bad elements, why would we define any group based on its most anomalous 10 or 15 percent?
How Political Power is Won
So we mustn’t let “the perfect be the enemy of the good.” And if I can grit my teeth and say this, you can, too. After all, the best way to understand me is that I’m Mayberry Meets the Middle Ages. What this means is that 99.5 percent of the people who might think they’re more outside-the-box than I am are not more outside-the-box than I am. But I also understand something:
“Politics is the art of the possible,” as famed German leader Otto von Bismarck put it.
It’s not the art of “You get what you want, right now, no questions asked,” but of the possible. Also realize that it’s a mistake treating a politician who has dashed certain hopes of yours as you would a formerly dear friend who has betrayed you. The latter may be dead to you (though forgiveness is always, and reconciliation sometimes, in order), but parties and politicians should be viewed differently: as tools with a certain utility.
You don’t throw away a tool just because it doesn’t perform up to the standard you hoped unless you have a better tool with which to replace it. This means, mind you, that the superior tool must be one you can actually get your hands on and put to use, not something that will never actually make it into your shed. (This is a metaphor for supporting vanity-project, third-party candidates.) In other words, don’t get so emotionally involved with a politician that when disappointed, you feel like a jilted love interest.
The next step is understanding the goal. Anyone who remembers the 2008 film Gran Torino may recall that when the Clint Eastwood character was asked how he had a tool shed equipped like Home Depot, his answer was that such an arsenal is acquired over a lifetime. We likewise must aim to incrementally improve our set of tools.
For example, electing America-first candidates (e.g., Taylor Greene) in recent years has improved Congress. And if it’s now, for argument’s sake, 15 percent better than before, the goal is to make it another 8, 15 or 20 percent better next time. This is done, obviously, through electing the best possible candidates in the primaries and then the general election. Keep repeating this process, and improved government results.
But as soon as we get emotional due to disappointment and take our ball and go home (demoralization-born suppressed turnout), the process not only is halted but can reverse. One step forwards, two steps back. Perseverance is a prerequisite for winning power.
In conclusion, remember that embracing the “uniparty” mentality is to play into evil’s hands. The Devil wants you to become cynical, say “They’re all the same!” and not see distinctions. For then you won’t distinguish between good and evil and can become, as Edmund Burke put it, one of those “good” men who do nothing.
Battles can only be won by those who show up for them.
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.