Tucker Carlson is very disappointed in President Trump. In a startling interview with the Swiss weekly Weltwoche, the Fox News host, who has often defended the president, cuts loose. Excerpts:
Do you think he has kept his promises? Has he achieved his goals?
No. His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund planned parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things. There are a lot of reasons for that, but since I finished writing the book, I’ve come to believe that Trump’s role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does. I don’t think he’s capable. 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. He’s not going to do that.
I think Trump’s role is to begin the conversation about what actually matters. We were not having any conversation about immigration before Trump arrived in Washington. People were bothered about it in different places in the country. It’s a huge country, but that was not a staple of political debate at all. Trump asked basic questions like’ “Why don’t our borders work?” “Why should we sign a trade agreement and let the other side cheat?” Or my favorite of all, “What’s the point of NATO?” The point of NATO was to keep the Soviets from invading western Europe but they haven’t existed in 27 years, so what is the point? These are obvious questions that no one could answer.
Apart from asking these very important questions has he really achieved nothing?
Not much. Not much. Much less than he should have. I’ve come to believe he’s not capable of it.
Why should he be not capable?
Because the legislative process in this country by design is highly complex, and it’s designed to be complex as a way of diffusing power, of course, because the people who framed our Constitution, founded our country, were worried about concentrations of power. They balanced it among the three branches as you know and they made it very hard to make legislation. In order to do it you really have to understand how it works and you have to be very focused on getting it done, and he knows very little about the legislative process, hasn’t learned anything, hasn’t and 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. I’m not in charge of Trump.
You can’t drain the swamp if you know nothing about hydraulics and engineering, and don’t trouble yourself to hire people who do. I deeply appreciate that Carlson is daring to say, from the Right — and not the Never Trump Right, either! — that Trump is mostly to blame for his failures. Of course Trump had the Washington elites against him, but as Carlson says, Trump is not focused, and hasn’t made a point of surrounding himself with competent people who could achieve his policy goals (such as they are). And what do the excuse-makers say? “You’ve got Trump Derangement Syndrome!” It’s the right-wing white person equivalent of a liberal blaming racism for the failure of a politician of color to get the job done.
Is that really so? Look at the grassroots movement on the left: Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and her socialist group. It is probably a 100 years ago when Americans last saw a socialist movement of substance emerging?
Yes. You’re absolutely right. That’s the future.
In your book, you say they’ve vanishing but they seem to come back again.
Well, you’re absolutely right. You’re incisive correct to say that the last time we saw this was 100 years ago, which was another pivot point in our economic and social history. Where, after 10,000 years of living in an Agrarian society, people moved to the cities to work in factories and that upended the social order completely. With that came huge political change and a massive reaction.
In the United States and in Western Europe labor unions moderated the forces of change and allowed us to preserve capitalism in the form that we see it now… You’re seeing the exact same dynamic play out today, we have another, as I said, economic revolution, the digital age, which is changing how people work, how they make money, how families are structured. There is a huge reaction to that, of course, because there always is, because normal people can’t handle change at this pace. People are once again crying out for some help. They feel threatened by the change. What bothers me is that there is no large group of sensible people asking, how can we buffer this change? How can we restrain it just enough, not to stop it, but to keep people from overreacting and becoming radical?
Read the whole thing. Seriously, do. Carlson has a lot of interesting things to say. Check out what he says about revolution in America. How unusual it is to have an elite journalist who actually has original thoughts.