Tucker Carlson surely knows that Donald Trump is in a heap of trouble and, in an effort to have his Fox News cake and pretend not to eat it too, Carlson has penned a critical editorial in The Daily Caller. However, Carlson is not there to bury Trump yet, just prepping the ground for his own survival. UPDATED
The column is innocuously titled, “Tucker And Patel: The Truth About Impeachment.” Carlson’s co-author is Neil Patel who co-founded The Daily Caller with Carlson.
It begins with a blunt condemnation of Trump’s efforts to strong-arm Ukraine's President Zelensky into digging up dirt for him:
Donald Trump should not have been on the phone with a foreign head of state encouraging another country to investigate his political opponent, Joe Biden. Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea. Like a lot of things Trump does, it was pretty over-the-top. Our leaders’ official actions should not be about politics. Those two things need to remain separate. Once those in control of our government use it to advance their political goals, we become just another of the world’s many corrupt countries. America is better than that.
But in the very next sentence, Carlson and Patel let their conservative fans know they still hate Democrats:
That’s also why it’s good that there are finally investigations looking into the extent to which the Obama FBI may have used our government — and even foreign governments — to try to crush Trump in the last election.
Not surprisingly, the rest of the column is about rousing the forces against impeachment. The two claimed impeachment is not deserved because a) there was no quid pro quo and b) Trump’s lackey attorney general, who is personally involved in the scandal, said there was no crime.
Unfortunately for Carlson and Patel, whose column came out last night, the “no quid pro quo” defense (BS to begin with) is now an outdated White House talking point. Today, after a trove of text messages destroyed that defense, the message has changed to “so what if there was a quid pro quo?”
The reliance on Attorney General William Barr as “proof” Trump did not commit a crime is almost as bad as Carlson’s reliance on Joseph diGenova. Trump told Zelensky in the call that Barr would help dig up dirt on Trump’s behalf (though Barr denies having been asked to do that). However, Barr’s very suspect behavior in this whole episode looks like he was engaged in a cover up.
Carlson and Patel went through a lot of other anti-anti-Trump talking points (“our political class wants to take the most recent election away from the voters” and the false claim that Rep. Adam Schiff was “privately colluding” with the whistleblower, e.g.).
The column closes by acknowledging “There may be truth” to accusations that Trump’s “attacks against his opponents are not presidential, that he lacks the requisite political experience and has hired some truly horrible staffers.” The remedy, the authors conclude, should be the 2020 election, not impeachment.
But don’t kid yourself, Carlson is looking for cover – even as he continues to play a die-hard Trump supporter on TV.
(Carlson image via screen grab)
11:41 PM Update: Oliver Darcy makes a good case that Carlson was laying out a road map for Republicans who can't bring themselves to defend Trump's behavior but don't want to support impeachment. But that begs the question, why is Carlson pretending on Fox that Trump did nothing wrong at all?
My guess would be that Fox(not)News is for people who don’t read much while the Daily Caller is for those who can read a bit, albeit mostly what they already believe, the facts be damned. People who hear something on Fox won’t be overly troubled to hear that there’s a different opinion on the Daily Caller; shucks that will allow them to think they really are hearing different voices.
The whole idea of “double-speak” is to encourage people to swallow contradictions without gagging (“double-think”, in Orwell’s 1984).