Three cheers for Texas Rep. James Talarico who, after Fox host Pete Hegseth badgered him with insults, went on offense, accused Hegseth of enriching himself by telling lies and challenged him to tell the audience the truth about the presidential election.
Hegseth, guest hosting Fox News Primetime this week, probably hoped he’d be the one getting lots of attention for owning the libs by humiliating Talarico. Things didn’t work out that way for the war-criminal advocate.
Before Talarico came on, Hegseth offered a commentary to prime the pump against him and the other Texas' Democratic legislators who left the state and prevented a quorum needed to pass the Texas Republicans’ voter suppression bill.
Hegseth couldn’t be bothered to give Talarico or his cause any respect. He sneered that Democrats want to “completely control elections” as part of “their ultimate quest for power” Project much, Petey?
For a little extra shade, Hegseth said contemptuously that Talarico “recently flew on a private plane and currently resides in Washington, D.C.” – as if Talarico is some secret Washington insider. In fact, it was Hegseth who successfully lobbied Donald Trump to pardon a group of Iraq War criminals.
Hegseth started belittling his guest before Talarico said a word:
HEGSETH: James, thank you very much for being here. Now we know you met with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi today and … you’ve been told to say you’re protecting democracy, that Republicans are authoritarians and racists, they’re blocking the ballot box.
Talarico wasn’t having any of it. However, unlike Hegseth, Talarico tried to have a civil discussion, though probably without realizing that to this crowd, insulting Trump is like insulting all of Fox News and their viewers.
TALARICO: So, you know, I’m an eighth generation Texan. I’ve only been in D.C. twice in my life, this is the second time. I’m a former middle school techer who ran for office just to try to make my community better and I swore an oath when I first got elected two years ago to uphold the Constitution of the United States and also the constitution of the great state of Texas and after our former president, Donald Trump, started his big lie that the election was stolen, Republican legislators and Capitol …
That was too much for Hegseth’s tender ears. He interrupted, with more insults aimed directly at Talarico.
HEGSETH: So now you’re going to voter suppression, which I get, but if this is all about your allegiance to Texas and you’re an eighth generation Texan and all that and the Constitution – by the way, the Constitution, Section 1, Article 4, gives authority to the state legislatures – then why are you not in Texas and why are you in Washington, D.C., doing press conferences with federal officials?
“I was just going to answer that,” Talarico said. “What I was saying is when President Trump lost the election, he told Republicans across the country that he didn’t lose the election and this caused Republican legislators in states capitals from Georgia to Austin to start putting forward bills that would make it harder to vote.”
Talarico added that Texas is already one of the hardest places to vote in the U.S. and that state Democrats tried to negotiate with Republicans but "unfortunately, our Republican colleagues didn’t want - "
Hegseth interrupted again with more sneering and jeering. “Is it too difficult to provide, I don't know, your driver’s license and the last four digits of your Social Security number? Is that too much to ask a voter in Texas?
Of course, that is not what is so problematic about the new legislation. Talarico politely tried to explain and point out the ways in which the bill restricts voting. Hegseth responded with sarcasm and disrespect, such as “Are you OK with voter ID because you’re going back to the talking points. I get it, the talking points have been issued.”
Talarico was clearly getting frustrated. After Hegseth mocked him for opposing partisan poll watchers, Talarico let him have it. Hegseth tried to interrupt and sandbag Talarico but it was to no avail.
TALARICO: Do you remember a second ago when i talked about the big lie? This is exactly what I'm talking about and the reason that so many folks believe it in this country is because folks like you get on television every night and repeat the lie over and over again.
Pete, you have made a lot of money personally, and you've enriched a lot of corporations with advertising by getting on here and spewing lies and conspiracy theories to folks who trust you.
So what I'm asking you to do is to tell your voters right now that Donald Trump lost the election in 2020. Can you admit that? Did you catch what I just said? Did you hear what I asked? Did Donald Trump lose the election in 2020? Can you answer the question? Did Donald Trump lose the election in 2020? Is this an uncomfortable question for you?
Tough guy Hegseth couldn’t answer the question. “I’m answering the questions,” He seemingly meant to say he was asking the questions - which was a way of avoiding answering Talarico. The word mix-up was an indication the tough guy had been rattled by the guy he had planned to crush. But he soon got back on his hate-mongering footing and accused Talarico of “being used by national Democrats” to pass HR 1 and federalize elections “which you, as a Harvard grad, should know better” because the constitution puts that in the hands of state legislators.
FACT CHECK: It’s the Texas Democrats who are pushing national Democrats to pass HR 1, not the other way around. As a “news” host, Hegseth should know better. But hey, it’s about time for him to be working on Baby Mama #4, so maybe he’s too busy to pay attention.
Talarico replied that he swore to uphold the Constitution and that this is different from losing votes on other legislation because “they’re trying to rig the rules of the game.”
Hegseth, apparently realizing his plan to make Talarico look like a fool on voting rights was not going to work, changed the subject to attacking the Democrats for not wearing masks on their charter plane to Washington when “your party’s been obsessed with COVID standards.”
Talarico told him that everyone on the plane had been vaccinated.
The video went viral, alright, but because of Talarico's blunt confrontation and Hegseth’s refusal to say if Trump lost the election. Talarico’s tweet of his smackdown of Hegseth has been viewed nearly 750,000 times as I write this.
Talarico told The Washington Post that he had not meant to clash with Hegseth going into the interview.
“I just kind lost my temper a little bit when I was being interrupted,” he said. “The train jumped the tracks a little bit during the interview. I think I got angry. And I don’t like to get angry. … I didn’t anticipate the level of disruption, interruption and unwillingness to even listen to each other. The aggressiveness is what took me aback.”
He called the incident “a little traumatic” but also told The Post that he’d “love” to go back to Fox as a guest. Fox refused to comment on whether that would happen.
Bravo, Mr. Talarico. Do be advised, though, that any time you go back, you will likely receive the same disrespectful treatment. Fox is not interested in hearing what you or any Democrat has to say. The network is only interested in using you as a prop in its political theater.
Personally, I believe in Democrats going on Fox but only to do exactly what Talarico did: take the bullies by the horns, seize control of the narrative and make them props in their own political theater. Which is exactly what he did, even if unwittingly.
You can watch Hegseth get owned by the guy he tried to own below, from the July 13, 2021 Fox News Primetime.
Far better to re-introduce something like the “Fairness Doctrine”. Although the latter wasn’t perfect any any means, it reflected the notion that one should not make up one’s mind before hearing other sides, other opinions. I agree with Milley who said precisely that during a recent hearing (and got raked over the coals for doing so).
When I arrived in Europe, I finally got my hands on books that had been unobtainable in the USA. I’d always wondered why Americans were so unsure of themselves as to fear these books and realised that their fears were based on ignorance … that “presence” beyond the curtain.
It is that fear born of ignorance that is dangerous, not the ideas found in the books themselves.