There’s a time for snark, and there’s a time for moral indignation. This is the latter. Sorry if you were hoping for some lighter fare.
On Tuesday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” program, the host bemoaned President Biden’s speech regarding the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas as “bitterly partisan” and “divisive.” (You can watch Biden’s speech or read the transcript of it by following the link, which I provided above, to Tiff’s excellent Wednesday edition of her “Biden Bits” feature.) He, along with his guest and fellow Faux News blabbermouth Will Cain, then spent four minutes ranting about the speech and Biden’s tone. I’ve provided a full transcript below, along with my commentary interspersed.
Tucker Carlson: The President of the United States, frail, confused, bitterly partisan, desecrating the memory of recently murdered children with tired talking points of the democratic party. Dividing the country in a moment of deep pain, rather than uniting. His voice rising, amplified only as he repeats the talking points he repeated for over 35 years in the United States Senate. Partisan politics being the only thing that animates him. Unfit for leadership of this country.
Me: Says the guy whose job is dividing the country and engaging in nothing more than promoting RW talking points.
Carlson: Will Cain is a man we trust; he often fills in on this show, he’s also the host of the Fox & Friends weekend. Will Cain, what a moment this would’ve been if he’d have stopped a sentence in and said, “We’re gonna pray for these families and then let’s, let’s let this marinate for a minute, let’s stand, respectfully, before a tragedy.” And, and Joe Biden has lived tragedies, so he could say that with some credibility. He moved immediately into some DNC rant off a cue card. That’s the president?
Me: Shorter Tucker Carlson: How dare the president do anything more than offer meaningless platitudes expressing thoughts and prayers in the aftermath of yet another school shooting! How dare he think now is the time to take action to address the problem and find solutions to reduce the number of such instances! Shame on him! Shame!
Will Cain: What a moment this almost was.
Cain: Where there’s a moment in the beginning of the speech it sounded like he might bring this country together–
Cain: –talking about loss inside someone, when they lose a child, the hole that never will be filled, quoting Scripture, which is so important in this moment, Tucker–
Cain: –because what we’re suffering from culturally is a rot of spirituality, a loss of meaning. And then you’re exactly right, and then he turns and he turns and gets animated when it’s time to cast blame, when it’s time to point fingers, when it’s time to be partisan.
Me: Failure to seek out any meaningful solutions means you’re okay with this carnage continuing. As Biden says, we won’t be able to prevent every mass shooting, but we can start to put a dent in this, if we work together. Is that partisan to say? Is that divisive to say? I guess it is when you’re dead-set against finding any solution.
This entire segment is about changing the subject. It’s not about finding solutions, or even expressing compassion for the families who are suffering right now. This is playing politics with the lives of dead children. This is about turning attention away from the gun elephant in the room and pretending something–anything–else is the real problem. It’s Biden’s tone! It’s spiritual rot! It’s a loss of meaning!
It can’t possibly be because we lack the will to face the gun lobby and say, “Enough!”
Cain: You know, he can’t point to a single law that would’ve stopped the shooter, because he doesn’t know what the shooter did yet. What gun he used. He knows nothing about the details of this crime, and so, therefore, he knows not, not what law he could offer that would solve this crime.
Me: By the time this segment aired, we did know the shooter bought two guns and used them in this attack. If we raised the age to purchase guns, it either would’ve prevented the killer from buying them, or he’d at least need to find a work-around to get them. But, yeah, sure. Let’s follow the GQP’s lead, throw up our hands and say, “We’re powerless to stop this! No laws will fix this!” That’ll solve everything!
There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer here. If there were, we would’ve solved this problem a long time ago. What’s required is a multi-pronged approach which balances the rights of law-abiding gun owners with the need to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting guns. We also do need to look at mental health issues. How can we protect victims from predators? How can we defuse the situation of a child who becomes a killer before he reaches the end of that tragic path? These are questions we need to ask, and these are answers we need to find. But people like Carlson and Cain throwing up their hands insisting there aren’t any laws to prevent the next school shooting and attacking Biden for publicly expressing outrage about this stalemate isn’t helpful at all. It’s just feeding their rabid base.
Carlson: (shaking his head) Exactly.
Cain: Which reveals it was just simply partisanship. I’ve been listening to you tonight, Tucker, and I do share this, this sentiment with you. It’s a true reflection of character, and not limited to the president of the United States–
Cain: –if your first instinct is to turn to partisanship.
Me: Says the people whose first instinct is to turn to partisanship, try to gaslight us about how partisan and incompetent Biden is, and then wring their hands about how he’s the one being partisan, not them.
Spare us the dog and pony show, guys. It’s gotten really old…
Cain: If your first instinct is to blame those who disagree. You know, I know you’re probably familiar with this, Tucker, David Foster Wallace gave an amazing speech once where he said, “You don’t get a choice whether or not to worship, you get a choice as to what you worship.” And what we are seeing is people worship politics, and if that’s the case, they’ll sacrifice anything for their own righteousness, for their own narcissism. For their own partisanship.
Me: Wow, that was some non sequitir!
Here’s the thing, if you’re more outraged about Biden’s speech and his tone than you are that 19 innocent children are dead, you’re part of the problem. And you can bloody well sit down and shut your faces, because you have nothing of importance to add to this debate.
Tucker: I mean, to stand before the image of, of murdered children and your first impulse is to, is, “I can be more powerful, if only I leverage this in the right way.” That’s, that’s what the president of the United States, I’m, I’m in shock having seen the president of the United States call for, you know, more power for himself, that’s his answer?
Me: Where in Biden’s speech did he suggest that he’s looking to take power for himself? Point me to the sentence where he says that. Oh, wait, you can’t. Because it didn’t happen.
This is just sick, twisted logic, but it’s become a common accusation from the right. Literally, if we try to do anything to address the problem of mass shootings, the only thing they care about is “They’re coming to take our guns!” And you know what? I’m tired of that disingenuous BS. There’s a whole lot of room between where we are now and total gun confiscation; but as far as the right is concerned, stepping one inch away from where we are equals coming for their guns.
Maybe if you weren’t living on a constant diet of bullshit conspiracy theories, you wouldn’t be such drama queens!
Cain: Well, the only reason I’m not in shock, Tucker, is I was around and so were you when I saw Barack Obama stood on the graves of dead children–
Me: This is the second time they’ve brought up this image of standing in front of massacred children or standing on their graves. And it’s sickening.
Here’s what pisses me off: The right sheds a few crocodile tears whenever something like this happens. Offers a few empty “thoughts and prayers,” or “We’re heartbroken and horrified!” and then does absolutely nothing but bitch about the possibility of their guns being confiscated, or worse–threatens anyone who might come take them, even though no one is calling for their guns. This isn’t the response of well people. This debate isn’t about you and your feels and your “Chicken Little” worries about the sky falling down upon you, RWers. This is about finally doing something more than express a little grief and moving on until the next time this happens, and we go through this empty ritual yet again. And again. And again.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty tired of this Groundhog Day scenario we’re living.
Cain: –as well, and so this was somewhat anticipatory. You could expect it to be, what would happen. And again, Tucker, I’ve been listening to you tonight, and, and you’ve been asking some important questions, for example, I heard you ask Judge Pirro earlier in the show, “Do we study these things? Do we study these shooters? How can we stop them in the future?” You know, in the eighties, we put together behavioral science unit at the FBI to stop serial killers. Now these guys in these situations often kill themselves, we can see what makes them tick. We can do more. We can put money into protecting schools.
Me: Hey, how well has it worked out that we have metal detectors at schools and public safety officers stationed there, and yet, this still happens. How many times have we seen the public safety officers kinda make themselves scarce when a shooter shows up?
I recall just last week Rs voting against the baby formula bill because they didn’t think throwing money at the problem would solve anything. And here they are, suggesting exactly that. We threw money at the problem; it hasn’t solved it.
Cain: We just gave $40 billion, Tucker, to Ukraine to protect and rebuild that country. We can’t afford to protect our schools?
Me: Nice false equivalency there, Will. Like I said, in the case of our schools, money isn’t the problem.
Cain: We immediately put money into protecting schools from Covid, by the way, much of it–which is not yet used–could be used to protecting schools. There are things we can do, but the most important thing, Tucker, is figure out what is going on culturally, with this country. We are callous, we are partisan, we are not spiritual, and we have lost meaning.
Me: And you two bullshitters are part of what’s behind our social rot. You’re the ones constantly feeding partisan hatred. You’re the ones who callously peddle lies to your audience and then sit back watching the power you have in leading them down the dark path of personal ruination and rebellion.
We have “Christians” who do nothing but spew hatred. We have “conservatives” whose response to the other side is, “Cry more, libs!” We have the political right mainstreaming the idea that “You can’t vote democrat and be a Christian!”
Seriously, you want to know what’s wrong with this country, guys? Try taking a long, hard look in your mirrors tonight and ask yourselves why you feed your audience a steady diet of lies. Ask yourselves what you hope to gain. Ask yourselves if you love the country more than your own power.
Carlson: I hope we will not let politicians leverage our grief to make them more powerful, for their aggrandizement. It’s really disgusting. That’s all I can say. Will Cain, I appreciate your coming on tonight, thank you.
Cain: Thank you, Tucker.
Me: Tucker’s right that there are people leveraging this situation to make themselves more powerful, and it is truly disgusting. But he’s among the worst offenders.