CHICAGO — Math wins. Usually.
“In the end math wins,” said Tucker Carlson, co-founder and
editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller.
Except when it doesn’t, said Carlson, who offered insights
on topics that ranged from agriculture’s influence in Washington, D.C., to the
country’s fiscal cliff crisis to the 2012 election outcome to an audience of
Illinois Farm Bureau members at the organization’s annual meeting.
“Nicest people I’ve ever met. The only people I’ve ever met
in my life who are both tough and nice at the same time and totally without any
boastfulness,” said Carlson, who presented straightforward observations as a
political pundit and as cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller , the conservative news
and opinion website.
Carlson is a contributor to Fox News and the former host of
“Crossfire” on CNN. He also hosted a weekly public affairs program on PBS.
His most recent book is Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures
in Cable News .
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard a farmer brag about anything,
and I live in a world where nobody does anything but brag, so it really is a
refreshing experience to be around people like that who are grounded,” said
Carlson to laughter. “I enjoy eating, so I want to thank you for that.”
Only a few days before Tom Vilsack, the U.S. secretary of
agriculture, would question American agriculture’s importance in Washington,
Carlson said that American farmers were one of the last sectors to retain the
respect of D.C. lawmakers.
“If it makes you feel better, you are maybe one of the last
groups in America that has the respect of Congress. People make fun of Congress
and attack Congress, but there are still smart, decent people who work there. I
know a bunch of them, and they like farmers still,” said Carlson, noting that
many groups have been brought low by scandalous behavior.
“We are living in a time when virtually every group in
America we used to respect has been brought low by scandal. We’ve seen it most
recently, tragically, with some high-ranking current and former military
officers. But in Washington, people still listen to farmers. They do. So that’s
Carlson offered his view that a deal on the fiscal cliff
would be reached before the Dec. 31 deadline.
“The White House wants to see a deal before Christmas for
one simple reason — this is the most power the Obama administration will ever
have, right now. The president was just reelected, he’s at the very peak of his
power, his political capital, so they know the deal they get now is the best
they are ever going to get so they want it now,” said Carlson, who said the GOP
also desires a deal. “The Republicans want a deal because they know if there
isn’t a deal, they will be blamed.”
To laughter from the audience, Carlson went on to describe
the majority of mainstream media’s level of devotion to President Obama and the
“When the two sides fail to reach a deal, the media blame
Republicans. That’s just true. I’m not whining about the media, but the obvious
point is that the press is on the president’s side. Most reporters love Obama.
In fact, love is not strong enough. Love is what you feel for a sports team.
That’s platonic love. That’s not the love the average reporter feels for Obama.
It’s a much deeper kind of love. It’s the kind of love you have to be a
14-year-old boy to understand,” he said.
Carlson said that the lack of a fiscal cliff deal benefits
no one group, so that adds to the reasons a deal will be reached.
“The fiscal cliff negotiation, nobody has an interest in
going over the cliff. When nobody has an interest in something, it’s probably
not going to happen. Doesn’t mean it won’t, but very unlikely,” he said.
While math wins, as Carlson would say later in his keynote
speech, the party of math did not win the 2012 election. Carlson said that he
believes the election was lost much earlier than the final stretch going into
“I think this election was lost during the Republican
primaries,” he said. “It was very un-Republican.”
Voters choose the GOP as the party of math, Carlson noted.
“They vote for Republicans because Republicans understand
math. The Republican Party is the ‘Dad’ party, the buttoned-down sober party of
fiscal rectitude,” said Carlson, who added that voters turn to the GOP “when the
zany, fun thing they tried didn’t work. They vote Republican to kind of put
things in order again.”
But when the party doesn’t give the impression that it is
the way to a solution, he said, that can drive voters away.
“If Republicans give voters the impression that they are not
sober and not committed to fiscal rectitude, they leave voters with no reason to
vote for them,” said Carlson, who said the primary feuds and public scandals
also painted the GOP as disorganized and not unified.
“The net effect of that primary was to scare the heck out of
voters or to at least convince them that the Republican Party was no longer the
buttoned-down, sober, serious party of math,” he said.
Carlson said the internal feuding among the different
factions of the GOP gave President Obama an advantage.
“If there’s a contest between a united group and a
disunited, disorganized group, guess who has the profound advantage? I am not
defending the Democratic Party. I am just noting the obvious,” he said.
Carlson noted that a change in demographics also held the
key to the election outcome, but not just in ways that might have been obvious,
such as increased immigration.
“There are lots of changes that have taken place in the
native-born American population that have also changed the way people vote,” he
One of those is the marriage rate, which continues to
“The political effect of this is huge. Married people tend
to vote — overwhelming tend to vote – Republican, and unmarried people tend to
vote Democrat, especially unmarried women,” said Carlson, who said that is
another increasingly influential demographic.
“There is now, for the first time in the history of the
world, there are now more unmarried women in the U.S. and also western Europe
than there are married adult women. What the effect is — more Democratic
Religion also played a role.
“Churchgoing is the most predictive of all the behaviors for
voting. The more often you go to church, the more likely you are to vote
Republican,” Carlson said. “Nothing else predicts voting patterns like
churchgoing, and people are not going to church.”
Carlson recalled his days of covering a religion beat as a
reporter, when atheism was a novelty.
“As of last month, one in five Americans describes
themselves as ‘without religion,’” he said. “When there’s a huge change in
churchgoing, as there has been, there’s a huge change in voting.”
Carlson also noted that the demographic changes have taken
place without much attention paid to them, which added to the surprise outcome
of the 2012 election.
“This all sort of happened while the rest of us weren’t
paying attention. The country is different, and all of those differences benefit
the Democratic Party,” said Carlson, who added that one group did pay attention
to the demographics. “I can promise you that, at Obama headquarters, there was
an acute understanding of the demographics of the U.S. They kept track of
Carlson said that one fact that Americans in general aren’t
keeping track of is the severity of the nation’s indebtedness and what it means
to them. He noted that Greece’s per-person debt is $37,000, while each American
owes $51,000 as his or her share of the U.S. debt.
He added that one reason for the chaos in Greece almost two
years ago was a general lack of knowledge among regular Greek citizens about how
severe their country’s problems were.
“I think the Greeks went crazy because they were shocked to
be bankrupt. I think the behavior you saw in Greece was the behavior of people
who had received terribly unpleasant and totally unexpected news. They couldn’t
believe their country was insolvent,” said Carlson, who said that that disbelief
stemmed from lies told by politicians.
“Their politicians, their political leaders on both sides,
told a pair of lies that might be familiar to anybody who listens to the debate
in our country. You may recognize them. One — the cradle-to-grave welfare state
we’ve create is your birthright, you paid for it, you’re born in this country
and you deserve it. And two — it will never go away. This system is etched in
stone. It belongs to you and your descendants. Vote for me, and I will protect
it,” said Carlson, who said that neither political parties nor citizens were the
“In the end, politicians are not in control of math. Math is
impervious. It can’t be changed just because you want it to change. Probably a
little bit like the weather, not under our control. You have to deal with it
honestly. Politicians lie about that, and they pretend they are capable of
twisting math to suit their ends, and they are, but only for a time. In the end,