Tucker Carlson, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller and a contributor to Fox News, talks about politics, the fiscal cliff and the 2012 election to an audience at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
Tucker Carlson, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller and a contributor to Fox News, talks about politics, the fiscal cliff and the 2012 election to an audience at the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago.
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 good news.”

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 Democratic Party.

“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 the election.

“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 said.

One of those is the marriage rate, which continues to decline.

“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 voters.”

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 everything.”

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 ultimate victor.

“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, math wins.”