The Moose In The Room

IT was seen as the one-on-one that would swamp a conventional and irrelevant FOX News debate featuring eight other contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. By the numbers, that expectation turned out to be accurate. Tucker Carlson’s sit-down with Republican frontrunner and de facto party leader Donald Trump has been watched 250 million times on X so far. All of the top-billing, however, came with a downside: while the former and prospective President was in sterling form, the conversation – there was no genuine interview – wasn’t Carlson’s best work. Sacked by the culturally out-of-date and morally impressionable Lachlan Murdoch in April, his brand power and journalistic reach have increased massively since he left the fading world of network anchor-dom. A risk in playing the role of media opposition leader, however, is that Carlson’s chats with the like-minded could end up as bereft of sparks as Whoopi Goldberg shooting the breeze with Kamala Harris. Something Carlson does better than anyone is ask questions he allows his guests to answer. That was the norm before TV cowboys began seeing themselves as combatants who have to ‘win.’ Still and all, laissez-faire failed with the Donald. Almost.

There were too few questions and not enough interventions. Trump seemed puzzled at times that his catholic meandering wasn’t being demarcated into discrete chapters by follow-ups and fresh lines of inquiry. Of course, letting people talk their way into self-revelation can be fruitful for interrogators but if the craic is hoary – for example, getting along famously with Kim Jong Un; again – it’s time to initiate something new for the audience. Carlson didn’t ask anything substantive about the war in Ukraine – even though a re-elected Trump would have to formalise the reality of NATO’s loss rather than veto a going concern – and he ignored energy policy, cost of living and how to redeem a revving but Dickensian economy. There were no interesting questions about how China can be reined in – short of unwinnable war – none on the implications, if any, of BRICS and no discussion of cashiering neocons in the DoD and their rainbow communist allies at Foggy Bottom. He did ask how Epstein died, though, which was silly. Even crazy-brave Trump let that palmball go through to the catcher.

Let’s just say Tucker phoned this one in, knowing Trump has turned extemporising into a political art. In that sense – and others – Trump has become a Progressive Era-style colossus. He marches to his own eccentric drum, colourfully belittles his enemies and holds forth at rallies largely off the cuff. The huge crowds don’t mind the absence of polished speechifying because they’re not there to listen but to see and associate themselves with a force. Subjected to another Democrat Party arrest and pseudo indictment yesterday in Atlanta, he is already using the mugshot to raise funds, enliven his base and evangelise centrists. He is as much a martyr of authentic persecution as any President or candidate for national office has ever been and his bearing in the face of Deep State Maoism has transformed him into a moral symbol. “Friends,” declared Theodore Roosevelt on the hustings in October 1912 in Milwaukee, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Equally unbowed, Trump is the nearest exemplar of the Strenuous Life extolled by T.R. in modern American politics. That’s the real takeaway from his visit with Carlson. The Democrats cannot indict a reckoning.

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21 Responses to The Moose In The Room

  1. Baba says:

    Yes, it was underwhelming. Not one question about the notoriously germaphobic Trump facilitating the Pfizer heist? Unbelievable.

  2. Buccaneer says:

    I thought it was a powerful interview, only for the fact that it proved that the dems won’t simply be able to wheel out the incumbent nursing home resident to lick an ice cream, jumble a few names while uttering preposterous anecdotes mixed with geriatric incoherence.

  3. C.L. says:

    Symbolically powerful, yes, but not very elucidating.

    There were several flat moments when Trump seemed to be looking for Tucker to provide structure and ask some questions.

    The timing – in sync with Biden’s final disintegration in Hawaii – was also important. Biden will not be running in 2024.

    As for the GOP debate, I enjoyed Vivek Ramaswamy’s energy and his willingness to call ‘climate change’ a hoax. He pointed out correctly that the others are too afraid to do so because they’re owned by their donors. I have no idea what Pence and Christie are trying to prove because they are detested by Republicans. Haley is an Endless War loony. I still admire DeSantis and I don’t entirely buy the narrative about his failure on the national platform.

  4. Lee says:

    Haley is an Endless War loony.

    I wouldn’t mind betting U.S. politicians on both sides are making a killing (metaphorically and literally) from the Ukraine war continuing.

    Whether it’s directly or indirectly, the latter via backhanders from the military industrial complex.

  5. Buccaneer says:

    Pence and Christie both went hard on experience, totally oblivious to the idea that many gop voters would regard the experience they provide is perhaps one they would not like to repeat

  6. Alfonso says:

    CL: what is a Dickensian economy?

  7. C.L. says:


    1. of Charles Dickens or his works

    2. (resembling or suggestive of conditions described in Dickens’ novels, esp)

    squalid and poverty-stricken: working conditions were truly Dickensian

  8. C.L. says:

    Andrew Bolt doesn’t like the “stupid and reckless” Vivek Ramaswamy.

    Why? Ramaswamy wants to shut down the lost Ukraine war.

    No other reason.

  9. Lee says:

    Why is Bolt so enthusiastic about the Ukraine war?

  10. a reader says:

    Bolt also called Carlson a far-right lunatic and many other things in his chat with General Jack Keane. I can’t stand Keane. He’s an endless war type too and I have no idea why Bolt talks to people like him or Sheridan

  11. C.L. says:

    Henderson’s Media Watch Dog today takes a bizarre drive-by shot at Carlson:


    Then, according to the Elsworth report, Ms Sales told ABC journalists that they should “move on … with your next question”. In other words, Leigh Sales is advising ABC journalists that they should close down the discussion by having the last word on the matter and directing the interviewee to another issue. This sounds a bit like the way Tucker Carlson used to handle disagreeable interviewees when he was on Fox News in the United States.

    Hendo seems to be confusing Carlson with everyone on Sky News in Australia.


  12. Lee says:

    It’s not the first time Henderson has expressed disdain for Carlson.

    I think it has a lot to do with Carlson being a very vocal critic of the Ukraine war and it seems Henderson (like Bolt) cannot abide that.

    Interesting that Bolt, a warmonger, calls Carlson “far-right.”

  13. Perfidious Albino says:

    The thing is, we already know from past experience what Trump would do about Ukraine, China, Cuba, the open border, etc etc. America First. The magic wasn’t in the questions but in highlighting the scale of the audience.

  14. Perfidious Albino says:

    We all see it for what it is of course, but does it really matter what Leigh Sales instructs ABC staff to think? I mean that’s the reality, Chancellor Suttler, just with lipstick, ginger hair and sausage fingers. Ironically, the news report about the ‘instructions’ will likely reach more ears than the ABC itself anyway!

  15. Alfonso says:

    CL: do you suggest that the entire US economy is squalid? Compared with what?

  16. jupes says:

    Hendo seems to be confusing Carlson with everyone on Sky News in Australia.

    Obviously Hendo never watched Carlson. At best he’s watched a few edited clips on YouTube released by Carlson haters. As noted above by C.L., Tucker actually allows his guests to answer questions fully. Occasionally, like when he interviewed the creepy porn lawyer, Carlson gets combative, but that’s rare because those on the left won’t subject themselves to be interviewed by someone who questions the official narrative.

    It’s also amusing to watch journalists of the ‘right’ in Australia, disparage Tucker Carlson in such a condescending way. Why? Carlson is absurdly popular because he points out that Washington DC are now the bad guys and the likes of Bolt, Sheridan and Hendo can’t handle the truth.

  17. Lee says:

    Ironic that some, like Henderson, think Carlson interrupts too much, when Bolt and ABC types (almost solely when interviewing anyone to the right of Stalin) do it all the time.

    I have seen Carlson many times, and he is nowhere near that bad.

  18. Jannie says:

    Good angles CL, I am also kind disappointed with de Santis. He has done pretty well in Florida but his ego or something is getting in his way. Vivek will sideline him.

    They are going to attack Vivek from every possible angle, including that he is a Pagan Hindoo. Strangely Vivek seems to have more Christian values than the rest of them put together, unsurprisingly it turns out he is Catholic Xavierian educated.

  19. Old School Conservative says:

    Jannie, in the dim recesses of my memory I recollect Vivek putting out a “10 truths” statement.
    Number 1 was “God is real”.

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