Fox News host Tucker Carlson has recently used his platform for the important task of hitting so hard, night after night, on why the U.S. should not go to war with Russia over its looming conflict with Ukraine.
“Most sensible people likely recoil at the idea of risking American lives over Ukraine,” I wrote on January 24th. “Yet to the degree that the American public can be convinced to support a war, how they consume their news—including mostly Republican and independent voters watching big time players like Carlson… can play an important role.”
The Establishment Backlash Against Tucker Carlson
That was 10 days ago. In the latest twist, Politico reported Tuesday that hawkish Republican politicians are getting upset because Carlson’s “America First” message is registering with voters back home.
These Republicans have a message for Tucker: We’re in charge. Not you.
But are they?
In a story that reads more like an opinion column at times, Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio writes, “Republican senators are unmoved by Tucker Carlson’s relentless warpath against support for Ukraine—even as it widens an existing rift in their party.”
Tucker Carlson & Retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor Discuss How A War With Russia Over Ukraine Is Not In The Interest Of The American People & Would Be a Disaster
Colonel Macgregor: "Washington, Left & Right, is completely out of touch with reality." pic.twitter.com/2akQv2OMmJ
— The Columbia Bugle 🏁 (@ColumbiaBugle) January 21, 2022
Republican senators are unmoved by Tucker Carlson’s relentless warpath against support for Ukraine — even as it widens an existing rift in their party https://t.co/w4uSKUtzfg
— POLITICO (@politico) February 2, 2022
“The Fox News prime time host and others on the far-right” (author’s note: hawkish Republicans aren’t considered “far-right” anymore? That’s new!) “have excused and even rationalized Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine and downplayed its relevance to U.S. national security,” the Politico story reads.
“And while GOP senators are shrugging off his name-and-shame campaign, Carlson’s views are permeating the GOP base in a way that could undermine Republicans’ efforts to emphasize cross-party unity as they seek to deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the piece continues.
Tucker Carlson is Getting in the Way
In other words, Carlson is messing up hawks’ plans for the next war. Which is… the entire point of what he’s doing.
“The disconnect between the GOP foreign policy establishment and the pro-Donald Trump base of the party on the value of intervening in foreign quagmires isn’t new,” Politico notes. “But the crisis in Ukraine is exposing the widening gulf between the two camps when it comes to committing U.S. resources in support of fledgling democracies under siege by authoritarian regimes.”
Or said more simply, again, another U.S. war.
Politico notes that neoconservative GOP leaders have no intention of listening to actual voters whose minds have supposedly been warped by Carlson.
“Some GOP senators rolled their eyes when asked about Carlson’s attacks and indicated that the far-right” (author’s note: there’s that phrase again!) “Fox host isn’t impacting their calculus on an emerging legislative path, even as his views are picking up steam among the base.”
The Establishment Isn’t Listening
No, the foreign policy establishment already agrees on what must be done. To heck with their constituents.
“On individuals up here who are decision-makers, I don’t hear any disagreement about the position Russia is in,” Republican Sen. Mike Rounds, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, assured Politico.
Really? Because Sen. Rand Paul is also on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He definitely disagrees with Rounds.
“From our perspective, Ukraine should not and cannot be our problem to solve,” Paul said. “It is not our place to defend them in a struggle with their longtime adversary, Russia. There is no national security interest for the United States.”
“Russia is the aggressor,” Rounds argues in contrast. “Ukraine has every right, as a sovereign nation, to have their borders respected. Russia’s not doing that.”
While pretty much everyone agrees that Putin is the bad guy, there’s clearly plenty of disagreement about how involved the US should get in this conflict. Indeed, part of Carlson’s tirades against U.S. military involvement in Ukraine is that it’s driven by the same foreign policy mentality that dragged us into failed, tremendously costly interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rounds is telling us no one he knows in power disagrees with hawks’ view on Ukraine. He and other leaders assure they know what they’re doing. Their view is the only view.
Shut up, Tucker Carlson.
The Establishment Agrees on Ukraine Despite Americans’ Concerns
“The rift comes as top Republicans are rallying behind President Joe Biden’s decision to send U.S. troops to eastern Europe to bolster the defenses of NATO partners that could later see their borders breached, too,” Politico reported.
Or as Carlson put it, “You just saw representatives from every faction in Washington… not as different as they seem, and all the dummies in between. And all of them are promoting war against Russia on behalf of our new and deeply beloved ally, the government of Ukraine.”
Sensible heads on the Right should be thankful for, not angry about, Carlson’s calls for caution on US intervention in Ukraine.
Establishment Republican hawks eager for the next war are right to be mad at Tucker Carlson — because his loud opposition to their efforts is working.