Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox Live

Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox
Political Journalists
Monday, June 22, 2009; 12:00 PM

Tucker Carlson. Ana Marie Cox. He's conservative. She's liberal. They both write for The Daily Beast, he's a contributor to Fox News and she's a national correspondent for Air America Radio. They were online Monday, June 22 at noon ET to offer their analysis of the Obama presidency and other goings-on in the world of politics.


Arlington, Va.: Ana - Can you comment on Real Housewives of DC? Wikipedia says you are a current participant.

washingtonpost.com: It does indeed!: Real Housewives

Ana Marie Cox: This might be shocking to some of you, but Wikipedia has apparently published something that is not a true fact.

That rumor got started -- innocently, I think -- by Patrick Gavin at Politico, who wrote up a "wish list" of whom HE thought should be on the show.

And with that: I HAVE ARRIVED. I mean that literally as in I am here, not that a Real Housewives rumor is meaningful.


Arlington, Va.: Hey Ana Marie - what's the Bed Head Threat Level today?

Ana Marie Cox: Heightened security.


San Antonio: Do you think President Obama has responded properly to the events in Iran?

Tucker Carlson: I still don't understand why he didn't immediately issue a forceful statement in support of the pro-democracy demonstrators. Pretty revealing, I think.

Happy Monday by the way.


Ellicott City, Md.: So, Ana Marie, can I call you "Ma'am" or will only "Correspondent Cox" do? Tucker, are you offended by "Sir"? Very confusing...

Tucker Carlson: I've been trying for nearly 20 years to get people to address me by my rightful title, Archbishop. Until now, the response has been mostly derisive laughter. Thanks to Sen. Boxer, though, I have the feeling that might change.

Ana Marie Cox: Having reviewed Sen. Boxer's maiden (and how!) novel, I have no doubt that she feels that she has "worked hard" to achieve the title of senator but I think she might be talking about having finally mastered the spelling.



Laurel, Md.: Tucker, I was on vacation last week, so didn't send this then.

Why do almost all the stories about Holocaust Memorial shoot von Brunn describe him as "right wing?" Is there anything about the philosophy he espoused that bears a recognizable resemblance to conservatism?

Other than that haters like to keep the government small by not having anti-discrimination laws.

Tucker Carlson: The shooting was seized -- predictably -- by liberals in the press and commentariat as a way to discredit conservatism. But as you imply, this isn't just unfair and sleazy, it's inaccurate. The guy wasn't conservative in any way I recognize. He was crazy. And by the way, next on his murderous to-do list: The Weekly Standard. Not the Nation. The Standard.


"Pretty revealing" : Revealing of what?

Tucker Carlson: It strikes me as a pretty cold reaction. Thousands of oppressed people in the streets demanding freedom and representation-- how could you not publicly applaud that? Especially if you'd spent your political life talking endlessly about how important the civil rights movement was. Weird.


Missoula, Montana: Any chance we can get the Border Fence moved and reconstructed around the Beltway? Thanks.

Tucker Carlson: I hope so. Especially in the summer months, we have a disturbingly large number of people from other places sneaking in to this city, clogging the roads with their tour busses, littering the parks with their ice cream sandwich wrappers and -- most perniciously -- bringing their weird outside-the-Beltway attitudes to Washington. I've had enough, frankly. Bring on the wall.

Ana Marie Cox: I concur with Tucker -- and point out you don't need a fence to keep Beltway residents IN... we generally can't see past our own opinions anyway.


Coral Springs, Fla.: Is Tucker the last person in Washington to not Twitter?

Ana Marie Cox: I believe that person is Chuck Todd, who basically ridicules me about it every single time I see him. Which I then Twitter about. Ha! Chuck! Ha ha! My invisible friends totally care what I think!

Tucker Carlson: I've been holding out for the moment when Twitter becomes a faintly embarrassing cultural artifact, like the New Kids on the Block or the Pet Rock, and I can announce proudly that I never bought into the fad.

Alas, I fear the current Iranian revolution has foiled my plans. Twitter may be permanent. I'll call Chuck and break the sad news.


Minneapolis: Hi Tucker and Ana -- Thanks for taking questions today. I saw over the weekend that even former Sen. Sam Nunn, who was a major obstacle to Clinton overturning the ban on gays in the military in his first term, seems to be softening a bit (if you can call agreeing that DADT needs further examination a softening). Is this a sign that there is indeed a shift in thinking on this issue? If so, what's it going to take for the president to follow through on his promise to get rid of DADT? Is it really possible that he won't take it up until his second term, assuming there is one?

Ana Marie Cox: I have been warned by colleagues that I should "get off that topic," having writing about DADT a whole ONE TIME, done a radio show about it ANOTHER ONE TIME and asked about it twice. They are concerned I will be "typecast." To which I say: Uhm, okay. I'm kind of okay with being "typecast" as someone who cares about national security. I should hope I have a lot of company!

That said, I probably do know more about this WH and DADT than your average bear. I think Nunn is representative of a certain generation of R (and D) lawmakers who felt passionately about the ban a decade ago but -- and this is the amazing thing -- realize tha t society has changed. They're not for OVERTURNING it yet, but could be persuaded to "re-examine" it. McCain and Powell are in the same category.

The people I've talked to in the WH say the president is "sincere" in wanting to overturn it, in this term but that they worry about the President's "fragile" relationship with the military top brass. I don't know what can change that perception (I say perception because I'm not sure that relationship is any more fragile that any POTUS and DoD) -- or convince them that the relationship is not worth the risk posed to our national security because of the policy.

Every day DADT is in place, we are less safe than we could be.

Tucker Carlson: I'm not disagreeing with Ana's position on this. I'm not sure what I think, mostly because I'm not entirely sure what the other side of this argument is. Gays are banned from serving openly because... why? There are smart, enlightened people at the Pentagon. There's more than pure bigotry at work here. There's a real argument. Again, what is it? And why isn't it on the front page of the Washington Post so the rest of us can evaluate which side has a better case?


D.C.: "pro-democracy demonstrators."

Your knack for bending the news facts is pretty revealing Tucker.

Who told you they were pro-democracy demonstrators? They are not demonstrating for democracy. They are demonstrating because they think they're guy was cheated. The same thing happened here in 2000.

I can see how you can bend to allow you to take another shot at your president. Yeah, yeah being cheated isn't democratic, but YOU KNOW it's not the same thing. Ana Marie, a little help here?

Ana Marie Cox: Uhm, yeah. I mean: I believe there ARE "pro-democracy" demonstrators in Iran, but I also think what Iranians want is probably different than that "American-style democracy" that we so successfully installed in Iraq.

And I think Obama has been doing the best he can under constantly changing and often murky circumstances; I think in my ideal world he'd have been quicker out of the gate but in my ideal world he'd have already overturned DADT. Oh and Iran would already be a democracy. And puppies and rainbows and ice cream forever and ever.


Greensboro, N.C.: The public/private healthcare debate seems to be owned by Republicans now. At least they're screaming the loudest about it. Whereas Democrats are caving in at every conservative complaint. Are we to take this to mean that the Health Insurance lobby is strutting around D.C. with Rs & Ds wholly in their pockets? Or are Democrats just wusses?

Ana Marie Cox: I cannot believe how frightened lawmakers are of the phrase "government-run." I guess, wow, they know something we don't, huh?

But seriously: The problem with using that phrase to scare people (okay, also: why SHOULD that phrase be scary? The gov't runs A LOT OF THINGS and most of them work fine! Unless I'm missing the riots in the streets or something.) is that "health care" won't be government-run, it'll be government PAID FOR. Doctors continue to run health care -- or try their best to -- when insurance companies pay for it. I find "HMO-run health-care" to much more frightening.

Oh, and it's that the Dems are wusses.

Tucker Carlson: If you don't pay for it, you don't control it. That's one of the basic truths of health care, Washington and life. When government runs our health care system -- and it will, even more than it already does -- more people will be covered, but quality will decline. Guaranteed.

As for government running other things well, true in some cases. Bureaucracies are good at large, blunt tasks: building highways, fighting wars. Providing medical care to individuals requires the opposite skills: nuance and lots of complicated subjective judgements. Government is terrible at this. Don't believe it? Take a close look at Medicare. Why would we want more of that? I honestly have no clue, apart from the (obvious) fact that massive health care "reform" would make certain politicians immensely more powerful.


Lizard Island: How about that Elizabeth Becton, the Congressional aide who, according to Politico, wasted hours of time excoriating some poor friendly soul for having had the temerity to address her in an e-mail as "Liz" (thus engendering tremendous public ill-will, as well)? What fate do you consider most appropriate for her? (I'm channeling the "Mikado" re: making the punishment fit the crime here).

Tucker Carlson: Something awful, definitely. It's only Monday so, I'm not feeling as creatively cruel as I will be on, say, Friday. For now I'll leave the details to Ana.

Ana Marie Cox: I've always thought that being made work as a waiter in a mid-level chain restaurant (Denny's? Applebee's? IHOP?) is a great cure/punishment for people that don't treat others with respect.

Having done that myself, I am 1. An extravagant over-tipper 2. Have never yelled at a stranger trying to do her/his job.


Baltimore: Anything unexpected/exciting/etc. happen at nerdprom2?

Ana Marie Cox: I think the most unexpected thing was what good time I had. Turns out that having lots of celebrities is "cool," but having lots of people who you like to hang out with makes for a better evening -- and this was more the MSNBC after-party, not the dinner itself, because it had more people who weren't total strangers. I thought Hodgman was fantastic and finally got to meet his wife, who was also fantastic, and Rachel even let me tend bar for a bit.


Truckee, Calif. Tucker - do you and Jon Stewart still despise each other? Ana Marie - have you ever been on the Daily Show?

Tucker Carlson: I don't despise Stewart, and never have. I think he's funny as hell. But I also think he's lazy (packing the audience with applauding monkeys is pathetic) and a demagogue. I have contempt for those qualities.

Ana Marie Cox: I have never been on the Daily Show, despite my being an unapologetic fan of Stewart's and willingness to applaud like a monkey.


Missoula, Mont.: Were all nerds validated by Obama speech on Friday? Hodgman knocked it out of the park. Is Obama getting better at this stuff??

washingtonpost.com: YouTube - John Hodgman at Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner

Ana Marie Cox: GO HODGMAN. And yeah, I think last week's Obama speech was better than the WHCA one. Tho Friday's lacked pirates, it gained a lot of Brian Williams mocking.

Tucker Carlson: If all Obama did was give speeches and read comedy bits at dinners, I'd quit my job and volunteer for his 2012 campaign. He's that good, much better than he is at governing.


Washington: Why do people like "cool"?

Cool, is cold, unemotional, unfeeling, unamused, aloof, blase. You ever hang around people like that? Yeah, buckets o' fun they are.

Tucker Carlson: I agree completely. Give me a mildly unhinged Mediterranean temperament any day.


Austin, Tex.: Don't you think Obama runs the danger of falsely signalling that we are ready to intervene if he comes off as too belligerent?

Tucker Carlson: Yes. And in general that's a fair thing to worry about, I think. But Obama hasn't even come close, and won't.

Ana Marie Cox: Come on, Tucker: A fair thing to worry about but you'll continue to complain that he hasn't done it?

Having an accident while driving 100mph is a fair thing to worry about but I am disappointed in Americans who refuse to drive over 65.


Alma, Mich.: Tucker, isn't constant belly-aching about a hypothetical liberal media part of the reason you guys are losing? Bootstraps, archbishop!

Besides -- Fox News, CNBC, Morning Joe, The Washington Times, The Weekly Standard, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Ann Coulter, Tucker Carlson, etc. etc. etc.

Tucker Carlson: 1) The overwhelming majority of journalists are liberal. Not even a debatable point, trust me.

2) If by "you guys" you mean emphatic, but not-entirely-orthodox libertarians, I wish. We're losing for lots of other, more significant reasons, starting with human nature: most people want free stuff from government.

3) I agree that there's way too much whining about the liberal media out there. My feeling is: If you don't like the choices, start your own news organization.


Stavanger, Norway: A Californian friend once said to me, after a stroll around the center of the western Norwegian town where I live - "now I know why you and your friends are such unambitious slackers! There aren't any beggars in the streets here!" There's been a lot of fear-mongering from Republicans lately over Obamas perceived move towards a Scandinavian social democratic model, a.k.a. "socialism," and the biggest gripe seems to be the "lack of incentives" for the individual. Not enough beggars in the streets, in other words. Is the elimination of poverty a threat to the American Way Of Life? Discuss.

Tucker Carlson: Scandinavia strikes me as depressing as hell, and I can say that since my name in Carlson. Comfort and security are pretty boring and limited life goals, I think.

That said, why is it that the most appealing cities in America are often lefty college towns? I'm not sure, but as someone who loves freedom and hates the nanny state, I'll confess it does bother me.

On that note of uncertainty, thanks for everything. See you next week.


washingtonpost.com: If anyone has the earlier question and answer about "don't ask/don't tell" up, could you please resubmit the question and response? (Ed's note: This question, from Minneapolis, was recovered after the chat and re-inserted above.)


London, U.K.: There was a long Q then A about DADT earlier but it is no longer in the chat. What happened to it?

washingtonpost.com: It was accidentally erased. We're trying to recover it.

Ana Marie Cox: The short version, btw: DADT makes us less safe, if for no other reason -- tho there are many -- Obama needs to man up and demand congress give him legislation to sign, while also using stop-loss to prevent the policy from being implemented in the meantime.


"Take a close look at Medicare.": That's the thing - I don't see Medicare as being worse than private medical insurance. And I do see their administrative costs are 1/7th that of private insurers - a huge cost savings. And I'm convinced that unfair rescissions would go down under government plans because there's not a profit motive to encourage them and you could appeal to your congressman. So what am I not seeing?



Kingston, Ontario: Haven't the conservative spokesmen made themselves look pretty foolish with their calls for aggressive statements from Obama on Iran? The term conservative used to include virtues like realism, caution and prudence. But these folks are ignoring the delicacy of the situation and the risks involved (not to themselves, of course!), and are preferring bluster and showboating without regard for the consequences.

Ana Marie Cox: And this is different from how they talked about Iraq how?

I guess my hope is that the Rs stay content with wanting TALK and MEDDLING and LOUD NOISES; no guns and whatnot.


Burke, VA: AMC:

Loved you on Rachel's show last week discussing the unattractive financial aftermath of Ensign's nasty little in-house affair.

The SON got paid $500 a month? Man, that's pretty sweet hush money for Mom's affair!

Incidentally, you looked fabulous. Was that a french-language Dr. Seuss shirt?

Ana Marie Cox: What a wonderful note to end on. Thank you very much and it was actually a SPANISH Dr. Seuss tee: "Un pez, dos pez, pez rojo, pez azul."

As for Ensign: That summer job did not exist when I was a kid.

A final note: Tech problems have meant that my longish answer to a great question on DADT got erased. If anyone still has it up/happened to copy it, please resubmit or let me know on the Twitter machine and we'll get it mailed to the right person here to re-appear.

Thanks so much for stopping by! See you next week.


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