Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox: Sotomayor Vote, Palin Quits, More

Tucker Carlson and Ana Marie Cox
Political Journalists
Tuesday, July 28, 2009; 2:00 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 Tuesday, July 28 at 2 p.m. ET to offer their analysis of the Sotomayor hearings and the latest from the world of politics.


Camden, N.J.: Objectively, which one of you has cooler hair? Ana Marie's coloring is striking, but Tucker's volume gives him an extra oomph. I am torn.

Tucker Carlson: You're assuming neither one of us is wearing a wig.

Ana Marie Cox: No wig, but I have it on good authority that Tucker owes his volume to a Bumpit.

GOOD TUESDAY EVERYONE, greetings from Founding Farmers restaurant, where I await your AWESOME QUESTIONS over a Dark and Stormy.


New York: Who knew those Massachusetts folks were so strict, in a George Orwell way? That mean professor was acting up, refusing to show proper deference to the officer in a "public place" by talking about Crowley's mama in Gate's own home. Alert to all good libertarians: as you sit down to watch TV tonight and take a few pops tonight, you may be committing "public drunkenness." Come to think of it, when Obama breaks out the brewskies this week with Officer Crowley and Prof. Gates.... well be careful, that's all. A word to the wise.

Tucker Carlson: Massachusetts has been an Orwellian nightmare for 400 years, the original nanny state. Everything's either illegal or regulated there. Beautiful place, but repressive. Spend a weekend there and see.

So I wasn't surprised by what happened in Cambridge. Yes, Gates is a self-righteous whiner who probably cries racism every time he gets the wrong order at Starbucks. What happened to him likely had little to do with race, but it's still appalling. His crime? Failing to be polite to a policeman. Except that's not a crime, or shouldn't be, and the rest of us ought to do all we can to make sure it doesn't become one.

Happy Tuesday!


Columbia, Md.: Let's get real about Sarah Palin, she got into politics for one reason only - she needed the job and the money. She dd not have any viable career of any kind. Now she recognizes she better get the money while it's there. There is no other reason. She's got the book deal, there will be a movie "The Sarah Palin Story", paid speeches, etc. She is cashing in. No more, no less.

Ana Marie Cox: I note that you pose no question.

Tucker Carlson: I don't know Palin or her accountant so I can't confirm your theory. But I've watched a lot of politicians, and she strikes me as someone with more options outside of politics than most.


Pickerington, Ohio: I'm not sure how I feel about big-picture health-care reform, because I don't have much confidence in the federal government or the health insurance industry. What I know for sure is that it's wrong to make abortion a mandatory part of a federally approved health-benefit plan or to use federal funds for abortion. I've read that this position has about 70 percent support. So how does the administration and Congressional leadership think they can get away with it? It hasn't gotten much coverage that I've seen, although the Post did have a good piece on it last week.

Tucker Carlson: Some Democratic politicians take a huge amount of money from the abortion industry. Those same politicians tend to vote in the industry's interests. Not so different from soybean growers giving to members who wind up supporting ethanol.


Washington, D.C.: It seems that Jon Stewart is now the most trusted man in America.


Ana Marie Cox: Wouldn't trust him farther than I could throw him, but he is of course VERY SMALL.

Tucker Carlson: I can't add to the pithy genius of Ana's response, though let me say how impressed I am by it. Not so hard for me to criticize Stewart.

But for a left-of-center resident of the District of Columbia to do that? It's like the president of the Hoboken Italian-American Club slamming Sinatra. Bold bordering on courageous.


Indiana: I went to high school with Tucker. His hair hasn't changed at all. Which either means it's real or means it's definitely NOT real.

Tucker Carlson: Would I pay for a wig this bad?


Arlington, Va.: Ana Marie, am stumped by "PWNED." Can you explain what it means on a family newspaper's website?

Ana Marie Cox: Pwn

Nothing dirty about it though I am excited to try and come up with something plausibly related that IS dirty.

It belongs in the Nerd-to-English dictionary, along with FTW, w00t!, "full of win," and, a personal favorite, "asshat."


Close the Gates of Mercy: Why in the world does Bill Kristol keep going on the Daily Show? What is the point, exactly? He gets his head rhetorically handed to him each and every time, turning a harmless cutesie-face TV comedian named Jon Stewart into a rampaging William F. Buckley. Tucker, you conservative guys all know each other; make him stop.

Ana Marie Cox: Tucker, having worked for the man, is clearly a better source than I am on this but I just wanted to say

1) His appearance last night was some of the best political television EVER, including Obama's best speeches and McCarthy meltdowns.

2) Bill really is smart and funny, and perhaps is a little over-aware of that fact, but I think his problem with Stewart is that he expects Stewart to play by cocktail party rules, in which clever responses count as "answers."

I hope he continues to do the show. It's too much to hope that Kristol will change his mind, but maybe he'll learn something.

Tucker Carlson: As someone who's happy to think for himself, I don't watch the show. But I did work for Bill Kristol for six years, and I can honestly say he's the best boss I've ever had -- witty, decent, a genuine gentleman. I hope that came through last night.


For Ana Marie: Ana Marie Cox: I note that you pose no question

Participants in these discussions are invited to submit questions or COMMENTS. Thanks for the rude response.

Ana Marie Cox: What was rude????? I simply responded. And, FWIW, I meant to imply -- and will now state! -- I agreed with said comment.

Tucker Carlson: I hate to weigh on other people's spats -- I enjoy them too much -- but one quick grammar/etiquette observation: People who write in ALL CAPS tend to be CRAZY.


Anonymous: Today I find myself agreeing with every single response by Tucker, but none more so that those who write in CAPS tends to be CRAZY. You can get an AMEN!!!

Ana Marie Cox: YES IT IS TRUE.

I think I'm just feeling exuberant.


Bethesda, Md.: I understand that for whatever reason you see it as your role to be smarmy and uncivil in these chats but saying Gates "probably cries racism when he get the wrong order at Starbucks" just strikes me as completely unnecessarily offensive on many levels.

Ana Marie Cox: It also strikes me as something that someone who has never actually read anything by Gates would say. As Melissa Harris-Lacewell said on my AAM show over the weekend: Gates is NOT a "cry race" guy. He's no Cornell West, all fro'd out and in your face. He is, in fact, NICKNAMED SKIP.

(Show is here, btw: Inside Story: Gates-gate, The Birthers, And Ana Marie Cox's Twitter Machine )

Tucker Carlson: I've read a lot by Gates, including every piece he's ever written for the New Yorker, many of which I enjoyed.

But I've also read the now-famous lines from his Yale application ("As always, whitey now sits in judgment of me, preparing to cast my fate...") and I read what he said to the cops who arrested him ("Why, because I'm a black man in America?") I don't know how you're defining "cry race guy," but he qualifies as far as I'm concerned.

I still don't think he should have been arrested, though, and that's the point I was trying to make.


Clovis, N.M.: A question for Ana Marie Cox,

One of the constant media themes during the Bush administration was that the White House lied frequently and often used scare tactics to gin up public support.

Last week President Obama suggested in his Wednesday presser that opposition to Obamacare was a desire by some, presumably Republicans, to see him, personally, fail.

In the week following, Dems have been on TV in force suggesting that the lack of support for health insurance reform originated in the Republican caucus. While I'm sure this meme plays well with the left, it is factually inaccurate. The roadblocks to reform reside with moderate Dems who question whether the process is moving too fast, whether the proposals accomplish what they are advertised to accomplish, and whether they will cost too much.

In addition, President Obama continues to insist that reforms he demands to be passed by next month will be deficit "neutral" when Dem-controlled experts CBO indicates to not be true.

Are you worried that the press might hold Obama to a standard of truthiness previously required of Bush II?

Ana Marie Cox: I THINK but cannot say for sure that tolerance for "truthiness" is in proportion to "willingness to actually understand an issue." Which puts me in a grim frame of mind w/r/t health-care reform BUT BUT BUT: I think you're wrong about the "blame the Rs" meme "playing well with the left." Take a tour of the lefty blogosphere, or, heck, the DNC, and you'll see that the attacks on the Rs are of the "oh jesus, WHAT A TOOL," shrug shoulders, move on. Against moderate Dems? The knives are out, indeed, the attack ads are airing. And Harry Reid spawned a totally awesome Twitter meme all his own: http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23harryreid%20owillis

As for the budget-neutral stuff, well... I confess that I think it's a strange lie to tell, because the only people that REALLY care about the IMMEDIATE cost of HC reform are current members of Congress. Polls show that most Americans are not fooled about how expensive it'll be... and they don't care. In the long run, it's the right thing to do. Other countries manage it, and we have to figure something out.

Now, one reason European countries CAN afford (ish) good HC is that they get their international military for free. So there's that.

Take it away, TUCKER!


I have a QUESTION for Ana....: For your Dark N Stormy, what brand of ginger beer do you patronize? (I assume OF COURSE that you only use Gosling's rum for the mixer...)

Ana Marie Cox: I believe that Gosling's has trademarked the Dark N Stormy, i.e., it aint a DnS unless it's Gosling's. Here at FF, I think they also use Gosling's ginger beer. It is yummy, though I admit that the house-made ginger beer at the new D.C. W makes for a better drink, with more bite.


Charlottesville, Va.: Tucker & Ana Marie-

I enjoy your weekly chats because most of the Q&A stays on point (well done producer) without wasting time with nitpickers.

However, as an ex-patriate/fugitive Hoosier, I must remind Tucker that soybeans do not produce ethanol.

washingtonpost.com: Flattery will get your question everywhere.

Tucker Carlson: True. But the hope is that they will, which is why the federal government has paid for studies showing that soybeans may be a more efficient source than corn for making ethanol. Good news for those growers whose political contributions I mentioned.


Boston: Tucker, your silly slam of Mass reminds me of something I have always wondered...why is it that all conservative pundits have to live in Liberal bastions like NYC, Palm Beach, L.A. San Francisco, D.C. and vacation in that worst of all place Massachusetts? You know the communications systems today mean you can move to Oklahoma City (Tulsa's too nice) and Jackson, MS

Tucker Carlson: This is such a good and troubling point I can't ignore it. As an emphatic non-liberal who grew up in California, lives in Washington and spends the summer in New England, I've often wondered the same thing: Why are so many great places so politically annoying? (Moreover, why are all the bookstores and good restaurants run by liberals?) I honestly don't know. But it bothers me.


Nashville: Tucker: Whose death impacted you more, Jerry Garcia or Cronkite's?

Tucker Carlson: Are you serious? Not even close. August 9, 1995.


C'mon, Tucker: Gates' Yale application makes him a "cry race guy"? Can't you at least concede that it was pretty reasonable to cry race 40 years ago?

Tucker Carlson: Sure. But "whitey"? Come on.


Seattle: Tucker, haven't you said that there is no such thing as a "health-care industry" -- but now you're saying there IS an "abortion industry"? Can you explain the criteria you're using and why one is an industry and the other not?

Tucker Carlson: "Health care" is too broad a category. Is my kids' pediatrician in the same "industry" as the company that caters the meals at the local VA hospital? Only if the term is diluted to meaninglessness.

But what's more interesting to me is why it's considered so upsetting and out of bounds to describe for-profit abortion providers as part of an industry. Does it bother you to think that some doctors get rich performing abortions? (Some definitely do.) And if it does bother you, why do you think that is?

Ana Marie Cox: If you think doctors are "getting rich" performing abortions, you have to be talking about another country. China, maybe? Abortion providers in USA work in an "industry" where the price has not increased (and has in fact gone down) over the past 30 years, even though the technology/techniques have remained the same.

What's more, if there's so much money to be made, WHY ARE THERE SO FEW ABORTION PROVIDERS? According to the Guttmacher Institute, "Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion provider in 2005; 35% of women live in those counties." (Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States )

When I was in high school, Nebraska had one abortion provider. Literally. One. North Dakota and South Dakota had none. Hey, med school students, WANNA GET RICH QUICK????

Oh, unless you're worried about getting killed. When George Tiller was murdered, the killer cut the number of abortion providers in Missouri by a third.


Coweta, Okla.: I can finally find cause to agree with your paper's E.J. Dionne: Congress has got to pass a conceal-carry law for the Capitol and White House and get rid of the prejudiced anti-gun measures that are taken all over Washington.

One more thing, if that Gates guy wasn't stuck in a liberal hellmouth like Cambridge, Mas.s, he could have legally shot anyone who entered his house without his permission. Maybe now he and other Harvard types will better know why we have to get rid of anti-gun discrimination. I know Ana will disagree, but I thank Tucker in advance for setting her straight.

washingtonpost.com: Arm the Senate!

Ana Marie Cox: I am all in favor of turning the Congress into some kind of Thunderdome, actually. I'm pretty sure only Jim Webb would survive.


Forgiveness, how much?: Do you want Michael Vick to play for your favorite football team?

Ana Marie Cox: No.

Tucker Carlson: Emphatically no.


Los Angeles: So federal funds shouldn't pay for abortions because you find it immoral? I could say the same thing about the death penalty or the war in Iraq. I'd like my refund on those activities now, please.

Ana Marie Cox: Yes, that's kind of my standard response as well. Just last night I had a surprisingly productive and civil conversation with an R pal about abortion -- mostly agreeing, in fact, that what it will take to make abortion rare is to make other options easier -- but the "who pays" thing is where the conversation always breaks down.

Maybe someday we'll get past it, but I think it won't be because discussions like this or like the one I had last night. It'll happen because we, as a country, are getting more pro-life -- tho not anti-abortion. We'll come up with ways to accommodate this shift in policy, but I don't think policy will cause it.


Bowie, Md.: Tucker, Okay, I am not a Republican, I consider myself a independent. I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing about Sarah Palin. I think MSM has hounded her and made lots of money doing it, but does she understand that she chose to get on the national stage and to tout her family and family values. I get that she is tired of the media attention, but how can she expect to hold higher office when media attention goes with it.

Now, you'll say that the media was vicious towards her. Well, it's true....and it's also true that she wasn't ready for "prime time" as they say. She is likeable (I can see that in the crowds that went to her rallies last year), but do we want another cheerleader like we had with Bush? She will need to study more than she has ever done if she is to take on and beat Obama in 2012. Barring a total meltdown by Obama, I think she may have to wait until 2016 or beyond. You're thoughts?

Ana Marie Cox: It's always dangerous to make pronouncements in this biz, or, really, ever, but you heard it hear AT SOME POINT TOWARD THE BEGINNING OF WHEN PEOPLE STARTED TALKING ABOUT SARAH PALIN AS PRESIDENT:

She is toast. She is nuts. She is crazypants with arrogance sauce on top.

None of that really prevents her from having a political career, but THANK GOD I think she's over as far as a national candidate. I covered her just a little bit, but I've talked to people that know her well a lot and the consensus is that she is simply does not have the temperament to become a serious candidate, which (sadly?) is probably more important than her CRAZYPANTSness.

That we (the liberal media) focus on her whackadoodleness over her clear lack of not just qualifications but also ABILITY and DESIRE probably helps her more than hurts her, in fact. The real reason I would have trouble -- nay, a HEART ATTACK -- seeing her in the WH is not that she's pro-life, or that she likes to AERIAL HUNT or has ambivalent parenting skills, it's that in the month or so I covered her, she showed NO INTEREST in learning anything, and seemed offended that she was expected to.



Minneapolis: Tucker,

Republicans are battling Democrats largely on the grounds that universal health care will be too costly for taxpayers but shouldn't the argument really be that health care is an individual responsibility rather than responsibility of the government? It seems to me that by arguing cost, Republicans have signed-on to the notion that the federal government has a role in providing all citizens with life's necessities.

Tucker Carlson: So smart. I agree completely. (Good luck getting the GOP leadership to understand your point, much less act on it.) Where, specifically, does the "right" to health care come from anyway?

Nowhere obviously. What's really going on is what always goes on: The majority decides it can use force to take something it wants from the minority, and so it does. Fine. It's ugly, but it's human nature. What gets me is when they dress it up in the noble language of rights.

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


Houston: Hi, I'm sure TDS and Jon Stewart enjoy pretty good ratings despite the negative items I read on your post, no words about the talent of Mr. Stewart and his writers/staff? Sour grapes?

Ana Marie Cox: Don't know if this directed at Tucker or me, but I think Stewart and TDS staff are incredibly talented (if also lucky, in many ways from when they get to be writing about to GETTING TO WRITE IT). I don't consider myself a comedian because I know how hard you have to work to be one, and they're the best example when it comes to both work ethic and THE FUNNY.



Rude response: Whoa. Somebody is WAY too uptight for this chat.

(Put me down also as exuberant, not crazy. At least for today.)

Ana Marie Cox: Thanks dear. And with that, I bid adieu. Until next week, my friends. And be nice to Tucker, his hair will bite you if you don't.


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