The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Tucker was right, the bastard

He saw it coming, I’ve got to admit it.

We are as different as we can be, Tucker Carlson and I. He is a Protestant, libertarian, elitist conservative. I am a Catholic, communitarian, populist Democrat. And yet I have to tip my hat to him. Tucker predicted the winter of our discontent more accurately than all the president’s pollsters and all the president’s men.

Tucker and I have engaged in hundreds —actually, thousands—of debates since we first squared off on a now-defunct show called “Crossfire” in 2002. When we’d finished hurting America through vigorous debate on afternoon cable, we took our show on the road. From time to time we would debate—before civic organizations, trade associations, corporate meetings, weddings, bar mitzvahs, prison release parties, you name it. And throughout 2008, when tens of millions of Americans were chanting, “Change!” Tucker saw the collision coming.

He would invariably point out that when most Americans—especially independents—use the word, “change,” what they really mean is incremental improvement. “Shorter lines at the DMV,” he’d say, “or a FEMA that shows up within six months of a hurricane.” He cautioned that the Obama administration risked pushing too much fundamental change too quickly, which would alienate the independent voters who really just wanted things to get a bit better.

At the same time, he warned, there were some people for whom “change” meant radical restructuring: throw open the Bastille, cancel all the debts, declare a Jubilee. These people, Tucker warned, required a pace of change exponentially faster than the steady incrementalism of the independents. Case in point: Tucker and I debated at a gathering of thousands of young people the day before the Obama inaugural. I opened with a joke about the new president walking across the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. No one laughed. In fact, several of them whipped out their cellphones to text each other with the news that The One would be walking on water, as usual. Health care? If we but touch the hem of His garment, they figured, we shall be healed.

It would be, Tucker predicted, impossible to reconcile those two visions of change. And he was right, the bastard.

Sure, most of the problems facing our president and my party are due to the crappy economy. And it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign. Moreover, the president has world enough and time—indeed, he looks to be on a long-term arc resembling Reagan’s and Clinton’s: mid-term setback, third year comeback, fourth year landslide re-election.

And yet it is also true that, for now, the attitudes of both the incrementalists and the radicals have soured. Incrementalists, stunned by what they see as overly broad and rapid change, are looking for the brakes. Radicals, depressed about the snail’s pace of progress, are looking for the exits.

And Tucker Carlson is looking like an oracle.

Paul Begala is a Democratic political consultant, a political commentator, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton.

  • jabbathetutt

    Paul Begala writes: “And it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign.”

    To quote Cong. Joe Wilson “You lie” and to further quote Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito “Not true”, both in response in person to Barack Obama speeches.

    The rot has spread to Jay Rockefeller (D-Coal), who shazaam has come out and said that he’s starting to think that he can’t believe Barack Obama and what he’s saying about coal.

    Face it, Forehead, Obama’s entire campaign was one big lie. It’s the movie “The Candidate” with Robert Redford come to life. You had an attractive, articulate and clean candidate reading the words the teleprompter told him to say. He didn’t mean a word of it.

    Obama’s promises, every single one, come with an expiration date. The most recent promise to hit it’s expiration is no new taxes on the middle class. How many times did the teleprompter tell Obama to say “no new taxes on people earning under $250,000″? Hundreds or thousands of times? Now, Obama is agnostic on raising taxes on the middle class.

    This is why Obama’s a failure, he is fundamentally a fraud. People come to this reality at different rates. Sean Hannity knew it in March of 2008, when he interviewed Jeremiah Wright. Jay Rockefeller’s come around to admit it this week. The rot (recognition of truth) has spread into the elite of the Democrat Party. Words ain’t gonna cut it anymore for the Bamster. No sirree Bob!

  • suertecita

    You know, Mr. Forehead, I mean Crapalga, I mean, oh, whatever. That actually wasn’t that bad to read until…

    “Sure, most of the problems facing our president and my party are due to the crappy economy. And it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign. Moreover, the president has world enough and time—indeed, he looks to be on a long-term arc resembling Reagan’s and Clinton’s: mid-term setback, third year comeback, fourth year landslide re-election.”

    Uh, what?

    “Sure, most of the problems facing our president and my party are due to the crappy economy.”

    See. You and your party STILL don’t get it. It’s not the “crappy economy.” It’s your party spending $787 BILLION dollars, that anyone with a brain knew wouldn’t do CRAP, plus nobody even read the bill!!! It’s nominating tax cheats to high levels of government and tolerating tax cheats in Congress. Charles Wrangel anyone?? It’s the backroom deals. It’s ACORN. It’s the blatant hypocracy and in your face arrogance that’s making people want to rip the hair out of their heads. The topper just happens to be the “crappy economy.” Which your party, the party in control since 2006, has done nothing about!!!

    Let’s not forget about…”And it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign.”

    Are you friggin’ kidding me? “In word and deed”??? Somebody must have hit you on your massive forehead. No lobbyists, no tax hikes, CSPAN, uh, I guess us millions of Americans must have “misheard” him when he said that. Us silly middle Americans, we’re so stupid.

    The only way Obama gets a second term is if Republicans get control of the House and Senate. Then, like Bill Clinton, will be forced to his knees and will sign common-sense legislation, which he’ll probably take all credit for, but at least the “blame Bush” montra will be gone. Fingers crossed. Otherwise, I see Obama, and your party, as screwed, blued, and tatooed!!

  • redstater

    “We are as different as we can be, Tucker Carlson and I. He is a Protestant, libertarian, elitist conservative. I am a Catholic, communitarian, populist Democrat.”

    Wait…Paul Begala is a populist, but Tucker Carlson is an elitist?
    On what planet? The Democrat party leaders for the past 30 years are nothing if not elitists. They continually sneer at, mock, insult, condescend, and ridicule the common person who disagrees with them.

    What an ass.

  • kpaints

    Mr. Begala, I really don’t have enough respect for you to even consider your opinion. I’ve watched you spew so much venom and hate toward your opponents that I would probably cross the street to avoid you. You epitomize why so many independents have become disenchanted with the Dems. The condescending smugness of the likes of you, Gibbs Emanuel and even Our Leader Leader has more to do with the mass exodus than any policy.

  • jason

    You forgot something in that last sentence: “Paul Begala is a Democratic political consultant, a political commentator, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton”…and an all around general scum-sucking douche bag with a humongous forehead that scares women and children.

  • Mary Claire Kendall

    Great to see you weighing in… ah, change… yes, it needs to be right (i.e., correct :-) not fast… but Tucker was right, Obama’s voters were wanting change fast, and who can blame them… it’s very American… as to current reality, if Obama is lucky — and has a glimmer of hope that the arc of his presidency will resemble Reagan/Clinton arc, as you suggest — Republicans will forget their ill-treatment before the political tectonic plates shifted (let’s face it they would still in the leper colony if not for this tectonic shift) and will try and work with the president… too much is at stake… one caveat being, the formula for working things out can’t exacerbate our fiscal/monetary/economic problems… in this regard, Obama would be wise to co-opt some of the Republicans best ideas like President Clinton did… time will tell if he is smart enough to do so…

  • gekkobear

    “…it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign.”

    And in other news:

    ‘President Barack Obama said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on households making less than $250,000 as part of a broad effort to rein in the budget deficit.’

    Well he is the same now as he was then, but that’s just because he wasn’t honest then either.

  • des1

    “And it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign.”

    Everything else in your column I can live with, but this is an outright (and provable) lie. Obama is EXACTLY who he was as a local politician and as an Illinois Senator….someone in with the corrupt up to his eyeballs, someone who talks a lot about cooperation but never follows through, someone who preaches a “different kind of politics,” but refuses to budge from his own ideological grounds by an inch. I could have predicted (and did) every bit of the debacle that has been his first year in office.

    The guy on the campaign trail? I never heard of him before. Tony Rezko didn’t help buy that guy’s house (with Rod Blagojevich’s wife handling the transaction). He’s not the same person who steered millions to Rezko, Valerie Jarret and other cronies in state housing contracts, then looked the other way when the people were subjected to sub-human conditions. He’s not the same person who won his first election by a slimy legal maneuver, getting his opponent kicked off the ballot with an endless series of court challenges.

    Democratic Nominee Obama? That guy was someone who sounded too good to be true, who promised everything to everyone (and promising no one but the evil rich would have to pay). President Obama? He’s that guy who sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years and nodded his head as conspiracy theories about the CIA killing black people with AIDS was preached from the pulpit. If you’re stupid enough to believe anything he tells you, then you deserve what you wind up with.

  • rocketj2005

    “…it is certainly true that Barack Obama is essentially the same person, in word and deed, whom he pledged to be in the campaign.”

    Is that sarcasm? Or are you on crack?

  • jchenn

    President Obama will bounce back all right, just like a dead cat. I really don’t see him pulling off a comeback like Reagan or Clinton.

    • sanjay

      His predictions might be right, but unless the philosophy changes nothing good will happen.

      Incrementalism is more dangerous, cuz you are cooked when the water is heating gradually. If you are thrown in the boiling water at least you try to jump out and see the dangers.

      Incrementalism is the most dangerous weapon of bolsheviks.