“She is the toughest person in the world,” he said. “For 30 years she’s been under attack. A candidate needs to be able to take it, and she can. She is so impressive.”About the fellow who presumably will get the nomination, Mr. Carlson said, “Barack Obama is the single most talented politician I ever met…an awesome talent…a great talker and a natural orator.”


Published 8/1/2008
Mary Ann Porucznik

“Your lives are going to change”

Pundit calls 2008 “a disaster” for Republicans

Tucker Carlson didn’t seem bothered that his MSNBC show Tucker had been recently cancelled when he addressed attendees at the 6th Annual Orthopedics, Pain Management, and Spine-Driven ASC Conference in Chicago. What did bother him was that Sen. Hillary Clinton didn’t win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tucker Carlson Courtesy of MSNBC

Mr. Carlson, an author, political columnist, and television commentator, became CNN’s youngest anchor when he joined the network in 2005. Before it was cancelled, Tucker was described as a “fast-paced, no-holds-barred conversation about the day’s developments in news, politics, world issues, and pop culture.” Generally considered a conservative pundit, Mr. Carlson has stated that he does not care about the success or failure of any political party. On this day, at least, his attention was focused on the potential of the Democratic Party to either succeed or fail in November.

Even though Mr. Carlson thinks that the Democrats may end up with the “wrong” candidate for president, he doesn’t hold out much hope for Republicans. Noting that health care was at the center of the political debate, he warned his audience that “your lives are going to change.”

“It’s going to be a bad year for Republicans,” he said, “the worst since 1974” (when Republicans lost 49 seats in the House to Democrats following the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Nixon). According to Mr. Carlson, Democrats could hold as many as 60 seats in the Senate after the election. “It’s going to be a tidal wave,” he predicted. “The only question is how big it will be.”

Mr. Carlson ticked off the issues working against Republicans: an unpopular president, an unpopular war, and long-term demographic trends, including increasing numbers of immigrant first-time voters and unmarried women. “Most immigrants (voting for the first time) tend to vote Democratic,” he said, as do unmarried women without children.

“All things being equal, Barack Obama will win,” Mr. Carlson said. “McCain is incidental.”

Once he made that point, however, Mr. Carlson went on to outline just how Sen. Obama could lose. He started with the Democratic Party itself, pointing out that Sen. Obama will have to find a way to work with Sen. Clinton to unite the party. “He doesn’t like her,” said Mr. Carlson, “and he has alienated her core supporters.”

As for the message of change that has attracted most of Sen. Obama’s supporters, Mr. Carlson noted that it may also be his undoing.

“It resonates with people,” he said. “People want change, but they don’t want real change; they want incremental improvements, not transformational change.”

And, while Sen. Obama isn’t a revolutionary, many of his supporters are young and intense, “scary,” even. They could alienate voters, just as the supporters of Sen. Howard Dean did 4 years ago.

“Barack Obama is neither radical nor crazy,” said Mr. Carlson, “but he is supported by those who are. In this campaign, don’t look at John McCain—he won’t win. Look at Barack Obama. The race is his to win or lose.”

Mary Ann Porucznik is managing editor of AAOS Now. She can be reached at porucznik@aaos.org