Gala: Carlson Predicts Big GOP Gains
Republicans had a rip-roaring good time Saturday night at their fifth annual Red, White & Blue Gala.
They bashed “the enemy” and celebrated with optimistic enthusiasm hopeful expectations of capturing the General Assembly and one if not both houses of Congress in the fall elections.
The big draw was Tucker Carlson, making his first visit to Pinehurst. His appearance was arranged with the aid of an aunt and uncle, Richard and Polly O’Connor.
George Little introduced Carlson as a longtime writer, columnist, commentator and reporter on events around the world. He quickly joined in the general optimism of the evening about Repub-lican chances in the upcoming races right from the start.
“I don’t think ‘fairly good’ even encompasses how good it is really going to be,” he said. “In a little over a month, it is going to be a blowout for Republicans.”
This is, unlike most, actually an important election, Carlson said. Most people did not expect the “seismic shift” resulting from the 2008 election of Barack Obama as president, he said.
“He was relatively eloquent, charmed the media,” Carlson said. “The press loves Obama. Love is not a strong enough term. You have to be a 14-year-old boy to understand the kind of love the press feels for Obama. A lot hoped he’d be better. They were wrong.”
The president’s chief weakness — from Carlson’s perspective — comes from never having had a real failure, a true defeat. As a result, the president made a huge error.
“He convinced himself that voters would like him to do all the things he said he was going to do,” Carlson said.
That, he said, was wrong.
“There is nothing Americans fear more — correctly — than change. Real progress occurs incrementally. But the president is surrounded by people who share his beliefs. There is no perspective.”
The coming election is unusual, he said, in that it truly is a watershed election.
“We spend a lot of time in cable news trying to convince you that the coming election is the most important in your lifetime,” he said. “Thank God, most of the time that’s false. Most elections aren’t that important, because this is not a country that is organized around political principles or even — most of the time — influenced by them.
“The things that matter most in our lives don’t intersect — in a happy country — in politics. The spouse you choose, the marriage you build, the children you raise, the business you grow — one hopes these are not influenced by politics.”
Carlson has spent a lot of time in countries where people live or die based on the results of elections.
“This is not a country in which politics matters that much,” he said. “Honestly, that is the past, because now it really does matter. It does. It actually does matter. I have to say, I knew there was going to be a shift — but I had no idea.”
The president’s opponents have been fighting among themselves.
“That is clearly what we see in the Republican Party now, but it is clearly necessary,” Carlson said. “The tea party is moving everyone to the right. A lot in the press are terrified of the tea party. It is almost exclusively a party devoted to stopping the growth of government.”
More Americans fear the growing national debt than terrorism, Carlson said.
“The most powerful movement in American now is one that wants to stop the growth of government, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “I think the tea party will bring the Republican Party to that position.”
There is no clear front-runner in the field for the GOP 2012 presidential bid, Carlson said.
“It is wide open,” he said. “There is, for instance, Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey. He may be the kind of man the country needs. A man as tough as Christie — it may be the year for a man like that. We are going to find out what the party is at the end of that nomination process.”
He predicted that the GOP will win a majority of seats in the U.S. House and possibly in the Senate, which drew a wave of applause.
Taking a few questions following his speech, Carlson said the past couple of years in Washington had been “pretty depressing” as a result of the rapid pace of change.
He was asked if Obama will be a one-term president.
“There are things to pray for,” he said. “But actually, electing a Republican Congress makes it easier for Obama to remain president. Stop worrying. The future is unknowable.”
He doesn’t think Hillary Clinton will challenge Obama, as much as he would wish it. She is angling for something else, he said.
“Hillary Clinton wants to be on the Supreme Court,” he said to some groans from members of the audience. “It is my job to wreck your night just a little bit.”
Contact John Chappell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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