On Wednesday, Cockburn stopped by ‘Sovereignty or Submission: Restoring National Identity in the Spirit of Liberty’, hosted by conservative publications American Greatness and The New Criterion at a private club in Washington.
There, Cockburn heard a wide-ranging discussion about nation states and governance, featuring Spectator columnists Daniel McCarthy and Roger Kimball, as well as the Hoover Institution’s Victor Davis Hanson, the Heritage Foundation’s David Azerrad, American Greatness editor Chris Buskirk, National Review’s John O’Sullivan, and Hillsdale College and Claremont Institute fellow Michael Anton.
Over lunch, Tucker Carlson delivered a keynote speech on what he has learned since Trump’s election. The Fox News host observed that President Trump’s arrival to the White House has worked like a ‘truth elixir’: ‘people are sort of admitting what they really think in a way that they never did, especially here in Washington, which is a very buttoned-down city.’ To elaborate, Carlson said that a ‘lot of people here have drinking problems, but they’re all secret.’
Cockburn nearly choked on his chicken meal, worried Carlson was referring to yours truly. Thankfully, the Fox News host directed his attention to Bill Kristol.
Carlson argued that when Trump criticized the Iraq War on the campaign trail, ‘Bill Kristol and the rest of the left,’ referring to the former Weekly Standard editor as a ‘Trotskyite’, launched a full opposition against then-candidate Trump. ‘Within 20 minutes [Kristol] was trying to get Tom Cotton and finally settled on poor David French’, referencing the writer’s failed primary challenge against the future president.
According to Carlson, Trump’s presidency has affirmed that ‘the left’ is only concerned about political issues like the Iraq war: ‘In a world without God, politics is kind of all there is,’ adding later in his speech that ‘Ted Kennedy killed a girl and they had no problem defending him.’
Eschewing the term ‘deep state’, Carlson also noted that Trump’s time in office has revealed there ‘really is a permanent bureaucracy — a class of people who believe they are in charge of the US government, and in effect are.’ The Fox News host observed that President Trump, who is ‘horrible at hiring people’, can’t enact policies with bureaucrats that ‘don’t believe in democracy.’
Carlson closed his speech with a simple observation: ‘I’m not an intellectual which is why I’m speaking rather than listening,’ and encouraged attendees of the conference to come up with a solution for this anti-democratic conundrum.