Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ heir to Bill O’Reilly’s slot in their primetime cable lineup, often fills the hour with bewildered glances, engaging dialogue, and outright mockery of his typically-deserving opponents who he brings on to the program. Monday was no different as Carlson invited on Democratic strategist Jim Devine to defend the seemingly indefensible: his decision to tweet the hashtag #HuntRepublicanCongressmen in the wake of the attempted massacre of Republican representatives last week.
A number of funny moments came out of this, including Carlson badgering Devine as to whether his tweets would subject him to lose his gun rights, and the obvious insanity implicit in Devine’s attempts at defending this otherwise indefensible tweet.
There were a couple of instances in the interchange between the two men where Carlson either missed or deliberately ignored some of the absurd arguments being made by Devine, but their patent incredulity is worth highlighting.
Tucker took issue with the undergirding ethic in Devine’s thinking, which was clearly debased- if you perceive one side’s rhetoric to be violent and depraved, the solution is not to yourself reciprocate such behavior. The issue with Devine’s point is larger- the assumption he makes, that the Left has been docile in the face of a barrage of fear mongering on the Right is the second most unhinged statement Devine made all evening.
The Left has used fatalistic rhetoric for years on end now, and the results under this administration have been no different. The Left’s arguments for years have been about the personal depravity of Republicans, that their health care beliefs are a proxy for their dark desire for kids to die in the streets, Goldwater, Reagan, Romney and Trump were all Hitler, and all of the other hyperbole that pervade mainstream leftist circles are undeniable centerpieces of progressive argumentation and they have been for years. Devine’s assumption is irredeemably disconnected from political reality.
Actually, this is correct. We don’t have the Second Amendment for hunting. The Second Amendment is a safeguard of American liberty for the citizenry to be armed against governmental usurpation of constitutional guarantees. It continues:
As mentioned earlier, Tucker either missed or intentionally ignored Devine’s line of argumentation here. What Devine was arguing, specifically, was that opposing the Affordable Care Act, protecting the integrity of the franchise by preventing voter fraud, and upholding federalism with our constitutional republic’s Electoral College rather than using a pure popular vote are all incidents of the exact government usurpation Paul is talking about. This is so patently ridiculous and absurd a claim that it deserves to be underscored.
Devine, in full control of his faculties, insisted that policy disagreements on health care, preventing voter fraud, and the Electoral College, are precisely the abrogations of constitutional protections that require an armed response by the citizenry, so all told, Rand Paul and his conservative ilk are getting what they asked for. How warped must one’s perception of American politics be to utter such a ridiculous assertion?
Tucker finished the segment with a series of impolite interruptions, but its worth asking how much politeness Devine’s arguments warranted.
8:00 PM ET
TUCKER CARLSON: Most people were horrified of course by last week’s assassination attempt on Republican members of Congress, which wounded five people and nearly killed House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. But most people apparently does not include some people, including New Jersey democratic strategist Jim Devine. After the shooting, Devine tweeted this, quote, "We are in a war with selfish, foolish and narcissistic rich people. Why is it a shock when things turned violent? #HuntRepublicanCongressmen." After many people objected, Devine did not back down. He followed up by tweeting this: "I’m sorry if my #HuntRepublicanCongressmen hashtag hurt the feelings of any GOP snowflakes but you have not engaged in civil discourse," end-quote. We invited Jim Devine to come on the show and remarkably, he agreed. He is brave at least. Jim Devine joins us tonight. So, Jim Devine, under what circumstances is it morally acceptable to use violence for political ends?
JIM DEVINE: It is never acceptable to use violence for political ends, except perhaps in the most extreme cases, I’d refer you to George Washington and those guys. The fact of the matter is, we do vote with the ballots in this country what they do with bullets elsewhere. And it is not uncommon in politics that we use the language of war. We talk about fierce rhetoric, we talk about -- and so on. You were on a television program, and I don’t know what your body count was, when you were on Crossfire I assume that there were no real casualties there.
CARLSON: Stop. You know what? I want to have a reasonable conversation, I don’t want to demagogue this but in the hours after five people were shot, including the House Majority Whip, use or not a tweet that said "Hunt Republicans." I mean, it is clearly a reference to the assassination attempts against Congressman Scalise. It’s hard to imagine how you could justify writing something like that.
DEVINE: In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at the Sandy Hook school, we heard people say this is not the time to talk about gun violence. We have heard lots of things follow this. You know, this is a - -
CARLSON: But that’s not what you were saying. You were encouraging gun violence.
DEVINE: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
CARLSON: You wrote Hunt Republicans. What did you mean by that? Put down that paper. I am talking about you, not some other paper. I mean, please.
DEVINE: This is what has been out there.
CARLSON: Put that down. I’m not interested in what other people have to say. That’s great but we are not -- so, your excuse apparently is other people have done it. That’s not an excuse. I’m here to ask you about something you wrote and why don’t you explain it? Why did you write Hunt Republicans?
DEVINE: For too long, Republicans in this country have failed to distinguish the differences between politics and war. And a lot of Democrats have failed to see the similarities. So, you guys either have to tone down the rhetoric or we have to step up. And I don’t think there is anything --
CARLSON: So, by saying, Hunt Republicans, there is nothing wrong with that?DEVINE: Sarah Palin put the crosshairs on Congress. I’m just saying Hunt Republicans instead of Democrats.
CARLSON: First of all, Sarah Palin didn’t do that, a group affiliated with her did that. And it’s a difference between a metaphor and actually suggesting -- go Hunt Republicans after Republicans have just been shot.
DEVINE: She put up a boast about her Republican bull’s-eyes --
CARLSON: So, what point are you making? That that’s okay?
DEVINE: What I am making the point is that after year after year after year of hearing the same kind of violent rhetoric from the right, the left has every reason to come forward and stand up. What I have learned in life is that --
CARLSON: With violent rhetoric?
DEVINE: When you are confronted with bullies, you have to fight fire with fire. You have to stand up to them.
CARLSON: But a guy just went and tried to assassinate Republican members of Congress.
DEVINE: And that was a terrible --
CARLSON: That just happened.
DEVINE: And one of my tweets, Tucker, said, it is too bad nobody did something before, of course, Congressman Scalise --
CARLSON: This is so stupid. It was a ludicrous tweet and of course it was overshadowed by your suggestion --
DEVINE: Over 15 other members of the House.
CARLSON: Do you own a gun?
CARLSON: Do you own a gun?
DEVINE: No. I said no.
CARLSON: Do you think that you should be able to pass a background check for a gun after tweeting something like that?
DEVINE: I don’t see that this would disqualify me from passing --
CARLSON: So, you think that someone -- hold on, hold on. As a gun control advocate, I am asking your opinion-
DEVINE: --subject myself to a background check if I wanted to buy --
CARLSON: No, no. But do you think you should be allowed or anyone -- hold on, let me finish my question. Do you think that someone who tweets the day after an attempted murder like this, "Hunt Republicans," basically cheering it on, that person, in this case, you, ought to be allowed to have a firearm in this country?
DEVINE: Well, first of all, your interpretation that I’m cheering it on is not accurate. I specifically said that I don’t condone or advocate violence that was within seconds and in another tweet that said, Hunt Republicans. This is a metaphor.
CARLSON: Another tweet that said, yes, "I do condone violence."
DEVINE: -- No no, I do not condone violence, it is a metaphor role term. I recently heard a prominent Republican say, I don’t have time for political correctness. And I will tell you what, I will make the time for political correctness when we have Republicans that aren’t talking over us --
CARLSON: I don’t even understand your point. But if we can just get back, if you can answer my question really quickly and I want to move on to the next one. Do you think that someone who tweets a line such as "Hunt Republicans" or "Hunt Democrats" ought to be allowed to have a gun, as a gun control advocate? That is my question to you. It’s really simple. What’s the answer?
DEVINE: Absolutely. I would think that that should in and of itself define them as a person who either broke the law--
CARLSON: Someone -- advocating violence in the wake of the shooting. Okay. Not much of a gun-control guy, I guess. Yes. Apparently not. So, your point is that Republicans, I guess this is your point, are advocating violence and you are proving this by holding up a poster from five years ago and because they are, you say, Democrats should, like, what is your point? Is that what you’re saying?
DEVINE: I am saying that Democrats have to be more aggressive in the face of political issues and the face of the opposition. We have members -- one of the persons he was on that field who spoke --
CARLSON: What does that mean?
DEVINE: With Senator Rand Paul -- Senator Rand Paul re-tweeted something from Andrew Napolitano that said, the reason we have a Second Amendment is not so people can hunt deer, so that they can shoot the tyrannical government.
CARLSON: So, What is your point? Did he deserved it?
DEVINE: My point, Tucker is very simply, no, absolutely not. But my point is that when you put up obstacles to people voting, when you secretly plot in the Senate to repeal health care that is keeping 50,000 Americans alive, and you are otherwise directing barriers to the Democratic process, where we have elections, where the people that get the most votes don’t win --
CARLSON: That you should be shot?
DEVINE: What happens is -- no! But that is tyrannical government. That’s the point.
CARLSON: It’s understandable when you’re shot?
DEVINE: It is the natural culmination --
CARLSON: Stop with the talking points. Just get to what you’re saying. I want to know what you are saying. Are you saying that it’s understandable?
DEVINE: It is a natural culmination of the argument that was made by Judge Napolitano and Senator Rand Paul. If Senator Paul Rand would like to sit down and have a discussion --
CARLSON: But hold on. I am really here. You are not making sense. I will give you one last chance. What is your point?
DEVINE: My point is enough is enough.
CARLSON: So, it’s time to take up arms?
DEVINE: No. It’s not about taking up arms. It’s about coming together and fighting back.
CARLSON: Fighting back how?
DEVINE: Politically. Peacefully.
CARLSON: Then, what are we doing about hunting and, you know what, you are an unbalanced person and I have to say, it is distressing that more Democrats haven’t disavowed you.
DEVINE: Well, I’m a perfectly balanced person.
CARLSON: You don’t seem it.