“Two things can be true at once.” Podcaster Ben Shapiro keeps repeating that axiom. It’s an indicator of the vapidity of modern culture that he must do so. A popular cliché — which Shapiro might or might not cite — encapsulates a related thought: clear-thinkers need to be able to “walk and chew gum at the same time”.
A bad person, for instance, can, nonetheless, utter something worthwhile. Conversely, a rotten individual can be guilty of a lot — but not, automatically, culpable for everything. Reflective people ought to acknowledge all that — but decades-long observation suggests that point is eluding lots of folks. For a while now, the Left’s been operating on the presupposition that their “guys” can never be wrong about anything; period. Increasingly, we conservatives are flipping that bias to our advantage: No “right-winger” is susceptible to any criticism; ever. It’s moral and intellectual double-dealing from both sides; rampant among 2019’s chattering classes.
Which brings me to Madeleine Albright. How shocking, how refreshing, when I found out the former Secretary of State has apologized for baselessly slandering a former Republican standard-bearer. No misprint, I’m referring to Clinton Administration Albright, she who audaciously defended Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky rumpus and militantly supported Mrs. Bill’s 2016 presidential bid, consigning to “a special place in hell” any woman who didn’t follow suit.
Hardly a conservative firebrand. That said, testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, February 26, the eighty-one-year-old Democrat testified, “I personally owe an apology to now-Senator Romney. … I think that we underestimated what was going on in Russia.” Back during a 2012 presidential debate, Barack Obama ridiculed rival nominee Mitt Romney for his national security concerns involving Russia. Albright closed ranks with then-Commander-in-Chief Obama, dismissing the GOP candidate’s forebodings as old-school overreaction. Sobering events have since vindicated Romney and chastened Albright — thus, her congressional contrition.
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About Secretary Albright’s performance, National Review reflected, “A sincere apology is not very common in public life, and maybe not all that common in private life either” — a regrettably accurate assessment. On occasion, one might run across a pol’s overly bracketed expression of penitence: “If I have offended anyone … blah, blah, blah … then, I am sorry.” Or possibly a half-hearted example of same: Donald Trump’s recited regret over the notorious Access Hollywood video comes to mind; scripted, business-like, hastily suffixed with a let’s-change-the-subject allusion to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s perfidy.
But nationally broadcast, plainspoken, excuse-free owning up that “I blew it, I was wrong, I’m sorry”? A rarity, for sure — which Ms. Albright’s unexpected exception merely confirms.
Over at thehill.com, author Sheryl Atkinson gutsily indicts,
With the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe now known to a significant degree, it seems apologies are in order. …
… [I]t matters not whether one is a supporter or a critic of President Trump. …Whatever his supposed flaws, the rampant accusations and speculation that shrouded Trump’s presidency … ultimately have proven unfounded. …
We in the media allowed unproven charges and false accusations to dominate the news landscape for more than two years, in a way that was wildly unbalanced and disproportionate to the evidence. …
So, a round of apologies seem in order.
It matters not whether one is a supporter or a critic of President Trump. That’s the money quote: Even those despising the erstwhile-Manhattan-mogul-now-Chief-Executive need recognize every accusation leveled against him isn’t necessarily going to be born out.
See? Two things, true at once. Walking, chewing gum.
Mind you, the application of these principles can be mirror-imaged to keep the conservative side honest, as well. The President’s biggest boosters ought to be able to recognize his stumbles; when, though his policy prescriptions might be commendable, his personal conduct or rhetoric is not.
Which brings me, perforce, to Tucker Carlson. The Fox News host has found himself waist-deep in boiling water for recently-surfaced past comments; a particularly vile passel of statements he spewed during radio interviews between 2006-11. Among profanities, he slurred Alexis Stewart repeatedly as “c*nty” (a twist on a detestable word which, I’d been informed, remains out-of-bounds for civilized discourse even in today’s potty-mouthed parlance.) Carlson additionally demeaned the entire Iraqi race — not Al-Qaeda in Iraq or other murderous Babylonian terrorists, but the region’s general population — as “semi-literate primitive monkeys. … They’re just so awful.”
He jested about “lov[ing] … a scenario” involving lesbian teenagers (“If it weren’t my daughter,” he clarified); and once snarked playfully on a female schoolteacher voraciously molesting a thirteen-year-old boy. In other exchanges, Carlson declaimed women “extremely primitive”. When a shock-jock speculated, “You wanna f*ck Sarah Palin”, the married father/pundit snapped, “I’ll agree with that.”
Oh, my. Whatever its context, whatever his intentions or motivations, that’s rather fetid stuff. Low-brow, sordid, and literally uttered by him in a public forum when he was an experienced political opinionator in his mid-thirties.
Tucker’s current reaction? A droll allusion to his being “caught … saying something naughty” and an indignant refusal to “express the usual ritual contrition”.
Sure, Carlson gives apoplectic fits to the Left. Nightly, his theatrically furrowed eyebrows and eruptive guffawing lampoon their feckless ideas and anti-American hostilities. His prime-time television program serves a handy platform for laying bare the menace and intellectual gassiness of Pelosi/Cortez’s Democratic Party. And good on him for that.
Also certain: any “Yuck. Dumb of me to have spoken that nonsense. I’m sorry!” from him at this or any moment will win him meager kudos among progressive diehards. They’ll go on loathing him, hissing at him, no matter what.
Still, what does any of that have to do with his responsibility to concede and deplore his role in uncorking these foul sentiments? Yes, Tucker Carlson said these things; and shouldn’t have, ten years ago, two minutes ago, at any juncture during his media career. I’ll paraphrase Sheryl Atkinson: An apology is in order.
“The usual ritual contrition”? How about authentic contrition for his actual, gross remarks? The proper answer to an awkward, ugly episode? The reaction of Fox-News haters or Tucker’s tormentors shouldn’t be his or his defenders’ chief consideration.
If one of the forty-nine-year-old’s three daughters or his wife had been target of a Mainstream Media hit-job employing that c-word obscenity? Or tarred as “primitive”? We on the Right would be sputtering angry, howling for a boycott on the commie calumniator’s work and an abject apology from him/her. Had any CNN or MSNBC crusader slimed a whole white, European, Christian country as “semiliterate primitive monkeys”? The outrage from Republican-favoring ranks would be unquenchable.
Tucker Carlson, talented conservative raconteur, no doubt – also on tape unloading a chamber-pot of sleaziness that demands his frank, official repudiation. Again, both assertions? True; walk, chew gum.
It’s simple for Tucker. And imperative. It’s what any honorable gentleman – any married man, father or son – would do. Take the redemptive step, then proceed onward.
What to-the-core conservative, reputable male, or sincere Christian can’t altogether endorse these verdicts? Can’t “walk and chew” this “gum” all at once?
That’s the right thing to do and, I presumed, one of the pillars of Tucker Carlson’s brand of conservatism.