Tuesday, FNC host Tucker Carlson questioned the counterintuitive notion that Texas Democrats had to shut down the Texas Legislature, which in effect stymied one of the processes of representative democracy to save democracy.
Carlson also mocked President Joe Biden for likening the efforts to pass voter integrity laws to the Civil War.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: It was a happy day in America, a beautiful July day, and then this afternoon something grave happened. Joe Biden made a very disturbing announcement.
“This country faces a crisis more dangerous than anything since the American Civil War,” Biden said at his Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam, the Walking Dead of Andersonville, the Killing Fields of the 19th Century American South. That’s what we’re looking at right now announced the President of the United States — by attempting to pass laws requiring voters to show ID when they vote, republicans are risking permanent internal division as well as violent conflict.
Think we’re overstating? Here’s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There’s an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections. We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole — since the Civil War.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: The Civil War? Sound overheated to you? Joe Biden would like you to know, this is not hyperbole. Voter ID laws are literally like the Civil War. That is habeas corpus suspended, state legislature shutdown, hundreds of thousands of Americans dead in field. That was the Civil War.
Biden made it clear that’s what he meant, he said it twice.
When was the last time a sitting American President gave a speech like this? Well, probably not since the 1860s during the actual Civil War. So it is hard to know how to process it. Even allowing for the dementia, it was a stunningly irresponsible thing for an American leader to say out loud, dangerous even.
So on what grounds did Joe Biden say it what drove him to it? Well, here’s the Fort Sumter Biden was referring to.
Yesterday, 51 Democrats in the state legislature in Texas, left Texas and flew to Washington, D.C. on private jets. They did this in order to deny the Texas legislature a quorum, and then they shut it down. They shut down the democratic process in their state.
By leaving Texas, they, in other words violated their sworn duty to represent their voters and they committed what amounted to an act of, yes, insurrection. Why? So that Texas lawmakers couldn’t pass laws against voter fraud; laws, by the way that voters in Texas have said overwhelmingly they want passed. That’s democracy, but they’re not getting it.
The measures that Texas voters would like to see become law include a bill that would require some form of identification: a driver’s license, a Social Security card, something valid and real for voters who submit mail-in ballots. Another bill would require the Texas Secretary of State to review voter rolls for noncitizens and remove people who are not allowed to vote.
So, nothing in the bill is radical or without extensive precedent. If you oppose voter fraud, in fact, it’s all very obvious, and not controversial at all, and that’s why it’s so popular with voters in Texas.
But Democrats in the state don’t oppose voter fraud, nor critically do they believe in multiparty politics. So, they stop the entire process cold.
Now, preventing lawmakers from making laws, shutting down the vote would not seem like a defense of democracy. In fact, it would appear to be just the opposite. It would appear to be an assault on the very core of democracy, which is the legislature — the People’s House. Even diabolical Vladimir Putin never attempted to do that.
But according to Joe Biden, this time, it’s necessary. Sometimes you’ve got to end democracy in order to save democracy — that is if you’re not a racist. Requiring people to prove their identity when they cast votes said the president is, quote, “An unrelenting 21st century Jim Crow assault.” Really? How so?
Biden never explained, but he didn’t need to. His bootlickers on cable television jumped in to do the talking for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Texas Democrats taking a major stand for voting rights. It is a dramatic, yet effective move that the National Democratic Party would do well to try and pay attention to.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Leaving their legislative chamber without a quorum was the last best thing they thought they could do to preserve voting rights there and try to defeat the Republican voter suppression bill.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: The Texas Democrats fighting back in the face of Republicans very successful voter suppression drive.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Texas Democrats fleeing their state in a last-ditch effort to block a restrictive new voting law, as the G.O.P. is pushing its assault on our most sacred right as Americans, the right to vote.
CARLSON: Who cares about the last guy? What about the first guy? The Republican Voter Suppression Act? How exactly do these bills suppress voting, precisely? Well, Brian Williams never told us. He just repeated the talking point he was handed. What a brainless shill he has become, so many have.
But pay no attention to the dead-eyed news anchor telling you the usual lies. No, consider instead the heroes of modern Texas, the people saving the vote by stopping the vote. Preserving democracy by ending it.
Here’s a picture of them on a charter bus to the private airfield. The FBO, as they say in private equity. Now, they may be smiling in the picture, but it’s only to mask the pain inside.
They may be drinking Miller Lite, but it’s not in celebration. No, it’s in solidarity with the Campesinos and Campesinas around the State of Texas, on whose behalf they were drinking those beers. The people who may not be actual citizens of the United States, who may not speak our language or follow our laws, but who still somehow have the God-given right to choose your government for you, the right in other words to vote Democrat whenever they want.
So, it was an intense moment on that bus. Picture Che Guevara sailing to Havana Harbor on the Granma to bring the revolution to its bloody climax. And it only got more intense when the charter buses arrived at the FBO.
One Texas lawmaker, a childlike former teacher called James Talarico tweeted about the dangers from his private jet, quote, “Just landed in Memphis on our way to D.C. Thank you all for your well wishes. We left behind our families, our livelihoods, and our beloved Texas, but our sacrifice — (carrying with a straight face) — but our sacrifice is nothing compared to the sacrifices brave Americans have made throughout history to protect the sacred right to vote.”
So, sacrifices include drinking Miller Lite on a private plane over Memphis. It was moving.
Now, we don’t have a lot of photos from within that private plane, just like we have a lot of paintings from Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. Sometimes you have to imagine it.
But we do have this documentary evidence, this shot, and as you can see, those people are terrified. They are not taking this trip on a private plane for themselves, they are doing it for democracy, which paradoxically they’ve just suspended. Revolutions are full of bitter little ironies like that, but we learn to live with them in the name of the greater good.
Now, you may be wondering, how did all those lawmakers get on that plane? Can you just walk on a plane now? Doesn’t that require some form of photo ID? A racist ID card? And by the way, where are their masks? Aren’t you required by Federal law to wear a mask on an airplane?
Sure, you are, in normal times. But when there’s a revolution in progress, normal rules are suspended. Che Guevara never wore a surgical mask. His rifle was his ID card, and so with these slightly chunky revolutionary heroes.
Now, once the brigade from Texas finally arrived in the Capital City of Washington, they were met with artillery fire Hessian sharpshooters. No. Something more daunting. There were television cameras awaiting their arrival. How did they handle this? With the power of song?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GROUP OF TEXAS DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKERS (singing): We shall overcome, we shall overcome. We shall overcome someday; oh, deep in my heart, I do believe. We shall overcome someday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: What happens when a cliche becomes so time-worn that it folds in on itself like a cliche black hole and sucks all of reality into itself? That’s what you just saw.
Now, but to the untrained eye, the footage we just played might seem a little bit self-aggrandizing. It might seem like those lawmakers may be the only ones on Earth who appreciate their own bravery and the sound of their own voices. But that’s not true. There are still other people in this country who recognize how truly heroic these political leaders are.
One Texas lawmaker, Gene Wu insisted that his fans couldn’t wait to see him when he got to Washington, quote, “Landed safely in D.C. It was wonderful to randomly run into people who recognize me and applauded what we are doing.”
Now, none of the people who are vigorously applauding Gene Wu appear visible in that tweet. But you can rest assured Mr. and Mrs. America, they’re out there. They are just out of camera shot.
Now, presumably, Gene Wu’s many fans, his legions of fans are also applauding as he sat eating lunch in the airport dining area, who documented exactly what he ate in a follow-up tweet just for the historical record, quote, “My first meal as a fugitive. Delicious.”
At some point in the modern era, it becomes a little hard to distinguish between hero and clinical narcissist. Star of TikTok videos state legislator, but whatever, those distinctions don’t mean anything. Gene Wu is a hero for eating those croutons, how big a hero? Well, Gene Wu himself wouldn’t say. He is a man of modesty, obviously.
But another representative from the State of Texas, a fella called Trey Martinez Fischer spelled it out for us. According to Trey Martinez Fischer — can that name be real? We’re going with it — Gene Wu eating salad in an airport is very much like the Civil Rights leaders of old, crossing the bridge in Alabama, taking truncheon blows to the head. You watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREY MARTINEZ FISCHER (D), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: This is the risk that we take to stand up for democracy. I mean, we are talking about voting rights here. There were people who were beaten with clubs and attacked by dogs and people were murdered to protect the sacred rights for this — this threat and this finger-pointing by the Governor is not going to intimidate all of us.
We are strong and united, and we want to bring, you know voting rights reform to this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Edmund Pettus Bridge, Chipotle — same idea, different era.
As you’d expect, Kamala Harris wants in on the action. She has been protesting for Civil Rights since a child growing up in Canada — sorry, America. Since two years old, she has been demanding freedom as she said. So, she has just announced she’s going to meet with these freedom fighters sometime this week.
The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, meanwhile, won’t be there. He has promised to arrest them and bring them back to the State House if they ever return to Texas. So, are they coming back to Texas? No, they’re not, not until the session is over.
So effectively, these freedom fighters, these modern Che Guevara’s, these crossers of the Edmund Pettus Bridge/Chipotle have shut down Texas’s democratically elected government. That’s how you know they are defending democracy, out in the private planes
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor