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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Far-right, GOP love of Russia deepens

Tucker Carlson wishes America was more like Moscow

By Walter Einenkel for Daily Kos

By Clay Bennett
Tucker Carlson followed up his interview of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin with an appearance at the 2024 World Governments Summit in Dubai. Speaking with Egyptian journalist Emad Eldin Adeeb, Carlson praised Putin as “very capable” and fawned over Moscow, where he had just spent eight days as the dictator’s special guest. 

“It is so much nicer than any city in my country,” Tucker effused, adding, “it is so much cleaner and safer and prettier aesthetically—its architecture, its food, its service—than any city in the United States.”

But it wouldn’t be Tucker without more negative hyperbole and nods to fascism. He proceeded to pontificate on how he didn’t believe the “average person” in the U.S. “cares as much about abstractions as about the concrete reality of his life. And if you can't use your subway, for example, as many people are afraid to in New York City because it's too dangerous, you have to sort of wonder, like, isn't that the ultimate measure of leadership?”

Tucker then gushed about other cities, including Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi, that he thinks are nicer than those in America. 

“[T]hese cities, no matter how we're told they're run and on what principles they're run, are wonderful places to live that don't have rampant inflation, where you're not going to get raped,” he said.

Tucker’s fascistic dog-whistling about trains, based on a historic falsehood, is funny coming from a man who had a small television studio built in Maine in 2020 and doesn’t seem to have spent much time in New York City recently, and probably could count on one hand the number of times he’s ever ridden the New York City subway.

And while rape and sexual assault are notoriously underreported, the compilations of the statistics available show New York state has one of the lowest reported rape statistics in the United States.

But there is a trend in Carlson’s Cities I Love travel guide: MoscowDubai, and Abu Dhabi are located in countries that rank poorly in terms of freedom, according to Freedom House, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for human rights and democracy. 

In fact, Freedom House lists Russia and the United Arab Emirates as simply “not free.” Tokyo is the one example that aligns closest to our country’s civil liberties in the group, and Singapore is listed as a “partly free” place to live—unless you’re a rich American visiting with a camera crew, of course.

Carlson then gave his prescription for what ails the cities of America—cities that never existed but that Tucker asserts were alive and well in his childhood’s imagination:

So I'm 54. I was born in 1969. I grew up in a country that had cities like Moscow and Abu Dhabi and Dubai and Singapore and Tokyo, and we no longer have them. And what I have discovered is that's a voluntary choice.

Crime. Same. You don't have to have crime, actually. If you don't put—my children don't smoke marijuana at the breakfast table. Why? Because I won't allow them. It's very simple. It's a short conversation: No. And you can run your country the same way: We're not going to put up with that, so don't do it. And people understand that.

Don’t let that intellectually vacuous and paternalistic analogy blow your hair back too far. Tucker then returned to attacking New York City, calling it “filthy” and complaining that nobody cleans up graffiti anymore. 

He forgets that you have to pay people to do those kinds of things. It’s called infrastructure. The Democratic Party and President Joe Biden passed a bill that forced politicians to put up or shut up while Carlson’s beloved Republicans, under Trump, failed to do anything for America’s cities.