[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]
Dear Dr. Steve,
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has announced she will appear with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson Jan. 24 at Calgary's Telus Convention Centre.
Is this worth attending?
And what an event it will be. It's billed as a luncheon — no doubt guests will be asked to refrain from wearing the tablecloths. The polite rule is no white head coverings after Labour Day.
For Danielle Smith and the United Conservative Party, landing a guest star like Tucker Carlson is quite a coup. And in January, too, the traditional Republican coup season. Carlson may not be as visible since getting the boot from his Fox News prime-time slot last April, but he's still a powerful right-wing force. Carlson appeals to the crowd that thinks Fox is too soft on the demonic influence of Halloween costumes and Skittles' “taste the rainbow” commercials.
In a recent interview, Donald Trump was asked if he would consider naming Carlson as his vice-presidential running mate. “I'd say I would,” Trump answered, “because he's got great common sense.”
Having Trump praise you for common sense is like being called tasteful by a dung beetle. It's like having a tapeworm compliment your table manners. It's like being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Vladimir Putin.
But Carlson would indeed be a natural Trump accompanist, having said that immigrants make America dirtier, white supremacy is a hoax and the racist paranoid “Great Replacement” theory is real, and generally providing a steady backbeat to Trump's caterwauling melody. (A Trump-Carlson ticket might be awkward since, in an internal email revealed during the Dominion Voting Systems case, Carlson said he hated Trump “passionately.” But this is probably best understood as a Wuthering Heights-type deal. Heathcliff and Cathy had their lovers' tiffs, too.)
Come January, it will be Smith and Carlson together, just a couple of rage farmers comparing their favourite brands of fertilizer. Smith might be expected to play second fiddle to the former Fox host in Calgary. But for all Carlson's fame, Smith has a puncher's chance to come out of this showdown on top.
Don't forget, Smith has enjoyed her own career in wackadoodle broadcasting.
And if they decide to start one-upping each other, Smith has a real shot at emerging triumphant. It'll be like watching two hungry raccoons in a trash-eating contest.
Compare quotes: Carlson once said he was cheering for Putin?
Smith said she wouldn't wear a Remembrance Day poppy to protest vaccination and mask mandates, and compared vaccine promoters to Nazi supporters.
Carlson once touted testicle tanning?
Smith once said that anything short of Stage 4 cancer is your own fault.
And Smith can then deliver a KO punch with her astounding 2003 claim that cigarette smoking is good for your health, with up to a half-pack a day reducing the risk of heart disease. Unless he wants to go full flat-Earth theory, a defeated Tucker Carlson will surely have to tap out after that.
And unlike Trump, Smith got re-elected legitimately. With a Texas birth certificate, she'd be a Republican superstar.
Who will come away from this luncheon looking fringier? Will Premier Smith succeed in making Carlson look like a milquetoast moderate? Will Fox News talent spotters find their next Judge Jeanine? Will there be enough ranch dressing to go around?
Forget Taylor Swift, that liberal shill — in the right circles, this luncheon is going to be the hot ticket for 2024. Enjoy your tuna melt on white.