The Situation with Tucker Carlson
CARLSON: It‘s hard to imagine Hillary Clinton successfully selling herself to voters as a woman who understands NASCAR, deer hunting, and chewing Copenhagen. But my next guest says Democratic candidates had better start doing just that if they ever want to win another major election.
Dave “Mudcat” Saunders is a Democratic strategist—probably the best in the country—also the author of the book “Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole Rural America and What the Democrats Must Do to Run Them Out.” He‘s also one of the great figures in American politics, and we‘re thrilled to have him here in the studio live.
DAVE “MUDCAT” SAUNDERS, AUTHOR, “FOXES IN THE HENHOUSE”: Thank you, Tucker.
CARLSON: Honored to have you here.
SAUNDERS: I‘m honored to be here.
CARLSON: I want to read you—you may not have read the “New York Times” for tomorrow. This is a piece, some Democrats sensing missed opportunities. This is what Barack Obama tells the “New York Times.” “Two-thirds of the American people think this country is going in the wrong direction,” he says. “They‘re not yet sure whether Democrats can move it in the right direction.”
In other words, Bush is very weak. Why isn‘t Democrats very strong?
What‘s the answer to that?
SAUNDERS: Well, you know, Senator Obama can have his thoughts on this. My thoughts are a little different.
You know, when you take—if you look back at the 2004 campaign, Tucker, there was—you know, we conceded 227 electoral votes from the get-go.
SAUNDERS: I‘m a southern Democrat, and I don‘t believe in conceding any votes. And if you look at the numbers, you know, President Bush only had to get 16 percent of the remaining votes…
CARLSON: Because the South was spoken for.
SAUNDERS: Yes, because he only needed 43 more electoral votes of the remaining 311 votes.
Democrats, you know, the ones I talked to, you know, the ones who talk about tolerance, but the only real tolerance that they really have is for their own intellectual arrogance…
SAUNDERS: … they‘re good at calculus, they‘re good at trig, but they‘re not good at arithmetic. The first thing we‘ve got to do is learn how to add.
Secondly, you know, I feel like that—you know, a little boy lives over the mountains close to me named Cornbread Marshall.
CARLSON: I have no neighbors named Cornbread, by the way, and I wish I did.
SAUNDERS: But anyway, Cornbread Marshall got in a fistfight with his aging daddy. And buddy of mine, Barney Day (ph), ran into him, and he said, “Cornbread, what in the world happened?” And he said, “Well, Daddy whipped the hell out of me.” And he said, “Well, how did that happen?” He said, “Well, he did (INAUDIBLE) more than half the fighting.”
CARLSON: That‘ll do it.
SAUNDERS: And that‘s what Democrats have got to do. We‘ve got to do take the battle—we just can‘t battle in just a handful of states. First, it‘s not fair to the state parties. Senator Kerry, you know, went into Nashville, for instance, had a million-dollar fundraiser, left, took money out. They had state house elections down there, and he‘s gone.
CARLSON: Right. But he ended his campaign with money in the bank, offensively to the Democrats…
SAUNDERS: Fifteen million dollars, which could have bought another 70,000 votes in Ohio.
CARLSON: That‘s exactly right.
Hillary Clinton, if she winds up being the nominee, it‘s hard to believe that she‘s going to inspire Copenhagen-chewers in Kentucky and any of the border states, some of the states that her husband won. Are people going to vote for her?
SAUNDERS: Well, first thing, Tucker, is you‘ve got to remember what her name is. Her name is Clinton. And if people forget that, they‘re making a huge mistake.
Hillary Clinton proved when she won the Senate race in New York that she could go after the Bubba vote, or I think up here they call them bennies (ph).
CARLSON: In upstate New York.
SAUNDERS: Right. And there is not 50 cents difference in (INAUDIBLE) in New York in southwest Virginia and Iowa. The Gallup poll that‘s out that said that 51 percent of Americans said that under no circumstances would they vote for Hillary Clinton.
SAUNDERS: You know, I believe that they believe that, but nobody knows anything about Hillary Clinton. I mean, all they know is they don‘t like her. And, you know, I do my own little focus groups amongst my hunting buddies, and such, and the neighbors. And, you know, you ask somebody about Hillary Clinton in the South, the first thing that comes of their mouth is she‘s a bitch.
SAUNDERS: And you say why? And they said, “Well, because she is.” And then you get to talking to them a little bit more, and they say, “Well, you know, she tried to fool with health care.” And then you say, “Well, shouldn‘t somebody be fooling with health care?” And then when you get down to the bottom of it, what they don‘t like about her is that she‘s—they say she‘s got big ankles. And then they come back…
CARLSON: And what can you do about that?
SAUNDERS: Well, I‘ll tell them exactly this: She‘s not running for Miss America; she‘s running for president of the United States.
CARLSON: So you think it‘s the ankle factor that…
SAUNDERS: Well, I think that there are no real tangibles that the Republicans have to fight Hillary with. I just don‘t see them.
I think that before she‘s out there, before she tells her story—and I go back to this, brother, her name is Clinton.
CARLSON: That strikes fear in my heart. I hope you‘re wrong. I sense you‘re right. I think she‘s probably tougher and more resourceful than we imagine, and I hope she takes no counsel from you, because that would help her.
“Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole Rural American and what Democrats Must Do to Run Them Out,” probably on her bedside right. Mudcat Saunders, thank you.
SAUNDERS: Thank you, Tucker. Come fishing, man.
CARLSON: Oh, I‘m gonna. Don‘t worry.
Stay tuned. Still plenty more ahead on THE SITUATION.