On Thursday night, after former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, famous for navel-gazing, had announced his presidential candidacy with gloom-filled rhetoric but was celebrated by some in the media as a “rock star,” Fox News’ Tucker Carlson had a test for his guest, radio host Chris Plante: listen to various statements and decide whether they were made by O’Rourke or a “stoned tenth-grader.” After that hilarity, the two men got down to the incredibly negative perspective of the future that O’Rourke purveyed before Carlson had another salient question, asking if using clichés was a sign of lower intelligence, why did journalists resort to the same tired clichés over and over?
The exchange went like this:
Carlson: Chris Plante hosts the Chris Plante Show. He joins us tonight. So Chris, rather than ask you the conventional political questions about who’s up, who's down in this race, I want to do a very quick quiz because it’s Thursday and it’s called “Stoned Tenth Grader or Beto.” I will read you a couple of quotes, and you tell me where this one came from. Stoned tenth grader or Beto. Here's the first one, and I’m quoting now. 'I’m going to take my sweater off and it’s not because he asked about marijuana.' Who said that?"
Plante: I’m going to go with Beto on that.
Carlson, quipping, “There is a reason you won Jeopardy. Yeah. Here is the second. ‘When I was six and seven years old, I didn’t know I wasn’t a Mexican.’"
Plante: I’m going to go with Beto on that one, too.
Carlson: Man, you’re right again! Here’s the last one, and I’m quoting: “I don’t know if it’s a speech or not, but it felt amazing, because every word was pulled out of me, by like some greater force which was just the people there. Everything I said I was like, watching myself, being like, “How am I saying this stuff? Where is this coming from?” So a stoned tenth-grader or Beto?
Plante: Can I combine the two and make it a stoned 46-year-old?
Carlson, laughing, “Yes, you can. Yes, you can … That’s so good. So obviously this is a campaign micro-targeted at morning shows on the other channels, I get that, to the media class. But who else might be taken by this candidacy?
Plante: Well, he has all the qualities, as you describe there, to be DJ on an MTV show or to be on The Bachelor and get a rose and win the date or whatever it is that they win on those shows. But now, the process we have, is instead of winning a rose and getting a date at the end, you get the White House, and that’s basically what this is; it’s a game show. And Beto is the hero, as you said of the morning shows; he was called a “rock star” at least twice. I was only watching for a little while on CNN this morning, “Rock star! Rock star!” And they couldn’t be more excited; they were giddy, and they didn’t bring up anything. There is nothing discouraging or critical you can say of Beto; he is nearly perfect; he is going to prevent the secular apocalypse which looms large in everyone’s mind. I know we have 12 years. Have you noticed we have a 12-year countdown clock but the countdown clock never starts counting down? That they keep using the 12-year, and they’re going to keep using it for years and years; six years from now we’re still going to have 12 years, and that’s their timeline for saving us from ourselves, from the dreaded secular apocalypse.
Today, some of the audio that I played of him today, he’s talking about countries where people now live which will soon be underwater and will be uninhabitable and hundreds of millions of refugees are going to flood to us, and we’d better take them in and learn their languages and do whatever. Barack Obama claimed he would slow the rise of the oceans; I think Beto’s claims are much more grandiose than Obama’s.
Carlson: Can I ask you a non-Beto, I just cannot resist, you’ve been in the media for so long and you know it so well: Linguists have shown that the use of clichés is a marker of low IQ. Dumb people speak entirely in clichés. What does it tell you that almost every political reporter uses the same clichés every four years: “He’s a rock star!” Is no original language allowed in political coverage ever?
Plante: The reporters and more and more the candidates are using the same bumper-sticker language; keep it brief; keep it to the point; keep it simple, stupid; “hope and change.” Today there was no “hope and change,” it was all horror and apocalypse and we’re all going to die; it was the most uninspiring and uninspired message ever heard from a presidential candidate of the United States on their first day running; it was grim and glum. You know, the woman you had on a couple of nights ago who doesn’t want to have children? That’s because she was listening to people like Beto O’Rourke. And we’re all going to die; it’s utterly apocalyptic, and if that’s an inspiring message for the Democrat Party in 2020, then hello President Trump, second-term.
Carlson: So I gotta make a correction. Apparently we just got a call in the control room and we made a mistake; the quote, 'When I was six and seven years old, I didn’t know I wasn’t a Mexican” is not from Beto, it’s from Beto’s dad and it’s not from a stoned tenth-grader either. I just heard that in my ear, so I’d like to apologize and correct.