My Tucker Carlson Encounter
American Enterprise Institute held its 2009 Annual Dinner tonight, honoring Charles Murray with the Irving Kristol Award. But the really important news is that I saw, nay, was in close proximity to Tucker Carlson!
That’s right, him——->
Now, I am not a card-carrying Republican, but in substance I definitely lean right politically. I think free markets basically promote prosperity across the board, that individual choice (including the choice of how to spend our hard-earned money) should be infringed upon as little as possible, that our government ought to try to do much less and do it much better, and that we ought to exercise a great deal of caution and restraint when evaluating our policies and values. In my personal style, however, I’m pretty free-spirited, emotionally sensitive, idealistic, and relatively disinterested in maintaining order – I tend to value freedom more. In other words, my style is somewhat more liberal than the substance of my political views (but actually, my style is probably more libertarian than it is liberal). Anyway, what I’m getting at is that I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with avowed conservatives, even if I basically agree with them, but Tucker Carlson is a conservative-ish guy whose style I really appreciate. A lot of it has to do with his sense of humor, I think. He just seems like a cool guy, someone I’d want to sit around a dinner table and joke with. Well, tonight I almost had my chance!
So, at the beginning of tonight’s dinner we were each given a seating booklet to know where to sit. As the booklet basically doubled as a guest list, I curiously perused it to see if there were any famous people in attendance that I’d recognize (admittedly, I’m not very in-the-know politically, so it was a little bit of a long shot). Well, as predicted, there were very few names I recognized – but Tucker Carlson I knew! Interns like myself, of course, had previously been discouraged from making fools of ourselves by seeking photo-ops and autographs from famous people, and even without that admonition I was not eager to just barge in on a stranger and try to strike up a rapport . So I didn’t give a meeting with Tucker too much thought, and just enjoyed my time with the other interns and their guests. Later on in the evening when it was acceptable for people to be up and walking around the dining hall, I made my rounds in search of DC celebrities to gawk at, and came up empty-handed. No Tucker. Still, when it came time to call it a night, I bid farewell to my friends, and headed for the door to the stairway without any further thought about meeting Tucker Carlson.
As I passed through the door, however, I turned back to see if I had missed saying goodbye to anyone I knew (and, frankly, to take one more look at all the well-dressed and, in many cases, attractive ladies). Two men passed by me through the doorway, and I smiled politely at them as I scanned the room. Having had my last look at the festivities, I turned to the stairs, ascending just a few feet behind the two men who had passed just seconds before. Well, it took me about a second to recognize the voice of the taller man as they were talking – that’s right, Tucker Carlson! “This could be my chance, don’t blow it!”, I thought to myself. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have an “in” with them, so I just smiled to myself and tried to act like I wasn’t secretly pleased to be in the presence of a famous guy I think is cool. I swear that he turned to look at me once or twice (perhaps wondering “Who is this strange, smiling kid behind us?”), but his attention was soon enough diverted by his encountering other friends. Not wanting to be creepy, I just walked past, as he made some joke about libertarian gatherings with his friends. Soon enough, our crossed paths diverged, and I was left to contemplate on my brush with a famous cool guy.
It’s too bad that he and I didn’t at least get to have some sort of verbal exchange. But even if I had gotten a chance to say something, it probably wouldn’t have been too witty or impressive; most of my conversational energy had already been used up that evening and, being both weary and an introvert, I needed some time to rest before I could again engage in banter. Also, he looked like he had had a few drinks, and in my experience (with others who are drinking, that is), alcohol tends to dilute the quality of conversation anyway. Then again, I wasn’t looking for a heart-to-heart, I just wanted to meet him! Oh well, another time, I guess. I hear he’s working at the Cato Institute these days…