When we last heard from the petulant conservative pundit Tucker Carlson, he was scolding an aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for not being sufficiently ladylike in an email rebutting a story Carlson's Daily Caller had published about her boss. Then Carlson's brother, the spectacularly named Buckley Carlson, got in on the action, calling the aide a "whiny little self-righteous bitch." It was all very sexist and disgusting, and the Carlson brothers were duly banished from conservative media.
As Mitt Romney might say, "Ha. Ha. Ha."
As members in good standing of the right-wing media, the Carlsons paid no price, so there was our good old chap Tucker on Fox News last night, weighing in on the new Indiana law that provides a legal shield for businesses and individuals who deny services to gay people on religious grounds, informing LGBT equality advocates that their opposition to the bill made them no different than "jihadis."
"All the talk of tolerance that a lot of us sort of took at face value in the ‘90s and even in the last decade — 'Why can’t all of us get along; you accept me, I’ll accept you' — they didn’t mean it at all," Carlson inveighed on Fox's "Special Report with Bret Baier."
"These are absolutists. These are jihadists!" he thundered. "These are people who want to make you obey. They don’t brook any opposition to their worldview at all. They will crush you."'
Watching Carlson's comments, I could hear a stir in my memory bank, and it was no accident. One year ago, during the debate over a similar Arizona measure -- which then-Gov. Jan Brewer ultimately vetoed -- Carlson appeared on Fox to lash out against those who possess the totalitarian idea that gays should not be rendered second-class citizens.
"I mean, if you want to have a gay wedding, fine, go ahead," Carlson said at the time. (Thanks for the permission, Tucker.) He continued, "If I don't want to bake you a cake for your gay wedding, that's okay too. Or should be. That's called tolerance. But when you try and force me to bake a cake for your gay wedding and threaten me with prison if I don't, that's called fascism."
When it comes to Carlson and the radical notion of gay equality, it seems that it's always 1939 -- or 2001, as the case may be.