Tucker Carlson Spins High Tech At VARBusiness 500 Awards

At last night's VARBusiness 500 Awards dinner in New York City, the "Crossfire" co-host entertained attendees with a witty address on topics ranging from the 2004 presidential election to what what makes the high-tech industry so special to politicians.

"If you work in the energy industry, or in healthcare, it really matters whether the White House and Congress are in Republican or Democratic hands," Carlson explained (in terms of regulation and taxation). But not so for high tech.

"When I heard (candidate) George Bush's high-tech agenda, I thought to myself, this is the exact same agenda as Al Gore's" (on high-tech visas, encryption standards, and the internet tax moratorium). In fact, just about every major politician, of both parties, favors a hands-off approach regarding technology companies.

Tech's favored status doesn't come from donations--other than Microsoft's lobbying related to it's antitrust trial, high tech companies are virtual no-shows among political donors. Carlson ran off a list of major high tech companies and concluded, "their contributions to the 2000 presidential campaign, combined, were less than half that of Outback Steakhouse."

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So what causes, high-tech's favored treatment? Carlson concluded that politicians response to high tech comes from a very personal place: "Politicians think high tech is cool--They know it runs the world, but they don't know how, and they're afraid to mess with it."

In discussing the upcoming presidential election, Carlson took some exception to the 'conventional wisdom' that George Bush is unbeatable. All wars (including the war on terrorism, along with Afghanistan and Iraq) "make government bigger, and during war, people like government more," Carlson said, suggesting that was a trend that could work against Republicans. "If the election comes down to--which party will give you more stuff--Republicans can't win at that game."

A Bush supporter, Carlson several times rooted for Al Sharpton to prevail among Democrats, as a means to wreck their chances. But, according to Carlson, whoever does become the Democratic nominee, must be able to combat the impression that Republicans will better protect the country from terrorism, or they will surely go down to defeat.