The right's refusal to look in a mirror

Why Tucker Carlson and other conservatives need to learn how to criticize their own

Tucker Carlson holding a mirror facing away from him.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon, IlyaShapovalov/iStock, Konnat Andreas/iStock)

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton's ouster from the White House is excellent and overdue. "It is great news for America," as Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Tuesday evening, "especially for the large number of young people who would have been killed in pointless wars if Bolton had stayed on the job." Bolton was an inveterate hawk, perpetually undermining the president's better instincts on pursuing diplomacy and extricating America from her many misadventures in the Middle East. And anyway, as Carlson continued, Bolton "fundamentally was a man of the left," and — wait, what?

John Bolton, fundamentally a man of the left? Opposed to abortion and gun control, pro-private sector remedies to recession, unrelentingly aggressive on foreign policy John Bolton? Bomb Iran and invade North Korea John Bolton? Supporter of Barry Goldwater; member of the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump; Fox News commentator John Bolton? That John Bolton?

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.