From the Right



Tucker Carlson has become the classic 'ugly' American

Ruben Navarrette Jr. on

SAN DIEGO -- As a Latino opinion writer, I've had lots of people attack me by weaponizing the word "American."

A reader once scolded me for "writing like a Mexican" and told me to "write like an American." After a column where I described my love affair with this country, another reader sniped that my being American was "a technicality." And, on many occasions, I've been informed by people that I'm not "a real American."

Such lovely folks.

And such bold talk from people whose roots in this country may not actually be as deep as mine. Three of my four grandparents were born in the United States; and, in the case of a couple of them, so were their grandparents.

Besides, if we're going to start questioning each other's American identity, Latinos should be the ones checking paperwork. Since America isn't really one country but actually two continents (North and South), it's fair to say that the original "Americanos" had brown skin.

This is a concept that I don't think Tucker Carlson has the intellectual juice to grasp.

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I've known Carlson for about 20 years, and I've always liked him. He's a great writer who has, over the years, also become really good on television. He has suffered setbacks and been fired by CNN and MSNBC. Yet he persevered and worked hard to get to where he is now -- the host of Fox News' primetime show "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

In the late 1990s, sporting his then-trademark bow-tie, Carlson was a political moderate. On most issues -- including immigration -- he was fair and thoughtful.

In October 1997, Carlson wrote an essay criticizing the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), which -- as Carlson noted -- had been called "racist" because of its affiliation with organizations pushing eugenics. Carlson pointed out that FAIR had also shown hostility toward Hispanics, who Executive Director Dan Stein had suggested engage in "competitive breeding." As Carlson put it, all of this left behind "an unpleasant odor."

The Southern California native hosts a cable television show that leaves a stench of its own.


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