Tag Archives: Charles Krauthammer

One more point about Dr. Krauthammer

I have written a couple of blog posts in recent days about Charles Krauthammer, the great columnist who died today of cancer at the age of 68.

Both pieces have omitted a reference to Krauthammer. I mentioned — until now — the fact that he lived most of his life as a paraplegic.

Why? It turns out that Dr. Krauthammer didn’t want to be defined by the accident he suffered in his early 20s. He went swimming with a friend. He dived into a pool, hit his head on the floor of the pool — and never walked again.

He went on to pursue his education. He received his medical degree. He developed a psychiatric practice. Then he went into politics and eventually into journalism. He wrote speeches for Vice President Mondale and won a Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. He did all this while sitting in a wheelchair.

Dr. Krauthammer never let his paralysis derail his ambition. Nor did he want to wallow in it.

He was a champion of the first magnitude.

R.I.P., Dr. Krauthammer

It didn’t take long after all.

Charles Krauthammer, the noted newspaper columnist and commentator for Fox News, announced on June 8 that he only had “weeks to live” after receiving a grim prognosis on his valiant battle against cancer.

Today, Fox announced that Krauthammer lost his fight. He died at age 68 of abdominal cancer. I am saddened in the extreme to hear this news.

Dr. Krauthammer was a Renaissance man in the purest sense. He obtained a medical degree from Harvard University and was a practicing psychiatrist when he decided to enter politics. He went to work in the Carter administration, where he wrote speeches for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Then he gravitated toward journalism. His ideology drifted to the right and he became one of the nation’s premier conservative columnists. He wrote with precision and clarity. Dr. Krauthammer signed on with The Washington Post — and then was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the commentary he wrote for the newspaper.

I was proud to run his column in the Amarillo Globe-News for all the years I worked at the newspaper. I’ve noted already that although I didn’t subscribe to his world view, I recognize great writing and clear thinking when I see it. Dr. Krauthammer provided both with his commentary — and I always enjoyed reading his work, thinking often at the time, “Damn! I wish I could write like that.”

American journalism has lost a significant voice. Charles Krauthammer was one of the great ones.

Krauthammer: ‘My fight is over’

Charles Krauthammer could have forged a stellar career in medicine after graduating from Harvard Medical School. He became a psychiatrist.

Then he went into public service, joining the Carter administration and serving as a policy adviser and speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale.

Eventually, Dr. Krauthammer gravitated rightward. He became a columnist, a pundit — and a sharp one at that.

Fox News Channel came along and hired Krauthammer as a contributor to the network, where he burnished his conservative commentary skills and where he became a stalwart of the network’s array of commentators.

Today, this brilliant essayist and pundit has announced that his doctors have given him only “weeks to live.” Krauthammer’s cancer has returned. The prognosis is as grim as it gets.

Allow me this moment to express my profound sadness at what is likely to transpire.

Back when I was working for a living as editorial page editor of the Amarillo Globe-News, Krauthammer emerged as one of my favorite columnists, whose work we published regularly.

He is a brilliant essayist. He writes with precision and is concise in stating whatever view he wants to project.

Did I agree with him? No, but that’s not the point. One need not agree with someone to appreciate and admire his or her work. I admire Krauthammer’s brilliant mind and appreciate the courage with which he speaks. He speaks without outward rancor. He doesn’t “scream” his rhetoric while presenting his view of how the world should turn.

Here is Krauthammer’s note announcing his prognosis, published in the Washington Post, where he worked as a columnist since 1984.

Krauthammer says goodbye

This news saddens me terribly.


You are welcome to take a look at something I wrote in October 2009 about Charles Krauthammer. My thoughts about were as strong then as they are today.

A word or two dispelling a rumor

The man can turn a phrase.



Trump: grand marshal of the clown parade

Donald Trump decided during his 45-minute presidential campaign announcement speech to trash as many groups of people and individuals as he could.

Well done, Donald.


I’ll admit that I didn’t have the stomach to sit through the entire speech, but my favorite part occurred when he dissed Mexicans.

Immigrants are coming into the country to rape, murder and steal from Americans. He said that “I’m sure good people” are coming as well, adding the “good people” reference almost as an afterthought.

He thinks conservative columnist/TV pundit Charles Krauthammer is “overrated.” He trashed all his Republican rivals as being half-hearted and afraid to speak the truth.

As this campaign unfolds, though, I’m waiting anxiously for the Birther in Chief — Trump — to raise the issue of Sen. Ted Cruz’s legitimacy as a candidate, just as continues to do with the current president, Barack Obama.

Cruz was born in Canada; his father is Cuban, his mother is American. Thus, he’s an American citizen by birth — just like President Obama, except that the president was born in one of the 50 United States of America.

Will The Donald suggest that Ted Cruz is not qualified to run for, let alone serve as president?

Gosh, I hope he does — and then reveals why he deserves to be in the lead car in the Parade of Clowns.

The Donald calls this man a ‘clown’?

Words fail me.

Donald Trump has called out one of the smartest commentators/pundits on television, calling him a “clown.”

Dr. Charles Krauthammer was the target of The Donald’s vitriol. Why? Because the commentator had the bad taste to point out that Trump’s poll standing is in the toilet (although he didn’t use that term; it’s mine).


Trump called Krauthammer a “dummy” and maybe a few other unprintable words as well.

The Donald is talking about running for the Republican presidential nomination next year. I don’t think he’s seriously considering such a thing.

Krauthammer is one of Fox News’s go-to guys on the political commentary desk. Do I agree with Krauthammer? Hardly ever. But, man, the guy’s smart.

I should remind you here that Krauthammer once was a medical doctor. He worked as a psychiatrist. I don’t believe “clowns” and “dummies” get medical degrees from reputable universities, as Dr. Krauthammer did.

The real clown here is Donald Trump, a self-absorbed egomaniac with absolutely no sense of self-awareness.

He’s a smart businessman — I reckon. But business smarts do not translate to political smarts — which The Donald demonstrates every time he opens his trap.


War on terror is not 'over'

Politicians hate taking back things they say. They aren’t disposed — given the nature of the work they do — to admit when they’re wrong, at least not openly.

President Obama has declared in recent years that “The war on terror is over.”

I cannot read his mind, but my throbbing bunion and my trick knee are telling me the same thing: He well might wish he could take it back.


He pronounced the end of the war on terror as the United States was pulling its troops out of Iraq. Our ground war there had concluded. All that was left was to fight the Taliban, al-Qaeda and other splinter terror groups in Afghanistan.

The terrorists have taken a terrible beating at the hands of the greatest military apparatus in world history. They keep coming back. Their resilience is astonishing.

Al-Qaeda is now taking credit for the Paris shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo. France is on high alert. French intelligence operatives are looking for a fourth terrorist who reportedly might have fled to Syria; three other terrorists were killed.

The columnist Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist by training who isn’t known as a counterterrorism “expert,” says we’re entering the “third stage of the jihad.” His link is attached to this blog post. I don’t quite understand how he knows what stage this we’re, or how the terrorists measure these things. He’s a smart fellow, though, so perhaps he knows something many of the rest of us don’t know.

I do know, this, though: The president spoke far too prematurely in declaring the “war on terror is over.”

Indeed, some of us have noted since the dark days immediately after 9/11 that the war against international terror may never end. I questioned at the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan how we could declare victory, other than by simply declaring it and going home. The late U.S. Sen. George Aiken, R-Vt., once proposed such a thing — only partly in jest — when he suggested we declare victory in Vietnam and then just leave.

That well might be what President Obama has done. He declared a victory that he couldn’t define.

The Paris attack and all the attacks that have come in the years since 9/11 persuade me, at least, that the war on terror will be ongoing well past the foreseeable future.

I am not expecting an admission of error from the president of the United States. I believe, though, that we ought to stop talking like victors while continuing to act like combatants.

This war isn’t over.


GOP adults start to tamp down 'I-word' talk

Yes, the Republican Party has some actual grownups in its midst.

Some of them are beginning to speak up against the rough talk of the kids within the party about impeaching President Obama if — and when — he issues that executive order on immigration.


Frankly, I don’t quite know how to respond to that tamping down of a possible rebellion.

The president is expected Thursday to issue an order that delays deportation of about 5 million illegal immigrants. Congressional GOP leaders have threatened all kinds of mayhem if/when he goes through with it. Some of those threats include impeachment — which is about as stupid an idea as anything I’ve heard in years.

One of the grownups, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said this: “Impeachment and shutting the entire government down takes the focus away from him to us, There are some people in the conferences that will have their 15 minutes of fame over this. But the rest of us want a Republican Party that can compete across the board in 2016.”

Another of them, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, said this: “Nobody’s talking about the ‘I’ word like the White House and others. They would love for us to take the bait. We’re not going to take the bait.”

Actually, I should point out that some of the young Turks within the GOP caucus have said it, too, along with their friends in the conservative mainstream media, such as columnist/Fox News talking head Dr. Charles Krauthammer.

This is nonsense, but it does give Democrats and other friends of President Obama some ammo to shoot back at the GOP chuckleheads.

Therein lies the source of my mixed feelings.






Yes, stimulus did leave a ‘trace’

Charles Krauthammer’s latest rant against the Obama administration requires a brief response.

The good doctor, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel contributor, has declared that President Obama’s stimulus left no “trace in the sand.”


I have to disagree with that one, Dr. Krauthammer.

He talks about a “jobless recovery” and says the president will leave no legacy when he departs on Jan. 20, 2017, unlike Ike who left us an interstate highway system or FDR, who built “a Hoover Dam.”

Well, let’s try this on for size.

The Obama team took the field with an economy in free fall. We were losing 700,000 jobs a month. Unemployment was rocketing toward 10 percent. Banks were failing. Automobile dealerships were closing. People were defaulting on mortgages they couldn’t afford. Wall Street was cratering, with billions of dollars in personal wealth flying out the window daily.

How did the new guys respond? They pumped money into the market. They enacted tough new lending requirements, placing some rules on lenders, telling them they couldn’t throw money at borrowers on request. They bailed out the auto industry, saving more than a million jobs.

How has the economy responded? Well, the nation’s debt has increased — and I am the first to acknowledge it must come down.

But …

Joblessness is now at 6.6 percent. Is it because everyone’s found work? No. I’ll concede many folks have quit looking for work. Those horrific monthly job losses have turned into modest gains each month. The nation’s budget deficit has been cut in half. The foreclosure rate on homes has slowed to trickle. The stock market has more than regained all the wealth it lost.

Are we in economic nirvana? Of course not. But to suggest, as Charles Krauthammer does routinely, that the economic stimulus and the policies that accompanied have had no positive impact is simply hold fast to the partisan denial that the other guys can do anything right.

Yes, we still have steep hills to climb before we get out of this mess. We’ve made progress — and that’s worth saluting.

Let’s be self-aware, Dr. Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer was a psychiatrist before he became a political pundit.

As such, he surely had some training in medical school about self-awareness, and how to counsel patients who perhaps lack that important emotional quality.

I was struck, therefore, by Dr. Krauthammer’s own lack of self-awareness as he lambasted President Obama for what he called the president’s “repulsive” lack of respect for those on the other side of any given political debate.


Krauthammer told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that the president thinks he’s always right and that his foes are always wrong and that he shows his arrogance regularly when he puts down his adversaries for their so-called “lack of patriotism.”

Isn’t the good doctor listening to the other side? Has he not heard Republicans step way beyond the bounds of decency when they criticize things such as, say, the Affordable Care Act. For that matter, he ought to listen to himself when he levels such criticism at Barack Obama or those allied with the president. All that talk about arrogance and self-assuredness can be directed right back at the individual who makes such a claim in the first place.

I’ve lost count of the number of ACA foes who have proclaimed it to be the “worst legislation” in U.S. history, or those who contend it is the moral equivalent of a terrorist attack on the U.S. health care system. Gosh, I would rate any of the many laws enacted that sanctioned slavery to be quite a bit worse than the ACA.

Does the doctor forget about all the times former Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich proclaimed Democrats to be the “enemy of ‘normal Americans'”? How about the ridiculous assertions that many tea party Republicans have made regarding Obama’s citizenship, allegiance to the country or whether he’s “American” enough to hold the office to which he’s been elected twice?

The other side — Dr. Krauthammer’s side — has plenty of examples of precisely the kind of repulsiveness he lays at Barack Obama’s feet.

‘Regime change’ is hidden strategy

The columnist Charles Krauthammer says any attack on Syria would be a “pointless exercise” if it’s not about “regime change.”


White House press guru Jay Carney says regime change isn’t on the agenda if U.S. forces attack Syrian military installations in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians.

It’s all very interesting. Let me walk us back 20-plus years.

In August 1990, the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent troops into Kuwait to invade and occupy that country. He took Kuwait’s vast oil supply hostage, threatening to cut off supply lines to countries such as the United States.

President George H.W. Bush said immediately the invasion “will not stand.” So he put together a coalition of nations, obtained United Nations approval to strike back at Iraq, then got the Congress to go along with it. The president stated over and over that the aim of any planned response would be to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and nothing more.

A force of more than 500,000 troops, commanded by U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, stood ready to attack.

Then came the first shot of the war, on Jan. 17, 1991. It was a Tomahawk cruise missile launched by the battleship USS Wisconsin. Where did this missile score a direct hit? On the presidential palace in Baghdad.

Had the missile strike killed Saddam Hussein, there would have been a regime change, correct?

No one should be surprised, therefore, if an attack on Syria doesn’t start with a similar targeting strategy.