26 Jun 2018

Charles Krauthammer 1950-2018

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Reading the testimonials, watching the memorials on television throughout the weekend and reflecting on countless insights provided by Dr. Charles Krauthammer greatly deepened our sense of loss in his passing.

Stories of his generosity, his outreach to others so afflicted, his drolleries and his spirituality mark this man as one of the notable examples of humanity of our era.  His was not a voice of craven self-interest, self-promotion or aggression.  His focus was on fact, truth and conveyance of same to his audience.

Seemingly everywhere are the smug, the loud, the self-serving and the loathsome in the pundit class.  His clarity and gentle demeanor made him stand even farther apart from Maher, Bee, Hannity, Maddow.  He was not always correct in his predictions, but he never failed to be thoughtful, reasoned and respectful.

The single most precise capture of the essence of Charles Krauthammer was printed in a Wall Street Journal editorial on June 23, 2018:

“A typical Krauthammer column or TV appearance was a reflection or judgment on fact-based reality.  Which is to say, Charles Krauthammer was old school.  What does that mean?  It means that Krauthammer didn’t do snark and he didn’t sneer at opponents  He often looked impatient when others did.  His humor was sly and never mean-spirited.  He didn’t build his opinions out of emotional resentments.  He wasn’t tribal.  He refused to be any politician’s cheerleader.  He was his own man.  His readers and his viewers liked that.  No, they loved it.”

His demeanor was in stark contrast to a mean-spirited attempted takedown nine years past by Barrett Brown in Vanity Fair.  A photo of Krauthammer has devil’s horns imposed on his forehead and the text niggles at the accuracy of some of his observations.  It was akin to a mosquito berating an elephant.  In addition to Vanity Fair, Brown contributed to the Huffington Post and TrueSlant, whatever that is.

Such naysaying is of little consequence when placed alongside plaudits from the likes of conservative voices including George Will, Irwin Stelzer, Stephen Hayes and Fred Barnes, among others.  His fellow panelists on Fox News Special Report were equally laudatory, particularly host Bret Baier, Juan Williams and A.B. Stoddard.

Krauthammer would be the last to say he was a towering figure, but he was.  What he did say was that he was proud and honored to have played a small role in public discourse on critical issues of the day.  The title of his most recent book, Things That Matter, echoes his walk among us – he mattered.

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