Monday, November 10, 2008

Former Physician Has Incisive Post Mortem of Election

I don't know if you get the opinion columns of Charles Krauthammer in your local paper or if you see them on the Internet, but his latest column, or "post mortem" as he calls it, on the campaign is such a touching and sensitive one, I can only wish, not only that you would read it, but that I might write something equally as good myself one day.

Krauthammer is remarkable in many ways. The son of French-Jewish immigrants he was born in New York City and raised in Canada. After attending Oxford he was in his first year at Harvard Medical School when he was paralyzed in a diving accident. During his year-long hospitalization he studied from his bed and graduated with his class.

What a journey this man has traveled. He became a phychiatrist (doing research still cited in medical textbooks) then came to Washington D.C. during the Carter administration to work for the new president on mental health issues. He ended up writing speeches for Walter Mondale during his failed bid for president. The editor of the New Republic at the time, was Hendrik Hertzberg (now an editor at the New Yorker) and I knew Hertzberg, who was himself a former Carter speechwriter. The Carter connection may explain how Krauthammer ended up with a job at the New Republic, a small but influential magazine. But Krauthammer, as it turned out, was a stealth columnist. Why? Because he had become what Washington was then calling a "neo con" or new conservative--an intellectual who had moved from the left to the right, often, but not always, via their analysis of issues in the Middle East, and because in Ronald Reagan, they found a leader with brains and insight they could support.

If Krauthammer isn't remarkable enough for you yet, keep reading. In 1983 he was hired by Time Magazine, which back then was actually influential, and then in 1985 by the Washington Post, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary. If you want to catch him now on television, he is almost always in the last segment of Brit Hume's newscast on Fox News Channel on cable (6 PM EST) along with kindly Morton Kondracke, egghead William Kristol, and grumpy Fred Barnes.

This has been the long way 'round to tell you about the Krauthammer post mortem on the election, which manages to analyze the race and not use one cliche, avoids the usual recriminations, and unlike Maureen Dowd (whom I adore, but who has grown increasingly strident) actually gives us a dead-on-right analysis.

Here is the web page where you can find it

I had to fill out my name and age and a couple of other things on the Washington Post Web site to get to the column, and I'm hoping you can just click on the link and not have to do that. But if you have to and haven't read the column, just go ahead and do it. (You can always block their junk mail later.) This is a great piece by a really remarkable man and I would be pleased to introduce you to both of them.



To Ms. Robin Chapman

I have read your present article very keenly, as it narrates a persons journey. I enjoyed reading it. What I found more important is the reference of the divide, the divide between two concepts of communism and capitalism.

In the present era, the rift between these two much discussed concepts is being narrower and narrower. If the Eastern European nations make their way creating more employment, it seems that the word 'communism' would ring like 'Shakespearean'. It is also because the countries wearing a purely capitalist label on their hat, too, are tending to drive on the middle lane. Such is the call of the time.

Naval Langa

Robin Chapman said...

Naval, you make a good point. First, Dr. Krauthammer is a fascinating man. And he points out that both American parties are involving government more and more in our lives and in our business. But I hope we will find that this pedulum will swing back again: life is better when the government isn't there looking over our shoulders and our economics are better when each of us is free to succeeed or fail.