Charles Krauthammer

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I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking.

Charles Krauthammer (March 13, 1950 - June 21, 2018) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and political commentator. He wrote a weekly column syndicated to more than 400 newspapers worldwide, including The Washington Post. He was also a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard, a panelist on Fox News's Special Report with Bret Baier, and a panelist on the PBS news program Inside Washington.


I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.




  • There is no comparing the brutality and cynicism of today’s pop culture with that of forty years ago: from High Noon to Robocop is a long descent.
    • International Herald Tribune (31 October 1990), as cited in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993), edited by Robert Andrews, p. 711


Eureka! A Modest Genius (1993)
"Eureka! A Modest Genius" in The Washington Post (2 July 1993)
  • In science, modesty and genius do not coexist well together. (In Washington, modesty and cleverness don’t.) Einstein is perhaps the most famous exception to the rule.
  • Courage is not a quality one normally associates with mathematicians. Yet it should apply to people who work in their attics in secret for seven years without cease on a problem that has eluded the greatest mathematical minds since first proposed in 1637.


  • Communism always had sympathetic Westerners who amounted to a fifth column, including communist parties and intellectuals. Its appeal made it a double threat, internal and external. In the old days, communist parties were on the verge of getting parliamentary majorities in some European countries. That threat doesn't exist with Islam. The fundamentalists have nothing like that demographic or political import, even in Europe. The Muslim population in America is not much fundamentalist, nor radicalized. Rather, it accepts American religious pluralism and lives, like other religions, in a quite harmonious and pluralistic way.
    Of all the ideologies remaining in the world in the debris of the collapsed Soviet empire, fundamentalist Islam is the only one that, at least in our lifetime, appears to pose a serious problem to the West. It's the only expressly anti-Western ideology of any importance in the world and it means to destroy the Western position, Western institutions, Western culture, wherever it can. This occurred in Iran, and will happen again in Algeria. Should fundamentalists take power in Egypt, there will be profound geopolitical consequences. A region very important to us will be destabilized, with many problems resulting. Once that happens, we'll be asking ourselves why we weren't worrying about this years ago.
  • There's something in the Western psyche, especially the Western liberal, pluralistic psyche, that finds it impossible to believe that radical ideologues mean what they say. We didn't believe communists or fascists, and in the early days we found it impossible to believe the Khomeinists. Yet these are people who do believe what they say. Attempts to moderate their behavior invariably fail; these are exercises in our heads. We need a policy of strong opposition to the fundamentalists and of strong support for those Muslims who stand up to them.
    • Interview with Charles Krauthammer: America's "Great Success Story", in Middle East Quarterly (December 1994)
Political Suicide (1994)
"Political Suicide", The Washington Post (28 October 1994)
  • Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country — and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians.


  • In the Middle Ages people took potions for their ailments. In the 19th century they took snake oil. Citizens of today’s shiny, technological age are too modern for that. They take antioxidants and extract of cactus instead.
  • Late in the game, Blue's king was under savage attack by Kasparov. Any human player under such assault by a world champion would be staring at his own king trying to figure out how to get away. Instead, Blue ignored the threat and quite nonchalantly went hunting for lowly pawns at the other end of the board. In fact, at the point of maximum peril, Blue expended two moves--many have died giving Kasparov even one--to snap one pawn. It was as if, at Gettysburg, General Meade had sent his soldiers out for a bit of apple picking moments before Pickett's charge because he had calculated that they could get back to their positions with a half-second to spare.


At Last, Zion (1998)
"At Last, Zion" in The Weekly Standard (11 May 1998)
  • Israel is different. In Israel the great temptation of modernity — assimilation — simply does not exist. Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity. It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store.


Nixon on the Couch (1999)
"Nixon On the Couch" at The Washington Post (15 October 1999)
  • I don't really care what a public figure thinks. I care about what he does. Let God probe his inner heart.
  • Obsession with self is the motif of our time.




The Enemy is not Islam. It is Nihilism (2001)
"The Enemy Is Not Islam. It Is Nihilism." (22 October 2001), The Weekly Standard
  • Reading conventional notions of class struggle and anti-colonialism into bin Laden, the Taliban, and radical Islam is not just solipsistic. It is nonsense. If poverty and destitution, colonialism and capitalism are animating radical Islam, explain this: In March, the Taliban went to the Afghan desert where stood great monuments of human culture, two massive Buddhas carved out of a cliff. At first, Taliban soldiers tried artillery. The 1,500-year-old masterpieces proved too hardy. The Taliban had to resort to dynamite. They blew the statues to bits, then slaughtered 100 cows in atonement-for having taken so long to finish the job. Buddhism is hardly a representative of the West. It is hardly a cause of poverty and destitution. It is hardly a symbol of colonialism. No. The statues represented two things: an alternative faith and a great work of civilization. To the Taliban, the presence of both was intolerable.
  • [R]adical Islam is heir, above all, to Nazism. The destruction of the World Trade Center was meant not only to wreak terror. Like the smashing of the Bamiyan Buddhas, it was meant to obliterate greatness and beauty, elegance and grace. These artifacts represented civilization embodied in stone or steel. They had to be destroyed. This worship of death and destruction is a nihilism of a ferocity unlike any since the Nazis burned books, then art, then whole peoples. Goebbels would have marvelled at the recruitment tape for al Qaeda, a two-hour orgy of blood and death: image after image of brutalized Muslims shown in various poses of victimization, followed by glorious images of desecration of the infidel-mutilated American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of the USS Cole, mangled bodies at the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Once again, the world is faced with a transcendent conflict between those who love life and those who love death both for themselves and their enemies. Which is why we tremble. Upon witnessing the first atomic bomb explode at the Trinity site at Alamogordo, J. Robert Oppenheimer recited a verse from the Hindu scripture "Bhagavad Gita": "Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." We tremble because for the first time in history, nihilism will soon be armed with the ultimate weapons of annihilation. For the first time in history, the nihilist will have the means to match his ends. Which is why the war declared upon us on September 11 is the most urgent not only of our lives, but in the life of civilization itself.


  • When under attack, no country is obligated to collect permission slips from allies to strike back.
    • "The Axis of Petulance" in The Washington Post (1 March 2002)


  • The way I see it, dogs had this big meeting, oh, maybe 20,000 years ago. A huge meeting — an international convention with delegates from everywhere. And that's when they decided that humans were the up-and-coming species and dogs were going to throw their lot in with them. The decision was obviously not unanimous. The wolves and dingoes walked out in protest.


Reagan Was More Than Just An Optimist (2004)
Column, 11 June 2004, “Reagan Was More Than Just An Optimist” on
  • 'Optimism' is the perfect way to trivialize everything that Reagan was or did. […] Optimism? Every other person on the No. 6 bus is an optimist. What distinguished Reagan was what he did and said. Reagan was optimistic about America amid the cynicism and general retreat of the post-Vietnam era because he believed unfashionably that America was both great and good.


  • My proposition is this: A vast number of Americans who oppose legalization and fear new waves of immigration would change their minds if we could radically reduce new — i.e., future — illegal immigration. Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put in cameras. Put in sensors. Put out lots of patrols.
Pandora and Polygamy (2006)
"Pandora and Polygamy" in The Washington Post (17 March 2006)
  • In an essay 10 years ago, I pointed out that it is utterly logical for polygamy rights to follow gay rights. After all, if traditional marriage is defined as the union of (1) two people of (2) opposite gender, and if, as advocates of gay marriage insist, the gender requirement is nothing but prejudice, exclusion and an arbitrary denial of one's autonomous choices in love, then the first requirement — the number restriction (two and only two) — is a similarly arbitrary, discriminatory and indefensible denial of individual choice.


  • In explaining any puzzling Washington phenomenon, always choose stupidity over conspiracy, incompetence over cunning. Anything else gives them too much credit.


  • The new Detroit churning out Schumer-mobiles will make the steel mills of the Soviet Union look the model of efficiency.
  • Obama was quite serious when he said he was going to change the world. And now he has a national crisis, a personal mandate, a pliant Congress, a desperate public -- and, at his disposal, the greatest pot of money in galactic history.
  • If you’re very very rich, you can buy your Senate seat by spending as much of your money as you want. Meanwhile, your poor plebian opponent is running around groveling for the small contributions allowed by law. Hence the Corzines and the Kohls, who parachute into Congress seemingly out of nowhere. Having given this leg up to the rich, we should resist packing our legislatures with yet more privileged parachutists, the well-born. True, the Brits did it that way for centuries, but with characteristic honesty. They established a house of Parliament exclusively for high-born twits and ensconced them there for life. There they chatter away in supreme irrelevance deep into their dotage. Problem is that the U.S. Senate retains House of Commons powers even as it develops a House of Lords membership.


  • Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating. […] For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians.
  • In these most recent 20 years -- the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world -- America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The two Balkan interventions -- as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) -- were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?
  • Science has everything to say about what is possible. Science has nothing to say about what is permissible.
  • If Obama has his way, the change that is coming is a new America: "fair," leveled and social democratic. Obama didn't get elected to warranty your muffler. He's here to warranty your life.
  • Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. An innocent's life is at stake. The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge. In such a case, the choice is easy.
  • Obama offered Muslims a careful admonition about women's rights, noting how denying women education impoverishes a country — balanced, of course, with this: "Issues of women's equality are by no means simply an issue for Islam." Example? "The struggle for women's equality continues in many aspects of American life." Well, yes. On the one hand, there certainly is some American university where the women's softball team has received insufficient Title IX funds — while, on the other hand, Saudi women showing ankle are beaten in the street, Afghan school girls have acid thrown in their faces, and Iranian women are publicly stoned to death for adultery. (Gays as well — but then again we have Prop 8.) We all have our shortcomings, our national foibles. Who's to judge?
  • Look up from your BlackBerry one night. That is the moon. On it are exactly 12 sets of human footprints -- untouched, unchanged, abandoned. For the first time in history, the moon is not just a mystery and a muse, but a nightly rebuke. A vigorous young president once summoned us to this new frontier, calling the voyage "the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked." And so we did it. We came. We saw. Then we retreated. How could we?
  • Except for the demented orphan, the living will is quite beside the point. The one time it really is essential is if you think your fractious family will be only too happy to hasten your demise to get your money. That’s what the law is good at — protecting you from murder and theft. But that is a far cry from assuring a peaceful and willed death, which is what most people imagine living wills are about.
  • Affluent enviros are all for wind farms, until one is proposed that might mar the serenity of a sail from the crew-necked precincts near Nantucket Sound. Then it's clean energy for thee, not for me.
  • The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline — or continued ascendancy — is in our hands.
  • The UN is worse than disaster. The UN creates conflicts. Look at the disgraceful UN Human Rights Council. It transmits norms which are harmful, anti-liberty, and anti-Semitic among other things. The world would be better off in its absence.
  • In the course of his presidency, Obama has gone from an almost magical charismatic figure to an ordinary politician. Ordinary. Average. His approval ratings are roughly equal to what the last five presidents' were at the same time in their first term. […] He will not be the great transformer he imagines himself to be. A president like others -- with successes and failures.
  • What made Obama unique was that he was the ultimate charismatic politician -- the most unknown stranger ever to achieve the presidency in the United States. No one knew who he was, he came out of nowhere, he had this incredible persona that floated him above the fray, destroyed Hillary, took over the Democratic Party and became president. This is truly unprecedented: A young unknown with no history, no paper trail, no well-known associates, self-created.
  • Longevity for a columnist is a simple proposition: once you start, you don't stop. You do it until you die, or can no longer put a sentence together. It has always been my intention to die at my desk, although my most cherished ambition is to outlive the estate tax.




  • From the very beginning, President Obama has relentlessly tried to play down and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face. […] Hence, Guantanamo will close, CIA interrogators will face a special prosecutor, and Khalid Sheik Mohammed will bask in a civilian trial in New York — a trifecta of political correctness and image management. And just to make sure even the dimmest understand, Obama banishes the term "war on terror." […] Obama may have declared the war over. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has not. Which gives new meaning to the term "asymmetric warfare."
  • Obama’s NASA budget perfectly captures the difference between Kennedy's liberalism and Obama's. Kennedy's was an expansive, bold, outward-looking summons, Obama's is a constricted inward-looking call to retreat. Fifty years ago, Kennedy opened the New Frontier. Obama has just shut it.
One year out: Obama's fall (2010)
Column, January 15, 2010, "One year out: Obama's fall" at
  • Ideas matter. Legislative proposals matter. Slick campaigns and dazzling speeches can work for a while, but the magic always wears off.
  • To his credit, Obama didn't just come to Washington to be someone. Like Reagan, he came to Washington to do something -- to introduce a powerful social democratic stream into America's deeply and historically individualist polity.
The great peasant revolt of 2010 (2010)
Column, January 29, 2010, "The great peasant revolt of 2010" at
  • It is an old liberal theme that conservative ideas, being red in tooth and claw, cannot possibly emerge from any notion of the public good.
  • For liberals, the observation that 'the peasants are revolting' is a pun. For conservatives, it is cause for uncharacteristic optimism. No matter how far the ideological pendulum swings in the short term, in the end the bedrock common sense of the American people will prevail.
The joys of losing (2010)
Column, April 23, 2010, "The joys of losing" at
  • The joy of losing consists in this: Where there are no expectations, there is no disappointment.
  • Baseball is a slow, boring, complex, cerebral game that doesn't lend itself to histrionics. You "take in" a baseball game, something odd to say about a football or basketball game, with the clock running and the bodies flying.


Are we alone in the universe? (2011)
Column, December 30, 2011, "Are we alone in the universe?" at
  • As the romance of manned space exploration has waned, the drive today is to find our living, thinking counterparts in the universe. For all the excitement, however, the search betrays a profound melancholy — a lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering voice amid utter silence.
  • For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics, and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft). Because if we don't get politics right, everything else risks extinction.
  • We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics – in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations – is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it. Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history.


  • An oil crisis looms, prices are spiking — and our president is extolling algae. After Solyndra, Keystone and promises of seaweed in their gas tanks, Americans sense a president so ideologically antipathetic to fossil fuels — which we possess in staggering abundance — that he is utterly unserious about the real world of oil in which the rest of us live.
  • This administration came out opposing military tribunals, wanting to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed in New York, reading the Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights and trying mightily […] to close Guantanamo. Yet alongside this exquisite delicacy about the rights of terrorists is the campaign to kill them in their beds. You festoon your prisoners with rights — but you take no prisoners. The morality is perverse. Which is why the results are so mixed.
  • The greatest threat to a robust, autonomous civil society is the ever-growing Leviathan state and those like Obama who see it as the ultimate expression of the collective. Obama compounds the fallacy by declaring the state to be the font of entrepreneurial success. How so? It created the infrastructure — roads, bridges, schools, Internet — off which we all thrive. Absurd. We don't credit the Swiss postal service with the Special Theory of Relativity because it transmitted Einstein’s manuscript to the Annalen der Physik.
  • I was a Great Society liberal on domestic issues. People ask me, 'How do you go from Walter Mondale to Fox News?' The answer is, 'I was young once.' End of answer.
  • I believe in what I believe, and I think after all these years I've heard a lot of arguments, and I'm convinced by the superiority of the arguments that are made on the conservative side. I think that's a better way to run a society.
Roots of mass murder: Getting serious about stopping the psychotic (2012)
Column, December 21, 2012, "Roots of mass murder: Getting serious about stopping the psychotic" at
  • We live in an entertainment culture soaked in graphic, often sadistic, violence. Older folks find themselves stunned by what a desensitized youth finds routine, often amusing. It’s not just movies. Young men sit for hours pulling video-game triggers, mowing down human beings en masse without pain or consequence. And we profess shock when a small cadre of unstable, deeply deranged, dangerously isolated young men go out and enact the overlearned narrative.


In defense of Obama’s drone war (2013)
Column, February 15, 2013, "In defense of Obama’s drone war" at
  • It’s the jihadists who decided to make the world a battlefield and to wage war in perpetuity. Until they abandon the field, what choice do we have but to carry the fight to them?
Obama's war on global warming is economic suicide (2013)
Column, July 5, 2013, "Obama’s war on global warming is economic suicide" at
  • I’m not against a global pact to reduce CO2. Indeed, I favor it. But in the absence of one — and there is no chance of getting one in the foreseeable future — there is no point in America committing economic suicide to no effect on climate change, the reversing of which, after all, is the alleged point of the exercise. For a president to propose this with such aggressive certainty is incomprehensible. It is the starkest of examples of belief that is impervious to evidence. And the word for that is faith, not science.
Detroit Ran Into The Inviolable Rule Of Economics (2013)
Column, July 26, 2013, "Detroit Ran Into The Inviolable Rule Of Economics" at
  • It doesn’t take a genius to see what happens when the entitlement state outgrows the economy upon which it rests. The time of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, the rest of insolvent social-democratic Europe — and now Detroit — is the time for conservatives to raise the banner of Stein's Law and yell, ‘Stop.’ You can kick the can down the road, but at some point it disappears over a cliff.
Obamacare laid bare (2013)
Column, November 1, 2013, "Obamacare laid bare" at
  • The free lunch is the essence of modern liberalism.
The growing breakdown of political norms (2013)
Column, November 29, 2013, "The growing breakdown of political norms" at
  • If a bare majority can change the fundamental rules that govern an institution, then there are no rules. Senate rules today are whatever the majority decides they are that morning. What distinguishes an institution from a flash mob is that its rules endure. They can be changed, of course. But only by significant supermajorities. That’s why constitutional changes require two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of the states. If we could make constitutional changes by majority vote, there would be no Constitution. As of today, the Senate effectively has no rules. Congratulations, Harry Reid. Finally, something you will be remembered for.
Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics (2013)
  • Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything — high and low and, most especially, high — lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933. […] Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns.
    • Introduction
  • The results of the Great Society experiments started coming in and began showing that, for all its good intentions, the War on Poverty was causing irreparable damage to the very communities it was designed to help.
    • Introduction
  • To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.
  • We no longer have to search for a name for the post-Cold War era. It will henceforth be known as the age of terrorism. Organized terror has shown what it can do; execute the single greatest massacre in American history, shut down the greatest power on the globe and send its leaders into underground shelters. All this, without even resorting to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons of mass destruction. This is a formidable enemy. To dismiss it as a bunch of cowards perpetrating senseless acts of violence is complacent nonsense. People willing to kill thousands of innocents while they kill themselves are not cowards. They are deadly, vicious warriors and need to be treated as such. Nor are their acts of violence senseless. They have a very specific aim: to avenge alleged historical wrongs and to bring the great American satan to its knees.


  • Remember how Democrats were complaining that Republicans were trying to overturn Obamacare, it was somehow unpatriotic, because it was an attack on the law of the land. This law of the land doesn’t even exist. It exists in Obama’s head. It’s whatever he thinks. He wakes up in the morning and decides what the law is gonna be.
    • Fox News Special Report, February 12, 2014 : panel discussion ; video clip at
Thought Police on Patrol (2014)
Column, April 10, 2014, "Thought Police on Patrol" at
  • The left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation — no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.


[P]eople misunderstand Israel, and see it now in colonial, imperialist terms is because it’s a unique event in human history. The British colonization of North America, New Zealand, Australia, the Dutch in South Africa, they came to places that they had never been to. That’s colonialism. You put your people in there. You takeover. You marginalize the natives if you can. You may not succeed. In South Africa, that’s colonialism.
Interview with Bill Kristol (2015)
Interview with Bill Kristol (13 March 2015)
  • I never had a Marxist phase. If I did it lasted a weekend, and it must have been a hell of a weekend because I don’t remember it...
  • There’s a reason why the French are on their fifth republic, and we are on our first, and that’s because we did not have a worship of reason at the beginning of the Founding as the French did, and then discovered that the purity, the Rousseauian idea is simply not one for the real world, or not one that avoids the guillotine...
  • [P]eople misunderstand Israel, and see it now in colonial, imperialist terms is because it’s a unique event in human history. The British colonization of North America, New Zealand, Australia, the Dutch in South Africa, they came to places that they had never been to. That’s colonialism. You put your people in there. You takeover. You marginalize the natives if you can. You may not succeed. In South Africa, that’s colonialism. So they see the Jews arriving in what’s called Palestine, and that’s the parallel, the only one they understand. They can’t put their heads around the fact that this is a people returning to their home. That they never gave up title to. They never gave up their longing for. It was repeated in their rituals three times a day, it wasn’t like once a year, let’s remember the homeland.


Donald Trump and the fitness threshold (2016)
"Donald Trump and the fitness threshold" at The Washington Post (4 August 2016)
I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied.
  • Donald Trump, the man who defied every political rule and prevailed to win his party’s nomination, last week took on perhaps the most sacred political rule of all: Never attack a Gold Star family. Not just because it alienates a vital constituency but because it reveals a shocking absence of elementary decency and of natural empathy for the most profound of human sorrows — parental grief.
    Why did Trump do it? It wasn’t a mistake. It was a revelation. It’s that he can’t help himself. His governing rule in life is to strike back when attacked, disrespected or even slighted. To understand Trump, you have to grasp the General Theory: He judges every action, every pronouncement, every person by a single criterion — whether or not it/he is “nice” to Trump.
  • Of course we all try to protect our own dignity and command respect. But Trump’s hypersensitivity and unedited, untempered Pavlovian responses are, shall we say, unusual in both ferocity and predictability.
    This is beyond narcissism. I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him.
  • A gaffe in Washington is when a politician inadvertently reveals the truth, especially about himself.
  • In 1980, Reagan had to do just one thing: pass the threshold test for acceptability. He won that election because he did, especially in the debate with Jimmy Carter in which Reagan showed himself to be genial, self-assured and, above all, nonthreatening. You may not like all his policies, but you could safely entrust the nation to him. Trump badly needs to pass that threshold. If character is destiny, he won’t.


A note to readers (2018)
His last column, announcing that he was dying of cancer, "A note to readers" in The Washington Post (8 June 2018)

Quotes about Krauthammer

  • @krauthammer: On sale today. Things That Matter in paperback. With a new section on the Obama years.
    • Tweet by Donald Trump 4 June 2015.
      • Charles loved that. He literally said he wanted to put that quote on the cover.
        • Bret Baier ; from the Fox News Special "Charles Krauthammer : His Words" 24 June 2018.
  • Over the more than twenty years that I knew him, Charles thought about death every day. He told me that once. If that sounds morose, it was just the opposite. Because he was one of those rare people with the courage to look reality squarely in the face, Charles radiated a calm cheerfulness. He knew what was coming. He'd been very close to it before. He didn't want to leave, but it didn't scare him. […] 'I lived the life that I intended,' he wrote, and there is no higher achievement than that.
  • He was literally in a class by himself. He was […] one of a kind. And […] for all of the sharpness of his thought and writing […] he was extraordinarily kind and gentle. And the combination made you love him. And we did. All of us did. The audience did. You couldn't help it. […] He was a giant of our time, and of our trade. […] He wrote beautifully ; he was careful about his facts ; he thought things through ; and he conducted himself with extraordinary dignity and grace. […] You couldn't dislike him. You couldn't help but admire him. […] Even if you disagreed with him, you recognized the power of his thought, the thoroughness of his research, and the quality of his writing. And […] if you knew him personally, there was that wonderful quality that he had – that kindness, that gentleness, that grace – and […] if you knew what he’d been through, and you could see what he’d overcome, and you saw the way he’d handled all that, […] you admired him as you probably didn’t admire anyone else. I can’t think of anyone on earth that I admired more than Charles Krauthammer, and I admire him to this day.
  • Charles was a conservative intellectual, and he looked at things the way they were. He wasn't a knee-jerk anything. [...] I think that his passing is such a loss for conservatism - it's such a loss for public discourse, which, as Mort {Kondracke] just said, is getting more toxic and tribal and ugly by the day - Charles was the antidote to all of that. [...] He also had an incredibly sweet, sunny disposition. I don't think I ever saw Charles dark or angry at anything. And I think that's why he was able to [...] persevere through all of the incredible obstacles that life handed out to him, which he did not dwell on for a second.
  • He was one of the most intelligent and honest men I have ever known. […] Charles led a life of change, breaking away and rebuilding with every new generation. He succeeded out of sheer will and a type of quiet passion. His was a life of growth and discovery. And, for the many of us who knew him or followed his writings, there was a genuine genius to his 68-year journey.
  • I worked for him as a research assistant out of college. I was scared the entire time. Not because he did anything to make me feel uncomfortable – he'd be incapable of that – but […] he had a formidable dignity to him, and you always knew you were in the presence […] of a superior intellect. I think he ranks with Bill Buckley, Irving Kristol – as among the top conservative intellectuals of the last fifty years. He was one of the great defenders of our civilization and he represented what was best about it, and his voice will be missed and never replaced.
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