Cal Thomas: The legacy of Charles Krauthammer

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, June 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from member-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: I have often thought that tributes to those we love are best made when the object of our affection is still with us, rather than at their funerals.

EICHER: Cal Thomas now in tribute to a colleague.

THOMAS: Other people know Charles Krauthammer much better than I do. But Krauthammer and I would occasionally cross paths at Fox News when I worked there—and at Washington Nationals baseball games.

Since we all learned about Krauthammer terminal cancer prognosis and that he has just weeks to live, the tributes have poured in.

Many have commented on his brilliance, his dry wit, and his skill at deconstructing arguments made by his political opposites.

r and I would notice his fellow panel members would sometimes sit in stunned silence following an argument he had made that seemed to them irrefutable.

Krauthammer had come a long way from his days as a speechwriter for former Vice President Walter Mondale to political positions directly opposite those of his former boss.

In this Krauthammer was like Ronald Reagan, who also had studied and experienced the weakness of liberal domestic and foreign policies and found the conservative point of view a better path to solving problems.

What I have found most amazing about Charles is that despite an accident in his youth that left him paralyzed, he never complained, at least in my presence — and, more importantly, there is no public record of his having done so.

Neither did he accept or embrace pity. He scooted around in his powered wheelchair and into and out of a van especially configured for him.

While he was unable to exercise his limbs, he exercised his mind to the great benefit of all those who have read his syndicated column and watched him on TV.

He spoke slowly, partly from physical necessity, but also because it helped him make his points and demand a hearing. In the rapid-fire speech characteristic of cable TV, one was more likely to remember what Krauthammer said.

So much of our political discourse today sounds like regurgitated sound bites put out by the White House and the Democratic National Committee. Few speak of solutions with the historical knowledge and deep understanding that Krauthammer possesses.

Like Reagan’s final letter to the American people in which he announced he had Alzheimer’s, but concluded on an optimistic note about the future of America, Krauthammer wrote in his final column that he is grateful for the life he led.

How many able-bodied people can say that?

One might not expect such a sentiment from a man who has experienced the most extreme personal challenges, the last being cancer, which has taken over his body.

Charles Krauthammer has been an inspiration to me in many ways beyond his considerable talent. He has demonstrated an ability to rise well above his circumstances. Krauthammer overcame profound weakness in one area with superior strength in another.

God bless you, Charles.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.

(Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP) In this March 31, 2015 file photo, Charles Krauthammer talks about getting into politics during a news conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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