Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Charles Krauthammer's Towering Vision

I can't really improve on what my blogging colleagues have offered in defense of Charles Krauthammer. But at least let me explain.

In an interview at The Politico, Joe Klein has attacked Krauthammer's views as a commentator on the basis of the latter's quadriplegia.* Klein asserts, "There’s something tragic about him," referring to Krauthammer's physical disability and confinement to a wheelchair. "His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he’s writing about."

Why Klein found it necessary - whatsoever - to mention Krauthammer's physical immobility is beyond me. The legitimate evaluation of another's ideas should be on the basis of accuracy, insight, rigor, wisdom, and all those other superlatives we normally lavish upon those who illuminate the great questions of the day. Even with those whom we disagree, civil and reasoned discussion would indicate the appropriate decorum as a matter of course. Klein, as it turns out, is on record with
a long line of scurrilous attacks against neoconservatives. So his entirely inappropriate comments on Krauthammer's, ahem, "stunted" intellect should be understood properly as the form of political demonization that they are.

To be clear, of course, Klein's arguing not only that Krauthammer's unable to travel and see the world, but that his condition of quadriplegia itself has reduced him to a status deserving of disparate treatment. That is to say, one's views can't really be "
so far above" everyone's if he can't literally see beyond the line of people in front of him.

That's the double entendre here, and it's undeniable. But some will deny it anyway. It's no surprise, for example, that
Spencer Ackerman - who once called called for President's Bush's execution - would suggest that it's "a strained read" to find bigotry in Klein's comments. Ackerman doesn't stop there, by the way. He goes on to argue that an understanding of Klein's comments as pure ableism would be "pretty transparently stupid."

Ackerman is responding to
John Podhoretz at Contentions. Read Podhoretz in full to really understand the depths to which Klein sinks. For some additional friends who have no problem seeing Klein's bigotry, see Allahpundit, Betsy Newmark, The Blog Prof, Fausta, Jules Crittenden, and Tom Maguire.

My sense is that Charles Krauthammer is a man of towering intellect and achievement. I've been a fan of his writing for nearly two decades. His analysis in "
The Unipolar Moment", in Foreign Affairs (1991), was essentially vindicated by the chain of events in international politics leading up to the Iraq war of 2003. And his classic essay, "The Unipolar Moment Revisited," published in The National Interest (Winter 2002/03) is perhaps the most important article on the theoretical case for Operation Iraqi Freedom ever published.

I was personally disappointed in December of 2006 - amid the high point of American difficulties in Iraq - when Krauthammer temporarily renounced the clarity of vision that had made him peerless among columnists at the time. I'm referring to his essay at RealClearPolitics, "
Past the Apogee: America Under Pressure." With a U.S. defeat in Iraq not unlikely, Krauthammer suggested that America had gone from the "apogee of our power" to a "moment of despair." Of all people, I couldn't believe that Charles Krauthammer was on the verge of repudiating the neoconservtive vision of power, justice, and right in the cause.

Events in 2007 of course, in the Bush administration's surge strategy under General David Petraeus, served to save the mission, and in a sense the vision of the war's architects. I had never myself thought that America was "past the apogee," and it bothered me that such a great proponent of American preponderance might entertain the notion. It never crossed my mind, however,
to suggest that if it wasn't for Krauthammer's disability, "His work would have a lot more nuance ..."

But Klein's not unusual for those writing on the partisan left. And that's all I have to say about that ...


**********

* Correction appended, 5:57pm.

9 comments:

dave in boca said...

But Klein's not unusual for those writing on the partisan left. And that's all I have to say about that ... The partisan left has devolved from Stalin-worshippers in the '50s to America-haters in the '00s, and Klein is a late convert to detesting his own country. He is a near neighbor of ours on Cape Cod, about two miles away, and not a bad guy personally.

However, the recent downward trend of the left into personal ad hominem attacks when they can't get their way reminds me of my child when she was in her "terrible twos." Seems that some stages of life persist in some people, and the tantrum stage is the one partisan lefties get stuck in.

Klein is just aping his "worsers," as my daughter used to say.

Donald Douglas said...

Thanks Dave!

Dave said...

Klein is all ass and no class.

Making fun of another human being's physical maladies is contemptible.

He's probably just sore because Krauthammer is doing a right credible job of exposing the Obamessiah for the colossal fraud that he is.

Klein is a proven liar on more than one occasion, and why anyone would pay him any attention whatsoever is beyond me.

-Dave

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Typical of the left. Didn't rules for radicals say something about making it personal. Looks like Kline and Obama read the same material.

Jan said...

Charles Krauthammer stands head and shoulders above the leftists presuming to be intellectuals--even while sitting in his wheelchair.

If only they could measure up, even half-way, they could consider themselves blessed.

Trish said...

Are there no depths to which liberals won't stoop, in their pursuit of condemning anyone they disagree with?
It's astounding how cruel they can be and yet go on to claim that Republicans are the mean spirited party; yet I should be used to it by now.

Dennis said...

Does anyone doubt that those on the Left, the Dark Side" will kill those with any physical or mental impairment if they get one payer health care? These people are truly contemptible.
Interesting that large numbers of those on the Left have never been outside of a major city inside the US. Because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you do not travel.
Those on the left are the true bigots. Is there not a class of individual that they do not discriminate against? What do we see from the left but age discrimination, sexism, racism, sectionalism, bigotry about those people who live in the South, live in the West, live in suburbs or rural settings, "breeders" as they would call those who have children, et al. The list is enormous.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Klein ruined himself last summer when he freak and blamed everybody but Russia for Commonwealth's invasion of Georgia.

Klein is the raison d'etre for drug testing journalists.

Steven Givler said...

It's clowns like Klein (Hey, isn't that German for "small"?) who think the military is full of bigots. We'd never get away with the kind of crap he pulls.