Charles Krauthammer, R.I.P.

Printed from:

There are a handful of television commentators who do more than fill space with what they say. A smaller number still make you sit up and take notice when they speak.

And then there was Charles Krauthammer.

Krauthammer, who died Thursday at age 68 of stomach cancer, was a unique character on television.

It wasn’t the volume of his voice. In fact, he almost never raised his voice, on account of his precarious health. He was on doctor’s orders not to get too agitated.

But when he spoke the viewer instantly sensed precision, clarity, and depth. He often had unusual things to say, but always well thought out and well presented. When Charles Krauthammer spoke, it was an event, and his colleagues at Fox News tended to treat it that way.

Krauthammer wasn’t always right. That’s not the point. His influence goes beyond individual issues. His approach was refreshing and thought-provoking, and often led him to making brilliant statements.

His greatest service to his native land (which is this one, not Canada, where he grew up) was during the dark days of the Obama administration, when so many felt the need to make nice with the then-president because of his race or his power or the historic nature of his administration. With surgical skill, Krauthammer dissected the policy blunders and hollow rhetoric that Barack Obama regularly offered up.

But even that observation undervalues Krauthammer, who could make you learn even when you disagreed with him.

(If you’re unfamiliar with his work, try his columns on the dumbing down of the border colliehis late brother, and the death of Ronald Reagan.)

Farewell, Mr. Krauthammer. We miss you already.