Columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote a weekly political column that ran on Fridays. He was also a Fox News commentator and appeared nightly on “Special Report with Bret Baier.” Krauthammer joined The Post as a columnist in 1984, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1987 for “his witty and insightful columns on national issues.”
Krauthammer began his journalism career at the New Republic, where he was a writer and editor and won the 1984 National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism. Before going into journalism, he was a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale in 1980, he helped direct planning in psychiatric research for the Carter administration, and he practiced medicine for three years as a resident and then chief resident in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Krauthammer was born in New York City and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. He attended McGill University, Balliol College, Oxford and Harvard Medical School. He died on June 21, 2018.
Honors & Awards:
- 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary
- 1984 National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism
- First Amendment Award from the People for the American Way
- Bradley Prize from the Bradley Foundation
Doctor Charles Krauthammer’s book:
THINGS THAT MATTER
Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics
THIS VOLUME SHOULD BE IN EVERY PHYSICIAN, JOURNALIST, POLITICIAN AS WELL AS EVERY AMERICAN’S LIBRARY
Things that matter, in the words of Charles Krauthammer
Over the course of his 34 years at The Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer wrote some 1,600 columns on subjects that ranged from his passion for chess, his frustrated love of the Washington Nationals, his affection for dogs to, above all, politics. That is, politics in the most elevated sense of that word — not simply mundane partisan maneuvering, but the grand design of the Constitution and the role of America in the world. As Krauthammer explained in the introduction to his 2013 collection of columns, “Things That Matter,” “Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything . . . 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. . . . Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians.”
Krauthammer was, by his own account, an improbable, accidental columnist. But for four decades he served as an unswerving bulwark against the barbarians — endlessly erudite, charming, independent-minded and, as the following inadequate excerpts will demonstrate, remarkably relevant.
“An anniversary of sorts ,” Dec. 18, 2009
Twenty-five years ago this week, I wrote my first column. I’m not much given to self-reflection — why do you think I quit psychiatry? — but I figure once every quarter-century is not excessive.
When Editorial Page Editor Meg Greenfield approached me to do a column for The Post, I was somewhat daunted. The norm in those days was to write two or three a week, hence the old joke that being a columnist is like being married to a nymphomaniac — as soon as you’re done, you’ve got to do it again.
So I proposed once a week. First, I explained, because I was enjoying the leisurely life of a magazine writer and, with a child on the way, I was looking forward to fatherhood. Second, because I don’t have two ideas a week; I barely have one (as many of my critics no doubt agree).
The first objection she dismissed as mere sloth (Meg was always a good judge of character). The second reason she bought. On Dec. 14, 1984, my first column appeared.
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 . . .
To be doing every day what you enjoy doing is rare. Rarer still is to be doing what you were meant to do, particularly if you got there by sheer serendipity.
On family and mortality
“Ten pounds of poetry ,” June 28, 1985
Three weeks ago Daniel Pierre Krauthammer, our first, entered the world. It was a noisy and boisterous entry, as befits a 10-pound Krauthammer. It has been just as noisy and boisterous since. I had been warned by friend and foe that life would never be the same. They were right.
Of course, like all exhausted newborn fathers, I am just looking for sympathy. It is my wife, Robyn, whose life has been fully merged with his, in a symbiosis profound and delicate. . . .
What she does for him, of course, would not fit in a month’s worth of columns. What do I do? It seems my job is to father, a verb which must count as one of the age’s more inventive creations. How exactly to father? I don’t really know. The women’s movement, to which the idea owes its currency, is right to insist that the father do more.
But more of what? I have been asking myself that lately as I rock him and hold him and speak to him in the gravest of tones. . . .
I gaze at his body, so perfectly formed, so perfectly innocent. It has yet to be written on. I look at his knee and wonder where will be the little mark that records his first too-hard slide into second base.
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