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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Does Charles Krauthammer Have a Problem With Sarah Palin?

"A Constitution is not the act of a Government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is a power without right." — Thomas Paine

FOX News contributor Charles Krauthammer gives his take on what a "Washington establishment elitist" thinks of a potential Sarah Palin run for the presidency. In self-deprecating fashion, Krauthammer says he wears Palin's "hoity-toity" comment as a badge of honor.

The other night on the Bill O’Reilly Show Charles Krauthammer said of Sarah Palin:

"She is very smart and adept. Great political instincts and is a star. The problem with her, I think, is that she is not schooled. I don't mean she didn't go to the right schools. I mean when you get into policy, beyond instincts — I like her political instincts, I like her political overall view of the world -- but when it comes to policy, she had two-and-a-half years to school herself and she hasn't and that's a problem," Charles Krauthammer told Bill O'Reilly on Tuesday. "It's not only the lack of schooling; it's the lack of effort to school herself and the lack of insight to see that she needs it."

Well, let’s dig a bit deeper into Krauthammer’s comment by beginning with a little background. Charles Krauthammer is an American Pulitzer Prize–winning syndicated columnist, political commentator, and physician. His weekly column appears in The Washington Post and is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers and media outlets. He is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and The New Republic. He is also a weekly panelist on the PBS news program Inside Washington and a regular panelist on Fox News's Special Report with Bret Baier.

Krauthammer was born on March 13, 1950 in New York City. He was raised in Montreal, Quebec, where he attended Herzliah High School and McGill University and obtained an honors degree in political science and economics in 1970. He was a Commonwealth Scholar in politics at Balliol College, Oxford, 1970–1971. He later moved to the United States, where he attended Harvard Medical School. Suffering a paralyzing diving accident in his first year of medical school, he was hospitalized for a year, during which time he continued his medical studies. He graduated with his class, earning an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1975, and then began working as a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. In October 1984, he became board certified in psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

From 1975 to 1978, Krauthammer was a resident and then a chief resident in Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital. During this time he and a colleague identified a form of mania resulting from a concomitant medical illness, rather than a primary inherent disorder, which they named "secondary mania" and published a second important paper on the epidemiology of manic illness. The standard textbook for bipolar disease (Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison) contains twelve references to his work.

In 1978, Krauthammer quit medical practice to direct planning in psychiatric research for the Jimmy Carter administration, and began contributing to The New Republic magazine. During the presidential campaign of 1980, Krauthammer served as a speech writer to Vice President Walter Mondale.

In January 1981, Krauthammer began his journalistic career, joining The New Republic as a writer and editor. His New Republic writings won the 1984 "National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism." In 1983, he began writing essays for Time magazine. In 1985, he began a weekly column for the Washington Post for which he won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for commentary.

In 2006, the Financial Times named Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America, saying “Krauthammer has influenced US foreign policy for more than two decades. He coined and developed 'The Reagan Doctrine' in 1985 and he defined the US role as sole superpower in his essay, 'The Unipolar Moment', published shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Krauthammer’s 2004 speech 'Democratic Realism', which was delivered to the American Enterprise Institute when Krauthammer won the Irving Kristol Award, set out a framework for tackling the post 9/11 world, focusing on the promotion of democracy in the Middle East.”

In 2009, Politico columnist Ben Smith wrote that Krauthammer had "emerged in the Age of Obama as a central conservative voice, the kind of leader of the opposition that economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman represented for the left during the Bush years: a coherent, sophisticated and implacable critic of the new president. “ New York Times columnist David Brooks says that today "he's the most important conservative columnist.”

Apart from the Pulitzer Prize and the National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism, Krauthammer has received numerous other awards, including the People for the American Way's First Amendment Award, the Champion/Tuck Award for Economic Understanding, the first annual ($250,000) Bradley Prize, and the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, an annual award given by the Eric Breindel Foundation.

On July 6, 2009, former MSNBC television personality Dan Abrams launched a website service, Mediaite, reporting on media figures. The site ranks all print and online columnists in America by influence. Krauthammer ranks, as of March 27, 2010 at #7.[Source: Wikipedia]

So what we have in Mr. Krauthammer is a bipolar political commentator. Sometimes a darling of the Left and other time talking like a conservative. I have listened to and read many of his commentaries and have always found him informed, logical and for the most part I agree with him, especially when it comes to foreign policy and Israel.

Charles Krauthammer's opinion matters. As any political junkie knows, Dr. Krauthammer is all at once witty, sublime, sarcastic, and serious. People listen to Krauthammer and care about what he thinks. Political junkies yearn for reliable scouts like him who speak plainly, tell the truth, and offer unique insights based on the truth.

The most valuable characteristic an established "wise man" can have is the ability to see and tell the truth. Speaking the truth about current events is where Krauthammer seems to hit all the right notes. Only on very rare occasions does this maestro hit a decidedly sour note. And these false notes are starting to become glaringly tinny when Krauthammer opines on Sarah Palin. With Palin, Krauthammer's reliable sights become suspect. He lowers himself from wise man to wise guy. He leaves his well-positioned observation post to take up a sniper's position in the mud.

Why does he do this? And why is he making a habit of it? What exactly is Krauthammer's beef with Governor Palin? Every time he hears “Sarah Palin” mentioned in the same sentence as “president he seems to go off the deep end.

I am guessing Krauthammer's miserable failure as speechwriter for Walter Mondale has at least something to do with his ongoing campaign to delegitimize Palin. I would wager that Krauthammer wrote the line that sank Mondale: "Mr. Reagan will raise taxes; and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did." I suspect Krauthammer is still smarting from his colossal election failure and from time to time is re-fighting the campaign against that phony cowboy Reagan.

Perhaps this is where Krauthammer harvests his unseemly vitriol against Palin. While the nation yearns for the "next Reagan," Krauthammer seemingly yearns to seek and destroy any true blue Reaganite. His most recent oddball attack on Palin seems like only yesterday. What does he mean by “schooling” and how much of this foreign policy “schooling” did Barack Obama have. How much foreign policy schooling do any of the potential Republican candidates have?

Krauthammer mentioned the Korean War and the Cold War as two of the areas where Palin is weak. I would like to tell Mr. Krauthammer that the Soviet Union no longer exists and we borrow tons of money from China, our largest adversary in the Korean War. Does he want a history professor in the manner of Newt Gingrich or someone that will be prepared to deal with Iran, Yemen and Syria? What potential presidential candidate out there is prepared to deal with the next big foreign policy issue? Was Obama ready for Libya or Egypt? How well is Obama doing in Afghanistan? I would be much more concerned with the advisors a candidate surrounds themselves with than their ability to give a dissertation on the causes of the Korean War.

I like Krauthammer's overall view of the world, but when did Charles go to school to become a schoolmarm scold? Does he hand out homework assignments to Palin? By what factual basis does Krauthammer make this charge? For all anyone knows Sarah Palin has been taking tap dancing lessons from Henry Kissinger. Krauthammer certainly has no way of knowing. So why is Krauthammer shooting these gratuitous broadsides against Palin? And why isn't Krauthammer's laser-like analysis focused on this nation's biggest disaster on any policy, namely Obama?

Why is Krauthammer so unjustly dismissive of Palin's intellect? She displayed more knowledge of the Constitution than Joe Biden did during their debate. I cannot think of one single issue or "policy" that Palin does not hold the same position that most thinking conservatives hold. On energy, taxation, and social and foreign policy matters, most conservative groups find her perspective of the political landscape a breath of fresh air. What is Krauthammer sniffing? And why is he sniffing at all?

Krauthammer's mission to dismiss Palin started in an instant and in earnest in September of 2008. Krauthammer jumped on the anti-Palin bandwagon:

“[T]he choice of Palin remains deeply problematic [because] [t]he vice president's only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment's notice. Palin is not ready. Nor is Obama. But with Palin, the case against Obama evaporates.”

Here again, the normally surefire Krauthammer bends over backward to pile on Palin. No mention of Biden's readiness, just a helmet on helmet cheap shot tackle on the girl. The last time I checked, Charles, one had to be 35 years of age and a natural born citizen to be qualified to be President. How is it that Krauthammer knows that Palin is not ready to hold office when the Constitution plainly states that she is? On which exact issue is she wrong and why, Charles?

In yet another tantrum-like outburst, Krauthammer stoops to conquer Palin's prescient warning over ObamaCare's reliance on "Death Panels":

“Let's see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling. We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room. I've got nothing against her. She's a remarkable political talent. But there are no "death panels" in the Democratic health care bills, and to say that there are is to debase the debate.”

Much to Dr. K's chagrin (I'm sure), the Democrats immediately cut out the exact "death panel" provisions Palin was speaking about from ObamaCare. But you could not miss the dripping sarcasm and smarmy condescension aimed at Palin. Did Charles ever see clear to apologize for his petulance when Palin was vindicated? Have you noticed how many times Charles has to couch his commentary on Palin by repeatedly explaining that he has nothing against her before he hits her in the face with a hit piece?

The day after Krauthammer's piece suggesting that Palin leave the room, a truly revolting government-endorsed "end of life counseling" manual for veterans was exposed. The manual suggested that severely injured war vets should dwell on the worth of their own lives and consider other "options." Sarah Palin's son was fighting in Iraq at the time, so that Krauthammer could freely crack wise about Palin and her supposedly unlearned views about "end of life counseling." Sarah Palin's son may well have been one of the wounded warriors subjected to this revolting piece of government-sponsored trash. Krauthammer missed the irony of it all.

The political and media elites on both left and right are rising up in anger at former Governor Sarah Palin. Stories abound, all negative, about this American citizen whose message resonates with ordinary citizens yet doesn't conform to the current political and media template.

By all rights, Palin should be kowtowing to the media. Doesn't she know that? Instead, this upstart dares to ignore the unwritten rules governing political behavior. Palin is playing by her own rules and that just isn't done.

In the elite world of the old media, any contender for public office must give due deference to the unwritten and ever-changing rules of political correctness. The sacred cows of diversity, multiculturalism and social justice cannot be ignored. And the media is the only one allowed to define the issues. (Thereby winning the debate by default)

But Sarah Palin has her own agenda. And whatever her agenda is, it most certainly doesn't fit into the template the media and political elites have insisted upon. This is not only unacceptable, it is downright dangerous.

Conservative columnist and author Ben Shapiro sums it up best:

"Television made Barack Obama. Television it supported bigger and bigger government, from Welfare to health care; pushed abortion-on-demand and the radical gay agenda into the mainstream; it stumped against war and for meaningless buzzwords like diversity and dangerous buzzwords like multiculturalism. Television has done more to change the politics of our nation than simple politics has."

Sarah Palin realizes this. The media is not on her side. And she rightlypalin_onenation_bus refuses to give them the ability to define her. She is more than capable of defining herself, through her own words and actions. She has the courage of her convictions and, thanks to social media, the ability to convey them, unfiltered by a hostile press. No wonder the press hates her.

The media, like me, has no idea what Sarah Palin's agenda is. Lacking concrete facts, the media automatically assumes her motives include gaining political power. They have completely overlooked the fact that Palin already has more than enough influence and political power to participate in (and possibly prevail) in our national debate. That this influence is not subject to constraints from either politician or the media is unprecedented. And dangerous.

I believe Palin realizes that real change is almost impossible within the existing political system. It could be argued that right now, Sarah Palin has more ability to influence political outcomes than does the president of the United States. So why should she play by rules that have been set up by those already in power, rules that are designed to keep them in power? Rules that place her at a great disadvantage.

Palin is like millions of Americans. Americans who are tired of the futile attempts to change the system from within. I believe Palin's goal is the goal of millions — to bring about positive change. And she has found that one does not have to be an elected official in order to do this. She directly threatens the status quo and the good old boy system. If she continues to prevail, she will prove it is possible to be effective working outside the system. And this cannot be allowed.

Palin has rightly decided not to kowtow to the media and political elites. Her tactics and message resonate with a large segment of America. The segment that still believes in the greatness of America and the ability of individuals to accomplish the impossible.

Palin proves it is possible to change the system from without. She proves it is possible for one un-elected American to effect real change. Just think what would happen if others decided to follow her example. No wonder the elites hate her.

As a political junkie myself, I have my own political heroes and villains. My heroes always try to tell the truth in the political bubble populated with the usual crowd of liars. The villains are vindictive gossips who lie by omission when they are not lying straight to your face. In this real-life drama, America's future is at stake. And the stakes are too high to sabotage good people with unwarranted twaddle. In the last analysis, a man like Dr. Krauthammer should know that gratuitous ankle-biting is unbecoming of one who has earned our respect. Or perhaps when conservatives have thoughtful discussions of Governor Palin, we should start by asking Charles Krauthammer to leave the room.

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