Klein broaches Krauthammer’s injury

on 15 Comments

Act I. Ben Smith at Politico interviews Joe Klein about scary Charles Krauthammer, and Klein, a novelist, offers an interesting analysis:

"There's something tragic about him, too," Klein said, referring to
Krauthammer's confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving
accident during his first year of medical school. "His work would have
a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he's writing

"My writing speaks for itself," Krauthammer responded in a curt e-mail.

Act II. Podhoretz John hammers Klein. III. Klein apologizes:

while Krauthammer's skills are impressive, his commentary has been
dangerously bellicose, arrogant and wrong.  Given his influence with
the Bush Administration, his unflinching support for American
unilateralism–his invention of the notion of  a unipolar world–did
extensive damage to our nation's security and reputation overseas, and
caused the unnecessary loss of  life. 

 Still, it seems clear that my remark could be construed by some as
insensitive—and if I have caused any discomfort to any disabled person,
I apologize sincerely. In the end, Krauthammer's deficit is not a
matter of body, but of judgment.

IV. Greek chorus: Aren't political journalists allowed to do character analysis? I'm curious about Krauthammer's injury and the effect it's had on his personality. Whenever I talk to anyone about Krauthammer, his disability comes up within a minute. I wish Smith had asked Krauthammer about this, and I wish Krauthammer would write about it himself. Did his politics change? Is he married? (Oh; he is; sorry.) I wonder what truth there is in Klein's view.

15 Responses

  1. David_F
    May 21, 2009, 4:18 am

    I didn't know about this disability at all. I would be absolutely incensed by Klein's apology, though. No apology was called for in the first place, and I would consider it tremendously insulting if a critic expresed remorse for "causing discomfort to a disabled person." Klein does make an interesting point, but I'm not sure if it would make any difference. Thomas Friedmann, David Brooks, and the rest of the Times propagandists are physically intact, as far as I know, but they are no more able or willing to look outside the East Coast intellectual echo chamber than is Krauthammer.

  2. matter
    May 21, 2009, 4:26 am

    Krauthammer is one of the Mossad's more valuable assets. He should be sharing a cell with Pollard.

  3. Good Questions
    May 21, 2009, 4:31 am

    Meanwhile, Phil, whose only handicaps are intellectual and psycho-sexual, has only ever spent a few hours in Israel. I wonder how his worldview might be changed if he actually visited the places he obsesses about? Perhaps he too, woud win a Pulitzer. He says he's married–but has anyone ever seen this woman? And why doesn't he have children?

  4. Saleema
    May 21, 2009, 4:35 am

    Why doesn't he have children? None of your damn business. What are you, Phil's mother-in-law?

  5. Will
    May 21, 2009, 4:44 am

    Take off your ideological blinders. This man claimed that being in a wheelchairs translates to a lack of nuance in political philosophy. And his "apology" recapitulated that meme. The statement was reprehensible, your support of it pathetic.

  6. JES49
    May 21, 2009, 6:32 am

    You know, I recall 30 years ago (before "talking heads" and "pundits" became popular), reading Charles Krauthammer weekly in The New Republic. I was greatly impressed, and I think it was about two years before I was even aware of his disability.

  7. Eva Smagacz
    May 21, 2009, 7:09 am

    Since when being in wheelchair stops wealthy from travelling? This is legitimate comment: if you want to write about something, seeing it close up gives you more information. Using wheelchair as a convenient excuse to discomfort critic of your buddy is disingenous – and insulting: it implies that the buddy cannot be defended on merit and physical disability is a valid excuse for intellectual shortcomings.

  8. Shadrack
    May 21, 2009, 9:31 am

    How many people has Krauthammer put into wheelchairs as the outcome of policies he has pushed? Hundreds? Thousands?

  9. JES49
    May 21, 2009, 9:34 am

    Well, you see Eva, physical disabilities are apparent and objective. Intellectual shortcomings are subjective. As far as I'm concerned neither Joe Klein's or Phil Weiss' ideological "disabilities" (i.e. limitations) make either one of them qualified to objectively speak of Charles Krauthammer's intellectual abilities.

  10. August West
    May 21, 2009, 12:54 pm

    Yes, let him visit Dier Yassin–or what's left of it. Or how about Gazaushwitz?

  11. Citizen
    May 21, 2009, 1:39 pm

    Same can be said about FDR as is suggested about Krautahammer. Two peas in a handicapped pod?

  12. Citizen
    May 21, 2009, 1:44 pm

    Krauthammer's POV is as cookie-cutter as you can get. Anyone aware of him over the years knows exactly what POV he will take; the only interest (other than his political influence on the bipartisan Israel First chant) is how he will finesse it rhetorically, and which implied facts he chooses to leave out at any given moment. His factual assumptions are sweeping–and nobody in the MSM every calls him on any of them.

  13. Citizen
    May 21, 2009, 1:45 pm

    Great question. He doesn't care–unless they are Jewish. When he says "American(s)" he always means Jews. You can take that to the bank untouched by the sub-prime morass.

  14. daveg
    May 21, 2009, 4:06 pm

    How many people has Krauthammer put into wheelchairs as the outcome of policies he has pushed? Well said. Very well said.

  15. JES49
    May 21, 2009, 6:24 pm

    Right Citizen. And you're not predictiable? LOL!!!!

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