Double dose of Krauthammer

Robert was poking around nosily on my desk earlier and, seeing the op-ed page proof, expressed his pleasure that I was going to be running Charles Krauthammer for a second day in a row.

Dang. And I’d hoped nobody would notice.

The problem started when I saved Mr. Krauthammer’s column that had been written for Friday publication for our Monday page (it was better than any other leftovers I had at the time I had to choose, which was Friday).

This morning, as I looked over the 11 new columns I had from writers to whom we subscribe, one of them was an EXTRA one that Mr. Krauthammer had offered over the weekend (he normally only writes once a week). Like most such spontaneously offered material — stuff the writer just felt compelled to write — it was a strong one. But I had just run a Krauthammer.

What I WANTED to run on Tuesday was a "liberal" columnist, even though I normally don’t think about such things. Why? Because a colleague suggested the other day that I’ve been running more "conservative" syndicated op-ed columnists than "liberals" lately. She may have been right; I had not been keeping score. In the daily scramble to put out pages since we lost Mike Fitts (who used to choose op-ed copy), I have done each day’s selection in a vacuum, with no thought to what I ran the day before or will run the day after.

And each day, I have simply chosen what seemed to be the best-written column. You see, I only have room for one. I can’t pick what I regard as the best column, and then another for "balance." But since this perceived imbalance was pointed out to me, I’ve been making an extra effort to see the "liberals" as "best" on some days. But they haven’t been helping much. Especially today.

Oh, I thought I was in good shape on my goal, because I first picked a Paul Krugman piece that I thought was particularly timely. It was about the mounting crisis in the U.S. financial sector. Good topic, one I certainly could stand to know a lot more about. I had it picked, and edited, and was in the process of choosing some AP art to go with it, when I made the fatal mistake of READING the captions on the photos of anxious traders I was looking at. They mentioned that Lehman had filed for bankruptcy today. Mr. Krugman’s piece didn’t reflect that. Nor did it reflect that Bank of America was buying Merrill (he had been writing over the weekend, for Monday publication). Dang.

At this point, already late for my Rotary meeting, I turned back to my options, and noticed that while some of the folks on the left had written about the Sarah Palin interview with Charles Gibson …

  • Bob Herbert: While watching the Sarah Palin interview with Charlie Gibson on Thursday night, and the coverage of the Palin phenomenon in general, I’ve gotten the scary feeling, for the first time in my life, that dimwittedness is not just on the march in the U.S., but that it might actually prevail….   "Do you believe in the Bush doctrine?” Gibson asked during the interview. Palin looked like an unprepared student who wanted nothing so much as to escape this encounter with the school principal. Clueless, she asked, "In what respect, Charlie?”
  • Maureen Dowd: Being a next-door neighbor is not quite enough, though. If Sarah had been reading about the world she feels so confident about leading rather than just parroting by rote what Randy Scheunemann and the neocons around McCain drilled into her last week — Drill, baby, drill! — she might have realized that as heinous as Russia’s behavior toward Georgia was, it was not completely unprovoked. The State Department has let it be known that it warned McCain’s friend, Misha, the hotheaded president of Georgia, not to send troops in to crush the rebellion in two breakaway states.  And she might not have had to clench her jaw and play for time when Gibson raised the Bush doctrine, the wacko pre-emption philosophy that so utterly changed the world.

None were as good as the Krauthammer piece. Those columnists went no deeper into the "Bush doctrine" thing than Tina Fey had on SNL.

Momentarily, I considered a column from Mary Newsom at The Charlotte Observer (a paper with a new EPE, by the way), which struck me as interesting because it was written by someone who disagrees strongly with Ms. Palin, but considers much of the criticism of her as "creepily misogynistic." I like columns like that — you know, the "against type" columns, like the one in which Kathleen Parker broke with other "conservatives" and expressed her displeasure with the Rick Warren event — but I was struck by how much this passage was like Herbert and Dowd: "Further, I am horrified at her inexperience in foreign affairs. Did you see her micro-expression of fear Thursday when ABC’s Charles Gibson asked her about the “Bush doctrine” (that pre-emptive strikes are OK) and Palin obviously was lost?"

Meanwhile, Krauthammer not only raised the question that popped into MY head when I heard it — WHICH Bush doctrine? (If you had forced me to guess, I would have guessed he meant "pre-emption," but I would have asked him to define his term first, too) — but also made the point that while Sarah Palin obviously didn’t know what it was, neither did Mr. Gibson. Nor, presumably (if Mr. Krauthammer, who claims to be the author of the phrase, knows what HE’s about), do Mr. Herbert or Ms. Dowd.

An arguable point to be sure, but one that struck me as more interesting, and adding more to the conversation, than any column that merely elaborated on the Tina Fey point of ridiculing Ms. Palin. (And if you haven’t watched that yet, you must; it was truly hilarious.)

Anyway, that’s why you’ll be seeing Charles Krauthammer two days in a row.

32 thoughts on “Double dose of Krauthammer

  1. Brad Warthen

    Following the tip from the Mary Newsom column, I went to read the Cintra Wilson piece to which she refers here:

    So I do not believe Palin will be the last female politician in this
    silly snipe-fest. But she’s today’s target. Consider this, from’s Cintra Wilson, who compared Palin to those “cutthroat Texas
    cheerleader stage moms.” She wrote: “McCain’s running mate is a
    Christian Stepford wife in a sexy librarian costume . …” She compared
    Palin to a Carmella Soprano for the GOP, who “sees, hears and speaks no
    evil of the boys in her old-boy network for whom she does this
    ideological lap dance.”


    A lap dance? Doesn’t that strike you as insanely over the top?

    I went to read it because I wanted to have a little fun with it. I was going to say that while I certainly can’t argue with the “sexy librarian costume” thing — that’s pretty much was I was describing in my “sitcom” post (secretary, teacher, librarian, whatever) — I’ve gotta protest to the reference to Carmella. Carmella’s Tony’s wife, not one of his goomars. You should oughta have some respect.

    Yadda-yadda. But then I read the piece, and boy, Ms. Newsom was really kind to it. Some of the printable parts:

    • … a boost of political Viagra for the limp, bloodless GOP…
    • …like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms…
    • …The throat she’s so hot to cut is that of all American women….
    • …the thought of such an opportunistic anti-female in the White House —
      in the Cheney chair, no less — is akin to ideological brain rape…
    • …this Republican blowup doll…
    • …Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into
      our handbags. She’s such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant
      casualty, it’s easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in
      reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of
      National Socialism….

    In other words, “lap dance” was one of the nice bits.

    There are some messed-up people in this world.

  2. Phillip

    Thomas Friedman’s Sunday NYT column has him diverging from your “well, they both kinda do it, so they’re equally guilty” neutrality plus he reiterates what you called an “offensive falsehood”—that McCain mostly is proposing continuations of Bush policies. It’s condensed marvelously in this paragraph:
    “In order to disguise the fact that the core of his campaign is to continue the same Bush policies that have led 80 percent of the country to conclude we’re on the wrong track, McCain has decided to play the culture-war card. Obama may be a bit professorial, but at least he is trying to unite the country to face the real issues rather than divide us over cultural differences.”

  3. Anonyous. Yes.

    She’s a lap dancer for trigger-happy rednecks of BOTH PARTIES — who ALSO don’t have a clue how to fix anything. Hunters think she is sexy. Until she’s on one with them. Or for them.

  4. george32

    brad- do you think mary newsom is more over the top than ann coulter? like discount dittoheads they both pander to the extremists of the body politic. nothing new though, read the attacks on jefferson in the election of 1800.

  5. Lee Muller

    It’s amazing that people who have absolutely nothing of substance to say, like Bob Herbert, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, and this Ms. Newsom, can actually be paid rather extravagantly for their vapid columns.
    It makes you wonder if they actually have an audience, and how empty-headed those folks must be.

  6. JoeC

    Good Job Brad Warthen. These topics you present are timely and your opinions are fairly expressed and do not seem adversarial.
    But some very hostile, mean spirited comments are provoked, for no reason other than to demean or denigrate.
    The public schools throughout America are filled with Sarah Palins, the strong female community leaders of education and parents rights. That is why white males salute Mrs. Palin, and hope their daughters can be so magnificent.
    The worst outrage is the hyperbole, woe is me pity party so called blacks who race bait any who disagree, and fail to grasp
    that the operating principle of social relations is
    “Don’t confuse racism with You–Ism”.

  7. Harry Harris

    Foul, Brad. The Krauthammer column basically does your bidding which is to denigrate Obama while pretending to do something else. You often point to your liking Obama, which is a ruse related to your constant fawning over John McCain. The existence of over-the-top columns by left-oriented blogggers doesn’t justify double Krauthammer. It just gives you an excuse to print more anti-Obama ink.

  8. notverybright

    I find your silence on John McCain’s selling his soul and descent into lying to be telling. When are you going to write a column on that, or on how the Palin choice affects your view of McCain’s character and judgment?
    I’m putting your continued support for McCain in the same category as your long support for the Iraq war: An inability to say “I was wrong.”
    Incidentally, the stale Krauthammer column written last week was widely panned.

  9. bud

    Brad, the Krauthamer piece was horrible, simply horrible. How you could have chosen to put such a bunch of nonsense in the paper is simply beyond the pale. That was one of the absolutely, possitively worst, most biased, irrelevant, outdated pieces of bovine excrement I’ve read in a long, long time. Basically he was grading Charles Gibson’s performance. He suggested that Gibson didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was/is. SO WHAT. Gibson’s not running for VP, Palin is. And he defends her by saying Gibson didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is? Give me a break. Besides, the Gibson interview is yesterday’s news. We’ve all moved on from that. I’m very disappointed in you for this one Brad. That utter piece of crap had no business taking up space in the editorial page, none at all.

  10. some guy

    Yeah, I think NVB has a point here. While I agree with Brad on lots of things and believe he’s done a heroic job writing about the attacks on public education in our state, I think his loyalty to John McCain here is problematic.
    Mark Halperin, of TIME, said last night that, essentially, straight-up lying has been at the heart of the McCain campaign recently. Yes, he said, Barack Obama hasn’t been entirely on the level, either, and he deserves criticism….but the McCain campaign has had some truly dishonest stuff at the heart of its efforts recently.
    The “Straight Talk Express”….McCain seems to view himself as a different kind of politician….a “maverick” and an honest character. He’s pretty clearly sold all that out during this campaign.
    All the talk about Sarah Palin, meanwhile, is problematic on both sides. Yes, Democrats have gone over the top, while some in the GOP seem entirely unwilling to reasonably consider her weaknesses.
    I’d say the bottom line is that the Presidential candidate’s number one job in picking a VP is to A.) choose someone who brings considerable skill and knowledge to the task of governing and B.) choose someone truly prepared to take on the top job if necessary.
    I think Obama clearly fulfilled that obligation, while McCain clearly did not. We can debate the book-banning charges and firing of the town librarian and Palin’s supposed pattern of using her government position to go after those not loyal — either personally or politically — and we can debate any number of other things. But I think it comes down to the fact, pretty obviously, that Obama chose someone clearly more prepared for the job.

  11. James D McCallister

    “Which Bush Doctrine?” Nonsense.
    What, are we supposed to feel sorry for Palin being so ruinously unprepared not just for a TeeVee interview, but obviously to take over the presidency? Not I, said he.

  12. some guy

    And, Brad, a serious question: Does John McCain support of private school vouchers not trouble you? I mean, I know it’s just one issue — war in Iraq, the economy, etc. are clearly very important issues.
    But, again, I really respect the job you’ve done exposing groups like SCRG….McCain’s on their side.

  13. bud

    The Krauthammer piece is part of the ongoing GOP effort to smear the press. Basically, they want people to buy into the false notion that the press has this liberal bias. He’s suggesting that Gibson was going for the gotcha moment. That’s all the Krathammer piece was. It was as phony as a $3 bill. It was nothing of substance and even for Krauthammer it was contemptuous. I’ve seen Krauthammer have good days but this was definitely not one of them.
    Brad, you deplore partisanship but this was highly, highly partisan. Krauthammer was being a GOP partisan with this piece, nothing more. It was a foolish attempt to change the subject from Palin’s obvious ignorance of foreign policy to liberal, media bias. It was ham-handed and frankly the ploy was so obvious and over the top I found myself chuckling and how absurd it was.
    Brad, if you can’t see how far removed McCain has gone away from his maverick persona maybe you should just find another profession. Your obvious and contempible bias in favor of McCain is sickening at this point. Shame, shame, double shame!

  14. Lee Muller

    I am more worried about the Obama Doctrine:
    * Handing over the mideast oil to Muslim terrorists
    * Forcing Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to protect itself.
    * Doubling taxes on investments and retirement plans, which will cut the value of stocks in half.
    * Redistributing wealth from the middle class and investors to those who don’t work at all, or already pay no income taxes.
    * His attacks on journalists will expand to shutting down talk radio.
    * Attempts to disarm honest Americans, while leaving his thug supporters roaming the streets in gangs.
    * Abandoning the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spending all the money on more welfare programs and foreign aid to Africa.
    * Forcing every family with an income above $50,000 to buy medical insurance at $2,800, in order for freeloaders to get into the plans and pay nothing.

  15. p.m.

    Geez, James, and heck fire, bud, what y’ all talkin’ ’bout? Krauthammer nailed it both times, particularly with the first piece. That’s the best explanation of the rise and fall of Obama I’ve seen or heard. Our blessed deliverer’s shelf life has expired, just in time. Sorry, Mr. Messiah, but you went out of date sometime in June. We like our Spears, broccoli or Britney, fresh, like Alaskan snow.
    And Krauthammer’s other piece basically does to Charlie Gibson what he thought he was doing to Palin.
    Funny stuff, all. Thanks, Mr. Warthen.

  16. Tim C

    Lee sounds like he’s repeating Rush’s comments from all last week. But they are almost all completely baseless untruths used by the neo-cons to distort and distract. Point by point:
    – Under what fact or Obama statement do you derive turning oil profits to terrorists? There is none. In fact, energy independence through alternative methods are what he proposes.
    – Talking with Iran equals forcing Israel to bomb Iran? Seems to me not communicating is far more harmful.
    – At no time did Obama propose doubling tax rates. And even if tax rates doubled on gains, how does that cut the value of a stock in half?
    – Redistributing wealth form middle class? He proposed increasing cuts to those under $250K. What exactly is middle class to everyone?
    – Asking for the truth in advertising and reporting equals censorship?
    – Attempts to disarm honest citizens? Maybe he is for regulating assault weapons, silencers etc. But, leaving his thug supporters armed? Come on Lee, you don’t really believe that. What thug supporters are roaming the streets?
    – Abandonining the war in Iraq and Afghanistan to spend on welfare in Africa? Again, it is not a war in Iraq but an occupation. Yes he supports leaving as does the Iraq government. But Obama proposes the resources now in Iraq go to the war in Afghanistan as well as infrastructure here in the US.
    – Insurance proposal does not force anyone to buy insurance. It is optional and does not cover those w/o except for what we now cover under indigent care laws.

  17. bud

    Palin’s performance in Gibson’s interview was horrible, simply atrocious. So what if Gibson got something wrong. The purpose of the interview was to provide information to the American people about the qualifications of the Palin woman. She totally bombed.
    For all you GOP partisans out there, including apparently Brad, this election is NOT about the press, it’s about who is best to govern this country. The polls are now showing the election is now a dead-heat. I think the Palin effect is starting to wear thin. People are realizing to their horror that this woman is hopelessly unqualified to be VP let alone POTUS. To paraphrase Loyd Bensen: Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.

  18. bud

    I keep waiting for Brad to post something about the financial market meltdown. Apparently the Phil Gramm approach to regulation isn’t so great after all. And to think, if Bush/McCain had their way our Social Security funds would be in grave jeopardy now.

  19. Tm C

    McCain advocated privatization again just the other day. It is a very big distinction between the candidates. I’d also love a discussion of McCain’s interview performance this morning. He seemed very confused and kept repeating stopping the fat cats. Then went on to say he was for de-regulation and the fundamentals of our economy are workers. Huh? He also said he had the answers and could stop the crisis. How? By forming a commission like the 9/11 one. Do you or don’t you have the answers John? What were your votes the last 8 years? And what exactly can Palin add to the equation? What are her qualifications? I know she led her town of 6,500 from being debt free to in debt $21-$22 million in just 8 years. I know she can see Russia from an island in Alaska. I know she won’t blink. And in an attempt at humor, John McCain does enough of that for both of them anyway. I’m with Bud, bring on the Wall Street topics Brad. Who did what? What were the consequences? And where to next?

  20. Brad Warthen

    Well, bud, I tried — you know, the George Bailey thing — but as I’ve made abundantly clear in the past, I don’t understand stuff like that. I think markets are all a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Value is totally relative, so to me Phil Gramm and John Maynard Keynes make equal amounts of sense. The value of something like Lehman is to me based on B.S. So the assets were overvalued — big freaking surprise. Samuel tried to explain it to me this morning this way: If your assets are valued at $40 million, but they’re only worth $20 million, you’re overvalued. I get it. And I also think it’s a bunch of hooey. To me, the only value of a place like Lehman, shuffling its ones and zeroes around, is the buildings and office furniture and carpets and such that it owns, plus B.S. If people will pay you $40 million for your stock, it’s "worth" $40 million. If they’ll only pay you $20 million, it’s "worth" $20 million. If they suddenly realize it’s based on nothing — like Wile E. Coyote suddenly looking down and realizing nothing’s holding him up — it’s over.

    Now that I’ve written all that, I’ll do a separate post…

    some guy, the school "choice" thing was one of the things I panned in the McCain speech column

    NVB et al., I don’t know what to say to y’all with regard to your hyperventilating over McCain. Your overheated rhetoric — "selling his soul" and "descent into lying," and Bob Herbert’s ridiculous column headline this morning, "McCain’s Radical Agenda" — is the sort of thing that caused me to write my Sunday column. Some of y’all are really getting overwrought. And I suppose it is "telling." You can tell I’m not worked up, either way, the way y’all are.

    And Harry — the column in question doesn’t mention Obama. I just went back to double-check that.

    Interesting though — and I’m changing subject on you here — some of the negative reaction to this second Krauthammer (something, I remind you, I didn’t like doing which is why I brought it to your attention) reminds me of the reaction we get sometimes on endorsements. How could you endorse so-and-so? People ask that question as though it can be considered in a vacuum, as though it were not the lesser of two weevils, as Jack Aubrey would say.

    Folks, I did not write the Krauthammer piece. And I did not have the luxury of choosing in a vacuum. I had to pick something, and I had to choose from among what I had. What I had wanted was the Krugman piece (it would have been much more relevant), but things were moving too fast on Wall Street.

  21. notverybright

    I promise, I’m not hyperventilating” as I ask my question for a second time, rephrased:
    To repeat:
    How, if at all, have the following issues affected your view of John McCain’s character and judgment: (1) His choice of Palin; (2) The kind of campaign he’s running?
    If you can, I would appreciate a straightforward answer without characterizing me or any other people you may deem hyperventilating partisans.

  22. Harry Harris

    Brad: Apparently you fact-check the way McCain’s campaign does! And then boldly state the errors.
    “And Harry — the column in question doesn’t mention Obama. I just went back to double-check that.”
    “Obama had a good run; it’s Palin’s turn
    By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER – The Washington Post
    But Palin is not just a problem for Obama
    Before Palin, Obama was the ultimate celebrity candidate
    Obama had managed to stay aloft for four full years. But no one can levitate forever.
    Obama campaign a cult-like tinge.”
    And 9 more non-mentions you missed. Along with Paris Hilton and stuff about his believing in his own magic.
    The McCain campaign is not just sloppy; they are intentional in their disception. Some of the same operatives who smeared John McCain in 2000 are behind this. He has sold out.

  23. HP

    @ 8:30, 9/15
    You see the word *vapid* so much in print. But do you know how it’s pronounced? Candy Crawley finally clued me in on how to pronounce it. One would think, when reading it — it is vay-pid. Like a vapor. But it’s vaaaaaaaah-pid.
    So……..when you go on debate team duty, you can be sure you are presenting yourself enlightened. On that, anyway.

  24. Lee Muller

    Thanks, HP, but I already knew how to pronounce “vapid”, and its meaning, from an 8th grade spelling bee.
    I guess you think you were presenting yourself as enlightened. Nice try, though. Spend the time reading up on what Obama doesn’t know, and why he is vapid.

  25. Lee Muller

    God, the Obama supporters are ignorant!
    They don’t even know Obama’s platform, much less understand the consequences of his Marxist proposals.
    Obama proposes DOUBLING the income taxes on capital gains on investments at risk of loss, such as stocks and real estate, from 14% to 28%. (They were halved by Clinton and the Democrats in 1993)
    The effect is this:
    Doubling the taxes cuts the after-tax rate of return in half.
    An investment that returns half as much as it did before, is suddenly worth only half as much. The cost of the stock has to drop in order for its real rate of return to rise back to the proper level before the loss to higher taxes.
    Across the board, that means the price of stocks which are returning a profit will have to fall significantly. In other words, Obama’s proposed tax would lead to a huge drop in the Dow Jones averages, the S&P Index, and NASDAQ.
    The net worth of many individuals, retirement plans, and banks would suffer a huge decrease. The banks would not be able to lend, and individuals and businesses would not be able to borrow.

  26. bud

    The effect is this:
    Doubling the taxes cuts the after-tax rate of return in half.
    This is just too funny. Lee, you are such a complete idiot.
    Let’s say a person invests $1000 to buy a piece of land in Ballentine. In 5 years a developer wants to buy the land and will pay $2000 for the land, a $1000 or 100% gross before taxes rate of return. At a 14% capital gains rate the transaction will net the investor $860 (after paying the $140 capital gains tax), or an 86% net rate of return.
    Now let’s suppose the capital gains rate goes to 28%. Our investor has now earned a net rate of reture of $720. That gives a net rate of return of 72%. Thus by doubling the capital gains rate our investor has lost $140 to the tax man. The loss in revenue is 140/860 or about 16%. His lost rate of return is not reduced by half but rather by about 1/6. Lee, as usual, is completely wrong.

  27. Lee Muller

    bud, your example of a mythical land sale with 100% profit bears no relation to common stock investing.
    Most Obama supporters are depending on a government pension or welfare like Social Security, and quite unfamiliar with stock investing.
    Obama is proposing a 100% increase in the tax rate, which is a marginal rate of 14%.
    The price of the land, or common stock, must fall by at least 14% in order to maintain the necessary rate of return. In some cases, investors may have to adjust the stock price down by as much as 50% to make it attractive over 5 years.
    —– Obama poison to small business —–
    But Obama is also proposing punitive taxes on small businesses, which pass income from Subchapter S corporations and LLCs as ordinary income. So small business owners will be have huge (28 to 50%) of their profits seized by an Obama government. That means less money for jobs and benefits for wage workers.

  28. bud

    Lee, I don’t think investors have much to worry about when paying taxes. Even the IRS isn’t going to tax zero or negative income as more and more investors are discovering. Have you checked your 401k lately? I have and it’s very sad. Thank you President Bush.

  29. Lee Muller

    SC State employees had better get their own 401-k, because the state retirement system is bankrupt, and the taxpayers can move elsewhere.
    The stock market is falling in reaction to Democrats creating a subprime morrgage fraud industry for minorities, and on the possibility of the socialist Obama being elected.

  30. Lee Muller

    This market drop is a preview of what Obama’s proposed tax increases would do – kill the economy, erase profits, and result in much LOWER tax revenues.


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