An influential figure dies

The death yesterday of Charles Krauthammer stilled the mind of one of the most influential conservative commentators of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Krauthammer’s column has been missing from the pages of The Maui News since last August when he went on leave for surgery for the removal of a malignant tumor. Complications from that surgery slowed his recovery, but Krauthammer was convinced that he was making slow but steady progress.

Then his cancer returned last month and it aggressively spread throughout his body. On June 8, he announced to readers that his doctors had given him only weeks to live.

In that message he wrote: “I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me. I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”

Krauthammer had a medical degree, specializing in psychiatry. While in medical school, he broke his neck diving into a swimming pool. The accident paralyzed him for life.

He opted to become a voice in politics in the late 1970s as a speech writer for Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s vice president. After Carter’s defeat in 1980 by Ronald Reagan, Krauthammer began writing for The New Republic.

His political views became more and more conservative. When he began his Washington Post column in 1983, he was highly regarded for his thoughtful commentary. In 1987, he won the Pulitzer Prize.

Krauthammer was critical, however, of both Democrats and Republicans. He was part of the “Never Trump” movement and wrote in a column in August 2016 that “I used to think Trump was an 11-year-old, an undeveloped schoolyard bully. I was off by about 10 years. His needs are more primitive, an infantile hunger for approval and praise, a craving that can never be satisfied. He lives in a cocoon of solipsism where the world outside himself has value — indeed exists — only insofar as it sustains and inflates him.”

Trump replied that Krauthammer “pretends to be a smart guy, but if you look at his record, he isn’t. A dummy who is on too many Fox shows. An overrated clown!”

Speaking for a lot of people, we are going to miss that clown.

(Sources: and

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.