Charles Krauthammer’s adult life has been a profile in courage. He has never succumbed to self-pity, nor has he asked for special treatment because of his paralysis. But critics haven’t hesitated to make fun of his condition, as this excerpt from eminent Kennedy court historian Arthur M. Schlesinger’s Journals (p. 544) reveals:
[December 11, 1986:] Last night I appeared on ABC’s Nightline (Ted Koppel), leaving an entertaining dinner party given by Ahmed and Mica Ertegun for Irving Lazar. My combatant on the show was a fellow named Charles Krauthammer who writes particularly obnoxious neo-conservative trash for the New Republic and other rightwing journals. His special line is that a mature power must understand the vital need for an imperial policy and for unfettered executive secrecy in the conduct of foreign affairs. He argues this line with boundless self-righteousness and sublime ignorance of American history. He is also, alas, a paraplegic, having dived into a waterless swimming pool. The joy of dealing with Krauthammer perhaps tempted me into undue vehemence. I have been trying to establish a new and more benign television personality. His performance was surprisingly feeble, and I was unnecessarily testy. Still, it gave me much satisfaction. [Political cartoonist] Jules Feiffer called this morning and said, “If Krauthammer were not already in a wheelchair, he certainly would be now after the pounding you gave him last night.”
The puzzle is that there are people who take Krauthammer seriously as a deep thinker.
Actually, the real puzzle is how people so long mistook liberal narcissists like Schlesinger and Feiffer for decent human beings.