The devastating news Friday afternoon that Fox’s beloved resident conservative, Pulitzer-prize winning columnist, author and political analyst Charles Krauthammer was losing his battle to cancer came for many as a shock.
The 68-year old conservative legend had been absent from Fox News for nearly 10-months, and many who followed his career had surmised something was terribly wrong. Krauthammer is perhaps the only conservative intellect living today, equal to that of the late “great” William F. Buckley for sheer brilliance, there is “no” conservative peer equal to him today, and like Buckley, he’s one of a kind.
The heart-wrenching news came from a letter penned by Krauthammer to his colleagues, friends and the millions of viewers and admirers who followed the legendary columnist’s nightly appearances on Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier.
“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months,” Krauthammer 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.”
The open letter continued, “However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned,” he wrote. “There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”
For many of us on the right, Krauthammer had come to symbolize what a true conservative should strive to be. “The left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any opposition. The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences from social ostracism to vocational defenestration upon those who refuse to be silenced”- Charles Krauthammer
However, Krauthammer wasn’t always a conservative, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and syndicated columnists was once a speechwriter for then-Vice President Walter Mondale and in the 1980’s wrote for the liberal magazine The New Republic.
But even then, Krauthammer was challenging liberal dogma. He recalls a column he wrote for the magazine denouncing the nuclear freeze movement, which caused hundreds of liberal subscribers to cancel their subscriptions in protest, and which he admitted later on, he took “great pride,” in achieving.
In his recently published book “Things That Matter,” Krauthammer reveals how he gradually went from a card-carrying liberal to a staunch conservative saying, “I didn’t have an ‘aha’ moment, an epiphany saying, ‘Wow, Ronald Reagan is a cool guy,” Krauthammer recalled. “I just over time evolved to a more small government, more limited, what I would call a more realistic and maybe non-romantic view of the possibility of politics.”
Krauthammer revealed he had a malignant tumor in his abdomen removed last August. However a series of complications forced him to remain in the hospital, and until recently it was believed he had beaten the cancer.
Head honcho of Fox News Chairman Rupert Murdoch said, “Charles has been a profound source of personal and intellectual inspiration for all of us at Fox News. His always principled stand on the most important issues of our time has been a guiding star in an often turbulent world, a world that has too many superficial thinkers vulnerable to the ebb and flow of fashion, and a world that, unfortunately, has only one Charles Krauthammer. His words, his ideas, his dignity and his integrity will resonate within our society and within me for many, many years to come.”
Not surprising even die-hard progressives realize the passing of Charles Krauthammer will be the end of an era. The liberal editorial board of the Washington Post, where Krauthammer’s articles appear wrote a tribute to him, emphasizing “nothing and no one can replace him.”
“His unsparing judgments were cheered by some readers while angering others,” the editorial board wrote. “But few could disagree that he wrote a column of breathtaking range and intelligence and integrity.”
Generations from now Charles Krauthammer’s words and intellect will still resonate much like Buckley’s in that legends are immortal.