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The indispensable man revisited

We are in San Francisco visiting daughter number two, who is working here for a start-up. We picked this weekend to visit so that we could attend the gala annual dinner held by the Pacific Research Institute. This year’s dinner honored George Shultz. Charles Krauthammer was the featured speaker and, as he records below, our own Steve Hayward was the master of ceremonies.

The tributes to Shultz by Steve and Art Laffer were excellent, as were Shultz’s brief comments accepting the Sir Antony Fisher Freedom Award he was given. They all vividly brought back memories of better days, but Shultz also showed himself to be thinking through our current foreign policy miasma and looking to the future. He is something of an old lion. PRI brought honor on itself with its award to Shultz. It was a moving scene.

At several points in the event Steve spoke highly of Shultz’s memoir, Turmoil and Triumph. I’m going to have to give that book a look.

The event sold out in part on the strength of Charles’s rock star status among the resistance to Obama. Charles was brilliant, of course: acerbic, dry, funny and penetrating. Steve proved the perfect straight man for Krauthammer. He picked through written questions submitted by the audience and summarized them for Krauthammer’s response after Krauthammer’s remarks. The two of them just about brought down the house. My relatively apolitical twenty-something daughter and her boyfriend were utterly wowed by Krauthammer (as were my wife and I). It was a memorable evening and a great event.

Steve used Krauthammer’s column on Churchill to introduce and characterize Krauthammer himself as our indispensable man. Everyone in our vicinity at the dinner nodded his assent to Steve’s characterization of Charles.

I gather that Krauthammer’s column on Churchill is compiled in Krauthammer’s new book, which Dr. K. mentioned a few times last night, even after all copies on hand had been sold. (I’ll get it posted in our Amazon bookshelf when I get home tomorrow.) Steve’s introduction sent me off in search of the column. A photocopy of the column is posted here.

I want to add that Sally Pipes is the founder (I think) and president (of that I am certain) of PRI. She is the author, most recently, of the Encounter Broadside pamphlet The Cure For Obamacare. Sally has spent a long career warning us off nationalized medicine and promoting constructive health care reform. You might say this is her moment. We salute her on a terrific event last night.

UPDATE: Sally Pipes writes to note that PRI was founded in 1979 and that she became president in 1991. She didn’t found PRI, but she has headed it for the past 22 years.

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