Great fun last night hosting and conversing with Charles Krauthammer in front of 550 of my closest friends (including our own Scott Johnson) in San Francisco at the Pacific Research Institute’s annual dinner. At one point, after making a Harry Reid joke, Kruauthammer said “Hey–you’re supposed to be the straight man here; Abbott to my Costello!” To which I offered up an old line from Abbott to Costello: “That’s a great idea; I was just about to think it myself!”
Dr. K is optimistic about the conservative future, based chiefly on the overreach of Obama. Let us hope so. In the meantime, here’s a bit from my introduction:
Like most of you here tonight, I have been reading the preternaturally lucid prose of our special guest for the last 30 years. Now and then during that time, you’d also see him on television—most often patiently correcting Nina Totenberg, Mark Shields, and Colbert King on Gordon Peterson’s weekly syndicated show—an experience that I was always certain must have provoked flashbacks to his days practicing in psychiatric clinics.
Starting about five years ago—a timing that is not a coincidence I believe—we began to see him almost nightly on Special Report on Fox News. At PRI we felt a little guilty scheduling Charles for a weeknight, and thus depriving a national audience of their daily Krauthammer. Fortunately, Fox helped us out recently by hiring as backup our honored guest from last year, George Will. Truly Fox News now has the comment and analysis team equivalent of the 1927 Yankees.
Charles Krauthammer’s complete biography, both literary and personal, is extraordinary, but also very long, and that’s what the Internet is for. So I will move quickly to the main event with a single observation drawn from one of his articles included in his new collection, Things That Matter, which, incidentally, will debut at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list this weekend.
It is from his fine essay about Winston Churchill.
These two men have many things in common. Both have a wit as dry as a properly-made martini. They both exhibit an unparalleled intellectual capaciousness, enabling a supremely wide range in their writing. Both men dictate their prose.
Charles may think my comparison of him to the great statesman is extravagant, but I do not think so, for this simple reason: Charles rightly refers to Churchill in his essay as “the indispensable man.” Well, for those of us trying to make sense of what is happening in our country right now, Charles is our indispensable man.
Also got to spend some great hang time with Art (he of The Curve) Laffer:
In addition to Krauthammer and Laffer, we also honored former secretary of state George Shultz, and recognized Governor Pete Wilson, who, it turns out, was the last governor of California who actually knows how to govern. It was the greatest assembly of brain power since Richard Darman dined alone.