Review of The Point of It All

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Rating

9

Qualities

  • Controversial
  • Eloquent
  • Inspiring

Review

Longtime columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer was a uniquely eloquent and measured spokesman for the American right – as evidenced by this posthumous collection of his writings. Krauthammer championed lower taxes, less government and the global spread of democracy in artful, punchy prose. At times, his opinions can seem stubbornly partisan: An unwavering champion of the Iraq War, he blames Barack Obama’s retreat – rather than George W. Bush’s ill-considered invasion – for the chaos in the Middle East. At other times, however, Krauthammer comes across as refreshingly independent. For instance, he decried President Donald Trump’s unhinged tweets. To help his opinions go down more easily, Krauthammer often sprinkled non-political anecdotes into his works, ruminating on the birth of his son or relating the difficulties of navigating life in a wheelchair. These detours established Krauthammer as more than a political hack. This compilation of Krauthammer’s writings from the 1980s through 2017 provides important insight into a generation of conservative thought.

About the Author

Charles Krauthammer was a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and television commentator. His Washington Post column ran weekly for 33 years and appeared in more than 400 newspapers. Krauthammer died of cancer in 2018.

 

Reagan’s Greatness

In one piece out of the book’s first chapter titled “Life Well Lived” (itself part of a higher-level section titled “What a Piece of Work is Man”), Krauthammer elaborates on why he holds Ronald Reagan to be one of the greatest presidents in the United States’ history. Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, he believes, are among the great presidents of American history. In the second half of the 20th century, Krauthammer goes on, Ronald Reagan stands as the most outstanding occupant of the oval office. Critics stubbornly dismissed his popularity, attributing it to Reagan’s charm. Beneath Reagan’s telegenic looks, however, Krauthammer has identified a steely resolve to do what was necessary and right, even in the face of political opposition. His bold efforts to reshape the American economy after his 1980 victory were painful, yielding a deep recession just in time for the mid-term elections of 1982. But Reagan held firm, and by 1984 the United States’s economy was booming.

More impressively, Krauthammer states, Reagan won the Cold War, exhibiting assertiveness and courage when Western apologists preferred an easier, nonconfrontational approach. He built up the military and deployed nuclear weapons to Europe. He also pursued the “Reagan doctrine” of unabashedly challenging communism around the globe. He labeled the Soviet Union an “evil empire” – tough talk that helped Moscow’s political prisoners endure. He actively supported anticommunists everywhere, including in Nicaragua. And he championed Star Wars, the missile defense system lambasted by his opponents. In the end, Reagan simply overwhelmed the Soviet regime. Unable to respond to the president’s onslaught, communism collapsed – and peacefully, at that.


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