THE SPINE OCTOBER 3, 2008
The three truly honest conservative columnists -- George Will, David Brooks, Charles Krauthammer -- have made clear that they are no fans of Sarah Palin. They are, of course, not only honest but intellectually serious. They are not big on games. In fact, the trio appears to grasp that the politics of this Republic somehow relies on them in these mortifying times to keep conservatism itself in synch with its scepticisms and restrained hopes.
Krauthammer, who started his journalistic career here at the New Republic (he was a psychiatrist until Mike Kinsley found him in a letter to the Washington Post), has been on the Palin case from the very beginning. His first column on the lady was devastating. And, this morning, even after she somehow demonstrated that she wasn't a complete boob (as post-Kouric almost everyone thought she was), Charles kept his cool. Palin had not really done anything for the ticket, except reinforce the unpleasant hard-core of populist Republicanism. A Reagan she is not.
All of this notwithstanding, I suppose my old friend and TNR team-mate will vote for McCain, hoping that the just God will keep him strong and well.
But Charles, I think, has thrown in the towel. Now, he does not especially like Barack Obama. On the other hand, Obama had "one goal." And, unlike Palin, he did "pass the Reagan '80 threshold. Be acceptable, be cool, be reassuring." Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., writes Dr. K, famously said of Franklin Roosevelt that he had a "second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament." Charles goes on to question Obama's experience, convictions, associations and self-definition. This is the usual. And then he writes:
Obama has "got both a first-class intellect and a first class temperament. That will likely be enough to make him president.
The columnist has thrown in the towel. There's almost a "should" in his last sentence.