There has always been this sort of divide between inside-the-beltway conservatives and leaders of the conservative movement who think those inside-the-beltway conservatives have been contaminated by the culture of Washington, D.C.
When pundits like Charles Krauthammer, George Will and Bill Kristol speak, people pay attention. However, what is it about those figures that command that sort of respect? On his Thursday show, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh delved into that subject, citing specifically Krauthammer’s seemingly low regard for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a presidential candidate.
“[K]rauthammer the other day on Fox – I happen to see it, said that Sarah Palin still doesn’t cut it for him,” Limbaugh said. “’She’s got good instincts,’ but she’s just not properly schooled. And he said ‘I don’t mean schooled in the right places, she’s just not learned. She’s had two-and-a-half years to school herself on matters of policy. She just hasn’t done it. She can’t demonstrate it. She’s just not properly schooled.’”
Limbaugh, referring to an American Thinker article by Tom Rowan, offered one theory on Krauthammer’s disdain for a Palin candidacy, which goes back to Krauthammer’s days as speechwriter for former vice president and 1984 Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale.
“Well this guy says, ‘Why are we accepting … why in the world do we sit here and bow down at the opinion of somebody who used to write speeches for Walter Mondale?,’” Limbaugh said. “Now Rowan’s theory is that people’s pasts matter, so here you have Dr. Krauthammer – speechwriter for Mondale, who obviously at that point in his life thought that Ronald Reagan was a total idiot, you know, probably not schooled. So, Rowan’s theory is, analyzing the analysts is that he probably sees – Krauthammer sees Reagan in Palin and wasn’t particularly enamored of Reagan.”
Limbaugh offered Washington Post columnist and ABC’s “This Week” roundtable regular George Will as another example of an inside-the-beltway pundit with similar clout.
“George Will was not an early Reaganite, for example,” Limbaugh said. “He became a good friend and associate later on. But this got me to thinking about this whole notion of who earns respect and why. And Mr. Rowan of the American Thinker says, ‘why is it that everybody stops what they’re doing and Krauthammer issues and that’s it?’”
Limbaugh said he wasn’t just trying to focus on Krauthammer.
“That got me to thinking – yeah, why is that, with anybody – not Krauthammer, I don’t mean to be focused on Krauthammer,” he said. “That was just the jumping off point here for me, the piece by Rowan here at the American Thinker. Everybody wants this kind of respect by the way. Everybody seeks it. Everybody would love to have it.”
Limbaugh proposed the theory that Krauthammer has managed to position himself as the sort of lone conservative on various programs, such as the syndicated show “Inside Washington” that airs on Friday nights in the Washington, D.C. market and sometimes on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” and that is responsible for his special brand.
“Krauthammer in many ways has acquired this respect because in many of the venues he appears he is the only conservative – on the local Washington opinion show on Friday nights, that’s it. Not so much on the Fox roundtable but he’s close,” Limbaugh continued. “They surround him with a number of libs on the show so he’s unique in that sense. Used to in the old days, Krauthammer would have unique takes on things. And so the perception was what you got from Krauthammer was the truth.”
Limbaugh went on to say that Krauthammer didn’t earn his reputation simply because “he’s a truth-teller.”
“When it comes to Krauthammer, I don’t think he’s earned the respect simply because he’s a truth-teller,” Limbaugh said. “It’s because he always managed to position himself on these shows as the lone conservative like George Will has done. People are drawn to that. He has the ability to come up with points of view with sides of things, analysis that nobody else would come up with. And he earned the title ‘intelligent, reasoned, smart’ and this kind of thing.”