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Post Deaths of Krauthammer, Brackett
Created by John Eipper on 06/23/18 3:32 AM

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Deaths of Krauthammer, Brackett (David Duggan, USA, 06/23/18 3:32 am)

While my fellow WAISers are trying to figure out how to avoid sales taxes on their Amazon purchases, now that the Supreme Court has over-ruled 50 years of precedent holding that the states could not tax inter-state shipment of products (South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.), I thought I would comment on the recent deaths of two of our country's finest journalists, Charles Krauthammer and Elizabeth Brackett.

Krauthammer, perhaps the better known because of his national footprint as a Washington Post columnist, and talking head on both Fox News and the sadly canned "Inside Washington" (moderated by Gordon Peterson, a former Marine officer), heralded his demise from intestinal cancer two weeks ago in a moving piece to his readers: "My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over. ... I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life--full and complete with great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended."

No knee-jerk conservative, Krauthammer was a Mondale speechwriter, and Carter apparatchik in the field of mental health. Having suffered a C-4 spinal column injury in a diving accident while at Harvard Medical School, he nevertheless became a board-certified psychiatrist, and had a clinical practice until late in his career, all the while winning the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1987. With a particular understanding of the politics of healthcare, he decried Obamacare because Obama "did not get the politics right," contrasting the 2010 ram-through of the 1200-page-plus bill with the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act, where Johnson did get the politics right by enlisting the support of Northern Republicans. His 2013 collection of essays Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics, was a NY Times best-seller for 38 weeks. Better yet, he was a Francophone Orthodox Jew, born in New York City but displaced to Montreal when young. For many years, watching Charles Krauthammer on late Sunday-night TV was part of my Sunday devotions until PBS cancelled Inside Washington in 2013.

Brackett was a Chicago legend, a one-time social worker in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood in the '60s, when it became the "promised land" for the hillbillys and Native Americans moving into the area, then a Democratic delegate to the 1972 convention, and a candidate for "ward committeeman" in Chicago's arcane Democratic politics. She became a journalist at the age of 34, when most journalists are looking for liver transplants. A regular on Chicago's PBS station where her reporting on environmental and political affairs won her numerous local awards, she also won a national Emmy for her analysis of the 1980s-era farm crisis, and a Peabody for her coverage of the 1988 presidential election.

A world-champion age-group triathlete, Brackett was injured last week in a bike accident along Chicago's lakefront bike-trail between her Hyde Park home and downtown. Though not lately, I have biked that portion, and it is most often quite desolate. An unidentified good Samaritan found her lying by her bike and summoned an ambulance. It was too late: she slipped into a coma, and died four days later. Before embarking on an avocation as a triathlete, she was a competitive diver, having transferred from Wisconsin to Indiana where legendary coach Doc Counsilman tolerated her presence in the pool. Her book on the disgraced former Illinois governor: Pay to Play, How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow is used as a text in various political science classes.

Both died too soon: Krauthammer at 68, Brackett at 76. Charles Krauthammer and Elizabeth Brackett, RIP.

JE comments:  Thank you, David.  Professor Hilton called Krauthammer "one of America's brightest and best-informed commentators" way back in 1998:

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  • Tribute to Charles Krauthammer (Istvan Simon, USA 06/23/18 2:14 PM)
    I too mourn the passing of Charles Krauthammer--I did not know Elizabeth Brackett.

    Krauthammer was perhaps a bit too conservative for my taste, but I liked him nonetheless, because his commentary had logic, and he was not a zealot, he had integrity and taste. These last two qualities are unfortunately completely lacking in our Kidnapper-in-Chief "president," who is taking our country down a path of destruction, a path that can only end badly if we the American people do not act to stop him. And we shall.


    David Duggan's obituary was most welcome and to the point. Thank you, David.


    I would like to just comment on Krauthammer's opposition to Obamacare, which David mentioned, and Krauthammer's point that the Democrats supposedly did not get the politics "right." Krauthammer was definitely wrong on this one in my opinion.


    Obamacare is a great advance in health care in this country. The absurdity of our health care system based on private insurance created over the last 40 years or so is an unsustainable monster, which produced health care at an unaffordable astronomical cost.


    If you were one of the lucky people, like I am, whose employer paid for health insurance, or most of it, you could get excellent medical care in the United States. But if you could afford no insurance, you would simply die sooner, an unacceptable, inhumane, shameful situation for millions of people in a country as rich as ours. So make no mistake about it, Obamacare was a great advance, and anyone opposing it dogmatically like the GOP has is guilty of unpardonable sin.


    That Obamacare was a great advance is proved by the fact that this goddamned administration has been unable to repeal it, much less replace it with anything better, in spite of controlling both chambers of Congress and the presidency. The only thing this cursed administration has been able to do is to slip into the tax bill a provision repealing the mandate. Never mind that this was something completely inappropriate to slip into a tax bill, which shows once again the venality of the GOP. Repealing the mandate will make insurance even more expensive, so it did nothing at all to improve our health care system. It will eliminate the health care of millions, who will join again the uninsured.


    I am not sure what Krauthammer thought of this particularly stupid legislation. He was a doctor, so he should have known.


    JE comments:  Krauthammer was one of the most eloquent anti-Trump voices from the Right.  John McCain is another, and he's very ill.  Will Trump out-Teflon them all?

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