Charles Krauthammer, Prominent Conservative Voice, Dies at 68

In 2005, President George W. Bush followed Mr. Krauthammer’s published advice when he withdrew the Supreme Court nomination of his White House counsel, Harriet E. Miers, after she was criticized as unqualified. Mr. Bush saved face by saying her opinions as counsel were protected by executive privilege and could not be shared with the Senate in any confirmation hearings.

The next year, The Financial Times called Mr. Krauthammer the most influential commentator in America. Mr. Krauthammer said he found all that influence worrisome.

“The reason,” he said, “is that when I was totally unknown, I could say anything I damn well please.”

Which subject had generated the most feedback from readers? “Well, if you write about dogs,” he replied, “you’re guaranteed to get enormous reaction.”

Mr. Krauthammer’s book includes a column about Rick Ankiel, a pitching phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals. During one inning of a pivotal playoff game in 2000, the 21-year-old Ankiel walked four batters and threw five wild pitches. He was banished to the minors for five years, survived injuries, but gave up pitching altogether. He fought his way back to the Cardinals as an outfielder and, in 2007, sealed a game with a three-run homer and two days later hit two more home runs and made a spectacular catch.

That column, on the value of resilience, appeared in a section of the book called “Personal,” but Mr. Krauthammer never mentioned himself. Instead, he invoked the hero of Bernard Malamud’s “The Natural,” Roy Hobbs, a baseball prodigy who attempts a belated comeback after being shot.

“No one knows why Hobbs is shot,” he wrote. “It is fate, destiny, nemesis. Perhaps the dawning of knowledge, the coming of sin. Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes is whether — and how — we ever come back.”

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