March 14, 2016


Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his assessment of President Barack Obama. But he does credit the Commander-in-Chief and his “intellectual and ideological ambitions” with sparking a very beneficial national discussion.

“Over the last seven years, just about every major debate we have had as a country—from the stimulus to ObamaCare to foreign policy to deficits to debt—have all been, and can all be, subsumed under a more general question,” Krauthammer said: “What is the proper size and scope and reach of government?”

“It is a privilege to live in a country where that is the essential question of one’s time,” he explained at an event on campus March 9. “And it doesn’t happen all the time—[only] about once every generation.”


Charles Krauthammer on stage

Krauthammer speaks at Buckley Recital Hall

Krauthammer’s lecture, titled “Conservatism in the United States Today,” drew nearly 250 members of the local and College community to Buckley Recital Hall to hear his take on politics and current events.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and physician—author of the best-selling book Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politicswas the latest high-profile speaker to visit campus in recent months. Other notable guests have included former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and, as part of the College’s inaugural LitFest March 3 to 5, acclaimed author Michael Chabon. Krauthammer also met with a group of politically minded students for a more intimate discussion before the evening event.

Krauthammer meets with students

Krauthammer shares a laugh with students

His talk at Buckley largely focused on his analysis of Obama’s track record in the Oval Office, but it also touched on the 2016 presidential campaign. The entire discussion was sprinkled with good-natured jokes about politics in general and poked fun at politicians on both sides of the aisle.

In addition to delivering the lecture, Krauthammer participated in a book-signing and took questions from the audience. The questions touched upon the current Supreme Court vacancy, the government’s treaty with Iran, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the prospects of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball team.

Krauthammer ended the lecture portion of the event on a positive note by recognizing the country’s ability to produce numerous great leaders. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, for example, helped navigate the U.S. though rough waters, he said. As a result of their efforts, the nation has survived almost a quarter of a millennium.

“There’s simply something about the nature of the American people, the common sense, the decency, the unbelievable generosity of spirit and ultimately the level of liberty that has sustained us through all of these years.”

Watch a video of the event (Amherst College community only).