Dr. Charles Krauthammer, political commentator, syndicated columnist, and Pulitzer Prize winner, spoke at Scripps College on Thursday, February 7th, for the 7th annual Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program. The Public Affairs Program aims “to bring the world to Scripps students” by inviting a conservative speaker to campus each year. As this year’s Malott Commons Associate, I was fortunate to not only help with the planning and logistics of bringing Dr. Krauthammer to campus, but to also spend the majority of the day with the extraordinary speaker and leader.
During Krauthammer’s visit, fifteen nominated Scripps Students had the opportunity to meet him for discussion. Most of the students selected were liberal, producing a cross-ideological dynamic that provoked interesting and informative dialogue on social, cultural, and political issues. Dr. David Andrews, Scripps professor of International Relations and Malott committee member, led the discussion session. He began by directing much of the conversation, but as the session progressed students warmed up to asking more questions.
When asked about how he felt about speaking at a liberal arts college, he said he had looked forward to being challenged, especially by young liberals. When asked his thoughts on liberal indoctrination on college campuses, he joked that “It’s good to develop antibodies toward liberals.”
I had the privilege of personally interviewing Krauthammer after the student discussion. I asked him about Fox News’ recent decision to purge itself of super right-wing commentators such as Sarah Palin and Dick Morris, to which he responded, “I think Fox News has a record of having come from nowhere and today has overwhelmingly the most powerful, most watched, and most trusted news organization in the country. I wouldn’t second guess any of their choices.” When I asked about the current state of the GOP, he said, “They have a bright future, ran a bad campaign, and had a good man but a terrible candidate.” He said that when any party loses, it seems like the end, but expressed confidence that “we will see a comeback of this great party through conservative Republicans.”
Krauthammer was met by an overflowing auditorium and an immediate standing ovation when he took the stage at Scripps’ Garrison Theater for his evening presentation. He spoke about the Obama administration and the role of the GOP in the current political climate. Krauthammer criticized the Republican Party for failing to select an adequate candidate for the 2012 election. He said that Mitt Romney was a weak candidate to fit the mood of the country, and not the right person to make the ideological argument against overreaching government.
Krauthammer believes that Obama’s goal is to return America to the liberal ascendency of the 20th century that Ronald Reagan reversed. He said, “Obama sees himself as the heir to FDR, to Kennedy, and to Johnson.” Krauthammer, however, concluded by saying that our country will not withstand yet another rise of liberalism. “In the end, the social democratic agenda does not work… You can argue about the virtues and the justice, but if it doesn’t work, it will fail.”