I’ve had seasons in my life when I read him, and I’ve had seasons when I have not. When I was a child, I read him, for his column was in my local paper (and someone who worked at the paper told me that Reese’s columns were usually much saltier than they were after the paper edited them!). Reese leaned more to the right than to the left, but he felt free to criticize hypocrisy wherever he saw it. He also was not afraid to think outside the box.
I later read him when I lived in New York City and then in Cincinnati. He was a major critic of the Iraq War. In one of his columns, Reese contradicted Sean Hannity by saying that the war’s destruction of the Iraqi Museum truly was a tragedy. That comment impacted me, even though I was a supporter of the Iraq War at the time. Moreover, reading Charley Reese and other conservatives who voted for John Kerry played a significant role in some of my own ideological shifts.
Some of you may read wikipedia’s article or some of Reese’s columns, find something controversial, and ask me if I agree with those controversial positions. Let me respond. For one, I liked Charley Reese’s columns, but I did not agree with all of what he said. But, second, there was much more to the man and his thoughts than a couple of controversial positions that he held. Yes, maybe he held a controversial position here and there, but he also was quite progressive on a number of issues.
And I had to appreciate his blunt honesty. If you’re the type of person who gets tired of hearing the same banal soundbites and talking points over and over again, or of seeing people try to justify someone simply because that person is in their own political party, read some of Charley Reese’s old columns. You might find them refreshing, like I did!