- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

Millions of readers see him as a gentleman scribe, keen observer, stalwart.

Cal Thomas covers American issues - God and country, faith and family. It’s the nation’s lifeblood that drives this columnist.

He’s been at it for a quarter-century.

On April 23, 1984, Mr. Thomas’ first syndicated column appeared in The Washington Times, offering a poignant take on the children of divorce that immediately established him as a conservative voice to be reckoned with, and one that would last a quarter-century - at least.

“I don’t care about winning the argument. And I am not going to repeat the obvious or reinvent the wheel. I try to pick up on what’s been missed, and I want to produce solutions,” said Mr. Thomas, whose column now appears in 550 newspapers.

He pines for meaningful public discourse, credible journalism, civility between rivals. He has interviewed eight presidents, countless dignitaries, the celebrated and the humble. Mr. Thomas has written 11 books and at least 2,500 canny columns on all things political, cultural and civic.

“People tell me I am a voice for those who feel disenfranchised by a media that looks down on moral and spiritual matters. They say I am a spokesperson for their values,” Mr. Thomas said. “I am strong in my position, but I leave the door open for rational discussion.”

He’s got fans in influential places.

“Great things began in 1984. I started my career as a talk-show host, and newspapers saw Cal Thomas begin a 25-year run as one of the country’s most eloquent conservative voices as a syndicated columnist,” said radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. “Cal is unapologetic and poignant in his defense of the traditions and institutions that make the United States the greatest country on earth. I always give his column a read, and look forward to his next one.”

At 6 feet 7 inches, with sonorous voice and the glint of challenge in his eye, Mr. Thomas is an indefatigable supplier of content and able combatant on the Fox News Channel, where he is a regular panelist.

Yet the battle is the last thing he’s interested in.

“We used to talk to each other, now we just talk at each other. There are more ways to communicate, but fewer conversations. The result is everybody is talking but fewer people are listening,” Mr. Thomas said.

The columnist advises conservatives to stop scrapping over ideology and concentrate on their successes, on what works. Mr. Thomas also practices civility, with pals on both sides of the aisle.

“Cal and I are both native Washingtonians who share a love of the theater we grew up with - all the road shows we saw at the National Theater - and of the theater of absurd that is politics,” said New York Times columnist and longtime friend Frank Rich.

“We have some different political views but share similar feelings - and many laughs - about the hypocrisies of those in power, regardless of party or politics, and about the circus that is political Washington. He’s a true original; he doesn’t march in step with any pack. I treasure our friendship.”

Story Continues →