Partisans in Nonpartisan Clothing: The Media and Trump

By | 2017-07-25T00:11:05+00:00 May 20th, 2017|
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Conservative columnist Victor Lasky opened his excellent 1977 book, “It Didn’t Start With Watergate,” by observing

Watergate can be considered a media event. For without its demonstrated hostility to Nixon particularly, and right-of-center Republicans generally, Watergate would not have been blown up into hysterical proportions. The fact is that Democratic scandals of comparable, if not greater, significance were permitted to glide by without any of the overwhelming and unrelenting attention later paid Watergate by a press which, in its lust for machismo, sought to disembowel a hated President. At the very same time every effort was made to redress the American political balance leftward, after its rightist drift. The aim of these partisans in nonpartisan clothing was retroactively to ‘win’ the 1972 election, And, for the most part, they succeeded.

It’s 40 years after Lasky wrote his excellent book (and 20 years since Lasky’s death), and his words ring as true today in 2017 as they did in 1977. Listening to the talking heads and Never Trumpers throughout media and government, one can easily exchange “Trump” with “Nixon,” and one would endure the exact same unhinged rhetoric and undue level of hysteria. In fact, unlike Nixon’s Watergate caper, there is no comparable event painting Trump as a corrupt leader.

In the constant, breathless “news coverage” of the overblown Trump “scandal,” I keep hearing those timeless lyrics from “Won’t Get Fooled Again”: “Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.” The boss here is the Leftist-controlled media.

Of course, some things have changed—for the worse. At least with Watergate there was a modicum of evidence: Nixon loyalists did burglarize and bug the Democratic National Committee’s offices in the Watergate building. There was eyewitness testimony along with evidence from the men arrested after the break-in. In other words, there was some there there. But rather than diminishing the absurd claims of the “partisans in nonpartisan clothing” who populate the legacy media, the lack of evidence in the Trump “scandal” is only intensifying their claims against the president.

Unlike as in Watergate, the media’s claims against Trump—that he and senior members of his campaign colluded with Russia to rig the 2016 election—are mostly unsubstantiated. The only thing that we have are the cultural dissimilarities between President Trump and his political adversaries (both on the Left and Right), as well as the personal (and ideological) animus that the Democratic Party (and their shills in the legacy media) have toward the president. And while it is fair to point out how Trump encouraged some of the antipathy toward him during his raucous campaign, the fact remains that the Left would have had nearly the same, unhinged, reaction that they’re having now to any Republican victory in 2016. Had Jeb Bush or Ted Cruz won the presidency, the media and the Left would have agitated against them as harshly as they have against Trump. After all, had any Republican won in 2016, all that would have mattered to the Left is that Hillary Clinton (and therefore the DNC) would have lost what they assumed was their right to power.

Trump fired the quixotic FBI Director James Comey. This prompted the media’s latest witch hunt against Trump. Following Comey’s dismissal, an unknown source made unsubstantiated claims to a New York Times reporter, about an unseen memo that Comey reportedly wrote concerning a meeting in which Trump supposedly stated, “I hope you can let this [Flynn investigation] go” (after Flynn was fired by Trump). This, coupled with the ceaseless barrage of actual lies in the press about supposedly nefarious interactions between President Trump and the Russians, all led to the naming of a special counsel.

As I noted previously, some of the strongest calls for a special prosecutor came not from the Democrats (who were doing everything they could to destroy the Trump presidency already) but rather from the spineless Republicans in Congress. They came from the very same kinds of Republicans whom Lasky castigated in his book.

What’s more, the naming of former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was entirely the result of the Establishment sticking it to the president. While I will be the first one to stand up and applaud Mueller’s dedicated service to the country, one cannot deny the fact that both he and Comey share a very long, incestuous, professional history. It was during Comey’s torturous (for the country) time as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush Administration that the warrantless wiretapping program became a major controversy.

Because Comey temporarily took the reins of the Department of Justice when his boss, Bush loyalist, John Ashcroft, was hospitalized due to a bout of Pancreatitis, the entire Bush Administration’s domestic counterterrorism program was called into question. While I certainly had reservations about the efficacy and constitutionality of the program, the fact remained that it was not Comey’s place as a temporary steward of his department to fundamentally upend administration policy.

Aiding and abetting Comey in this rogue behavior was none other than Robert Mueller. So when people like Kevin McCarthy or even Ron DeSantis on the Hill applaud Mueller’s appointment (after all, they reason, like Comey, he is a Republican!), we should at the very least have some trepidation.

In fact, Comey testified to Congress in 2007 that he physically intervened in President Bush’s attempt to force John Ashcroft to sign off on the warrantless wiretapping. Comey had physically interposed himself between the ailing John Ashcroft and former Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card and White House Chief Legal Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and refused to allow Ashcroft to sign the order to renew the domestic surveillance program. Comey acted not only against the president, but also against his boss, the attorney general. During his testimony, Comey described how his longtime friend Mueller deployed FBI agents to the hospital room with orders that the agents “not allow [Comey] to be removed from the room under any circumstances.”

The battle underway inside the Beltway today is not just for the soul of the Republican Party but for the very soul of the republic. This is a fight between the entrenched, oligarchic interests of what the great Angelo Codevilla calls the “Ruling Class,” and the “Country Class.”

Remember: the swamp creatures always stick together.

The battle underway inside the Beltway today is not just for the soul of the Republican Party but for the very soul of the republic. This is a fight between the entrenched, oligarchic interests of what the great Angelo Codevilla calls the “Ruling Class,” and the “Country Class.” It is a cultural, cold civil war (as Codevilla puts it). Much like Watergate, today’s media-produced non-scandal against Trump is a retroactive campaign being waged by the Left—as publicly championed by the “Mainstream Media”—to undo the unpleasant election results of 2016.

The real threat to America’s democracy is not the at-times boorish behavior of Donald Trump who, for all of his foibles, has already begun making America’s economy and foreign policy great again. But rather, it is those “partisans in nonpartisan clothing” in the media who threaten the republic. Sadly, short of revoking some of the media’s broadcasting licenses and smothering them in civil action, I cannot think of any way the president could effectively resist what amounts to a media-induced coup attempt.

Therefore, the only recourse the president has is to maintain his innocence and push forward as best he can in implementing his agenda. After all, the only thing that will beget success for the president is more legislative victories. And, there are plenty to be had. Concluding the healthcare reform process, cutting taxes, and possibly even introducing an infrastructure bill are all pivotal points that the President will need going into 2018 and, more importantly, 2020. These will be stopgaps to prevent the Left from totally subsuming the Trump Administration in a cauldron of conspiracy.

Just as Lasky gloomily concluded in 1977: the media is, for the most part, succeeding in their fight against the will of the American people. The “Ruling Class” is yet again crushing the “Country Class” in the cold civil war. Will We, the People, let the Ruling Class win?


About the Author:

Brandon J. Weichert
Brandon J. Weichert is a contributing editor to American Greatness. A former Republican congressional staffer and national security expert, he also runs "The Weichert Report" (, an online journal of geopolitics. He holds master's degree in statecraft and national security from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He is also an associate member of New College at Oxford University and holds a B.A. in political science from DePaul University. He is currently completing a book on national security space policy due out next year.