A Tale of Two Presidents and One Newspaper

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

The stench of failure hangs over Mr. X’s White House. The people know it, judging by the opinion polls. Corporate titans know it and whisper disenchantment with a fellow conservative. Washington knows it when an Administration official calls the budgeting process ”an unmitigated outrage” and when Mr. X’s closest friend in the Senate pronounces the President ”as very close to set in concrete.”

Mr. X’s loss of authority only halfway through his term should alarm all Americans. The economic nostrums he brought to office have not had the predicted effect. Only by recognizing his errors will he find better ideas. To rationalize the failure so far, or to blame his predecessors, the media and Congress, is to condemn the nation to two more years of destructive confusion.

By his own reckoning, Mr. X became President for one basic reason: to restore the morale and power of America. By his own analysis, that meant above all ”the rejuvenation of our economy” so that America could regain industrial strength, put all its people to work and defend its interests around the world.

Sound familiar? It should—it’s the opening three paragraphs of a New York Times editorial about Ronald Reagan’s first administration, published on January 9, 1983. So if you think the Times is repeating itself, you’re right. For the past half-century, the Times and other Democratic Party house organs have adopted a single unwavering posture toward Republican and conservative presidents: they’re against them, no matter what.

Hence their reliance on boilerplate editorials such as the one quoted above; presidents may come and go, editorial writers may pass through the pages of the Good Gray Lady, and times may change, but the rhetoric remains the same. If you think this is accidental, however, you must have been born yesterday.

The point of the cultural Marxist project, for which the Times is, and long has been, the chief spokesman, is to keep hammering home the same points about its enemies, until they are simply accepted as fact and no longer even contended or questioned. Do you honestly think, at this point, that there is a single soul on the staff of the New York Times who would today disagree with the sentiments expressed in 1983—or not endorse them if the editorial board substituted the name of Trump for Reagan?

Let’s continue the little experiment:

The Republican Administration has been cavalier about the environment, indifferent about civil rights, insensitive to the poor. Too many Democrats have been demagogic about trade restrictions and Social Security. But all factions share an obligation to force the President to lead in devising a new and credible plan for recovery. Between the lines of his recent utterances, Mr. Trump seems to concede some major misjudgments. The huge tax cut that he sold as a ”supply-side” stimulus to investment is now necessary to ”increase consumption,” he says… What is lacking is any clear sense of direction. 

Recall this was written 35 years ago and, no doubt, will be written substantially the same way 35 years hence should there be a Republican in the White House. The point is not to offer commentary about the conduct of public affairs, or even to give voice to the “loyal opposition’s” alternative policy proposals. Rather, in true Alinsky fashion, it is to freeze and polarize the target, the better to shoot it to pieces. There can be no real engagement with the Enemy; instead, he must be caricatured, derided, mocked, demonized and ultimately destroyed.

This is also critical theory in action, the doctrine of the Frankfurt School Marxists that states there is nothing foundational about Western Civilization that should not be attacked, countermanded, or demolished. Philosophy, culture, faith, the family—and, latterly, heterosexuality and “whiteness”—must all go if we are to remake Man not only in the image of a fabricated “God,” but as a god in his own right. This, of course, is precisely the Serpent’s temptation of Eve with the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden, in Genesis 3:5:“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

Milton dramatizes the scene this way in Book Nine of “Paradise Lost,” when the Serpent says:

Why then was this forbid? Why but to awe,
Why but to keep ye low and ignorant,
His worshippers; he knows that in the day 
Ye Eate thereof, your Eyes that seem so cleere,
Yet are but dim, shall perfetly be then
Op’nd and cleerd, and ye shall be as Gods,
Knowing both Good and Evil as they know.
That ye should be as Gods . . . 

So the Times is following in good stead one of Alinsky’s heroes, Lucifer—“the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom.” Daily, it asks us to overturn all previous civilizational norms in the name of “equality”—the battering-ram that rebellious Leftists use to overthrow thousands of years of human history.

For this is how the Left sees itself (and has since Rousseau), as a permanent rebel against an unjust establishment whose destruction is a fitting punishment for all its many sins against the less-privileged. That this is a fundamental juvenile attitude, which some but not all teenagers eventually outgrow, never occurs to them. That this presumes history is a plot by the haves to keep the have-nots in permanent bondage is something they can articulate with a straight face. That Lucifer’s kingdom is Hell, and that the Left’s prescriptions for Paradise Found inevitably end in misery and death, matters not one whit to them.

Therefore, the singers may change but the melody must and will remain the same, as long as the cultural Marxists maintain their grip on the legacy media. They are not sworn to journalism per se, but to outcomes; they do not labor in the fields of “newsgathering” to inform, edify, or elucidate, they work to effect change. And not just any old change, but (in the words of Barack Hussein Obama), fundamental transformation.

That they do so under the patina of a mock-Christianity—forever worrying about the “plight” of this group or that favored group, such as Muslims, and in general sounding very much like Pope Francis at his most Franciscan—only adds to their dangerous charm. By constantly pounding the same topics of race, sex, class, “gender,” and the chimera of man-made “climate change”—and by insisting their political opponents are on the “wrong side of history”—they have a created a cartoon world of monomania that’s on display every day in the pages of the Times. Via non-stop propaganda, the argument can only move in one direction: leftward, as the Right gradually cedes ground, instead of standing on principle.

And so as journalism has come to focus almost exclusively on Washington, D.C., every story becomes political and ideological. It doesn’t matter who the president is: to the Left, if he’s a Republican, he’s always Ronald Reagan, and the end of the Republic is just around the corner.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the Times—today, tomorrow, and 35 years from now.

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About Michael Walsh

Michael Walsh is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. He was for 16 years the music critic and foreign correspondent for Time Magazine, for which he covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. His works include the novels As Time Goes By, And All the Saints (winner, 2004 American Book Award for fiction), and the bestselling “Devlin” series of NSA thrillers; as well as the recent nonfiction bestseller, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace. A sequel, The Fiery Angel, was published by Encounter in May 2018. Follow him on Twitter at @dkahanerules (Photo credit: Peter Duke Photo)

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31 responses to “A Tale of Two Presidents and One Newspaper”

  1. The NYT , the same yesterday , today, and tomorrow , pure DNC propaganda .

  2. Michael Walsh, I purchased and read ‘The Devil’s Pleasure Palace.’ Its timeless message gave me the hope and strength I needed to face up to Mr. Romney’s ignominious failure and to support Mr. Trump. Thank you!

    • I (re)saw the clip of Romney grinning like a dolt as Obozo said that the “80’s wanted their foreign policy back”. What a putz, what a loser. Thank God for DJT, who would NEVER let a crack like that go by without massive retaliation.

  3. Excellent piece. As above, so below. In the landscape of human existence there is a continental divide, one side of which all things eventually flow to Heaven, the other to Hell. It was Lucifer’s contention that there is a third way that does not follow God, but rather he himself, and flows not to Heaven nor Hell but to something just as good as Heaven. This theoretical third slope offers a shortcut to those who wish to be unburdened by demands on their behavior yet to be able still to bask in something so close to the balm of the Holy Spirit that the difference escapes notice. Socialism is the “so below” version of the third slope and creates the closest thing to Hell on earth that any system of government can.

  4. Superbly observed and written. Thankyou Michael Walsh for remaining a steadfast voice of analysis and reason in these troubling times.

  5. I never read the NYT and avoid all articles online that are sourced there. Why access so-called information through the prism of bias? MSM = LSM. MAGA.

  6. From the second Times blurb: “But all factions share an obligation to force the President to lead in devising a new and credible plan for recovery.”

    Recovery from what? Jimmy Carter, who can now breathe a sigh of relief that he’s no longer considered the worst president in modern history.

  7. Thank you, Mr. Walsh, for further exemplifying the death-wish at the core of Leftist Utopianism. In their pursuit of heaven on earth, they would destroy every sanctified tradition that helps us to avoid plunging into the abyss. It is a very telling detail that Alinsky dedicates his book “Rules for Radicals” to Lucifer, just as it is significant to understand that Alinsky celebrates the establishment of Hell as a triumph. In their willful rebellion against the laws of God and the natural order, Progressive Liberals would lay the world low just so they could rule over the detritus and ash.

  8. This is what it is coming down to, an irreconcilable conflict between tradition and progress, radicalized into exclusive opposites by the relentlessness of Leftist ideology.

  9. Well said. And the only answer is attack. Which is exactly what Trump is doing, hitting them over the head with the proverbial chair. Unfortunately, there are millions in the GOP base that refuse to acknowledge the evil inherent in the views of the Left and who see Trumpian retaliation as hopelessly gauche.

    • Decade upon decade of leftist attacks knocked many conservatives into a Stockholm mentality and many reside there still. Mr. Trump, and Mr. Reagan before him, eluded that, making them uniquely effective. The emergence of these two when they were most needed, to my mind, should serve as notice to conservatives everywhere that they need to open their minds and hearts and be ready to seek leadership from the most unlikely quarter when it presents itself: In Mr. Reagan’s case from the world of entertainment and the world of real estate development in the case of Mr. Trump.

  10. Repetitiveness is inconsequential to the NY TIMES because in their view every year is revolutionary “Year Zero”.

  11. Close to 100% of the left-wing blather is boilerplate nonsense because it’s what keeps the liberal mind coming back for more. The liberal needs this so called left-wing echo chamber to feel secure in their mind and way of thinking otherwise they would start to realize that they have been wrong their whole life and who wants to have to admit that? Certainly the lefties won’t ever admit that their beliefs are flawed no matter how much the facts prove otherwise!

  12. A few months ago while at my parents house, I came across a bunch of Milwaukee Journals and Sentinels (2 different papers then) that I had saved when the Brewers were in the pennant race and 1982 World Series. Read through them. I had forgotten how intense the hatred was that the media had against President Reagan. It permeated all sections of the Journal and much of the Sentinel. News. Staff columnists. Editorial page. Comics. Even the sports page. As you note above, its not a reasonable counter-argument to his views, but instead mockery and nasty attacks.

    Same with Bush 43 and very much so with President Trump. You could take a Milwaukee Journal from 1982, change the name Reagan….no wait…it was always “Ronnie” or “Bonzo” or something like that, but change it to “Trump” and you see that nothing has changed.

  13. This is pretty good, Mr. Walsh. I just don’t understand the vague reference to the Frankfurt School.

    “This is also critical theory in action, the doctrine of the Frankfurt School Marxists…”

    Since there’s no reference to any specific FF thinkers or works, and such vague references have become de riguer among right-of-center writers who don’t appear to be familiar with the FF, you’d have done better to leave it out.

    • Nothing discredits a piece more than a hit-and-run on the frankfurtschoolculturalmarxistsOMG Adorno, Marcuse, Benjamin, Fromm, Habermas etc were a varied bunch of guys, who had extremely diverse views. Much of their writing could be characterized as conservative, and critical theory itself has tools which anyone can use in understanding how the world works.

      Overarching conspiracy theories that these academics are responsible for the decline of the West are bullshit, and usually a millimeter from anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Truth is that much of cultural change is better explained by market forces, e.g. feminism gave women more freedom to earn and buy the stuff they love so much.

      Fun fact: Marcuse worked for the OSS and then the US State Department for years.

      Is “David Kahane” Michael Walsh? Weird choice of a pseudonym for an Irish guy. Or vice versa.

    • I recommend a Canadian who started life as a socialist – Professor Jordan B. Peterson – an intellectual giant.
      Tucker Carlson actually thanked him for the honor of speaking to him. He reminds me of Hayek and Friedman at their best. His discussion with the female lesbian Alan Dershowitz, Camille Paglia, is amazing. He is right of center policy wise, but comes to there as a man of the Left. He passionately detests Cultural Marxism, Critical Theory, Deconstruction, etc. His videos are on the Internet and are popular.

  14. Glad to see Michael Walsh’s writing appearing in American Greatness. His insights, knowledge and erudition are most welcome. His most recent book, The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, was an outstanding read. I cannot recommend it enough.

  15. Perhaps a more comprehensive lens through which to view this centuries-long struggle is the role of modernity in disrupting the previous millennia-long era of premodern tribalist, zero-sum political economies. “Postmodernism” is actually a premodernist counterrevolution gussied up in the emotive faux “for the children” cant for which the NYT is a practiced voice. The “progressives” are the shock troops fronting for the imperial-style rent-seeking establishment that has always disdained and leached upon the modern industrial productive economy that requires freedom of thought and association to thrive.

    For a sad bit of fun, re-read Allen Drury’s Advise and Consent series; he pegs what he calls the Pimes and the Tost with searing accuracy–60 years ago. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, starting with the Counterreformation against Luther and his insights about the priesthood of all believers, whose direct relationship with God through Christ eliminated the need for an imperial premodern ecclesiastical institution to manage God’s affairs on earth. The struggle of modernity to generate a society of free individuals v. the premodern rigid tribalist structures may well be the most important fight we can engage in.

  16. Very interesting and no wonder the NYT is as hateful as ever,yesterday,today and will be tomorrow.

  17. “But all factions share an obligation to force the President to lead in devising a new and credible plan for recovery.” What’s funny is that both parties DID come together and create a plan for recovery, because Reagan’s tax cuts were passed with the help of numerous (now extinct) Blue Dog Democrats. And it did in fact lead to recovery, it’s just that the Times failed to report it because it didn’t like the fact that there was a recovery under the “orange-haired idiot in the White House.” When the nation started to recover, the Times simply amped up its coverage of homelessness instead. Which will happen again this year, mark my words.

  18. Reagan and Trump are similar in their clear affection for all things American, and their unapologetic view that the US system is superior to all others. The only difference I see is Reagan’s Midwestern inherent niceness vs Trump’s NY brashness. But their styles both fit the times. Trump would have lost in 1980 and Reagan would have lost in 2016. I do however imagine that Reagan would have used Twitter if it was available to him because Walsh clearly demonstrates, the liberal press have always had the same agenda.