Reagan's Conscience


"HAIG MUST GO." The headline blazes forth from the pages of The New Republic,right? No? O.K. then it must come from the editorial section of The Washington Past.

Wrong again.

Actually, the proceeding phrase tops a recent article in Human Events, the self-proclaimed national conservative weekly. You may then ask: What in the world is a right-wing magazine doing criticizing a man who has consistently advocated military preparedness and combatting communists the world over?

The again, you may not know Human Events.

Its recent attack on the Secretary of State is a good example of the tabloid's style and political content.


"After one year in office, it has become transparent that Haig is a 'pure dententeist' [sic]...." writes the magazine. "The secretary loves to bluster about the Soviets, but when it comes to urging actions short of war, his advice is remarkably restrained." For Human Events, "Haig, in short, must go."

Those words appear in the January 30 issue, and so far the secretary is still around. But don't bet that some of the power brokers in Washington have not at least considered the magazine's pointed advice.

You see-President Reagan apparently likes Human events. In fact, he has reportedly read it faithfully since the early '60s, says The Washington Post. And some of the people around him must see it as well, because every Friday, the Postreports, 24 copies of the latest issue are delivered to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In Washington, a town of quick "ins" and "outs," this new journal is definitely "in" for the present administration.

Whether or not Reagan follows the magazine's advice to the letter, you can be sure that he does not ignore it. After all, the viewpoints expressed in the tabloid reflect the same rock-ribbed conservativism from whence the President arose politically. Virulent anti-communism, limited government, and free enterprise--these conservative traditions have guided Human Events since its inception in 1944.

THE MAGAZINE HAS waited a long time for one of its own to inherit the Oval Office. And so it is keeping a special eye on its favorite-son Reagan. Signs of even the slightest deviation from hard-line conservatism have provoked strong reprimands from Human Events.

Unswerving devotion to the path of "the true believer" brought on the attack on Haig and similar denunciations of other GOP bigwigs. Favorite punching bags of the weekly include OMB director David Stockman, White House Chief of Staff James Baker, and a slew of Republican Congressional leaders.

The common fault of these illustrious men? All, Human Events believes, are tying to steer Ronald Reagan from his deep-rooted conservatism and thus undermine his presidency. "We believe the President's instincts are very, very good," says editor and co-owner Thomas S. Winter. "If follows them, he'll do just fine." It is not the President but certain advisors who are betraying the Administration's purpose, he adds.

Both Stockman and Baker are among these "nervous nellies" in Reagan's coterie. "For several months, both men have been orchestrating a Herculean force the President to cast Reaganomics aside," wrote Human Events, as the date of State-of-the- Union address neared. The magazine feared that Reagan's top advisors would spur the President to compromise his economic plans by jacking up taxes. When Reagan rejected tax increases in his speech to Congress, Human Events congratulated him for resisting the "unremitting pressure" of his OMB director and chief of staff.

The battle won to keep taxes at bay, Human Events has since turned to savaging the GOP leadership for its less than full-hearted support of the budget. Headlines like "Why Aren't GOP Leaders Selling President's Budget" or "GOP Leaders Damaging 1982 Elections Prospects" dot recent front pages of the tabloid. Winter and his associate have hammered away at Senators Baker, Dole, and Domenici for showing skepticism about the administration's economic plans. Indeed, though the editor commended Reagan for continuing his "revolutionary path" with the new budget and new federalism, they urge still further spending cuts, "We think the President should have concentrated far more on the immediate control of the establishment programs, including the largest, Social Security..." says Human Events in a February issue.

Another president and troubling theme for the crew at Human Events is a perceived leftists control of the media. Winter descries "the incredible personal bias of the leading reporters," adding, "They're totally out of step with the American people."

The issue of a liberal media has cropped up often in recent months because, it appears, of the weekly's growing distrust of the news coverage of the El Salvador war: Columnist Cliff Kincaid drawn an interesting parallel. "In terms of inflammatory media coverage and the fact that outside communist powers are trying to impose a Marxist- Leninist dictatorship on an independent nation, El Salvador is another Vietnam.

And Daniel James outlines further this "Media Crusade to Sink EI Salvador," by examining recent articles from the Postand theNew York Times.Of 23 Timesarticles on the subject, James finds that "10 are perceptibly pro-guerilla and only seven pro-U.S....." Thirteen stories of the former variety and five of the latter comprise the Post's coverage of El Salvador. Articles such as these or William Rusher's commentary on "America's zealously anti-Reagan major media" are not uncommon in recent editions of the magazine.

HUMAN EVENTS DOES not confine itself to economic or foreign policy. "Education Dept. Uncovers Grants to Feminists;" "Humanities Dept. Bankrolling Leftist Democratic Network;" and "United Methodists Cozy Up to Communists" are among recently covered topics.

Editor Winter scoffs at those who call the magazine extremist and unrepresentative of the vast majority of American public opinion. "They're wrong," he says simply. "What is Human Events is so extreme?" He goes on to state his belief that "a large number of Americans" agree with the ideology put forth weekly in Human Events.

Who really knows how many Americans are third-line conservatives? But one thing is certain. A significant number of people in the present administration agree with the views of men like Thomas Winter. And so perhaps does our President, at least deep inside. This in itself suggests the urgent need to see what a magazine like Human Events has to say. Depending on where you are coming from the experience might be very comforting--or very shocking.