Brave White House Interns Revolt!
When I was 22, I stomped into the Oval Office one morning; I leaned on the Resolute Desk and said to President Reagan, "Ron. Buddy. You gotta go over to Berlin and tell the Gorbymeister (that’s what we called Gorbachev) to tear down that wall." I stressed, "You may think I'm at the bottom of the food chain in this here White House, but I'm telling you, you're gonna get that commie punk to wax that wall or, my friend, you're gonna deal with me."
Reagan, recognizing who he was trifling with, summoned his cabinet. When they arrived, I paced around the cabinet room while the leader of the free world laid it out. "Little Dezzie just read me the riot act. He said we must end the Cold War. He's absolutely right. Why didn't any of you nimrods come up with that?"
Secretary of State George Schultz hung his head. Chief of Staff Don Regan's lower lip began to quiver. Treasury Secretary James Baker started to cry. I beamed at the president’s praise.
"That'll be all, Ron," I told the president, who swallowed hard lest he earn my wrath. Then, I laid out my plan for ending the Cold War, which the world now knows succeeded despite not knowing whose idea it had been all along. I prefer to be low-key.
I decided to come out with this now because I read that a collection of bold White House interns demanded President Biden call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza. And good for them. It took courage. Just as I knew what was best for the country in the mid-1980s, these kids know that what's going on in the Middle East is not as tricky as people say. The President of the United States is the boss, and if he tells those Little Country people just to stop doing that Little Country stuff, they'll do it, believe me. Especially those people who invaded that music festival on October 7 — because once you get Hamas' attention and talk turkey to them, they seem like the kind of folks who’ll keep their word. It’s about dialogue. Plus, violence never solved anything…except maybe stopping the Third Reich and Imperial Japan during World War II.
I sometimes exaggerate my role in bringing about the end of the Cold War. I make up stuff when I’m in a state of disbelief. I understand that young people like Biden’s White House interns embrace high-fashion issues such as a cease-fire in Gaza. What I can’t get past is thinking about my mindset when I was about the age of these kids. I remember being in such a state of disbelief that I was a short walk to the Oval Office. I was terrified somebody would notice me, call me on my unworthiness, and the Secret Service would catapult me over the iron gates into Lafayette Park.
Every generation has something to say about those who are in the process of replacing them. Still, I always thought — perhaps with vanity at heart — that being able to work in the White House so young was something special. I assumed that we all had policy differences with the presidents we worked for but that there was an invisible code of honor whereby we’d keep our mouths shut with gratitude for the opportunity that only a handful of people get.
Biden’s White House interns didn’t sign their names to the cease-fire demand. They’re not complete morons. They know a thing or two about advancement. They might be applying for jobs at Morgan Stanley or big law firms that may not take kindly to backing a Hamas ploy.
This crew was very different from the young singer Carole Feraci, who fifty-one years ago unfurled a handheld banner demanding “Stop the Killing” (in Vietnam) at a White House event with President Nixon sitting right there. Even as a little kid, I watched the news and thought She was in trouble like Barney Rubble! Feraci didn’t get arrested and quietly left the stage when asked. Maybe it helped that she was Canadian. And pretty. But I thought she was a badass because she didn’t hide.
In the meantime, you now know who to thank for ending the Cold War. You’re welcome.