Charting the political reefs ahead for Reagan
The early torrid days of summer have begun to test the patience and resourcefulness of the Reagan administration, on economic, social, and foreign policy issues.
Domestically, the Republican-controlled Senate has rebuffed the White House by insisting on playing out its negotiating role with House budget conferees, instead of simply accepting the House version as urged by Reagan budget whiz David A. Stockman.
The Democrats have begun to find their voice as the loyal opposition. The Democratic leaders are pushing forward young, attractive spokesmen like Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado on issues ranging from tax to environmental policy. In the House, Ways and Means chairman Don Rostenkowski has begun a careful tax-writing campaign to win over oil-state Democrats with tax write-offs for producers, and Northern moderate Republicans with tax breaks for small businesses.
In foreign policy, the White House has had to move to end the rancor between backers of Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. and the White House's internal national security chief Richard V. Allen.
To do so, the President has drawn on a lesson from the early, troubled days of his election campaign. Then he fired campaign director John Sears and replaced him with a team of a half dozen advisers. Now he has reduced the daily personal briefing role of Mr. Allen, and has begun to meet three morning a week with his entire top echelon for national security: Vice-President George Bush, Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, and Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Casey, plus Mr. Allen and top White House aides Edwin Meese III, James Baker III, and Michael Deaver.