REPUBLICANS: Reagan's Rhodesian Expeditionary Force

To his machismo-minded hard core, Ronald Reagan's occasionally bellicose campaign utterances are simply long overdue flexings of America's muscle. But last week a remark that he would be willing to send U.S. troops to Rhodesia exploded like a tripped-over land mine. By week's end the candidate was in full retreat.

The gaffe came in response to a question during a Sacramento Press Club appearance. After a potshot at Henry Kissinger for siding with black Rhodesians against Ian Smith's minority white regime, Reagan suggested that the U.S. and Britain should instead serve as...