The Presidency: Is Reagan a Flexible Prince?

From Macchiavelli to Melvin Laird, which is a not inconsequential span of experience, the historical record suggests that survival is easier for those leaders who stay out of the way of political steamrollers. Indeed, the successful statesman is usually one who is agile enough to dance ahead of great surges of human feeling and direct them to his own purposes.

Machiavelli defined his ideal prince as a head of state with a "flexible disposition, varying as fortune and circumstances dictate." Melvin Laird, the consummate congressional pol who served Richard Nixon as Secretary...

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