Nation: The Organization Man

The walls are bare in the large office on M Street except for a print of a Norman Rockwell portrait of Ronald Reagan. On a conference table lie nearly 100 letters in careful rows, waiting for signatures. On the desk is a picture frame, but instead of family photographs (wife and three children) it contains a schedule, neatly filled with appointments, six days a week, beginning with a daily 7 a.m. planning meeting with top assistants and ending often at 8 p.m. Next to the schedule is a clock.

The office is the headquarters of the Reagan transition team, and its sparse,...