Newswatch: Without Excessive Applause

Newswatch/Thomas Griffith

As Ronald Reagan's first year in office ends, Washington's political columnists, who like to be crisply assured in their opinions, find themselves baffled in assessing his performance. Consensus seems to be two cheers for Reagan, somewhat begrudged. Not so much cheers for his program or any adeptness in foreign policy, but for his capacity to stay personally popular and for his unexpected skill in having his way with Congress. "The applause from the audience at home and abroad has not been excessive," Columnist James Reston concludes.

Oddly enough, liberal columnists are the...

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