Trying to Cut His Losses

Reagan moves to outflank Congress on two charged issues

Twice last week Ronald Reagan employed the bold but risky political strategy of pre-emptive compromise. Faced with the all but certain passage of bills that he had previously threatened to veto, the President sought to outflank Congress with his own initiatives on South Africa and international trade. His political maneuvering served only to heighten the partisan conflict on Capitol Hill. "This is no longer an issue of what's good for South Africa," declared Senate Majority Leader Robert Dole. "It's a raw political issue. South Africa is secondary." As for new trade legislation, a top White House aide pointed an accusing finger...

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