Essay: The Reagan Administration... A Change in the Weather

As Reagan's era recedes, compassion and Government activism regain favor

It happened with surreal swiftness. One moment, the pageant of Reaganism was proceeding, with brilliant fireworks over the harbor. The next moment, the Iranian scandal burst up through the floorboards. Strange blackbirds of policy flapped out of the White House basement. The Reagan Administration, the phenomenon that had defined so much of the '80s, that had given the decade its agenda and style, seemed to collapse in a bizarre shambles.

If the U.S. were a parliamentary democracy, the Reagan Government might have fallen. As it is, Ronald Reagan will remain in Washington for another 22 months. His White House is laboring...