The Heifer Takes Some Hits

As Reagan falters, Howard Baker gets the blame

When Howard Henry Baker arrived at the White House last March, he brought with him a reputation as the great conciliator. Moderates expected his skills as a consensus builder to work legislative magic, easing Ronald Reagan into the new realities of a Democratic Congress. Conservatives feared that his instincts as a pragmatist would blur the President's ideological vision.

Baker has indeed shown that his style is one that avoids confrontation. He helped steer Reagan into a Central American "peace plan" partnership with House Speaker Jim Wright. He engineered the strategy of selling Robert Bork to Congress as a distinguished moderate rather...

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