The Presidency: Coping with Washington

Coping with Washington

Every President sooner or later has to cut a deal with that thing we call Washington, or else he will be scorned, humiliated or simply brushed aside. Most of them hate it. The wise ones finally accept it.

The Washington Establishment, or that collection of people "inside the Beltway," is the big, raw nerve end of the U.S. And it has been so for almost 200 years. Curse it, attack it, defy it indefinitely, and a President almost always ends up diminished.

Ronald Reagan these days seems to be inviting calamity, whether through his obsessive reluctance to raise revenues to reduce...