Back in The Straddle

Bush tries to soothe all sides on urban issues and the environment

GEORGE BUSH LOOKED WITHDRAWN AND UNCERtain as he privately discussed urban policy with a trusted adviser outside government. Hard-nosed conservatives like Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, Bush confided, were urging him to take advantage of the Los Angeles riots by emphasizing law and order and resisting new spending, both of which would appeal to white suburban voters. Other Republicans, meanwhile, were demanding more money for a market-oriented war against poverty. Exasperated, Bush asked, "What am I supposed to do?"

The President answered his own question last week, straddling various approaches toward urban policy and the environment. Hewing to the pattern he...

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