Nation: Meet the Real Ronald Reagan

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administration to states and localities, along with sufficient taxing power to finance the case load. But welfare already is administered by states and communities; that nasty caseworker is typically a county or municipal employee. How would giving the locals total power over money and regulations change anything?

When that question was put to him in June, Reagan replied, "I still think the greatest fault lies in Washington, because they're the ones who make the regulations and the regulations make it impossible to check up on people." The truth is the other way around: Washington for years has been pressing the states and localities to eliminate ineligibles. Reagan just cannot see that, because one of his abiding convictions is that Washington is the fount of most of what is wrong with the country. Remove the federal involvement, he thinks, and matters are bound to get better. In this area his conviction seems to have reached the point of compulsion.

A couple of Reagan's more candid assistants acknowledge that some of the candidate's miscues are caused by an almost naive desire to prove that some conviction he holds dear is correct. The other day he visited the Santa Marta Hospital in a chicano area of East Los Angeles and told the institution's staff that he had asked a nun there whether the hospital gets "compensation from Medicaid or anything like that." She had answered no, he reported, and then told the group, "I appreciate your pride in that." But a puzzled senior administrator later informed reporters that, in fact, 95% of the patients were subsidized by Medicaid or Medicare.

Whether Reagan misinterpreted what the nun said or she answered his question incorrectly does not really matter. The point is that a man running for the White House should have known that no hospital providing what amounts to charity service for most of its patients can exist today without Government help. Reagan was misled by his eagerness to discover a little island of independence from the feds.

Reagan is well aware of the doubts about his brainpower, and occasionally jokes about the subject. He told one audience, "I'm not smart enough to lie," and quipped to construction workers in New York City the other day that a proffered hard hat would not fit because "I have a pinhead." But the humor is forced; cracks about his intelligence obviously hurt.

"You can't help be a little irritated by that," he admits. "You say to yourself: 'How intelligent are the people who are writing this? Do they lack the intelligence to take a look at a state that is the size of California that was run successfully for eight years—a multibillion-dollar business?' I was intelligent enough to surround myself myself as Governor with the kind of expertise and the kind of people who could make these things happen." He has a point. His administration of California was competent, and he did not let ideological principles prevent him from doing what had to be done.

As Governor, Reagan also developed an unusual management style that he is likely to revive if he reaches the White House. He relied very heavily on a small group composed of his immediate staff and the heads of major state agencies for information and advice; they in turn recruited large task forces of experts to study specific

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