The Imperial Temptation
March 15, 1987
The imperial presidency in the United States has staged a comeback some 13 years after the fall of Richard Nixon. Both the recent renewal of presidential aggrandizement and the reaction against it recall the latter days, hectic and ominous, of the Nixon presidency, when I wrote The Imperial Presidency. My argument then, as now, was that the American Constitution intends a strong presidency within an equally strong system of accountability.
March 09, 1987
The Palace File by Nguyen Tien Hung and Jerrold L. Schecter (Harper & Row, 542 pp., $22.95) The literature on Vietnam, so scant in the 1960s, when it was most needed, is now swelling toward flood tide. Much of what is being produced is either redundant or merely memoiristic; but one can now add The Palace File to the relatively short list of important books on this grim and complicated subject.
White House Watch: Free Lunch Fans
June 30, 1986
DONALD T REGAN, the White House chief of staff, is good at cheap bravado. During a senior staff meeting one morning in early June, he announced that, contrary to a report in the Washington Post, the Reagan administration hadn't abandoned its proposal to eliminate the Small Business Administration. It will fight on, he indicated, against the SBA in an effort to slash federal spending and streamline the government. This is nonsense. After 18 months the administration is no closer to killing off the SBA.
The Wright Stuff
October 14, 1985
It was big news this summer when Majority Leader Jim Wright threatened to punch a Republican right-winger during a squabble on the House floor over a procedural vote. But the incident was right in character for the hot-tempered Texan. Over the years he's made similar threats with some regularity.
Addiction à L.A. Mode
July 08, 1985
Los Angeles—In a city that already regards chefs, hairdressers, and lawyers as acceptable playmates, the flowering of yet another exotic social type can’t be regarded as particularly noteworthy. But in Los Angeles this season there’s a new species of personal companion on the rialto that is not only positively orchidaceous but that demonstrates just how chic addiction has become. The hottest companion here is a “disenabler.” A “disenabler” (also known as a “key voice”) is a person who keeps you from doing drugs or from drinking.
The Decline of Oratory
May 28, 1984
The fault is in the speakers, and in the hearers, too.
July 18, 1983
It seems virtually certain that the Reagan campaign committed a crime.
John Anderson for President
October 04, 1980
What liberals want from government includes what everybody else wants—security, prosperity, personal freedom, honest and efficient governance. But liberals also want more—an active remaking of society along more equitable lines, and promotion of humane values in the world. In making political judgments, it is often hard to resolve these goals. But judging Jimmy Carter is not hard. In four years as president, he has failed by both the general standards of competent administration and the special standards of the liberal agenda.
The Light in the East
September 20, 1980
During the last week in August in 1980 a new kind of light appeared in Poland, illuminating the world scene in an unexpected way. An eerie sentence swam into my mind, the one that Winston Churchill wrote about 1914 when the pall of the parochial Irish crisis hung over the warm summer evening of the British Empire; and when the parishes of Fermanagh and Tyrone faded into the mists and squalls of Ireland, "and a strange light began immediately, but by perceptible gradations, to fall and grow upon the map of Europe." That strange light, in 1914, was the glimmering advent of World War I.
The Power, The Glory, The Media, The Men, The Money, The Irony, The Symbols, America, The Meaning of It All.
May 05, 1979
The Powers That Be by David Halberstam (Knopf; $15) David Halberstam. Halberstam, that was what everybody called him (after all, it was his name). They always said what Halberstam needed was a good editor, his sentences ran on and on, he piled phrase upon phrase and clause upon clause, he used commas the way other men used periods.