Read Power Game Online

Authors: Hedrick Smith

Power Game

More praise for
The Power Game

“There is some dazzling reporting about the Reagan administration that I haven’t seen anywhere else.”


The Wall Street Journal

“A rich groundwork of behind-the-scenes information and revealing gossip.”


San Francisco Chronicle

“The political book on Washington. It is reporting at its best.… As a working person’s guide to the strange and evanescent nature of our national government, I doubt that it could be topped.… This is a knife with edge.”


Los Angeles Times Book Review

“No one has done a better or more comprehensive job of explaining how Washington operates at this moment in history.… An unforgettable portrait of the people who run our national politics and their culture.”


Chicago Tribune

ALSO BY HEDRICK SMITH

The Russians

The Pentagon Papers
(coauthor with Neil Sheehan, Fox Butterfield, and E. W. Kenworthy)

Reagan: The Man, the President
(coauthor with Adam Clymer, Richard Burt, Leonard Silk, and Robert Lindsey)

Beyond Reagan: The Polititcs of Upheaval
(coauthor with Paul Duke, Haynes Johnson, Jack Nelson, Charles Corddry, Charles McDowell, and Georgie Ann Geyer)

The New Russians

Rethinking America

A Ballantine Book
The Random House Publishing Group

Copyright © 1988 by Hedrick Smith

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint previously published material:

Brookings Institution: Excerpts from “The Crisis of Competence in Our National Leadership” by James L. Sundquist, which appeared in
Political Science Quarterly
Vol. 95, No 2 (Summer 1980) p. 192.

CBS Inc.: Excerpts from a
CBS Evenings News
broadcast of October 4, 1984, in which Leslie Stahl shared her script with the author. Copyright © CBS Inc. All rights reserved.

Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.: Excerpts from
A Different Kind of Presidency
by Theodore C. Sorensen. Copyright © 1984 by Theodore C. Sorensen, Eric Sorensen, Stephen Sorensen, and Philip Sorensen. Reprinted by permission of Harper & Row Publishers, Inc.

The New York Times
: An excerpt from “Deciding Who Makes Foreign Policy” by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Copyright © 1983 by The New York Times Company. An excerpt from “The White House Mystique” by John S. D. Eisenhower. Copyright © 1987 by The New York Times Company. Excerpts from “The Greening of Washington” by Kenneth Schlossberg. Copyright © 1986 by The New York Times Company. Reprinted by permission.

The Public Interest
: Excerpts from “The Democratic Distemper” by Samuel P. Huntington. Copyright © 1975 by National Affairs, Inc. Reprinted with permission of the author from
The Public Interest
, No. 41 (Fall 1975), p. 27.

Time
: Excerpt from “Needed: Clarity of Purpose” by Richard M. Nixon. Copyright © 1980 Time Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission from Time.

WETA Washington: Excerpts from an interview with Elliot Richardson for PBS-TV documentary entitled
The Power and the Glory
. Copyright © 1982 by Greater WETA Educational Telecommunications Association.

Ballantine and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

www.ballantinebooks.com

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 96-96689

eISBN: 978-0-307-82957-3

This edition reprinted by arrangement with Random House, Inc.

v3.1

To Dad,
whose intellect and integrity
have always been a beacon
Acknowledgments

No book is an individual enterprise. This book, like many others, has benefited greatly from the cooperation, assistance, wisdom, and generosity of many people—my editor, academic mentors, researchers, news sources, journalistic colleagues, friends, and family.

Five people in particular gave special nourishment and encouragement to this book, for which I am deeply grateful: my father, Sterling Smith, whose lifelong questioning of government and whose relentless probing about the real workings of Washington were a stimulus for me to tackle this subject; Kate Medina, my editor at Random House, whose immediate and persistent enthusiasm for the concept and for the reporting, seasoned with insightful and demanding critiques, provided me with both the lift and spur that I wanted and needed; Austin Ranney, my sponsor and friend at American Enterprise Institute, whose gentle coaching and sheer enjoyment of the power game put fun and reward into the work of writing; Bill Nell, my chief researcher, who poured heart and soul and tireless hours and attention to tasks and facts too numerous to begin to enumerate; and Susan, my wife, whose “reader’s reactions” often helped me and whose faith and patience and support nurtured me throughout the writing of this book.

This book would not have been possible without two institutions and their leaders to whom I feel and owe special thanks. Over the past twenty-five years
The New York Times
has given me the rich opportunity of having a fifty-yard-line seat at the power game, and of getting to know so many government officials and congressional politicians at close hand. I am especially grateful to Publisher Punch Sulzberger, and former Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal for granting me a leave of absence to write the manuscript, and to
current Executive Editor Max Frankel, who was understanding when I needed more time.

For one very important year, the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and its former president. Bill Baroody, Jr., gave me an academic home as a visiting journalist. I am extremely grateful in particular to four senior fellows at AEI—Austin Ranney, Michael Malbin, Norm Ornstein, and John Makin—for their willingness to share so much time and knowledge to educate me. Austin Ranney and Tom Mann of Brookings Institution were generous enough to read the manuscript and give me their insights, and I am deeply in their debt, though obviously I alone bear responsibility for the judgments rendered in this volume.

Many members of Congress and administration officials offered me help or access—some four hundred to five hundred interviews—far too many for me to list them all. And some of the most helpful asked to remain anonymous. I am grateful to Presidents Reagan and Carter for their interviews with me and for similar access to Speakers Tip O’Neill and Jim Wright and Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Robert C. Byrd, as well as to scores of members of Congress and several dozen senior Reagan administration officials.

A few people—normally less visible to the public—deserve special mention because they enjoyed analyzing the power game as much as I have and they shared their understanding of the process of governing, and helped me see the patterns more clearly: Richard Darman, who is rich with insights into the levers of power and political dynamics of the presidency, or anywhere on the playing field; Mike Deaver, who has a storyteller’s gift for the inside world of the Reagan White House; Ken Duberstein, Kirk O’Donnell, and Chris Matthews, who tutored me on the ways of new-breed and old-breed politicians in the House; Tom Griscom, Steve Bell, and Linda Peake, whose expertise lay in the Senate; Dick Conlon, who provided vital “institutional memory” on the congressional reforms; Marty Franks and Joe Gaylord, who have for many elections kept me abreast of the partisan battle for control of the House; Bob Sims, unfailingly helpful, whether at the National Security Council or the Defense Department.

Journalistic colleagues helped on many points, large and small, in providing information and refining my own understanding of events—especially Lou Cannon and Hanes Johnson of
The Washington Post;
Charles McDowell of the
Richmond Times-Dispatch;
Charles Corddry of
The Baltimore Sun;
Bob Shogan and Jack Nelson of the
Los Angeles Times;
Steve Roberts, Marty Tolchin, Barbara Gamarekian, and Jonathan Fuerbringer of
The New York Times;
Leslie Stahl of CBS News; Chris Wallace of
NBC News; Sam Donaldson of ABC News; Paul Duke of the Public Broadcasting System; and Brian Lamb of C-Span.

Important material for many chapters in this book was pulled together by my three consecutive researchers—Bill Nell, Lauren Simon-Ostrow, and Kurt Eichenwald—whose assistance was indispensable to my writing. All three assisted me in many ways: compiling files, doing interviews, preparing memos, relentlessly chasing minutiae. Each brought special reporting and research talents to this project, and I am extremely grateful for their care, skill, and dedication. And we all owe thanks to Nancy Ganahl, the librarian at the Washington bureau of the
Times
, for her willing and thoughtful help.

I am most appreciative, too, for support in many areas from Lynda McAvoy, my efficient and cheerful assistant at AEI. To Randa Murphy, Mildred Edlowitz, Lyn Balthazar, and Penny Dixon goes my gratitude for their careful and patient transcribing of literally thousands of pages of my taped interviews.

Through the auspices of AEI, I was fortuante to have the help, too, of several interns, and I hope they got as much from this project as I did from them. Let me thank John Carpenter, Dave Deluca, Stephen Greene, Kathleen Hynde, Phil Hinz, Carol Monaghan, Debra Piehl, Mark Shaw, and Beate Thewalt.

My thanks, too, to Mitchell Ivers for his hours of patient copy-editing of my manuscript, to Olga Tarnowski for so cheerfully shepherding my work through Random House, and to Julian Bach, my literary agent, who got a light in his eye when I first mentioned the power game and who launched the project and put it under Kate Medina’s kind and constructive care.

—H
EDRICK
S
MITH
Chevy Chase, Maryland
February 5, 1989

Contents
8. Pentagon Games: The Politics of Pork and Turf

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