This essay was originally published in the November 17, 1980 issue of Time Magazine, which can be viewed online here
Reagan has some talented prospects to run his Administration
You want to know what the Administration will be like?” asks William Casey, Ronald Reagan’s campaign manager. “It will be very much like Eisenhower’s. You’ll see people of experience, people of heavier weight than have been around since then. More authority will be delegated to the Cabinet, and the White House staff won’t have such a heavy hand.”
The President-elect, who is famed for keeping reasonable hours and not getting bogged down in details, is expected to act pretty much like a chairman of the board who makes the big decisions but delegates day-to-day operations to others. Thus the people Reagan brings into office are likely to have larger-than-usual roles in running the Government. For several weeks, a group headed by Reagan’s attorney, William French Smith, has been putting together a list of possible appointees for the main posts. Leading candidates for some of the top jobs:
Secretary of State. George Shultz, who served as Secretary of Labor and then the Treasury under Nixon, is favored for the post. Shultz has had considerable experience in government and the academic world, and is now vice chairman of Bechtel Inc., the giant construction company. Shultz has never held a diplomatic post, but a Reagan adviser notes that “diplomacy is applied common sense.” Another possibility for State: General Alexander Haig, who as chief of NATO demonstrated diplomatic ability, as well as a firm grasp of geopolitics.
Although Reagan says that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger does not want a regular job in the new Administration, he is still considered a long-shot candidate for his old post. Reagan now consults Kissinger on foreign policy, although he used to criticize his policies. But by appointing Kissinger, Reagan would risk outraging his right-wing supporters, who are already upset by the re-emergence of the architect of détente.
Secretary of Defense. Since Reagan needs at least one big-name Democrat in his Cabinet, a natural choice (Nixon also considered him for the job) is Senator Henry Jackson, who has always stood for a strong military. Another like-minded Democrat is Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. Still another possibility is Haig, although there would have to be a change in the law that prohibits any officer from becoming Defense Secretary until he has been off the active-duty list for ten years. Haig retired in June 1979.
Secretary of the Treasury. Alan Greenspan, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ford and helped reduce double-digit inflation to less than 5%, is a leading contender. Another is Caspar Weinberger, who was Reagan’s first finance director in Sacramento and who also served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Nixon.
White House Chief of Staff. The most likely candidate is Edwin Meese III, who was Reagan’s righthand man during the campaign. As a policy adviser, Meese is closer to Reagan than any other aide, but he is not a good organizer and lacks Washington experience, as indeed do most of the members of Reagan’s inner circle. If Meese does not become Chief of Staff, he might be named Attorney General. Coming up fast in the race for the top White House post is Jim Baker, a calm and collected lawyer from Houston who managed Ford’s 1976 campaign, then George Bush’s primary campaign, and joined Reagan after the G.O.P. Convention.
As for other top White House posts, the job of chief domestic affairs adviser will probably go to Martin Anderson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and an expert on welfare. A flexible conservative, Anderson played a major part in persuading Nixon to establish the volunteer army. Michael Deaver, another trusted aide, will be given a post that keeps him close to the new President and allows him to monitor Reagan’s public performances.
Richard Allen, Reagan’s top campaign adviser on foreign affairs, resigned just before the election amid public reports that he had improperly used his position in the Nixon White House to arrange lucrative consulting contracts. But he reappeared in the Reagan entourage on Election Day, refueling speculation that he might yet have a substantive Administration role.
Political Consultant Stuart Spencer is returning to private business in California, but is expected to retain a chair in Reagan’s kitchen Cabinet. So is Richard Wirthlin, Reagan’s talented pollster. Also likely to be called on for political advice is Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt, who is a close friend. Three women are slated for Cabinet or sub-Cabinet positions. Two are Republicans: Anne Armstrong, former co-chairman of the G.O.P. National Committee and Ambassador to Britain; and Elizabeth Dole, wife of Senator Robert Dole and a former member of the Federal Trade Commission. The Democrat is Jeane Kirkpatrick, professor of government at Georgetown University.
Other conservatives clustered around the Hoover Institution and the American Enterprise Institute in Washington are expected to be tapped for posts at State, Defense and the National Security Council. Republicans argue that perhaps not since the days of Theodore Roosevelt have so many gifted intellectuals been available to a Republican Administration. They have a point.