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Steering the elephant: how Washington works.

Steering the Elephant: How Washington Works.

Robert Rector, Michael Senera, eds. Universe, $24.95. The essavists in this volume are true believers, ex-Reagan officials and conservative academics, who know how hard it is to run the federal government (hence the title) and who want to pass their vision on to the James Watts of tomorrow. You wouldn't think liberals have much to learn from the likes of Jeane Kirkpatrick and Bruce Fein, but they would be wise to listen. These essays would help President Dukakis as much as they would President Kemp.

While they cover everything from sweet-talking the Washington press corps to manipulating statistics, one theme prevails: don't rely on career civil servants. For instance, the former director of the Office of Personnel Management, Donald Devine, found provisions of the Carter-era Civil Service Reform Act that allowed him to pepper the bureaucracy with loyal Reaganites. Not an appetizing thought, but with the same cunning a liberal administration could stir up backwaters like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and give us all a more effective and compassionate government.
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Copyright 1987, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Mooney, Peter
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 1987
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