Anderson: he relishes politics

Martin Anderson, the top domestic political adviser in the Reagan White House , has mastered both the casual and heady intellectual rols of a trusted courtier.

And he is described as one of the "new-breed Reagan Republicans," who relishes politics the way Democrats are supposed to.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Anderson could give curbside briefings on what Ronald Reagan meant in suggesting to Detroit auto workers that the Japanese think twice about the level of car sales to the United States.

At the same time, he followed the thread of Reagan conservatism through an elaborate policy development scheme that sought to link campaign themes to transition task forces and early administration action.

Anderson is a Dartmouth College graduate with a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business until 1968, when he headed research for the Nixon campaign. After three years as a special White House assistant, he returned to academe as a scholar at Stanford's Hoover Institution.

Anderson's unique role has been to help orchestrate the flow of expert opinion to the Reagan operation on the domestic side, as counterpart Richard Allen has with national security and foreign affairs issues.

His tour in government, his attempts at designing solutions for stubbon issues like welfare reform, urban renewal, and the draft, should have given him a feel for what looks good theoretically and what can actually work, political observers say.

Anderson in patient, more a listener than an expounder, and doesn't allow himself to be rushed. He is amused at the human drama of a White House installation, observing that the General Services Administration finished hanging the curtains in his transition office only a week before he was due to move out for the White House.

He points to the day's mail and heaps of reports on his transition desk. "It'll multiply tenfold when we move into the White House," he says.

Anderson seems relaxed about the policy-design challenges ahead. "You have a continual tradeoff," he says knowingly, "between doing a thing right and doing it at all."

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