Already it is possible to pinpoint those who would exert the most influence in a Reagan administration. Nancy Reagan: Although wife Nancy would be less conspicuous a force than First Lady Rosalynn, her presence would be felt -- particularly in presidential appointments and in the maintenance of a conservative ideological thrust.
George Bush: Reagan would seem likely to use his vice- president even more than Carter has used Mondale. He indicated his interest in sharing important duties when he tried to persuade Gerald Ford to take the second spot. Insiders say that Reagan is thinking seriously of taking a Ford recommendation that Bush, as vice-president, be made presidential chief of staff.
Gerald Ford: Reagan and Ford have developed a very close relationship. Ford says that he and Reagan are talking to each other "every four or five days" -- "on how the campaign's going, and on what I think he ought to or ought not to do." Will Ford accept a key appointment? He says "absolutely not." But he will doubtless be Reagan's chief outside- of-government adviser.
Any further line-up of Reagan power wielders becomes a matter of speculation. It seems fairly certain, however, that Reagan would find important posts for the following:
Caspar Weinberger, a former top man when Reagan was governor and also the onetime head of the Office of Management and Budget and the former Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, would doubtless move into a job which called upon his proven expertise as an administrator -- probably in the Cabinet.
Anne Armstrong, now cochairperson for the Reagan campaign, would probably be slated for a Cabinet position.
William Casey, Reagan campaign chairman, would be at Reagan's right hand -- perhaps as secretary of defense or commerce.
James Baker, senior Reagan adviser and formerly manager of the Bush campaign, could be slated for attorney general.
Who would be secretary of state? Kissinger's selection would shock a lot of Reagan supporters. But it still is possible. There is growing talk, however, that Reagan is leaning toward Alexander Haig or George Shultz.
Who would be Reagan's top economic advisers? It seems likely that the posts of secretary of treasury and head of the Council of Economic Advisers would be filled by two of the following: Alan Greenspan, Charles Walker, William Simon, Arthur Burns, and Paul McCracken.
Jack Kemp, a close advisor to Reagan on the economy, just could be given the treasury spot.
No one is closer to Reagan than his other campaign cochairperson, Paul Laxalt , but it is thought that he would prefer to remain in the Senate. However, he would continue to have access to Reagan and would be called upon for advice on domestic issues.
Richard Allen, a former assistant on the National Security Council staff, would seem in line to replace Zbigniew Brzezinski as assistant to the president for national security affairs.
The White House would be the home of a number of Reaganites who are already wielding influence in the campaign. Ed Meese would hold some important administrative position. Lyn Nofziger would be press secretary. Martin Anderson, a Reagan economic adviser, could head the domestic council. Others who could well move into key White House positions include Reagan's personal assistant Michael Deaver, pollster Richard B. Wirthlin, and political operative William Timmons.
When Jimmy Carter came to Washington, Hamilton Jordan first said that the new President would avoid the old names that usually graced the key appointment lists. Then Carter changed his mind and turned to experienced hands to fill his top Cabinet jobs.
Ronald Reagan says from the outset that he is looking for experienced people. He wants veterans both in the Cabinet and in the White House. That's why he'd like to use Bush as his chief of staff -- to make certain that the person who watches over the White House newcomers knows his way around Washington.
The heavy flavor in the Reagan appointments would be that of the Nixon-Ford administrations -- with the avoidance, of course, of any officials who were even slightly tainted by too close an association with Nixon during the Watergate period.