Flush with the enormity of their victory, President-elect Ronald Reagan and his supporters are moving swiftly in their preparation to take over the reins of government.
Most of the new Cabinet will be named before the end of this month, according to top Reagan aides, and the most important 300 or so federal positions will be filled before the inauguration Jan. 20.
Some observers have speculated that the Reagan administration would be top-heavy with business executives. But staff chief Edwin Meese says this will "by no means be the only source." Mr. Meese promises diversity in the new administration, including women, minorities, and some Democrats.
Time magazine this week quotes Mr. reagan as saying that there will be some "surprise" choices in his Cabinet.
The size of their win -- and especially the conservative and Republican tide that swept Congress -- surprised even the most ardent of Reagan supporters. Meese and others say this wide margin of victory "provides a mandate for change" that they intend to take advantage of without hesitation.
Some early legislative tests with a Democratic Congress had been anticipated before this week's election. But the President-elect now intends immediately to submit his income-tax package (which he hopes to make retroactive to the beginning of 1981), relax regulatory reform to benefit businesses (especially small businesses), and boost pay and benefits for members of the armed forces.
Reagan expects to meet with congressional leaders during the transition period to review his legislative intent and work out a calendar for submitting proposed new laws. Reagan was consulted before President Carter nominated A. W. Clausen to head the World Bank, but it is not expected that any more important posts will be filled by Mr. Carter or offered to the lame-duck Congress for consideration.
President-elect Reagan has been receiving telegrams of congratulations from leaders around the world, including French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Soviet party leader Leonid Brezhnev (sent to the "esteemed Mr. Reagan"), and Pope John Paul II. Official Chinese newspaper stories describe the President-elect as "moderate," a considerably different appraisal than the one given when Reagan last August suggested reestablishing official government relations with Taiwan.
Leaders in Iran say the release of the American hostages could be delayed because of Reagan's election. But staff chief Meese says, "We will work out a way in which to cooperate in any fashion that might help our national interest and help in getting the hostages home."
The Reagan transition team is initially being formed in Los Angeles but will move early next week to quarters provided by the General Services Administration in Washington. The Reagans will spend the next few days relaxing at their ranch north of Los Angeles, then divide their time during the transition between California and Washington.