New round of White House infighting
The Reagan administration has entered another stretch of staff turbulence and high-level infighting, in both its foreign and domestic policy echelons.
Leaks, end-runs to Capitol Hill, lining up support from party factions, stirring up partisan columnists - the power plays long familiar to Washington have encroached upon President Reagan's carefully constructed ''Cabinet government.''
Martin Anderson, Reagan's top domestic-policy aide, has resigned, effective March 1. He joins in exodus Richard V. Allen, who was replaced as the White House national security affairs adviser by William P. Clark.
Mr. Clark's stock is clearly rising in the White House. ''The President's very, very, very pleased with Clark,'' one administration insider says. ''He's going to become the deputy president.''
The stock of top policy coordinator Edwin Meese III, Allen's and Anderson's boss, is clearly on the decline. Mr. Meese and Mr. Anderson have been blamed - unfairly insiders say - for such policy debacles as the decisions on social security and tax exemption for racist private schools.
But the White House's troubles go beyond personalities to the heart of Reagan's management style and the way Washington works, say those familiar with the administration's operations.
''When a president delegates a lot of authority and waits until late - until after a lot of analysis has been done - to make decisions, you're going to see a lot of tough infighting,'' says one White House observer.
''When a high-level decisionmaker feels he's been cut out of a big decision, he's going to go to the press or take some action to flag the president's attention.''
On the domestic side, Cabinet officers, congressmen, and others who want to influence policy have gone around or short-circuited the orderly structure of some 50 policy and study groups run by Mr. Anderson under Mr. Meese.
On the foreign-policy side, the President has been reading daily press accounts of maneuvering by his secretary of defense and secretary of state on key issues like the Soviet pipeline, credits for Poland, or a possible US military role in Central America.
''The President doesn't like private spats, and he really doesn't like public spats,'' says a White House insider.
More upheaval is ahead in the administration lineup. Labor Secretary Raymond J. Donovan will get moved out after Justice Department inquiries on previous business dealings are finished, insiders predict. Secretary of Energy James B. Edwards wants to go on his own. Housing Secretary Samuel R. Pierce Jr. would be replaced if they could find another black, insiders say. Health and Human Services Secretary Richard S. Schweicker is unhappy, because the White House's ''new federalism'' program will be tough to sell and live with.
''Nobody inside thinks (Caspar W.) Weinberger is ready for Haig's job,'' says one administration official, reflecting an assessment that Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. will never fully mesh with the Reagan operation. ''Clark will be the insider, very soon.''
Mr. Haig is seen with an edge on Mr. Weinberger in infighting readiness. ''It's clear Haig is ahead of the game in having his staff together and he's pushing very hard,'' says a White House observer. ''But Haig doesn't have the personal access to the President or support of the Republican hard right that Weinberger has. Weinberger's appealing now to the hard right. They're very suspicious of Haig.
''Haig is talking very tough on El Salvador, for example, but internally he takes a moderate position. Haig and Clark have been able to work something out on the Polish loans. Weinberger is trying to make sure he's not squeezed between Clark and Haig. Weinberger has support in the power center of the party, and he has Clark's access to the President.''
''Haig is once again playing a very delicate game of infighting. It's not clear how long he'll be able to keep it up. As Clark gets more confident, gets more support from his staff, he'll probably play off Haig and Weinberger. But he's going to play a behind-the-scenes role. That's how h