The ever-popular Mr. R

It is a pity nothing passes for wisdom or sounds very profound at the time it is uttered. Usually it takes a generation or so before anyone's words have the sound of profundity. After that amount of time they do not call to mind the rather dull and ordinary person who originally uttered them.

In order to qualify as one of the brilliant prognosticators for the rest of this year we hereby declare that Ronald Reagan's popularity will remain about the same. Such a fearless prediction is based on the fact that, ever since he took office, Mr. Reagan seems to have a certain unshakable following no matter what he does, or doesn't do.

This star quality is often found in certain performers whose fan clubs remain loyal through thick and thin, for reasons obscure in logic. But it is unusual for a president. Any other president's popularity would dive into single numbers if his administration coincided with more than 10 percent unemployed, a deficit of $200 billion, or social security going broke.

But not Ronald Reagan.

He will continue to inspire applause as he goes jauntily to and from his helicopter. And in the final crunch at year's end he will say the same basic things he has already said, to a cheering 49 percent of the population.

There are two reasons why this will happen.

The first is that hope springs eternal in the human breast. Ronald Reagan is nothing if not hopeful. His hand-wave is hopeful. His opening word of ''Well'' is hopeful. His sports shirt is hopeful.

The second reason is that the hope in 49 percent of the human breasts involved is that he will leave well enough alone. That he will wisely postpone any terrible, uncomfortable decisions, leaving them for unpopular Democrats to deal with in the distant future should their turn ever come along.

We hope these words will be widely quoted in 2023, or soon thereafter.

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