THE LATE Arthur Okun once wrote: "Nobody comes out of graduate school with a Ph.D. in priority setting or applied ideology. And yet these are major tasks in the executive's policymaking." The effects of ideology on policymaking in American government have been little studied--partly because many scholars have either dismissed the importance of ideology in American politics, or have held that almost universal agreement on a common "liberal" ideology has muted ideological dispute.
In this book A. James Reichley, a Brookings senior fellow, argues that there is a distinguishable tradition of conservative ideology in American political history, and he examines its effects on policy formulation in the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Building on James L. Sundquist's critical analysis of policy formulation, Politics and Policy: The Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson Years ( Brookings 1968), Reichley's book studies the role of ideology in the deliberations and debates that led to positions taken by the Nixon and Ford administrations in foreign, economic, and social policy. Since the effect of ideology cannot be assessed in isolation, this book also deals with some of the personal rivalries and ambitions, partisan drives, economic interests, and national and international problems and challenges that influenced policymaking under Nixon and Ford.
The author is particularly grateful to his Brookings colleagues, Martha Derthick and James Sundquist, who provided advice and encouragement from the time the study began until it was finished and, for helpful comments and suggestions on the manuscript, to Joel