Some of the most difficult periods of Ronald Reagan's political career occurred when events forced changes in his top staff. Invariably Reagan turned to his small pool of close friends and aides who had been with him since the 1960s. During one crisis in the California governor's office, William P. Clark and Michael K. Deaver filled a sudden void in Reagan's top staff. Climaxing a confused and dissension-wracked period of the 1980 election campaign, Reagan turned to the friendly faces and alter egos of Edwin Meese III and Deaver.
With all the talent available in Washington, President Reagan called Clark from his California Supreme Court seat when he needed help at the State Department.
Anytime there was trouble, Reagan looked inward for a trusted confidante. But soon that no longer will be possible. Clark is returning to California. Meese has been nominated again for attorney general because another old California friend, William French Smith, wants to go home. And now Deaver has announced his departure from the White House this spring.
The Washington grapevines are buzzing with speculation about possible successors, but in fact there will be no replacing Clark, Meese and Deaver at the White House. They have shared a special relationship with Ronald and Nancy Reagan that cannot be duplicated.