The country owes Nancy Reagan a debt of thanks, not the ridicule that the Don Regan book has brought down upon her. On arms control, on Nicaragua, on divisive social issues like abortion, Nancy Reagan has been a voice for reason in an Administration staffed, for the most part, either by clever right-wing zealots like Pat Buchanan or dumb right-wing zealots like Ed Meese. If she and her erstwhile friend Michael Deaver had not had the President's ear these past seven years, it is hard to imagine her husband having any sort of success.
Ironically, Mrs. Reagan is now hooted at for being out of touch with reality because she consults an astrologer, when it is she who has kept her ideology-bewitched, fantasy-ridden husband in touch with such bedrock realities as 1) the public does not want the abortion question opened up again; polls show an overwhelming disposition to let that gruesomely difficult issue remain a matter between a woman and her conscience, and 2) the public wants arms treaties with the Soviet Union--indeed, even Republican primary voters were strongly in favor of the INF treaty.
Yes, it's tacky to consult an astrologer, but who knows what level of credence Mrs. Reagan gave to what she heard? All other things being equal, moreover, what's the harm of fixing the hour for a momentous ceremony by the compass of a whim? Better that Mr. Reagan take his cues from the indifferent stars then from the passionate votaries of the hard right.