Midway through President Clinton’s first term, Labor Secretary Robert Reich found himself stuck in the dog door.
Left without a key to his Washington house when his wife, Clare, was moving the family back to Cambridge, Mass., Reich screwed himself into the opening “like a light bulb into a socket.”
At 4-foot-10, he thought he could fit. He got jammed. So he had to reverse course to “twist myself back out.”
The maneuver might be a metaphor for Reich’s struggle in Clinton’s first four presidential years to move the administration’s agenda toward narrowing the gap between rich and poor. He left after getting stuck at every turn.
Reich tells the tale in “Locked in the Cabinet,” a memoir to be published on April 25 by Alfred A. Knopf Inc.
“I came face to face with all I detest in American politics,” writes Reich, whose nemesis was Dick Morris, the president’s political adviser who resigned in disgrace. “Morris’ craft is the antithesis of leadership. Leaders focus attention on the hardest problems even when the public would rather escape from them.”