He was no visionary, no innovator. He articulated no grand plan for the country or the world. He did not start Reagan's revolution, nor the one that later swept Eastern Europe. Yet he figured out how to channel these forces, to harness them and focus them on constructive outcomes while averting potential disasters. He could bring together people who were more comfortable apart and find pragmatic ways to paper over any rifts. There was little idealism involved and a fair degree of opportunism. He was not above political hardball to advance his team's chances at the ballot box. He never lost sight of what was good for Jim Baker and he survived the ruthless arena of Washington. Asked in later years his biggest accomplishment, he regularly joked, "leaving Washington unindicted," a line he lifted from a Doonesbury cartoon. But somehow in the main, it worked. Things got done.
-Peter Baker and Susan Glasser. The Man Who Ran Washington: The Life and Times of James A. Baker III