In this remarkably candid account, we participate in economic strategy sessions and private meetings with the President, cabinet members, White House staff, congressional leaders. We see Caspar Weinberger shrewdly defending every dime of his defense budget; Alexander Haig fighting "in the national interest" to protect every State Department job; Donald Regan, as Secretary of the Treasury, trying to "read" the President and totally misreading the gathering economic crisis; and Edwin Meese moving the President toward easy accommodations rather than hard choices. Despite the powerful mandate given to the President by the American people, his program faces increasing difficulties as it encounters bedrock political realities. Even those members of Congress who favor spending cuts in principle hastily vacate the battlefield when this conflicts with powerful demands of their own constituencies. Eventually Stockman, the revolutionary, is forced to accept the reality that his theories, which looked so convincing on paper, have been based on a profound misjudgment about the American political system.
Far more than any journalist's expose, The Triumph of Politics is an insider's revelation of what happens when a radical ideology backed by the power of the Presidency runs headlong into the world of personal rivalries and special interests and ignores our continuous national tradition of accommodation and compromise. In telling this story David Stockman has created a work without parallel.
Click for the original review.
Ronald Reagan moved from moderate success as a movie actor to become governor of California and president of the United States. The election of 1980 ended the belief that conservatives might nominate a candidate for president but one could never win the election.