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The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed
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The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  22 reviews

The controversial bestseller on the failure of the Reagan Revolution.

Editorial Review: Library Journal

This memoir is a bitter review of Stockman's years in the Reagan Administration. It is a book with few heroes and many fools. The author claims naivete as his excuse. Although the narrative is somewhat confusing, overall, its backstage view of policymaking leaves o
Hardcover, 422 pages
Published May 1986 by Harper & Row (first published January 1st 1986)
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Thomas Preusser
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readspre2017
The author, David Stockman, was the primary implementer of supply side economics during the early Reagan years. As director of Office of Management and Budget he found himself butting heads with special interest forces that were corrupting his supply side ideology. He became greatly alarmed at projections of exploding deficits due to steep tax cuts that were not compensated for by commensurate spending cuts. On the plus side the initial stimulus did get the economy moving for a few years. On the ...more
Patrick Peterson
19 Jan. 2017 - My thoughts 30 years after reading this book:

1. It was a gripping and exemplary history of how this OMB Director in the first Reagan term actually tried to implement Reagan's proposed cuts in the Fed. budget and departments.

2. It showed how most of Reagan's cabinet appointees were far from part of the process to cut the budget, but were rather on the "receiving end" of the cuts, and not happy or supportive.

3. Weinberger (Defense) AND Haig (State) were particularly egregious offend
Frank Stein
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

At times, this book came off as one of the most insightful political memoirs I've ever read, and at others, it seemed a soporific swirl of disconnected numbers and politicians.

David Stockman certainly gets points for writing that rarest of memoirs, a mea culpa, and his heartfelt agony, and there is no other word for it, at the unprecedented deficits his early policies and plans produced is earnest and even touching. Sometimes, the book's apologies can even veer into narcissism, since Stockman (t
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rarely would I suggest to start reading a book at the back end, but I do not hesitate to do so with this one. It is in the last two chapters (Epilogue: The Triumph of Politics, Appendix: The Fiscal Facts) that Stockman succintly tells the crux of this 450 page tome about the $1 trillion fiscal calamity of the Reagan era.

Those readers who would then be intrigued to learn minutiae of dealings of the White House with its cabinet and the Congress during the first five years of the "Reagan revolution
Steven Peterson
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I don't know about others, but I do enjoy well written "insider" accounts of what happens in politics is intelligently and honestly done. Indeed, I have sometimes thought of developing a political science class where such works would serve as textbooks. If I ever had the courage tyo follow through, this would be on the short list. Stockman was one of President Reagan's top person on his economic team. And, over time, he began to raise questions about economic policy. This book ios his reflection ...more
Chuck Russo
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, history
I loved this book. A gripping and fascinating insider's account of the battles surrounding the early Reagan budgets, by the architect of those budgets. I read this many years ago, and it changed forever my perceptions and understanding of the federal budget process. Very interesting book.
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent view on what it's like to try to get something done in Washington. Stockman spares no detail and plays no favorites.
Kevin J. Taylor
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The collision of naive idealism with political reality.

As relevant in exposing the fallacy of supply side tax theory as it is in describing our political reality. This should be read by all who will not read it.
Nathan Tensen
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
To read a summary of The Triumph of Politics is to think you're reading an argument for why you should skip it and find another book. It is, after all, about David Stockman-President Reagan's Budget Director-trying to cut spending in Washington and put together a budget. Literally, that's what it's about. Budgets, graphs, special interests competing--hardly riveting material. And yet what Stockman found when he was plucked out the House of Representatives to work in the Reagan administration was ...more
Independientemente de los planteamientos políticos y económicos del autor y de aquéllos a quien sirvió, el libro es muy interesante.
Nos cuenta los errores de cálculo, los choques frontales, las manipulaciones secretas y los contubernios que condujeron al fracaso de la Revolución reaganiana, que produjo un déficit apabullante de un billón de dólares en vez del presupuesto equilibrado que el presidente había prometido al electorado...
Incluso los miembros del Congreso favorables a la reducción del
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We know history. And history is wrong about the Reagan Administration. History says Reagan slashed welfare and aid to pay for tax cuts. That is only half true. Nothing was cut under Reagan. As Stockman points out, many programs despised by the GOP actually grew under Reagan.

No matter how redundant or ineffective, or how much money they wasted, all government programs were supported by some Republicans in the Congress.

Six of eight years of Reagan's administration had a GOP Senate and the House
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
In January 1984, after being lectured to inanely by Reagan and concluding that he "could not bear to watch this good and decent man go on in this embarrassing way," that he "couldn't defend a planned trillion-dollar deficit," a "budget ... so bad, it's beyond the pale," David Stockman decided to tell his boss Jim Baker that he'd soon be resigning, to which Baker
came back at me with a voice [that] was ice-cold:

"You do that and you'll stab the President right in the back. The Democrats will have
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
David Stockman, Reagan’s Budget Director, was a NeoCon leader and a devout believer in that oxymoron, a conservative revolution. No one believed more in what economics major, George H. W. Bush famously labeled voodoo economics than Stockman. That the Laffer Curve was just a doodle on a napkin, not even backed by a real economic theory, let alone supported by any study didn’t dissuade him. That Supply Side Economics was the very thing that conservative hero, Adam Smith, had disproved in The Wealt ...more
Fred Kohn
This is a must-read for any serious student of the Reagan era, and a great addition to such a student's personal library. The irony is that this book was in my personal collection many years ago, and I gave it away. Not only that, I was only able to get through half of it before it totally bogged down for me in minutia. The problem was that this was the first book I attempted to read on the whole Reaganomics phenomenon, and it was simply information overload. So read this book, but not unless yo ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Just started reading (page 67 out of 394) but it is entertaining reading by David Stockman, Reagan's Director of the Office of Management and Budget, who with Jack Kemp and Arthur Laffer (remember the Laffer curve written on a napkin?) created the supply side emphasis of the Reagan administration. From the beginning he implies that Reagan was basically a likeable guy but an empty suit who had to be educated intensely to understand Stockman's ideas and ultimately abandoned the total concept becau ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book should be on the reading list of everyone really interested in politics, either in the 80s or now. Stockman really takes us through how the ideologues just pulled the numbers out of the air and their decisions exploded the deficit in the 80s. I had never realized that even as late as the early 80s (and maybe now) how the conservative movement fundamentally wanted to undo the reforms of the 1930s and 1960s.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Dec 01, 2008 marked it as maybe-read-sometime
This was in the free books bin ... the guy is clearly clever, but honestly, I don't know enough about the hidden dynamics of the Reagan administration to gauge the veracity of his account. (And I'm not sure that I want to.)

He mentions having written a paper tracing conservative philosophers back to early liberal thinkers ... which intrigues me, because I've always felt a sense of interconnection there that I haven't been able to articulate.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
There are a lot of things to find captivating about this book. What strikes me most of all is that the "Reagan Revolution" was a total bust from the start and that these are still some of the same arguments we're having today. I think everybody interested in politics needs to revisit this book ASAP.
While this book had its boring and difficult to understand sections, it proved to be an informative read. The author was both brutally honest and earnest in mapping out his own and Ronald Reagan's failure to implement the economic and fiscal policies promised by his campaign.
May 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Excellent. Written by Reagan's OMB director and one of the guys who came up with supply side economics.
Mark Molloy
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Turned me into cynic. Reading this proves our legislators are in it for themselves.
Frances Padilla
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like this one better than his new one. It's had a better combination of narrative but also concise points.

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David Alan Stockman is a former U.S. politician and businessman, serving as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985).

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