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At a big press dinner one night in early 1985, when I was settling into my first job in Washington, I found myself sitting next to a man who was a lot more interesting than the official speaker at the rostrum. In person, David Stockman, the architect of the "Reagan Revolution," was as brilliant as his reputation, but what was most striking was his candid bitterness. Stockman had come to Washington, with Ronald Reagan, determined to change things. But he had failed, and he knew it. They had failed.
Over the next few years, I encountered a few other young reformers. One was the earnest and deeply knowledgeable governor of Arkansas. Bill Clinton's mastery of the inner workings of government policy was astonishing. Ask him about health or welfare or education, and his answers combined the savvy of a politician with the knowledge of a bureaucrat. Then there was an obscure but ambitious young Turk congressman by the name of Newt Gingrich. I'll never forget this starry-eyed back-bencher explaining to a gaggle of conservative activists how Washington could be changed--if only you'd think "outside the box."
Clinton and Gingrich, as I saw first-hand, had brains, talent, determination. They both attempted "revolutions" to rival Stockman's. And they both failed, each more spectacularly than the last. This book revisits the ideas that I first published in my book Demosclerosis, which suggested that Washington's disease is more complex and cunning than even a Clinton or a Gingrich realized. The new edition has a new title, because it is partly a new book. The earlier ideas are here, but I've also tried to account for the experiences of the 1990s--and to peer into the future, where a new relationship between the people and their government is taking shape.
...excellent non-partisan review of the effects of special interest on the workings of government with valid examples.Published 9 months ago by Gary Z.
Interesting read - although it seems to be mostly a recycling of Mancur Olson's public choice theory with little originality. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Patrick Johnstone
A thorough and well documented analysis of the lobby cluster. Some surprising conclusions. Lobbies are here to stay neither Reagan nor Clinton were able to break the bone of the... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Celine
Lots of detail of the overwhelming lobbying machine that characterizes U.S. politics. This book book goes over the same point exhaustively that I ultimately tired of it and put it... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Rick Parsons
Jonathan Rauch has written a brilliant application of Mancur Olson's theory of national decline to the interest politics of contemporary America.Published 17 months ago by Charles Murray
This book is a must read if you want to understand how Washington works.Very insightful. At the end of the book was I not sure to be encouraged or discouraged about the political... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
With Government's End, Jonathan Rauch gives a good introduction to the world of public choice economics. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Kevin Currie-Knight
I know the headline is cliche but I am almost embarrassed I had political conversations before I read this book. Read morePublished 20 months ago by J.B.
This book has a very logically laid out explanation of the way our elected representatives incentives are structured, how our current system came do be, and how it currently... Read morePublished on July 25, 2013 by EKS