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The light of truth shines through
on December 14, 2005
Of all the books I've read about Ronald Reagan's time in office, this is perhaps the best and most enlightening. Conservatives will love it. Since the book tells the unvarnished truth about the Reagan Administration, however, liberals will hate it. For those old enough to remember the 1980's, however, reading this book will be like re-living those heady years; only this time he or she will not only be able to see what is happening but will also be privy to the behind the scenes actions leading up to those events.
The book's author, Edwin Meese, is particularly well qualified to tell this tale; for he was, as the book's title suggests, with Reagan from his earliest years in politics all the way through his presidential years. During that time, he helped plan many, if not most, of the major events which shaped the Reagan Presidency. He was also in a position to observe, assess, and evaluate those in the Reagan Administration, in the Washington establishment, in the elite media, in Congress, and in the Senate who worked most diligently to thwart and undercut the President's policies.
Written in simple terms, Ed Meese walks the reader through the 1980's. Along the way he touches upon a wide variety of topics including the following: 1) the difficulties encountered (particularly by a Washington outsider) in attempting to deal with an entrenched bureaucracy, vested interest groups, the Washington press, and a hostile Congress; 2) the difficulty, if not the near impossibility, of slowing the growth of government (e.g. When is a cut not a cut and why?); 3) State Department resistance to Reagan's policies and its duplicity in trying to side track them; 4) Government by leaks and Reagan bashing; 5) the different ways in which Washington outsiders and insiders dealt with the Washington establishment during the Reagan years (i.e., To leak or not to leak?); 6) Congress's betrayal of the President by not cutting spending as promised; 7) David Stockman's "not invented here" mentality, deception, and leaks; 8) attempts to isolate the President from other relevant points of view so as to "educate" him to the liberal view; 9) Reagan's view of the "Evil Empire" and his plan for bringing it down; 10) rebuilding America's defenses; 11) the events leading up to Iran-Contra during both the Carter & Reagan Administrations; 12) Congressional hypocrisy regarding President Carter's direct negotiations with the Iranian hostage takers as compared to President Reagan's third party approach; and 13) efforts to reign in an activist Federal judiciary the rulings of which were helping to promote such things as pornography, drug abuse, and leniency toward criminals (including the "Borking" of Robert Bork).
Like Reagan's autobiography, "An American Life", this book is a treasure trove of authoritative information. And like that book, it will be of great value to future generations of scholars as they attempt to establish Ronald Reagan's proper place in the pantheon of American heroes. So, if you have an interest in politics (or if any of the above topics strike your fancy), you will certainly find this book most interesting and highly illuminating.