Who's in Control?: The Polarization of American Politics and the Revival of the Sensible Center

Richard Darman, Author
Richard Darman, Author Simon & Schuster $24.5 (384p) ISBN 978-0-684-81123-9
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-684-84317-9
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In this spirited, if defensive, political memoir, Darman, who held key posts in the Reagan and Bush administrations, argues that the American political system requires an effective center based on constructive compromise. That center, he maintains, has been undermined by indecisive President Clinton and extremist House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who, in effect, preside over ""a new odd-couple co-presidency"" plagued by frequent stalemate and partisan posturing. Darman calls himself a moderate pragmatist and credits Reagan with upholding the political center against ultraconservatives who wanted to ostracize the U.S.S.R., ban abortion and abolish government intervention in the private marketplace. Darman defends his record as Bush's budget director, arguing that the much-criticized 1990 budget act actually led to an economic upturn in 1991-1992. He offers advice to whoever wins the next presidential race: cap the growth of federal expenditures and decentralize power to the states in education, welfare reform, crime prevention, job retraining and the creation of enterprise zones. (Sept.)
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