cover image The Reagan Legacy

The Reagan Legacy

Sidney Blumenthal. Pantheon Books, $22.95 (318pp) ISBN 978-0-394-56555-2

In thought-provoking essays, seven journalists study the Reagan erathe changes it produced in politics, economics, law, diplomacy and cultureand its legacy for the future. Edsall of the Washington Post gives a dry but well-supported analysis of the shifting balance of political power and the increased polarization of voters along regional, religious and economic lines. In a sweeping piece, William Schneider of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., argues that Reagan has altered the terms of American political debate by weakening such long-held principles as progressive taxation, and by ``creating new facts,'' the most important of which is a budget deficit that will sorely constrain Democrats as they try to pursue their own agendas. Reagan's legacy to law is dangerous, claims Lincoln Caplan ( The Tenth Justice , etc.) because his administration has attempted to subvert the ``rule of law'' upon which this nation is built, denying that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the Constitution. And, in an entertaining essay, Blumenthal of the Washington Post suggests that the President's ``neokitsch'' esthetic has inspired few creations of enduring artistic value. The volume is an insightful and authoritative contribution to the political debates of this election year. (September)