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Beschreibung des Verlags
In Governor Reagan, Lou Cannon offers--through recent interviews and research drawn from his unique access to the cabinet minutes of Reagan's first years as governor of California--a fresh look at the development of a master politician.
At first, Reagan suffered from political amateurism, an inexperienced staff, and ideological blind spots. But he quickly learned to take the measure of the Democrats who controlled the State Legislature and surprised friends and foes alike by agreeing to a huge tax increase, which made it possible for him to govern for eight years without additional tax hikes. He developed an environmental policy that preserved the state 's scenic valleys and wild rivers, and he signed into law what was then the nation's most progressive declaration on abortion rights. His quixotic 1968 presidential campaign revealed his higher ambitions to the world and taught him how much he had to learn about big-league politics.
Written by the definitive biographer of Ronald Reagan, this new biography is a classic study of a fascinating individual's evolution from a conservative hero to a national figure whose call for renewal stirred Republicans, working-class Democrats, and independents alike.
Author of President Reagan: Role of a Lifetime, journalist Cannon is considered by many to be the leading contemporary Reagan biographer. Here he does a stellar job of recounting Reagan's first two terms in higher office as governor of California. In 1966, during his campaign against Democratic incumbent Edmund G. Brown Sr., Reagan spoke out against campus radicals and welfare cheaters, and won the governorship by a margin of nearly one million votes. Throughout the first six of Reagan's eight years in Sacramento, he was confronted by an unfriendly Democratic legislature, but nevertheless made inroads when it came to reforming welfare and expanding higher education. In fact, Cannon points to welfare reform as a capstone of Reagan's governorship. Alarmed at the rapid escalation of welfare costs, Reagan in 1971 near the start of his second term proposed a comprehensive welfare and Medi-Cal reform package, the latter a more liberal version of the federal Medicaid program. Reagan's recipe proved a huge success. In practice, it dropped the number of welfare recipients overall, increased benefits for those still covered by more than 40% and saved the state of California millions. Cannon also details Reagan's victories with regard to higher education. By the end of Reagan's second term, support for the University of California system had more than doubled over what it had been when the former actor assumed office. Cannon recounts all this together with the tangled tale of Reagan's doomed, quixotic 1968 bid for the presidency with skill and grace, painting a vivid portrait of a formidable politician in the process of becoming. Illus. not seen by PW.