I'm sure the book will be very engaging, but it seems that our dear Chris Matthews is once again dabbling in revisionist history in his portrayal of the working relationship between Tip and The Gipper. Matthews did have a front row seat in that he served the venerable house speaker at the time. But, the Democratic House leader blocked Reagan's spending bills on more than one occasion, with the eventual compromise solutions resulting in the highest percentage increase in national debt (187%) of any presidential administration.
As the old saying goes, it takes "two to tango" and these two managed to find a way to increase military spending while keeping domestic spending in check along with a new wave of tax cuts. I suppose many would consider that a good thing, but given that the Cold War was winding down and the US was funneling money to dubious insurgency movements around the world, you have to wonder what the big threat was to our national security.
Of course, we are told over and over again that the CIA never saw the fall of the Berlin wall coming, much less the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, that's a bit hard to swallow given the Solidarity movement in Poland at the time and the number of concurrent independence drives throughout the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc, not to mention a war in Afghanistan that was bleeding the USSR dry. It seemed Reagan choose to prop up the "Evil Empire" rather than see the prime motivation for his massive increases in military spending crumble along with the Berlin wall.
Personally, I don't look back on the era of Tip and The Gipper as a time when politics worked, except in the most cynical and empty handed of ways. In fact, virtually all the groundwork was laid during this time for the kind of ideologically-driven politics we see today. The budget deals may have kept hope afloat, but in the end the Democrats suffered badly for it, eventually losing control of the House in 1994.
Sorry, Chris, I didn't see politics as working very well then or now. As far as I'm concerned the last laugh is at our expense.