Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked

Version: Unabridged
Author: Chris Matthews
Narrator: Chris Matthews
Genres: Biography & Memoir, North America
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: October 2013
# of Units: 10 CDs
Length: 12 hours
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"TIP AND THE GIPPER" is a magnificent personal history of a time when two great political opponents served together for the benefit of the country. Chris Matthews was an eyewitness to this story as a top aide to Speaker of the House Tip O Neill, who waged a principled war of political ideals with President Reagan from 1980 to 1986. Together, the two men forged compromises that shaped America s future and became one of history s most celebrated political pairings the epitome of how ideological opposites can get things done.
When Ronald Reagan was elected to the presidency in a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter (for whom Matthews had worked as a speechwriter), Speaker O Neill realized Americans had voted for a change. For the first time in his career, O Neill also found himself thrust into the national spotlight as the highest-ranking leader of the Democratic Party the most visible and respected challenger to President Reagan s agenda of shrinking the government and lowering taxes.
At first, O Neill doubted his ability to compete on the public stage with the charming Hollywood actor, whose polished speeches played well on TV, a medium O Neill had never mastered. Over time, the burly Irishman learned how to fight the popular president on his key issues, relying on legislative craftiness, strong rhetoric, and even guerrilla theater. An old dog can learn new tricks, Tip told his staff. Of O Neill, one of his colleagues said, If Martians came into the House chamber, they d know instantly who the leader was.
Meanwhile, President Reagan proved to be a much more effective and savvy leader than his rivals had ever expected, achieving major legislative victories on taxes and the federal budget. Reagan and his allies knew how to work the levers of power in Washington. After showing remarkable personal fortitude in the wake of the assassination attempt against him, Reagan never let his political differences with Democrats become personal. He was fond of the veteran Speaker s motto that political battles ended at 6 p.m. So when he would phone O Neill, he would say, Hello, Tip, is it after six o clock?
Together, the two leaders fought over the major issues of the day welfare, taxes, covert military operations, and Social Security but found their way to agreements that reformed taxes, saved Social Security, and achieved their common cause of bringing peace to Northern Ireland. O Neill s quiet behind-the-scenes support helped Reagan forge his historic Cold War ending bond with Mikhail Gor-bachev. They each won some and lost some, and through it all they maintained respect for each other s positions and worked to advance the country rather than obstruct progress.
As Matthews notes, There is more than one sort of heroic behavior, and they don t all look the same. "Tip and the Gipper" is the story of the kind of heroism we need today.

Author Details

Author Details

Matthews, Chris

"Intense, experienced, straightforward, and outspoken, Chris Matthews brings a powerful and influential political commentary to ""The Chris Matthews Show."" ""There are enduring human truths in the rules that politicians play by,"" says Matthews. With over 15 years of working in an environment where politics is the name of the game, Matthews is determined to present a unique brand of talk that will allow viewers to take away a new perspective on the latest news stories.

Matthews is an author, international journalist, and no-nonsense political commentator. He was until recently a nationally syndicated columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and is the author of best-selling books such as, ""Now Let Me Tell You What I Really Think"" (2001), ""Hardball"" (1988), and ""Kennedy and Nixon"" (1996), which was selected by Reader's Digest magazine as part of its ""Today's Best Nonfiction."" He joined the San Francisco Examiner in 1987 where he served as Washington Bureau Chief for 13 years. Prior to entering journalism, Matthews served as White House aide and speechwriter to President Jimmy Carter and as a top aide to former Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr.

Matthews covered the opening of the Berlin Wall, the first all-races election in South Africa, the historic peace referendum in Northern Ireland and the ongoing violence in the Middle East. In 1997 and 1998, his digging in the National Archives produced a series of Examiner scoops on the Nixon presidential tapes. He has twice received the Washington Post's ""Crystal Ball"" award for his successful predictions of U.S. elections.

A graduate of Holy Cross, Matthews completed graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina and was a trade development advisor with the U.S. Peace Corps in Swaziland. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from St. Leo University, Loyola College (Maryland), Niagara University, Fontbonne College, Beaver College, the New England School of Law, Anna Maria College and Chestnut Hill College.

He is married to Kathleen Matthews, a news anchor for the ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. They live in Chevy Chase, MD with their three children. "