Chapter 7. Radioactive Man

Today's free-market economists...aren't merely not philosophers. They're not even worldly. Has any group of professionals ever been so spectacularly wrong?

Harold Meyerson, Washington Post

I was eager to explore, but before I could get started, Sandy reminded me that we were invited to attend a gathering of Hoover Institution members and supporters at the historic Willard Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. The new web site—the promising collection of all ARS news—would have to wait a day.

The Hoover bash was a glitzy meet-and-greet held in the vaulted, chandeliered hotel ballroom, replete with open bars and a galaxy of political and media stars. Sandy's client, Dr. Kiron Skinner, a Hoover Institution fellow, had invited us to attend. Members and supporters from around the country had gathered to survey the conservative political optics. And despite the GOP's dismal prospects at the polls, the mood remained festive, the food offerings opulent, and the buzz intriguing. For purposes of full disclosure, I'm an Independent; Sandy is a Democrat. But in Washington's political mixing bowl, labels are often stashed for the purposes of information-gathering. The Hoover Institution event offered the potential for news in every corner of the room.

I had only an academic interest in the fortunes of the GOP. The party's long-term strategy is legend: huff and puff along year after year running the world's most persistent political marathon, the ...

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