Bruce Bartlett’s byline first appeared in Reason back in 1976, when he pondered the politics of Pearl Harbor in our pages. In the three decades afterward, he worked as an economist for the Reagan administration, the first Bush administration, and, most recently, the pro-market National Center for Policy Analysis, earning what Daily Show host Jon Stewart recently called conservative “street cred.” In his book Impostor, excerpted in Reason this month (page 48), Bartlett argues that another prominent conservative, George W. Bush, has squandered any credibility he might have had. Impostor led to a parting of ways with his think tank, but it seems to have found a more receptive audience among American readers, who have made Bartlett a best-selling author and media darling.
Between his prescient 1992 book Quagmire: American Policy in the Middle East and its 2005 follow-up, Sandstorm, Leon Hadar, a research fellow at the Cato Institute and Washington correspondent for the Singapore Business Times, dipped his feet in politics. Sort of. As Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne’s “shadow secretary of state,” he stood ready to address any pressing foreign policy needs. (“I kept waiting for them to provide me with a shadow chauffeur,” he says.) In this month’s roundtable on Iraq (page 26), Hadar, along with Contributing Editor Michael Young and Cato scholar Tom Palmer, debates the state of a troubled nation.
“My career plan was to become a millionaire rock star and retire at 30,” says Robert Stacy McCain, who reviews Crunchy Cons, Rod Dreher’s effort to reconcile conservatism and the counterculture, in this issue (page 61). McCain, who settled for being an editor at The Washington Times instead, was a partisan Democrat until the mid-’90s; he named his oldest daughter, now 16, Kennedy. Since then, the self-described “fundamentalist homeschooling father of six” has moved rightward: His youngest daughter, 3, is named Reagan. No matter who gets elected in 2008, he promises never to name a daughter McCain McCain.