Goodbye, Brave Newtworld

His sweeping visions were a mix of brilliance and banality

In the giddy, frenetic days of early 1995, after the Republican Party had taken control of Congress for the first time in four decades, a document circulated among the staff of the new Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. It was five pages long, and on each page was a series of interconnected boxes. There were more than 50 boxes in all, each labeled with a particular project of the Speaker's--in those days the Speaker had projects the way cats have kittens. The projects ranged from the commonplace, like tax cuts, to the arcane, like the development of Internet technology in...

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