Into a Vacuum Goes the Manhattan Institute

On a recent weekday afternoon, a handful of policy wonks sat in a corner office adorned with maps and books in the Vanderbilt Street headquarters of the Manhattan Institute discussing a political opportunity presented by the current financial crisis.

“We feel that the moment is here,” said Steve Malanga, an economic policy expert at the Institute.

After losing the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time in 15 years, Republicans are scrambling to find something different. Different is the Manhattan Institute’s specialty.

Socially eclectic, fiscally conservative and proudly contrarian, the institute is home to people like Myron Magnet, who wears mutton chops and capes and carries gold-knobbed canes, and fellow sartorial pioneer Tom Wolfe, who, while not a member, considers himself the institute’s biggest fan and unofficial biographer.

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Into a Vacuum Goes the Manhattan Institute