Politics is the competition of interests and the competition of ideas. The advantage lies with interests that are organized and entrenched (teachers, farmers) and with ideas that mobilize effective interest groups (green energy, homeownership). Ideas that lack an organized constituency usually get lost in the shuffle, even when they are very good ideas.
But sometimes a simple idea prevails over politics as usual, with spectacular results. That was the lesson of two Washington events earlier this year — one concerning a historical success, the other an opportunity before us today.