Once, when winters were cold and the world seemed large, creatures roamed the earth who were permissive on social issues and at ease with big government, yet remained ever faithful to the gods of business and finance. Their principles were abstract but broad-minded: tolerance, free trade, and a belief in something called the American Way. Their personal tastes were conventional. They were surprisingly allergic to indecorum, and disinclined to question the status quo. But they were not small-town or provincial; they were Wall Streeters, not Main Streeters. Their vista was international. They were private-sector types who answered the call to public service. They were liberal Republicans. Nelson Rockefeller was such a creature. So were Prescott Bush, William Scranton, Charles Percy, John Lindsay, Mark Hatfield, Elliot Richardson, and George Romney.

Then, one year, a powerful meteor struck the planet, and, virtually overnight, the entire species was wiped out. The meteor