“We are not halfway downtown like Cato,” Feulner says. “We are not all the way downtown like AEI or out Embassy Row like Brookings. I am not saying necessarily that particular factor makes us better, but I am saying it makes us different because we know precisely what our primary target audience is, and it is right over there,” meaning Capitol Hill. “That is another reason Addington is such a neat, integral player and [fits into] what we are about—because he has been on both the House and Senate staff and he knows how that works as well as knowing how downtown works.”
Addington’s second act dovetails with Heritage’s effort to be more muscular on Capitol Hill. “We want independent thinkers who are also team players, and this guy is the perfect combination,” Feulner says. “In the confines of his office, he tells it to me straight out, but when our board comes to a decision, he is a great colonel in the Army. He salutes and says, ‘Forward march,’ and on we go.”
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As for Addington’s take on where he is now after the fights he’s taken on over the years, just for a moment he allows an outsider in and becomes a little introspective: “The meaningful life. Somehow, you’re 80 and rocking on the front porch and thinking about what did you do with your life. The best you can hope in the end is that you lived it properly and accomplished something useful. That so much outweighs the ups and downs and in-between struggles.”
This article appears in the May 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.
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