We took him seriously, because he had a kind of multifaceted claim on people’s attention.
Yes, but what kind of multifaceted claim?
Note, by the way, to Karen Tumulty, who I usually like: it is not true that “even his critics say” that “his ability to come up with big ideas” is appealing. Many of his critics consider him a total fraud who is skilled only as an expert snake-oil salesman, good at duping the easily duped but little else. It’s no surprise (but good fun) that Feith was an easy mark for the disgraced former Speaker, but Tumulty should know better.