In a comment at EconLog about his debate with Robert Frank (in regard to which I contribute other people’s two cents here), David Friedman gave Earl Thompson as another example of a leftish economist he has learned from. Where have I heard that name before? I think it was in a discussion of recreational ether use.
Bryan Caplan’s equivalent would be Bill Dickens. I would note that Caplan had Dickens as a teacher, and despite his distaste for Princeton style (elite/saltwater I suppose) economics defended Bernanke’s initial nomination as Fed Chair based on his grad school experience under him. Admittedly Bernanke’s own views may be closer to his old papers than the actual practice he’s followed these days, but I suspect there’s a near-bias going on here. He may have overestimated the quality of an economist based on the fact that he knew them personally (and surprise, they aren’t monsters!), and may be underestimating that of economists he disagrees with but does not know as well.