Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What is the Most Influential Think Tank Document Ever Created?

In recent times, the most influential paper/report would probably be the Center for American Progress's (CAPs) "Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President."

The 600-page paper (which has been published into a book) was reportedly modeled on the 1,000-page book written by the Heritage Foundation in 1981.  That book, titled Mandate for Leadership, became the blueprint for the incoming administration of Ronald Reagan.
The book was placed on the seat of all the Reagan Cabinet officials at their first meeting, making about 2,000 recommendations for how Reagan should govern. Lee Edwards, a Heritage historian, estimates that about 60% of its ideas were adopted in whole or in part by Reagan.
Many of the ideas in the CAP document, which was released eight days after the November 4, 2008 elections, have been used by the Obama Administration.  The blueprint was written by about 60 people who were commissioned by CAP.

CAP is currently ranked the #11 best think tank in the US.  Here and here and here are more about CAP's influence in liberal politics.

Another extremely influential think tank document, mainly for the Clinton Administration, was Progressive Policy Institute's (PPI) 388-page book Mandate for Change.  PPI was the "idea arm" of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), which has since folded.  Bill Clinton was DLC's chairman from 1990-1991.

If libertarianism becomes more popular, as polls are suggesting, the Cato Handbook for Policymakers, a 600+ page guide, likely will become more influential.  This is how the Washington Post had described the handbook:
A soup-to-nuts agenda to reduce spending, kill programs, terminate whole agencies and dramatically restrict the power of the federal government.