Tuesday, May 1, 2012

AEI, Brookings Scholars' "Shock Thesis"

An op-ed written in the Washington Post by Thomas Mann (Brookings) and Norman Ornstein (AEI) on US political dysfunction titled "Let's Just Say It: The Republicans Are The Problem" has been getting a huge amount of attention.
Ornstein is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Mann is at the Brookings Institution. The two think tanks, both embedded near Washington, D.C.’s Dupont circle, can be described, roughly, as right-wing and left-wing. And so ThinkProgress gave the “conservative American Enterprise Institute” partial credit for the column, as did the Detroit News, as did the Vermont Times Argus. Newser slapped on the headline “Conservative Think Tank: Mess is the GOP’s Fault.” That was the story—not that Republicans were criticized, but that they were criticized by a conservative. That meant that it mattered.
But some of the Facebook-sharers were played for simps. Ornstein doesn’t pretend to be a conservative movement, Republican scholar. “He’s as conservative a Democrat as there’s ever been,” suggests his friend David Frum.
It is an important lesson.  Not everyone at "right-leaning" or "Republican" think tanks is necessarily conservative or supports all conservative ideas/thinking.  The same goes with Democratic think tanks.  Not everyone at left-leaning think tanks is liberal or supports all liberal ideas/thinking.

The two prominent think tank scholars co-authored the book "The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track."