Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jennifer Rubin: The "Once Great" Heritage Foundation

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin, a neoconservative, has just written a piece titled "Where Did The Think Tank Go?," in which she calls the Heritage Foundation a "once great" think tank.  Here is more of what Ms. Rubin says:
There is nothing approaching the conservative thought or scholarship one would expect of a think tank. It’s pure politics, and the sort of amateur, unthinking brand that has gotten Republicans in trouble both in office and in campaigns. [Heritage President Jim] DeMint is hawking a series of town hall meetings, which I am sure will generate additions to the group’s e-mail list and hence to its funding base.
Heritage folks will announce that this is all under the guise of Heritage Action, a political entity, not the think tank per se. But who is kidding whom? DeMint speaks on behalf of both, and the latter has been entirely subsumed by the hard-knuckle political screeching for which Heritage Action is famous.
In sum, DeMint isn’t really trying to run a think tank. He’s running a political racket that takes the most extreme right-wing positions imaginable, decries those who won’t go along, wails when the stances they advocate fail and then uses the burning resentment it has stoked to generate headlines and donations. When do you suppose conservatives will realize they are being fleeced by this operation?

The Heritage Foundation was recently ranked as the 18th best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.  It was rated the 9th best think tank in the US.  It was also rated as the #1 think tank in the world in terms of best use of social media and the Internet.  Heritage was also rated as the 10th best think tank in the world in terms of most significant impact on public policy.