Tuesday, July 19, 2022

In Rare Move, Left-Leaning Scholar Moves to Conservative AEI

Here is more from Politico:

Ruy Teixeira is one of Washington’s most prominent left-leaning think-tank scholars, a fixture at the Center for American Progress since the liberal organization’s founding in 2003. But as of August 1, he’ll have a new professional home: The American Enterprise Institute, the longtime conservative redoubt that over the years has employed the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dinesh D’Souza, and Robert Bork.

Teixeira, whose role in the Beltway scrum often involved arguing against calls to move right on economic issues, insists his own policy views haven’t changed — but says the current cultural milieu of progressive organizations “sends me running screaming from the left.”

To hear Teixeira tell it, CAP, and the rest of Washington’s institution-based left, stopped being a place where he could do the work he wanted. The reason, he says, is that the relentless focus on race, gender, and identity in historically liberal foundations and think tanks has made it hard to do work that looks at society through other prisms. It also makes people nervous about projects that could be accused of giving short shrift to anti-racism efforts.


The article notes that AEI has become known as a "safe-space" for anti-Trump conservatives, and has been taking in scholars who have "run afoul of institutional shibboleths elsewhere."  Politico notes a few examples:

Recent additions include former Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz, who was stripped of tenure and fired this year for a long-ago sexual relationship with an undergrad, something he contends is actually about him being a conservative who slammed anti-racist campus protests; Chris Stirewalt, the Fox News analyst who infuriated Trump by calling Arizona for Joe Biden and subsequently lost his job; Thomas Chatterton Williams, the cultural critic who drafted the controversial 2020 “Harper’s Letter” criticizing purported hostility to free speech on the left; and Klon Kitchen, a former Heritage Foundation fellow who published a sharp criticism of his former employer over its stance on Ukraine. They’ve also lured a couple veterans of the historically liberal Brookings Institution.


The group of new AEI scholars, as well as others the think tank has hired, are likened to "an island of misfit toys." 

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, which notes that Teixeira thinks CAP is "being warped by a junior staff for whom identity politics is everything," says that the incident shows signs of "political and cultural sickness," and says that AEI bringing Teixeira on board is a sign of "conservative vigor."