For 30 years, the Heritage Foundation has perfected its talent for offering policy makers timely and relevant conservative white papers and background information on public policy issues. Last year, they “leaned forward” to create a separate, more muscular entity that could lobby and engage in grassroots education around public policy, just like the hoard of left-wing groups operating in the nation’s capital.
Called Heritage Action for America, it is now ruffling feathers — and not just on the Democratic side of the aisle. After Kentucky Republican Rep. Geoff Davis attacked the group’s conservative scorecard earlier this month in an interview with The Daily Caller, TheDC’s Ginni Thomas sat down with Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham and Heritage Action COO Tim Chapman for a response.
In the interview, the two Heritage Action leaders describe why the group was formed, rebut the criticisms leveled by Davis and discuss the hardball tactics being used against them.
Why form Heritage Action?
“We need to be involved in the game of political incentives in Congress if we’re going to be successful and give these guys the incentives to do the right thing instead of the incentives to do the wrong thing.”
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Respond to your critics, like Rep. Geoff Davis, who say your conservative scorecard is bogus
“We don’t make any apologies that our scorecard is a tough scorecard. We’ve said that we’re conservatives. We’re not tenured professors, and it’s a tough scorecard.”
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What are you doing to combat the hardball political tactics being used against you?
“We have a situation where this country has a $14.5 trillion debt because of hardcore politics that have made it impossible for anybody to sit down and make reasonable decisions in Washington. And we have hundreds of thousands of people who support the Heritage Foundation who have said enough is enough.”
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How important is ideological purity?
“What we’ve said, we’re going to part ways even sometimes with the best of the best. I mean, the chairman of the [Republican Study Committee], Jim Jordan, whose a great man and a great leader is not 100% and he’s voted the opposite of us on an issue. And that’s ok.”
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How can regular citizens find out the truth about their politicians?
“I think if you want to learn who’s fighting the good fights in Washington and who sometimes needs to have their spine kind of calcified a little bit, go to our website, our score card is on there, heritageaction.com.”
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Your thoughts on the GOP presidential contenders
“I don’t think we should be looking for who’s the savior of the conservative movement. We have to keep our nose to the grindstone and win the battle of ideas.”
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How is Washington doing with job creation?
“The problem is that we have establishment in Washington that doesn’t understand the depressing way that Washington impacts that private sector job growth.”
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Mrs. Thomas does not necessarily support or endorse the products, services or positions promoted in any advertisement contained herein, and does not have control over or receive any compensation from any advertiser.