Heritage continues slog from think tank to activist group

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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I thought Jennifer Rubin went too far when — after the hiring of Sen. Jim DeMint to head the prestigious Heritage Foundation was announced — she observed that “one might ask whether Heritage should still bother to pass itself off as a think tank.”

Rubin doesn’t pull punches, and we often disagree. And so I reasoned that her concerns might be overwrought.

“At some point, Rubin predicted, “Heritage’s political arm will completely subsume the think tank, most likely when DeMint wants to bring his brand of no-holds-barred partisanship to Heritage and not be bothered with cumbersome legal restrictions.”

Well that didn’t take long.

After a controversial immigration report led to the resignation of its co-author, the organization decided not to retreat, but to reload.

And as the DC Examiner’s Conn Carroll reports, “The Heritage Foundation launched an unprecedented [$100,000] online advertising campaign against the legislation.”

Here’s an example of their handy work:

The conservative movement, it seems, does not lack for activist groups. What it needs now more than ever are ideas and respected intellectuals.

But for whatever reason, at this moment in history, Heritage seems committed to dropping any pretense of being a “think tank,” in favor of being an activist outfit. It might be a curious marketing decision, but as Rubin demonstrated, it was also entirely predictable.

Matt K. Lewis