Mandeville, LA - Exclusive Transcript - Let’s be honest here. The biggest right-wing think tank on the planet is now an arm, a functionary arm of the Republican Party. It’s party politics. What do parties do? What is the job of a political party? Let’s establish some critical thinking from the get-go. The job of a political party is to do what? Win elections. That’s what its job is. Its job is not to conserve or preserve your liberty or anything of the sort, not to protect to defend the Constitution. That’s what virtuous men do. The job of a party is to win elections. If the think tank is in bed with the party, then the think tank’s job is to help the party win elections. Check out the rest in today's transcript...
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: From The Economist online, this is W.W. Houston writing. I skimmed through this this morning before we went on air. This is Houston’s partial take on the DeMint move to the United States Senate. Just recall, if you’re just joining us, that my take on this is this just proves my theory of revolving doors. Now the people that call themselves conservatives are willfully participating in the growth of the State, because that’s what a think tank does. A think tank aids and abets the growth of the State. Conservatives at the think tank are supposed to I guess shepherd the legislation in a more business-friendly direction. Where in the think tanks are the groups of people that just say: We don’t need any more policy. We don’t need any more legislation. What we need to do is remove policies and legislations. Hell, we need to remove entire agencies. You don’t get that from the think tank class. In other words, folks, they’re in on it. Woe to those of you that are going to participate in it, and I suspect that many of you will, or many of you already are and will continue to do so.
Consider this from Mr. Houston. Let’s be honest here. The biggest right-wing think tank on the planet is now an arm, a functionary arm of the Republican Party. It’s party politics. What do parties do? What is the job of a political party? Let’s establish some critical thinking from the get-go. The job of a political party is to do what? Win elections. That’s what its job is. Its job is not to conserve or preserve your liberty or anything of the sort, not to protect to defend the Constitution. That’s what virtuous men do. The job of a party is to win elections. If the think tank is in bed with the party, then the think tank’s job is to help the party win elections. As the State is growing and people seem to be so infatuated and in love and enamored with it, it would only seem to me that it’s logical to conclude then that the think tank will continue to participate in enlarging the State, but it will do so in a conservative manner. Pardon me, but I would just rather not have the word conservative attached to anything that enlarges the power and the scope and the size, the direct impact of The State. Having said that, this is Mr. Houston now writing at The Economist. I do not know Mr. Houston so I’m going out on a limb here.
Heritage's ongoing piecemeal merger with the GOP may be a sign of corruption or success, but it's probably more-or-less inevitable. A good number of right-leaning think tanks were founded in the 1970s and 80s in large part to give conservative and libertarian intellectuals, who had struggled to find a place in academia and the mainstream media, a secure institutional perch from which to preach the gospel of "fusionist" conservatism to both the public and the complacent Republican Party establishment. For good or ill, success in this endeavour over the decades has indeed brought the GOP and many "independent" right-leaning institutions closer together. Initially, the liberal intellectual establishment at America's most prestigious universities and media outlets looked upon institutions such as Heritage with a mixture of pity and contempt. It was not until the past decade or so, when the influence of right-leaning think tanks on public and elite partisan opinion became undeniable, that the left scrambled to get into the game.
Mike: Then he tells the story of John Podesta and how Podesta, who was a Clintonista, founded the Center for American Progress, CAP. He has a quote in here from Matt Bai, who wrote about Podesta starting the Center for American Progress, back in 2003:
“Going back to Barry Goldwater, Podesta said, conservatives '’built up institutions with a lot of influence, a lot of ideas. And they generated a lot of money to get out those ideas. It didn't happen by accident. And I think it's had a substantial effect on why we have a conservative party that controls the White House and the Congress and is making substantial efforts to control the judiciary.’
Podesta laid out his plan for what he likes to call a ‘think tank on steroids.’ Emulating those conservative institutions, he said, a message-oriented war room will send out a daily briefing to refute the positions and arguments of the right. An aggressive media department will book liberal thinkers on cable TV. There will be an ‘edgy’ Web site and a policy shop to formulate strong positions on foreign and domestic issues.” [Mike: So folks, we’re just a bunch of lab rats in a giant experiment here, in a great contest between left think tanks and now right think tanks.]
The difference between Heritage and CAP is that CAP, founded by a faithful Clinton operative, has been a research and propaganda arm of the establishment Democratic Party from the very beginning.
Mike: Now the only question that remains is will Heritage now become the Center for American Progress of the Republican Party and thus a partisan think tank? I think it already is. I don’t even know why that’s a question.
End Mike Church Show Transcript