Mike the Mad Biologist leads me to a host of articles on the crazy things going on at Heritage Foundation, especially since former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina took over as president of the organization. Mike quotes Alex Pareene at length on how the rise of MBAs running both the Foundation (DeMint) and Heritage Action (Michael Needham) has turned Heritage from a respected think tank into a mainly political organization of the hard right. Pareene, in turn, leads to a good analysis by Julia Ioffe in The New Republic.
As regular readers know, Heritage is an organization that I’ve already lost most respect for, it being famous both for proposing Obamacare’s main components and denying that it is responsible for the individual mandate. This has been well-debunked in both Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, by Avik Roy and James Taranto respectively.
My modest contribution was to note that the January 1989 research report Taranto found in the Heritage archives was actually noted on its cover, “Revised Edition.” This pushes the original research back into 1988 at least and clearly refutes Stuart Butler’s claim that the individual mandate was a response to Hillarycare. In fact, it was a response to the considerable political groundswell for single payer in the 1980s.
The question is how far the deterioration of the Heritage research mandate will go. I think one clear indicator would be if Heritage decides to take the 1984 “Ministry of Truth” route and delete the research from its website. So far, it has yet to stoop that low. But when “A National Health System for America, Revised Edition,” can no longer be downloaded, we will know another big step in the hyper-politicization of Heritage has taken place. Should it happen, and you need a copy, email me and I will send you a copy of the pdf document on a “fair use” basis.
You will know it has happened when you can no longer download the report from