The conventional wisdom about the origins of the Affordable Care Act is that it is a reformulated plan from the Clinton era, one that right-wingers like Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation created. How true is it? [more inside]
But the wrath is not solely reserved for Needham; his employer now inspires plenty of disgust among conservatives, too. Increasingly in Washington, “Heritage” has come to denote not the foundation or the think tank, but Heritage Action, Needham’s sharp-elbowed operation. Instead of fleshing out conservative positions, says one Republican Senate staffer, “now they’re running around trying to get Republicans voted out of office. It’s a purely ideological crusade that’s utterly divorced from the research side.” (“If Nancy Pelosi could write an anonymous check to Heritage Action,” adds the House aide bitterly, “she would.”) -- Julia Ioffe on how the Heritage Foundation's new leadership is tearing the think tank apart. [more inside]
Good Enough For Government Work
Welcome to the new incarnation of the “think tank” world, over which Jim DeMint—its ideal-type avatar—now presides. Instead of letting scholars of various shades of true believership study what interests them without predetermined conclusions, think tanks are now expected to formulate new ways to echo one or another approved ideological dogma—and then marshal lawmakers, none too subtly, to march in lockstep behind it. ... In other words, to consider DeMint’s legacy simply because he’s exiting the Senate after eight years is silly, when he’s just beginning to craft it, finally, from a position of actual power.[more inside]
The possibility of voter fraud in the US has spawned a number of state laws requiring particular kinds of identification at the polls, as well as grassroots organizations that search public records to challenge certain voters' registrations . Much of the modern debate about potential voter fraud has been driven by Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow, former member of the Federal Elections Commission, and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights, where he worked on voting issues. Writing for the New Yorker, Jane Mayer describes von Spakovsky's influence on conservative groups like True the Vote, various state attempts to disqualify registered voters, and the lack of evidence for many claims made in support of voter ID laws.
David Addington is coming out of the shadows and joining the Heritage Foundation as vice president of domestic and economic policy studies which is financed by the normal culprits. Addington was the legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror and normally lurks in the shadows.
On July 1st, the US Department of Health and Human Services launched the website Healthcare.gov to explain changes that will occur by 2014 because of healthcare reform. It describes the reforms, and also suggests options for those who need insurance. Meanwhile, there are 80 signatures on a congressional petition by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to repeal the bill via the House. The petition was started with the support of the Heritage Foundation.
Ed Meese for President! The Yes Men attended the Heritage Foundation's annual Resource Bank meeting. [Via Disinformation.]
Faux News cites a Heritage Foundation report that asserts the poor in America are doing just fine because many of them live in their own homes and have cars. However, I know poor homeowners who have to deal with rampant crime, high property taxes (to subsidize the suburbs,) bank redlining, lousy schools and crumbling infrastructure. Also, car ownership is a necessity for most people in most places- not a luxury as would be suggested. Rather than citing the statistics of DVD-player ownership, I'd prefer to know more about real quality-of-life issues, such as how many of these people have health insurance. What do you think?
Frank and sobering interview with Paul Krugman. Krugman: If you ask Norquist or the Heritage Foundation about where the economic and social policy intelligentsia really stands, their aim is to roll us back to Herbert Hoover or before. Norquist actually thinks that we've got to get back to before the progressive movement –- before the McKinley era, which actually is one of Karl Rove's guiding lights as well. So there's definitely an important faction in the Bush administration and in the Republican Party that really wants to unravel all of this stuff and basically wants us to go back to a situation where, if you are unlucky, and you don't have enough to eat, or you can't afford medical care, well, that's just showing that you weren't sufficiently provident. And then, for these people, there would be no social safety net whatsoever. Other people in the party, and other people in the coalition, have deluded themselves into thinking that somehow this is all going to be painless, and we're going to grow our way out of the deficit. Other people really don't care about any of that and are viewing their alliance with these people as a way to achieve their social goals -– basically roll back the revolution in social mores over the past few decades.