From Salon: http://www.salon.com/2013/11/26/conservative_think_tank_appalled_when_guys_with_mbas_take_over/
Heritage staffers for some reason don’t like their organization being treated like a common school or corporation
Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013
Julia Ioffe has a piece in the New Republic explaining the recent history of the Heritage Foundation, once the most influential conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. — perhaps the most influential think tank of any kind anywhere, for a few years — and now essentially a very large email list and activist PAC/pressure group.
Many people noticed how much the organization had changed during the recent government shutdown/”defund Obamacare” fight, a giant waste of everyone’s time and general self-inflicted disaster engineered and designed by Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) “pressure group” Heritage launched in 2010. On the right, there was much consternation over the direction this once-respected think tank had taken. Truth be told, Heritage was always mostly political hacks, they just used to be effective political hacks with a realistic agenda. What was different now was the cheerful absense of any coherent and/or achievable goal — beyond fundraising and image-boosting for Heritage Action itself. Many blamed this on new Heritage president Jim DeMint, a former congressman not particularly known for his intellect, but Ioffe says the new tone at Heritage, and the tactics of Heritage Action, were both largely directed by Michael Needham, a 31-year-old former Giuliani staffer brought on to be the CEO of Heritage Action when it launched.
Needham is a child of privilege, the Manhattan-raised son of a banker and a Saks executive. Basically the minute he was hired to run Heritage Action, he began acting like any up-jumped MBA with an executive position. He and his lieutenant, “a 31-year-old evangelical named Tim Chapman who had a few years experience working on the Hill,” promptly took over the organization, assisted by DeMint, who took over as president when his kindly old predecessor retired.
“I was always struck at how they felt absolutely no intellectual modesty,” says the former veteran Heritage staffer. “They felt totally on par with people who had spent thirty years in the field and had Ph.D.s.”
Hmm. Why shouldn’t they? What good is a Ph.D. compared to the education received by an MBA with a useful business degree?
Continue reading at: http://www.salon.com/2013/11/26/conservative_think_tank_appalled_when_guys_with_mbas_take_over/