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Josh Barro

The Odd Choice of Jim DeMint at Heritage

Earlier this year, Tevi Troy wrote an outstanding essay for National Affairs discussing the increasing politicization and decreasing credibility of think tanks over the last decade or so. This phenomenon is driven by the desires of donors who increasingly view think tanks as tax-advantaged vehicles for influencing political outcomes.

Today’s appointment of Tea Party Senator Jim DeMint to lead the Heritage Foundation provides an example of this trend, but with a twist. The DeMint choice signals a shift toward more conservative activism from one of America’s largest think tanks and is sure to please conservative donors. But it’s not likely to provide donors the political results they want. Instead, it is likely to reduce the relevance of both DeMint and Heritage.