Republicans among Heritage Foundation’s most vocal critics

By Laurie Bennett

October 22, 2013 at 9:05am

“Is Heritage going to go so political that it really doesn’t amount to anything anymore?”

The question has been posed by many (including Muckety) in the months since former Sen. Jim DeMint became president of the Heritage Foundation.

But this time, it was Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch talking, in an appearance last week on MSNBC.

Orrin Hatch
Orrin Hatch

Hatch and other Republicans who have worked with Heritage over the decades have begun speaking out against the overt politicking DeMint is conducting through the organization’s advocacy arm, Heritage Action for America.

In an interview with conservative radio hosts, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) criticized Heritage for undermining a possible debt ceiling deal hike in the House.

Former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK), a founding trustee of Heritage, has described DeMint as making “an abysmal, abysmal kind of attempt at leadership. He’s basically subverting the organization that he’s supposed to be leading.

Heritage is facing off against the party it long considered a partner, pushing for defunding of Obamacare and aligning with the Tea Party and Ted Cruz.

Earlier this year, conservatives criticized Heritage for a study concluding that the immigration reform bill would cost taxpayers trillions of dollars.

Former Republican Party Chairman Haley Barbour told reporters at the time that the study was “designed to try to scare conservative Republicans into believing that the cost will be so giant that you can’t possibly vote for it.”

The think tank’s response then was to point out its role as a think tank.

“We are a research institution here,” Derrick Morgan, a Heritage vice president, said then. “We can’t necessarily speak to the motivations of other people.”

Yet DeMint’s more recent comments are hardly those of an objective observer.

As he told NPR last month, “There’s no question in my mind that I have more influence now on public policy than I did as an individual senator.”

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  • #1.   boc 10.31.2014

    Really interesting watch the children fight each other. This is representative of the fracture, or should we say chasm in the GOP. Divisiveness will only bring more confusion and greed because ‘I’ and ‘Me’ is a terrible disease and this party is far from a cure.

    The Heritage Foundation functions like SCOTUS, claiming nonpartisan on one hand while practicing extreme right-wing politics on the other.

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