The solidarity of capital

From Mark Thoma’s blog:

David Frum and the Closing of the Conservative Mind, by Bruce Bartlett: As some readers of this blog may know, I was fired by a right wing think tank Called the National Center for Policy Analysis in 2005 for writing a book critical of George W. Bush’s policies, especially his support for Medicare Part D. In the years since, I have lost a great many friends and been shunned by conservative society in Washington, DC.

Now the same thing has happened to David Frum, who has been fired by the American Enterprise Institute. I don’t know all the details, but I presume that his Waterloo post on Sunday condemning Republicans for failing to work with Democrats on healthcare reform was the final straw.

Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI “scholars” on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do.

It saddened me to hear this. I have always hoped that my experience was unique. But now I see that I was just the first to suffer from a closing of the conservative mind. Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn’t already.

Sadly, there is no place for David and me to go. The donor community is only interested in financing organizations that parrot the party line, such as the one recently established by McCain economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin.

I will have more to say on this topic later. But I wanted to say that this is a black day for what passes for a conservative movement, scholarship, and the once-respected AEI.

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Michael S.
Michael S.
11 years ago

‘Once-respected AEI’?

patrickg
11 years ago

All this does is highlight the true function of privately funded think-tanks, as opposed to their stated purpose.

Sinclair Davidson
11 years ago

Are you going to publish Bartlett’s retraction of this lie?

Sinclair Davidson
11 years ago

Notice the retraction posted on 26 March – two days before your post.

Andrew Norton
11 years ago

I don’t know enough about the AEI’s internal culture to comment on this particular issue, but non-partisan think-tanks do need to be careful about how they get involved in highly partisan issues, as health care has become in the US.

Butterfield, bloomfield & Bishop
Butterfield, bloomfield & Bishop
11 years ago

Sinkers you are the last person who should complain about a person linking a story that is wrong.

in this case it certainly wasn’t a lie. coincidence that the main hitters for the AEI on health costs have been silent for so long?

Gummo Trotsky
11 years ago

Odd, how an “Apology and Clarification” becomes a “retraction of a lie”. The conclusion of the March 26 post:

I believe that every scholar associated with AEI has had their credibility and respect diminished by the organization’s shameful treatment of David Frum. People who work there have long believed that they worked someplace equivalent to a university except without the teaching. And the media have historically treated AEI’s work and comments by its scholars as a cut above groups like the Heritage Foundation that have long been more politically-oriented and had much less prestige among academics and journalists.

Those days are over. Henceforth, AEI’s work must be viewed much more skeptically; not as equivalent to press releases from the Republican National Committee, perhaps, but more like the studies that come from, say, the Republican staff of a congressional committee. It may still be good work, but there will no longer be a presumption that it is balanced, objective or reliable, and more than likely reflects a political bias.

That’s some retraction!

Tel
Tel
11 years ago

Gita Sahgal was unceremoniously dumped by Amnesty International for having the audacity to stand up and speak her mind over a matter of principle. Puts Frum and Bartlett in good company really.

I guess we have at last stumbled upon a truly bipartisan approach to problem solving.

Gummo Trotsky
11 years ago

I guess we have at last stumbled upon a truly bipartisan approach to problem solving.

And this is good because?

F. Murray Rumpelstiltskin
F. Murray Rumpelstiltskin
11 years ago

The American right-wing now takes its marching orders from a group that has an inflexible fundamental rule: any deviation from dogma is apostasy. It’s ironic that the group doesn’t even know what those big words mean. But the Teabaggers might sort of understand what irony means.