Bird’s-eye view of the right-wing powerhouse that brought us Reaganomics, the Contract with America and the tea party.
Heritage Foundation fellow Edwards is given to both statistics and theory. Nominally a study of now-retired founder Ed Feulner, his book exemplifies several truths of politics, one of which, as California Democratic politician Jesse Unruh once remarked, is that “money is the mother’s milk of politics.” So it is, and the Heritage Foundation receives gifts from corporations and individuals alike that add up to an $80 million per year operating budget, larger than any other think tank of right or left. Feulner’s life is illuminating in this tale of money and power. He began his career as a pro–Vietnam War activist from Chicago who helped win a congressional seat for a hard-right candidate once Don Rumsfeld—yes, that Don Rumsfeld—vacated it and who later served up much of the Reagan administration’s policies on matters fiscal, domestic, military and diplomatic. Edwards is, of course, biased in his hagiographical approach both to Feulner and to other heroes of the rightist cause, whereas his favorite epithet for anyone to the left is “radical.” In the case of Barack Obama, it’s “radical” but also the rather more elaborate “a resourceful Machiavellian" who's "formula was "money + organization + ideology + media + political success."
Despite the author's obvious bias, the Heritage Foundation is undeniably influential, and political operatives of any stripe will gain insight into how the place works courtesy of these pages.