Conservatives, Re-Think Your Giving

Duh, conservatives, re-think your giving. This is the first time I’ve seen the name Monty Warner — and this quote from him is huge:

At a lunch recently, I said to a colleague that if 60 percent of the conservative think tanks in the country disbanded, no one would care. He replied without missing a beat: “No one would notice.”

There is so much that can be said on this topic — in fact, I’ve said much of it years ago. Here is the opening of Warner’s hugely important article:

The resurgence of the Right in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan was a sight to behold. The country had just been through a demoralizing period under Carter (no need to re-recite the record) and from those depths emerged opportunity for visionary ideas long espoused by Reagan, Jack Kemp, and others to finally get a true public hearing.

Complementing these men were conservative think tanks who believed in economic prosperity, personal liberty, and a strong national defense. They held glitzy conferences, began their own media entities, delivered sanguine speeches on the doctrine and developed mailing lists to cultivate and stay in contact with their followers and donors. In time, many millions flowed into their coffers from enthusiastic donors large and small.

Fast forward 30 years. By 2010, the country had elected Bill Clinton twice—in large part because of George H.W. Bush’s refusal to carry the Reagan torch—and then President Obama, which could largely be attributed to the wild spending, wandering presidency of George W. Bush. Digging further into the conservative movement as a whole, it had become clear that through the decades its think tanks had devolved into patterns of holding forums that patronized donors but which few paid attention to, writing white papers no one read, chasing five-minute TV appearances that made them feel like someone in Washington, jetting around to self-celebratory conferences at lavish resorts, and basically living high on the cause with little impact and no accountability.

In other words, they weren’t effective. And today they aren’t effective.

Read more: American Greatness

Image credit: