Today is my first full day as president of The Heritage Foundation, and the first thing I want to do is thank my predecessor Ed Feulner for the institution he has built over the past 36 years. The second thing I will do is tell you that we will not change the boundless optimism and pride in our country you’ve come to expect from Heritage—or our commitment to make sure America remains a beacon of freedom to the world.
Heritage has always believed the values that made America great—honesty, industriousness, courage, determination—should inform our policies and our public institutions. We must never forget the ideas and principles that made America the strongest and most prosperous nation in history.
Our principles will stay the same, but we will constantly need innovative policy ideas to address our nation’s new problems. Heritage’s experts and researchers are busy every day working out solutions to our myriad national challenges. We don’t need new principles. Our values have stood the test of time. It’s important that we draw this distinction between timeless values that have been with us for centuries and new policies that we will need in the 21st Century.
I’ve been traveling across our country since being selected to succeed Ed, and I can report that our country shows what works and doesn’t. After 50 years of liberal policies, Detroit is bankrupt, culturally as well as financially. There are more than 400 liquor stores in Detroit, but not one chain supermarket. And states like California that have been controlled by liberals for decades might soon go the way of the Motor City.
But conservative principles are working while liberal schemes are failing. In Louisiana, they’re getting their schools to work by giving parents the freedom to choose. In Michigan, they have found freedom to work.
Despite facing long odds, Americans aren’t giving up.