October 25, 2015

For anyone not already familiar with Heritage Foundation CEO Michael Needham, his organization is anything but grass roots, as we've discussed here and as reported by Right Wing Watch, and their Sourcewatch page:

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a right-wing think tank. Its stated mission is to formulate and promote public policies based on the principles of "free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."[1] It is widely considered one of the world's most influential public policy research institutes. The Foundation wields considerable influence in Washington DC, and enjoyed particular prominence during the Reagan administration. Its initial funding was provided by Joseph Coors, of the Coors beer empire, and Richard Mellon Scaife, heir of the Mellon industrial and banking fortune. Its founders include Paul Weyrich and Mickey Edwards. The Foundation maintains strong ties with the London Institute of Economic Affairs and the Mont Pelerin Society. [...]

The Heritage Foundation has received funding from organizations with connections to the Koch brothers. In 2012, the Heritage Foundation received $650,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which was one of the Koch Family Foundations before it closed in 2013. The Lambe Foundation contributed at least $4.8 million to the Heritage Foundation between 1998 and 2012.

In recent years, the Heritage Foundation has also received funding from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, including $53,300 in 2010 and $69,850 in 2012. The Koch brothers have donated millions of dollars to Donors Trust through the Knowledge and Progress Fund, and possibly other vehicles.

As we saw during the AstroTurf so-called "tea party" protests when the ACA was still being debated in Congress, Needham and his ilk have taken over the Republican party from the establishment for some time now, but Needham wants the audience at Fox to believe that the rise of Trump, Carson and Fiorina means that it's really the grass roots of the party that have taken it over.

WALLACE: Well, Michael, it's been a big week in the Republican race. As we've been saying, Carson is up, Trump is slipping, at least, in Iowa, and Jeb Bush announcing major cutbacks to his campaign, 45 percent cut in payroll.

What's going on?

MICHAEL NEEDHAM, CEO, HERITAGE ACTION FOR AMERICA: Well, it's a sign of how fluid this race actually is. And that's especially true in Iowa where voters are paying attention. Money has started to be spent by the candidates.

And in many ways, the reason the race is fluid, the Republican Party is going through a transformation, a healthy debate about what its future is. And I don't think you could have seen the extent of that transformation more than some of the stories over the weekend about George H.W. Bush and his advisers, people who have been involved in Republican politics for 63 years, not knowing how to make of this, how do we understand it.

And it's that grassroots conservatives who felt unheard by Washington, unheard by the Washington establishment for so long, taking over the party. That's what become Donald Trump’s enthusiasm comes from. Ben Carson, very traditional Iowa candidate, socially conservative, upset with Washington, D.C. in the way that's working. I think the difference, and we saw it a little bit in that last segment, is that Carson doesn't have the same policy proposals laid out yet that Mike Huckabee did, that Rick Santorum did.

So, it will be interesting over the next several months, does he match up with that rhetoric, that populist outrage of Washington, D.C. with the type of policy agenda that a blue collar conservatism of Rick Santorum or Mike Huckabee, a former governor, had to ultimately lead them to winning Iowa.

Sorry Michael, but about the only candidate that might apply to is Carson who has all of the wingnut evangelicals in Iowa supporting him, and who I'm quite sure Fox and your buddies are going to make sure never gets anywhere near winning the Republican nomination. One rogue billionaire with unfettered media assess doesn't equal a "grass roots" movement, and neither does Fiorina's campaign, who has apparently become the latest darling of the Koch brothers.

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