Wednesday, June 12, 2013


This article about the uber-right Republican Study Group lays out a couple of personal connections I was unaware of:
Before becoming president of Washington’s premier conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, Ed Feulner was a congressional aide to Republican Rep. Phil Crane of Illinois. One day in 1972, Feulner says, his boss was meeting with several fellow House conservatives, including Ed Derwinski of Illinois, John Rousselot of California, and Ben Blackburn of Georgia. The discussion turned to a club of liberal House members who convened weekly and called themselves the Democratic Study Group. “Look at what they’ve done in terms of making sure the Democrats in control of the House are always under pressure from the left,” one member said. “Why can’t we do this on the right?”
President’s Nixon’s welfare plan contained a provision to guarantee Americans a certain annual income—a notion that horrified right-wingers in both chambers of Congress. So Crane had Feulner reach out to conservative aides in the Senate in the hope of joining forces to defeat Nixon’s plan. Soon, Feulner was working with Paul Weyrich, a young staffer for Sen. Gordon Allott of Colorado, and other conservative Hill aides. The group persuaded the governor of California—a popular conservative named Ronald Reagan—to testify against the plan before the Senate Finance Committee. The measure eventually failed, and Reagan rewarded Crane by coming to meet with him in the Capitol. Looking back, Feulner says his work with Weyrich, who later founded the Heritage Foundation, laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the Republican Study Committee.

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