Think tank envy

The American Constitution Society is a recently formed organization for left-leaning law students and others in the legal field, a “progressive” version of the Federalist Society. They maintain a good, frequently updated weblog. I’ve found it to be a good source for news the right side of the blogosphere often passes over.

Yesterday one of its editors, Joel Zuercher, had a bit of fun with the conservative movement’s well-funded network, poking fun of the Heritage job bank and the Leadership Institute’s training seminars. All joking aside, he noted that this network is one of the things that has made conservatives so effective at drawing talent to Washington. I’ve personally benefited from the smaller, less politically connected classical liberal network and have seen left-leaning friends suffer from the lack of one as they try to find policy work in the District.

That said, Zuercher links to a Washinton Post article showing how the conservative network was used to put regrettably unqualified young people in authority positions for the rebuilding of Iraq. I don’t mean that as a criticism of the conservatives who stood behind their ideas and accepted risky posts, but of the administration who planned so poorly for the occupation that it filled important jobs by mass emailing the Heritage job bank email list. Read the complete story for a look at how a group an untrained Washington “brat pack” [corrected] ended up running key parts of the CPA.

Comments

  1. Joel Fagin says:

    “…but of the administration who planned so poorly for the occupation that it filled important jobs by mass emailing the Heritage job bank email list”

    What standard are you using to say that this was poorly planned? The fact that they requested job applicants from a think tank? Or are you an authority on occupational security? I don’t pretend to be able to make that judgment.

  2. Jacob says:

    I’m going by the WaPo article. I don’t have any problem with them recruiting via Heritage if the hires were actually doing the jobs they were meant for (seems like a good idea, actually), but the article makes clear that the CPA failed to get the staffing it needed to do its work and so ended up with these untrained twenty-somethings getting in way over their heads.

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