[mgj-discuss] Wash Post item on NCJIS action at Heritage Foundation
dglevy at cepr.net
Fri Mar 22 11:21:05 EST 2002
The Ideas Industry [column]
Sole Searching for a Heritage Scholar
By Richard Morin and Claudia Deane
Tuesday, March 19, 2002; Page A19
[photo of NCJIS flyer]
Hundreds of advocates for the poor, brandishing old shoes and "wanted" posters featuring a photo of conservative scholar Robert Rector, recently stormed into the Heritage Foundation to confront Rector and demand that he "walk in our shoes."
"I would be happy to," said Rector, who was briefly crowded against a wall in a back hallway of Heritage by the protesters, variously estimated to number between 700 to 3,000.
They arrived by bus and came from as far away as New York and California. The March 5 event had been coordinated by the Center for Community Change, a Washington-based advocacy group. Other stops included the headquarters of the Democratic Leadership Council and the Department of Health and Human Services, which had also been fingered by the center as enemies of the poor.
The Heritage action was the first in a series of planned confrontations between the poor and "those who have developed the policies that have victimized the poor," said Leila McDowell, the center's director of communications.
McDowell said Rector was targeted for ignominy because he and Heritage are "the architect[s] behind much of the Bush welfare plan." Among other things, Rector advocates making states responsible for replacing government welfare programs with private charity. Government also should set aside a share of welfare funds "for programs that strengthen marriage and reduce illegitimacy" and establish work requirements for food stamps and public housing programs, he writes in the Issues 2002 candidate briefing book, just issued by Heritage and available at www.heritage.org/issues.
Rector said he was getting a soda from a snack room when he was surrounded by protesters, who stumbled on him after bursting through the front door and filling most of the first floor meeting rooms.
"Oh my, a fan club," Rector recalled thinking as the chanting protesters surrounded him. "I asked them specifically, 'What would you like me to do?' 'We'd like you to walk in the shoes of the poor.' " Then protest leaders presented him with their demand that he visit poor families.
Rector immediately agreed. The news was relayed via megaphone to the crowd outside. "They seemed very surprised that I would agree to do that," he said.
McDowell said the center has not yet decided exactly where to take Rector. "We would like him to visit poor families in both urban and rural areas," she said.
Nor has the center decided where to strike next -- "but we definitely will be back," McDowell said.
More information about the mgj-discuss