- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

Erstwhile professor Dick Armey on Wednesday recalled the dearth of resources available at mostly "liberal" universities in the 1960s and 1970s when he taught free-market economics in Texas.
All that changed, however, with the dawn of the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that married strong management acumen with an overflowing fountain of conservative ideas.
"I had the good fortune of getting on Heritage's mailing list," the soon-to-retire House majority leader told 300 of the conservative elite at a Capitol Hill Club reception honoring President Edwin Feulner and Executive Vice President Philip Truluck for their 25 years with the group. "The organization made me a better professor, and I'd like to believe it made me a better congressman."
The Texas congressman was one of many prominent political figures who came to toast the two leaders. Others, including Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi; Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao; Sen. James M. Inhofe, Arizona Republican; Rep. Henry J. Hyde, Illinois Republican; former Attorney General Edwin Meese; and Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Joe M. Allbaugh, joined in praising their successful dissemination of conservative books, position papers, opinion editorials and, most of all, ideas, through the years.
Mr. Feulner said watching Congress embrace welfare reform and other Heritage policies told him that the foundation "was very much on the right track."
"The ideas we started with 29 years ago are now the mainstream ideas. They're not on the fringe," Mr. Feulner said.
He gave part of the credit to the late Sen. Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona and other conscientious conservatives who promoted the foundation's principles when it wasn't quite "fashionable" to do so.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas credited the pair's hard work for offering balance to the political landscape.
They helped provide "an opportunity to have a full debate, not just hear one side," Justice Thomas said.
Their determination and the group's emerging clout, he added, emboldened the faithful to tackle the liberal opposition head on.
Before the foundation, a conservative was "always seen as a naysayer instead of someone with new ideas," he said.
Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, who jokingly referred to the similarly surnamed justice as "brother," praised Heritage for providing conservatives with "intellectual firepower."
The foundation's greatest strength, he noted, is the "quality and substance" of its work. "It's reliable and accurate. Truth is a powerful weapon."
Mr. Meese, a Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy at the foundation, said the current Bush administration's "very close" ties to the foundation reminded him of its similar bond with the Reagan team.
The former president pressed a copy of the foundation's manifesto, "Mandate for Leadership" into the hands of "every member of his Cabinet," Mr. Meese recalled.
Guests agreed that much of the growth of the conservative movement in the United States can be traced to the Heritage team's influence.
"When a new topic comes up," said Drug Enforcement Administration Director Asa Hutchinson, "one of the first places you turn to is the Heritage Foundation. They've [already] looked at it, studied it and generated some ideas."


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