New Conservative Tank Opening Today

Today marks the scheduled debut of a new conservative think tank -- presumably based, per usual, in Washington, D.C. Here's the link to the American Action Network's currently bare-bones site.

Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, previously best known for losing a protracted election to comedian Al Franken, serves as the tank's public face, delivering a video message on the AAN homepage. The first two words Coleman utters: "Ronald Reagan."

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Meanwhile, Sunday's New York Times Magazine featured, "The Brain Mistrust," an essay by political writer Matt Bai.

The piece discusses, in part, the newly-formed tank. Here's an excerpt:

"...And so this month a cadre of conservative donors and policy makers -- they include the former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman and the economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin -- stepped forward with an answer to all this: a brand-new think tank. Actually, the American Action Network, as Coleman described it to The Times's Jackie Calmes, is supposed to be a "think-and-do" tank, meaning that its mission is not only to synthesize the Republican argument but to aggressively market it as well."

Here's more about the funders of the new tank, from the liberal Talking Points Memo site, and further background from The Washington Monthly.

Also from his NYT essay, here's Bai on the historic effectiveness of at least some tanks and policy orgs:

"And yet think tanks have, in fact, had a serious impact on the country. Parties are hopelessly conformist vehicles, led by men and women who have every incentive to protect old ideas and established orders. The most effective think tanks have been those led by young and fearless activists who confronted the orthodoxies of their day."

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