Heritage Action has agreed and continues to agree with The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page on many of the important issues facing our nation. And The Heritage Foundation had a long and enduring relationship with late conservative icon Robert Bartley, who served as the editorial page editor for decades. Upon Bartley’s passing in 2003, then-Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner said “His commitment to the free society was extraordinary.” Today, however, the right faces new challenges that call for new solutions. Meeting those challenges will require resolving disagreements internal to the right as much as overcoming the challenges to the free society posed by the left. And on these debates, the Journal has consistently positioned itself against the forces advocating much-needed change.
One of the core challenges facing conservatives in the 21st Century is how to build upon rather than merely wax nostalgically for Ronald Reagan’s America. The unconventional politics of the right in 2016 have demonstrated that it was naively simplistic — and, as it turns out, politically tone deaf — to assume that the messages that proved successful in 1980 and 1984 would be received in the same manner decades later when the problems facing families and communities had changed.
In 2011, Heritage Action’s chief operating officer Tim Chapman and I began our own effort to sketch a vision of the future in an op-ed for Real Clear Politics explaining the challenges facing our nation. We argued the “corrupt nexus” of the Big Wall Street, Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Business — all of which are protected classes in the American political system — was “at the heart of the dissatisfaction across the country towards Washington.” So long as it was the party of Wall Street and K Street, we argued, the Republican Party would not be trusted by its own voters as agents of the change they demanded. A new approach was required if conservatism was to be advanced.