I’m really impressed with the Heartland Institute’s aggressive crash and burn policy. Six months ago, virtually no one had heard of this libertarian business front group. Then Peter Gleick got ahold of their internal documents and released them (a hero’s work), demonstrating the cynical way the group sought to discredit climate change. Instead of fading back into the background after this embarrassment, Heartland went public in a huge way, releasing the incredibly stupid and offensive billboards comparing people who believe in climate change to the Unabomber. The harsh reaction to this has caused many of Heartland’s funders to flee, particularly the insurance industry which was working with both Heartland and environmental groups to limit government subsidies to rebuild in floodplains and other high-risk areas (which actually makes some sense).
As we have seen with ALEC, increased progressive organizing against business front groups with extremist agendas is making a difference. I’m a bit skeptical about this as a long-term strategy, as these front groups with their shady funders will just keep reappearing under different names. But it’s hard to see anyone taking anything the Heartland Institute says seriously again.