Wonk Fight!

The folks over at the liberal Drum Major Institute seem to have enjoyed the Times’s story today on the Manhattan Institute‘s waning local influence, and add their own slap:

“Certainly the Manhattan Institute has sensed a political opportunity to stir up xenophobia in the absence of contributing to a meaningful conversation about immigration policy in this country in this country. Maybe that’s why Mayor Bloomberg doesn’t listen to them. The scarier question for thoughtful Americans is: who still is?”

This seems rather unfair to Tamar Jacoby, but in any case, the Manhattan Institute’s position reflects the uncomfortable one a lot of national conservative think tanks have been thrust into: what happens when your team wins, then betrays you? Some, like E.J. McMahon locally and the CATO Institute in Washington, haven’t let loyalty get in the way of their politics. Others have.

It’s something of a surprise to me that the Manhattan Institute, in general, hasn’t quite managed to get traction with its critiques of the Bloomberg administration. They have to take some of the blame for the fact that no serious conservative challenge to Mike ever emerged.