When Hillary Clinton lashed out in 1998 at "the vast right-wing conspiracy," most people laughed. I certainly did. Then I returned to Phoenix two years later to see how correct she was. Exhibit A was the "Goldwater" Institute, motto: "Where freedom wins." Before he died, Barry wanted his name removed from the organization, but he backed off because it was dear to his brother. So I have always referred to it with Goldwater in quotes or as the Bob Goldwater Institute. Either way, it has played a pivotal role in damaging Arizona and holding back progress.
After its founding in 1988, local media accorded the institute respect as a "think tank." Robert Robb, a political operative who came out of the "Goldwater" Institute, was hired as an editorial columnist for the Arizona Republic. After the departure of Ricardo Pimentel and me, he became the only real editorial columnist after the 2007 newsroom organization. Unlike most entrusted with a position of such influence, Robb did not spend 20 years gaining experience and accolades as a journalist for a major newspaper. He was always a member of "the vast right-wing conspiracy." And the institute itself was regularly quoted in news stories as an authority on virtually every issue.
The trouble is that the "Goldwater" Institute is not a think tank as conventionally understood, an organization where scholars pursue research with open minds and produce material that is vigorously peer reviewed (think The Brookings Institution). Instead, it is an advocacy organization such as the NRA or the Sierra Club. It is rarely identified as such in the media — unless I am writing about it, which I try to avoid, aside from one takedown in the early 2000s.