These two blog posts about the AEI,
are really interesting, and the howls in the comments to them are even more so.
Both are mainstream partial defenses of the AEI-as-it-was (an anti-Brookings) and to a very much more limited extent as it is — a think tank in the tank to donors, overrun with neo-con supports of draconian social policies and extremist militarist aggression eerily reminiscent of the Imperial Japanese Navy General Staff, which nonetheless remains a home to a few policy people who don't live on a full-time diet of Kool-Aid.
In the comments, some people agree that the AEI deserves props for lingering broad-mindedness (and the lingerers don't deserve guilt by association); others say that conditions have reached a point where guilt by association is appropriate; still others attack the very idea of policy 'analysis' that isn't willing or able to subject itself to peer review, there's debate as to whether a think-tank is more effective if it's centrist and nuanced, or extreme and rabid, and so on …. All in all, something to read.