The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a catch-all conservative policy outfit that right-wing activist Paul Weyrich founded in the ’70s and which specializes in quietly transforming clients’ feverish wish lists into legislation that pet Republican state legislatures pass more or less verbatim. Notable hobby horses include vote suppression by way of voter ID laws, reduced early voting, etc., NRA wet kisses like the infamous ‘stand your ground’ law, lax environmental protection, restricting women’s reproductive options, plus the usual focus on changing tax policy and government programs to transfer power to the wealthy and wealth to the powerful. Needless to say its leadership leans Republican in the same way that a klan meeting leans white.
The trick with this game is that even captive legislatures have a vestigial trace of self-respect, so you should at least pretend that a law printed on Natural Gas Alliance stationery was thought up by the local lege to address some theoretical local concern. Ears perked up when some of ALEC’s dimmer pets submitted laws without bothering to change any language from model bills posted on its website. Then a racist dude made national headlines for murdering a black kid in a way that no sane person could defend, and he looked likely to get away with it thanks to one of ALEC’s special gun laws. Would you want to be an official corporate sponsor of George Zimmerman? Surprisingly at least ten sponsors so far have said no.
ALEC’s first response looked promising: they reorganized their guns, gays and ‘ginas division, and they swore to get out of social issues and focus from here out on nothing but transferring wealth to the wealthy. Don’t get me wrong. I would love to hear that one star in the vast constellation of rightwing social policy outfits might have blinked out. Still, does that sound stupid or belligerent enough for today’s conservative movement?
Duh. Of course not. Go to C&L for the whole sordid tale, but to summarize ALEC has asked the children of a lesser Breitbart to coordinate an online rightwing ragegasm against the, um, shadowy liberal conspiracy to discredit their good name.
ALEC is looking specifically at Democratic strategist Karen Finney (who appears daily on MSNBC as a contributer), journalist Lisa Graves and organizer Van Jones. They are advising these wingnut bloggers to go after them in the comments of articles, on social media and throughout the blogosphere.
Now there’s behavior that I expect from folks who still mark William Buckley threatening, unconvincingly, to punch Gore Vidal in the nose as a high point in history. Never retreat. Never surrender. Countertop inspection team go!