Who are these people?
Corporations - Here is a list of corporate members of ALEC. They're the same names you see on the top of the Dow and NASDAQ lists, with some exceptions, like Koch Industries. Notable members include Altria (formerly RJR Tobacco), Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) - the private prison operator, DuPont, Exxon-Mobil, McDonalds, Intuit, and Coca-Cola. But they are just a few. I doubt there are many names on the list that aren't recognizable.
Corporate Trade Groups - Groups like the American Bail Association, American Bankers Association, PhrMA, National Association of Charter School Organizers, and more.
Non-profit organizations - Those oh-so-nonpartisan groups (yes, that's sarcasm) like The Mackinac Center for Freedom and Democracy (ha!), Goldwater Institute, and Reason Foundation are or have been members. You know, the organizations that write legislation and hand it off to people like Scott Walker to ram through Wisconsin, or who shut down the government like they have in Minnesota (for nearly 2 weeks now).
Basically corporate conservative America is voting on legislation as ALEC, and sending these "corporate approved" pieces of legislation to their GOP underlings at the state level.
And now we come to the footsoldiers who actually carry this stuff back to their states like ants swarming a spot of honey on the countertop. John Nichols reports:
“Never has the time been so right,” Louisiana State Representative Noble Ellington told conservative legislators gathered in Washington to plan the radical remaking of policies in the states. It was one month after the 2010 midterm elections. Republicans had grabbed 680 legislative seats and secured a power trifecta—control of both legislative chambers and the governorship—in twenty-one states. Ellington was speaking for hundreds of attendees at a “States and Nation Policy Summit,” featuring GOP stars like Texas Governor Rick Perry, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Convened by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—“the nation’s largest, non-partisan, individual public-private membership association of state legislators,” as the spin-savvy group describes itself—the meeting did not intend to draw up an agenda for the upcoming legislative session. That had already been done by ALEC’s elite task forces of lawmakers and corporate representatives. The new legislators were there to grab their weapons: carefully crafted model bills seeking to impose a one-size-fits-all agenda on the states.Which is, of course, what I wrote about back in February when I put together a list of what those newly-elected conservative governors were doing in their states.
This is why, by the way, idiots like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann can actually run for office and get serious support. They're just the marionettes behind the real policymakers, just like Governor Bighair in Texas and Governor Gollum in Florida.
This shadow corporate government is literally writing the laws that they want the Republicans to pass. They are controlling your state government. That is why Republicans are so keen on states' rights these days. This is why they want to turn Medicare and Medicaid into state block grants. This is why they want to take the spending decisions and legislative decisions away from Washington, so that no federal government can impede a de facto permanent 50 red state scenario.
Take the states and weaken the federal. Permanent control of the country. We've seen what phase one of this has already done to our country in just a few years. Imagine another generation of GOP super-majorities in states like Florida and Texas, Arizona and Georgia, Ohio and Indiana, Colorado and Utah.
Are you getting the picture now that the real battle is at the state level where you live? Do you understand that by taking over as many state legislatures as possible, the money guys get to call all the shots no matter what progressives can accomplish at the federal level? Are you angry yet that ALEC exists only to copy and paste wingnut bills into as many states as possible, as often as possible, and leave no time for anything else?
Good. You should be. I know I am.