Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
Big kudos to my pal Robbie Sherwood for getting the goods on the recent lavish wine-and-dine of Republican legislators by corporate lobbyists at the pricey Biltmore-area steakhouse Donovan’s.
Even Laurie Roberts stopped swooning over “moderate Republicans” for a minute to express her dismay at this. Which is good, because if the self-appointed saviors of Arizona like Laurie (who simply refuse to see the obvious answer that is right before their faces, which is “elect Democrats”) really want to do something it helps if they understand what is causing our problems.
I’ve been over this before but, in case you’re not familiar, the American Legislative Exchange Council was started in the 1970s by a religious nut named Paul Weyrich, who is famous among us lefty political junkies for plainly stating in public that conservatives benefit from fewer people voting. ALEC has grown into an organization of hundreds of state legislators (the vast majority of whom are Republican) with numerous corporate sponsors, including many that are household names. Mark Pocan, who served in the Wisconsin legislature and was recently elected to Congress, was a rare Democrat who joined ALEC and attended an annual convention. He described what he saw there as a “dating service” between lawmakers and corporate lobbyists seeking to get their bills passed in the states.
ALEC is believed to be the true source of SB1070 and is known to be the force behind Stand Your Ground gun laws and voter suppression laws. ALEC has done very well in Arizona because so many Republican legislators have joined it and have eagerly signed onto their bills. This is true whether they ran with Clean Elections public funding or didn’t. Or whether they were in safe Republican districts or not. Or whether they were, or are, viewed as moderate or highly conservative.
ALEC appears to be the more likely candidate for Patient Zero Of Why We Can’t Have Nice Things In Arizona than anything else. Elect Republicans and get lawmakers who are likely to join ALEC, where they are force-fed radical “free market” doctrine, along with the expensive steak and bourbon. They then sponsor and vote for terrible bills, which will tend to be signed by any Republican Governor. Which gets back to my original point that “elect Democrats” is really the only way to improve things here.