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About that ALEC story in the Guardian

by: Eric B.

Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 11:58:27 AM EST

The Guardian published a story a few days ago about how ALEC's influence dwindled badly after the Trayvon Martin shooting. It got good play on social media and people pointed to the bit where members of ALEC have to swear fealty to the organization, placing the welfare of the organization before the welfare of their constituents. There wasn't anything specific to Michigan in the story, but as we know the membership of ALEC is mostly state legislators and a lot of what has gotten bandied out our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect has come straight from the ALEC playbook.

It's always been a bit difficult for me to get overly freaked over ALEC. Lawmakers get elected to balance budgets and pass bills. If a lawmaker feels that the things he or she wants to see done is reflected in a piece of legislation written for him, there's no reason not to use boilerplate language. Personally, I think that's a terrible way to represent people, and it opens all of us up to a lot of unintended consequences because every state's laws are different. But, really, if you think ALEC should have less influence in Lansing, then you elect people who won't join.

The oath of loyalty is a little different, but not by much. Remember, the same people who swear loyalty to ALEC are mostly all the same people who signed Grover Norquist's no tax hike pledge. And, as we saw with the business tax cut/old people tax hike, the same people who pledge to not raise taxes will do it if they can a) do it on someone other than their core business constitueny and b) get away with it.

But, it is entirely fair to point out that many of our representatives and senators do not, in fact, represent their districts and instead feel that they represent their ideology. Most of us already knew that, however, well before people started freaking out about ALEC.

Eric B. :: About that ALEC story in the Guardian
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