Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cronon on the Roots of the Wisconsin Conservative Political Movement

Highly recommended reading.

Bill Cronon has a new website (or rather web page on his website)

Who’s Really Behind Recent Republican Legislation in Wisconsin and Elsewhere? (Hint: It Didn’t Start Here)

A Study Guide for Those Wishing to Know More

After watching the sudden and impressively well-organized wave of legislation being introduced into state legislatures that all seem to be pursuing parallel goals only tangentially related to current fiscal challenges–ending collective bargaining rights for public employees, requiring photo IDs at the ballot box, rolling back environmental protections, privileging property rights over civil rights, and so on–I’ve found myself wondering where all of this legislation is coming from.,,
...I just don’t find it plausible that two brothers [David and Charles Koch] from Wichita, Kansas, no matter how wealthy, can be responsible for this explosion of radical conservative legislation. It also goes without saying that Scott Walker cannot be single-handedly responsible for what we’re seeing either...But he’s surely not the architect of that movement.

So…who is?...
Here’s my preliminary answer.

Telling Your State Legislators What to Do:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

The most important group, I’m pretty sure, is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which was founded in 1973 by Henry Hyde, Lou Barnett, and (surprise, surprise) Paul Weyrich. Its goal for the past forty years has been to draft “model bills” that conservative legislators can introduce in the 50 states... Its website claims that in each legislative cycle, its members introduce 1000 pieces of legislation based on its work, and claims that roughly 18% of these bills are enacted into law...
If you’re as impressed by these numbers as I am, I’m hoping you’ll agree with me that it may be time to start paying more attention to ALEC and the bills its seeks to promote.

You can start by studying ALEC’s own website. Begin with its home page at

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god. Read the thing on their website about prison overcrowding. They suggest that states go with a bonding system that would allow early release of non-violent offenders. In other words, if you or your rich family can buy your way out, good for you. If not, you rot in jail. And that's just one of the gems here. This is scary stuff.