Apr 13 2011
The Right Hook, a weekly segment which covers the machinations of the right wing, from the Republican Party to the Tea Party Patriots, and beyond. By Chris Bennett
Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker tried to ram through his radical anti-collective bargaining agenda earlier this year. Americans wondered where this onslaught on civil rights came from. William Cronon, who teaches history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison took it upon himself to dig into the matter. Winner of the MacArthur “Genius Award,” professor Cronon wrote a couple of pieces that shined a light on the Republican playbook. Republicans were so angry, Scott Walker tried to gain access to Cronon’s emails. Cronon’s articles shed light on a little-known organization, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is a conservative think tank that drafts “model legislation” for the right wing. The website boasts that each legislative cycle, its members introduce 1,000 bills based on its work. Roughly 18% of these bills are enacted into law. Among the legislation that ALEC drafted was Arizona’s harsh anti-immigration bill SB 1070. ALEC’s goal is to get its legislative successes to “go viral.” Indeed, seventeen other states have considered or passed copycat legislation. As with most things Republican, you have to be on the inside to get a good look. In order to see what legislation is in ALEC’s pipeline, you have to be a member. In order to be a member you have to be an elected Republican official. Or, you can become a “private sector” member by donating several thousand dollars. ALEC is a public advocacy group, that’s no big deal, fair-and-square. But the next big “model legislation” from ALEC is to disenfranchise the the Youth Vote. According to Bill Berkowitz of the Smirking Chimp blog, ALEC’s model is to create difficult photo ID requirements, abandon election-day registration, and to redefine student residency requirements. With the 2012 elections coming up, ALEC is teaching the Big Daddy Republicans how to get the kiddies out of the pool, the voting pool that is.
Speaking of SB 1070, aka the “Show Me Your Papers” law, that bill seems one step closer to the Supreme Court. Federal District Court Judge Bolton has found four provisions of the law that violate the Constitution: Among them are the parts where law enforcement must determine your immigration status if they suspect you are undocumented; and the part provides for state punishment if you don’t have your federal documents. There’s no telling what state punishment means, but it will probably involve a corporate profit-prison conveniently located next to a corporate farm. Judge Bolton’s decision has put SB 1070 one step closer to the dust bin of history.
Also from the dust bin of history: this week is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. And, last Saturday in Montgomery AL, the Sons of Confederate Veterans marched to honor the anniversary of the inauguration of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. Writing in the Washington Post, Courtland Milloy calls out Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) who declared April to be Confederate History Month. It was McDonnell who said “We honor our ancestors for their bravery and tenacity protecting their homes from invasion.” This is characteristic of Civil War revisionism. Just leave the black folks out of it and pretend slavery was a side issue to the whole war. And recently, the Mississippi chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans campaigned to have license plates issued to honor General Nathan Bedford Forrest. General Forrest was a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan and one its very first Grand Wizards. Mississippians have been dismayed that Governor Haley Barbour has not condemned the license plate issue. Barbour was the guy who said life for African-Americans under Jim Crow laws “wasn’t that bad.” Barbour though has a fine line to walk as he mounts his campaign for President. Though he is a long-shot candidate for president of United States, Barbour looks like he has some legs in the race for President of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or even Grand Wizard.
The Right Hook– Reality Based News and Views.