I admit to being a bit excited about what might transpire when it was first announced that ALEC was bringing its big annual national shindig to a couple of nice local hotels that share road frontage and ownership in downtown Salt Lake. And it has been nominally educational over the past few days, mainly in seeing with my own eyes how deep, broad, and diverse the organized anti ALEC portion of our national society has quickly become. Truly a high quality group of concerned activist citizens.
Locally, however, it would simply be false to say that the level of activity and/or interest is anything other than minimal. Again, the folks who care care deeply. They obviously know what the situation is, and what the stakes are. But apathy, even in the face of something that is obviously important, still rules the day.
So, more time to observe and ponder. And one thought I can't shake is that this may well be the endgame for ALEC, and not for any reason that I had thought of even as recently as this morning.
ALEC - right wing money in politics.
Cirizens United - right wing money in politics.
And ALEC and Citizens United are commonly spoken of in the same conversation, and really have been from the minute that the Supremes first opened the Citizens United floodgate. But, really, hasn't this mainly been the result of a relatively small group on the left being aware and concerned about the general subject matter? But I'm now starting to think that there are deeper ramifications.
In a sense ALEC is merely a middle man in a process that Citizens United streamlines. The 1% component of the vast right wing conspiracy that Hillary Clinton spoke of is the ultimate leadership thereof because they bankroll it. In the earlier setting, then, the valuable function that ALEC served is, being brutally honest, really nothing more than a very cumbersome way of sifting through politicians, post election, to identify those with votes for sale. And the cumbersome aspect derives from the fact that, selected this way, not every vote from every politician can be counted on virtually every time. I mean, that was just inherent in a system where the "mating dance" ultimately choregraphed by ALEC was the only means possible to stretch decades old rules designed to prevent exactly what ALEC found a way to do.
Far too messy and time consuming for the Koch brothers et al. to be able to be any more than tangentially involved with the day to day design and implementation of.
And then we get Citizens United, where politicians are able (some might even say encouraged) to openly put themselves out on the market from the very first day of their career. So, yeah, the 1% still can't go completely hands on. But do they still need the vast network of managers, salesmen, lawyers, and accountants required to keep ALEC up and running on a daily basis. Not to mention, doing away with the need to coordinate all of the activites of The ALEC Corporate Sponsors that the 1% are basically forced to launder their less efficient purchases of politicians through. Yeah, the ownership and control of big business ensures that the design is functional, and the "investments" made produce acceptable returns, but what "businessman" isn't always on the lookout for ways to streamline processes.
Moving forward, however, the Koch brothers, Adelsons, etc. can just recruit from a sufficiently deep national talent pool that consists of the Karl Rove types, basically assign them as team manager/coaches, provide a direct budget and check in with weekly conference calls to see how the "recruiting" is going. And since basically none of the "players" can take an independent credit for the development of their "politicial" careers, one would certainly posit that the loyalty factor would far exceed even the best case possible in the same "market" under the current "business model". These folks are already buying election after, but now they can just do it easier, faster, and cheaper.
To me, this is such a no brainer that, if I was on the ALEC dole (er payroll), I'd be looking for a way to get my resume polished up and circulated in relatively short order.
(And then later, of course, the team owners can get into doing player trades, etc. The possibilities seem to be limited only by the imagination, because we sure as hell can't count on the consciences to save our current way of life.)