Today’s “Compare and Contrast” feature pits the “American Legislative Exchange Council” – also known as “ALEC”, and also also known as “This Year’s DFL Boogeyman” – against the “National Conference of State Legislatures“.
Let’s compare them, point by point:
Agenda: The group promotes a partisan point of view.
ALEC: Yes – center right.
NCLS: Yes – center-left.
Pushing Agenda: The group writes “model legislation” that, if passed, would further its agenda, and distributes it to its legislative members (because all legislation needs to be submitted by an elected legislator, naturally).
ALEC: Yes. As, by the way, do other conservative think tanks; Cato, the NRA, whomever.
NCLS: Yes. As, by the way, do liberal think tanks, as well as the political action wings of all the unions. Especially the NEA.
Content Of That Agenda: The group promotes an agenda that its opponents find debatable.
ALEC: Yes – and that fact has pushed the more-deranged reaches of the left to the point where the liberal “attention” has become self-parody, and has gotten to the point where “Berg’s Seventh Law” applies. Two years ago, they babbled about the Koch Brothers to cover the fact that Alita Messinger was pouring millions into the Minnesota campaign. This year, yapping like obedient dogs about “ALEC” will obscure the fact that the unions and groups like the NCLS will be doing the same, and much, much more, just by simple dint of there being more of them.
NCLS: Yes – although you don’t hear much about it.
Who Pays The Dues To Join The Group To Learn About The Agenda?: Both groups charge dues, which by definition makes them “not lobbying groups”. Someone has to pay for legislators to join and remain “members”.
ALEC: The members pay their own dues.
NCLS: Dues are paid by the state, using taxpayer money. One source with background in legislative matters tells me the dues amount to over $300,000 in state money a year. That’s money that’s being taken from the children to pay for our legislators to think like this.
Attention Group Gets From Its Detractors: What’s the group’s profile among its opponents?
NCLS: Not much. Even though it promotes an institutionalist, big-government agenda, and does it with public money, you rarely if ever hear about the NCLS’ actions or agenda. Or those of the National Education Association, which does all the same things – promoting policy, writing model legislation, trying to inveigle legislators into sponsoring it, yadda yadda. Or the same operations at AFSCME, MAPE, the SEIU, and on, and on, and on.
ALEC: The group is to the left in 2012 what “birth certificates” were to the fringe right in 2009, what “Bush’s cruise missiles” were to the “fringe” left in 2004, what “black helicopters” were to the paranoid right in 1996; a stalking horse for their lunatic fringes at best, justification for its own excesses at worst.
Hope we’ve settled that.