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Saturday, October 22, 2016

When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) met in Washington D.C. at the beginning of December, it attracted two of the biggest stars of the conservative movement — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).

ALEC is the Koch-inspired, corporate-backed non-profit that mocks the idea of conservatives believing in local control and states’ rights by spreading carbon-copied legislation to all 50 states that crushes workers’ rights, makes it easier to abuse animals and guts the Affordable Care Act.

The shadowy group that attracts hundreds of state legislators to its frequent posh gatherings and sends them back to their state capitols with boilerplate legislation operated blissfully and successfully outside the public eye until the death of Trayvon Martin.

Several  corporations — including Coca-Cola, General Electric and Amazon — quit ALEC when it became clear the group had pushed the legislation that allows individuals to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to retreat. Since then the non-profit has struggled with fundraising but was still able to attract Ryan and Cruz to its summit. And Cruz told the gathered attendees exactly what they wanted to hear.

“I’ll tell you this,” he said. “My advice to ALEC is very, very simple: Stand your ground.”

Good old Ted Cruz — willing to invoke the law that may have led to the death of an unarmed teenager to empower his corporate allies.

Less than two weeks later, Cruz and Ryan were at separate podiums, taking opposite sides in what some are calling a “GOP Civil War.”

The Texas senator is publicly opposing the Wisconsin congressman’s budget deal, which eases the pain of the automatic sequester cuts while increasing some fees and asking military personnel and federal workers to contribute more to their retirement.

The agreement is $27 billion lower than what had been put forward in the original Ryan budget, which made him the champion of the far right for his willingness to propose drastic, cruel cuts while cutting taxes for the rich. But it funds Obamacare for two years and spends $33 billion more than it would if the sequester were untouched — $195 billion less than what the president proposed in his budget.

It’s a compromise. And nobody is supposed to love compromises.

“Look, in the minority you don’t have the burden of governing,” Ryan said, defending his deal from criticism leveled by Senate Republicans.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was far more blunt in his criticism of the outside groups like Heritage Action and FreedomWorks that love Ted Cruz and opposed the deal before it was even announced.

“They are using our members and they’re using the American people for their own goals,” the Speaker said. “This is ridiculous.”

“Frankly, I just think that they have lost all credibility,” he added the next day.


Suddenly it seemed that a rift everyone knew existed in the Republican Party had gone public and Ryan and Boehner were now willing to take on the extremist wing of their party to make sure actual governance gets done. But what’s really happened is that the Tea Party movement and the outside groups that fundraise and lobby on behalf of it have lost their usefulness to the Republican Party — at least temporarily.

But are there actual divisions in policy between Paul Ryan and Ted Cruz?

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Stuart

    The Tea Party wants to re-create Weimar Germany in the U.S. in two respects — but not the short-lived hyperinflation.

    (1) Create and maintain economic hard times. They do this the same way Chancellor Bruning did in pre-Nazi Germany, by starving the government of money, which, in turn, starves the economy at a time when it needs to be helped. This is the same as using leeches to bleed the patient. The cure is worse than the disease.

    (2) Create democracy weariness through political stalemate, paving the way for radical right-wing totalitarianism. Weimar Reichstags were famous for their gridlock, and Germans finally had their fill, as shown in the 1932 elections.

    Gridlock and depression were the roadmap to fascism in 1920s-1930s Europe. The Tea Party wants to do the same thing today, as shown in its willingness to shut down the government and destroy America’s finances with a debt default.

  • Bryan Blake

    Lord Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. In the realities of today’s politics/economics money is the “absolute power” as enshrined by SCOTUS from Buckley v. Valeo through Citizens United v. FEC. It is very popular and descriptively accurate to refer to our currency as “The Almighty Dollar”. The American Revolutionaries only had to rebel against a mere King! We must break the yoke of a DIVINE DOLLAR wielded unmercifully by cruel and greed-fueled billionaires and corporate America. I have no objections to them being rich and having the money they rightfully earn. But when they use MONEY as speech to deny the rest of us our free speech and political rights then they have have crossed the line!

    The Founders were far from perfect. But they did experience first hand political oppression of all stripes. They spoke out against the Crown upon the pain of death. While they enshrined free speech in The Constitution they allowed states the right to determine who could vote in their elections (a product of the distrust of their times). Now that the great corporate Wizard of SCOTUS has paved the way for any state to deny anyone for any reason of the right to vote we are headed straight back to July 3, 1776. We are now the captives of power of another form of tyranny – this time economic in the name of the DIVINE DOLLAR!

    • RobertCHastings

      Nicely put, Mr. Blake.

    • Bill

      GOP golden rule, the man with the gold makes the rules.

  • Here’s what has happened, and what will happen, in a nutshell:

    1) Ted Cruz and the Tea Partiers decided to shut down the government so they could grandstand and pander to the extremist primary voters.
    2) Paul Ryan and the establishment Republicans went along with the T.P. plan because they didn’t want to face Tea Party primary challengers.
    3) The plan backfired. The G.O.P.’s approval rating tanked, their top donors threw a fit, and the Tea Party announced their intentions to challenge several establishment Republicans anyway.
    4) Paul Ryan and the establishment Republicans now hope they can rally the moderates and use their millions in shady campaign contributions to squash their Tea Party challengers, and if they’re lucky, to also take credit for the budget deal and blame Democrats for the shutdown in 2014.
    5) Establishment Republicans will realize most of the moderates have sworn off of the G.O.P. primaries and will try to pull a Mitt Romney — to suddenly veer even further to the right than their Tea Party challengers.
    6) Tea Partiers challengers will remind everyone that they are “establishment,” and the only ones who survive will be the ones whose constituents are as phony as they are.

  • Make it go away

    hey teddy bend over so ALEC can get their hands out of your ass, knew you liked it just not that much…wow now we know why he likes being a puppet, its because of where they’re hands go that he likes so much..

    • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

      Teddy has a party going on up his but he has the hands of the Koch Brothers, Jim DeMint, and all the other members of ALEC up his butt and that is why Teddy is always smiling for the cameras.

  • idamag

    So you can see where ryan and cruz’s loyalties lie. It is not to the unwashed masses.

  • Dominick Vila

    One of the most incredible situations for me involve the overt hatred that so many mainstream Americans feel towards organized labor, the institution that has fought for livable wages, the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, paid sick leave, healthcare coverage, maternity leave, and safety regulations, while we allow backroom deals being made by ALEC in smoke filled rooms designed to ensure our elected officials implement policies conducive to the achievement of corporate goals, often at the expense of the American people.

    ALEX does not even pretend to hide what is going on, and proudly and steadfastly pursues their goals, including favorable tax rates, loopholes, subsidies, and policies that allow American companies to invest heavily overseas to increase profits and pursue global economic domination, while the best our people can hope for is a substandard job at a fast food joint or a retailer,

    • Jane Caspar

      I think it is a tragedy that the public face of the unions has lately so often been that of the moneygrubbers who used the unions in the same way that the same type has been using Congress. The great things achieved by the Unions need to be pointed out to those who take their victories for granted these days.

      • Lola Johnson

        The last major union scandal was back in the 50s, and Hoffa went to prison. How many scandals since then have there been in politics and on Wall street, in the pentagon, in the church. Yet the radical right still pushes those old charges, and the people still fall for it.

        • Jane Caspar

          Unfortunately all the great things the Unions accomplished are farther back in time and people have no conception of how much better off they are in the workplace now.How often do you hear about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire these days? Or conditions in the mines ,or most anywhere, things that were standard less than 100 years ago.

          • RobertCHastings

            Many people are now experiencing the establishment of business as it was pre-union. Reducing benefits (insurance, paid time off, paid holidays, etc.), reducing wages by reducing time at work, more states are passing legislation to eliminate overtime pay, OSHA regulations are being more rarely enforced and inspections are becoming less frequent,and this list could go on for several paragraphs. One hundred years ago, those who actually had industrial jobs worked as little better than slaves and did, indeed, owe their souls to the company store.

    • Bill

      Unions helped everyone, it used to be you could have two companies, one union and one not union both making the same product. The union would get something in a contract and the non-union people would see what they got and say I DESERVE THAT TOO and while they might not get everything they wanted they would get something because that company didn’t want the union coming in. Now the GOP has brain washed people into the mindset that I DON”T HAVE THAT SO THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE IT EITHOR!

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Look beyond the superficial whenever GOP bulls are concerned. Which Tea Party and red state politicians control the US “Cash Box” that controls the whole country? 99% are from the porker states.

    The idea behind the GOP House control was always to control HOW our tax dollars are spent. There were three items of major significance on their agenda:
    . Avoiding the use of their own state tax revenues by helping themselves to federal pork they create by slash and burn cutting in every state but their own.
    . Creating enough of a tax revenue surplus to afford more tax cuts for their monolithic and mostly obsolete state industries and their wealthiest campaign donors
    . Squeezing the states that already pay more state and federal taxes so these porker states never have to actually create progressive industries for state revenues.

    Unless the states that provide the highest federal tax revenues take back control of how our tax dollars our spent, these porker states will continue to take federal tax revenues in double the proportions for prison industries, Big Oil, gun running and their military industrialists. All you need for proof is to look at how much VA gets in federal tax dole outs for its military industry, how much TN, KY, TX, AZ and OK get for their prison industries and again how much TX, OK and Alaska take from federal tax revenues for their Big Oil and Energy industries.

    Now ask yourselves why the industries in progressive states little more than half a dollar compared to the $1.50 these states get in federal ROI. Ask yourselves why THEIR state industries are the ONLY industries worth any federal support. For example, for every prison industry state that continues to enlarge its prison population, each prisoner is costing you the taxpayer $26,000 per prisoner for housing and prison maintenance. People on welfare don’t even receive $26,000 a year. Keep feeding porker states and see how you’ll like being slaves to these plantation mentalities for the rest of your lives. If your states matter, get rid of the porkers controlling your tax dollars so revenues can be distributed among states equitably.

  • James Bowen

    The “immigration reform” mentioned here would not help the Republicans win the White House. It would put it out of reach for them indefinitely.

  • George Allegro

    Since each infant will experience environmental variability as it develops, it is impossible to foresee anyone’s complete future potential.

  • Bill

    Don’t you just love how the GOP wants to reduce the deficit they created on the backs of the middle class and the poor. They talk about supporting the military but what they really support are the high paying military contracts while they stab people in the military in the back. Why is it ok to cut pensions while leaving waste full tax breaks in place for the rich. In the end if the GOP gets back in power the people of the United States will see once more that deficits no longer matter again. They will just give more tax breaks to the rich paid for on the backs of what’s left of the middle class and the increasing poor and you still won’t see one jobs bill. Wake up America!!!!!

  • howa4x

    ALEC will be the final undoing of the GOP. It is a classic case of over reach by the billionaire Koch bros. They fund the tea party because it is not intelligent enough to know the damage that the corporations are doing to this country, since are simpletons who when they hear the words socialism, or Marxism react. ALEC is more down at the state and community level. Most people see DC as a far away place but know where the state capital is. ALEC’s plans are simple. Repeal any environmental regulations, bust unions, oppose a rise in the minimum wage, support voter suppression, repeal any gun safety laws, support tax breaks for corporations, and any other whim they can think up. The problem for them is these policies effect people directly. If they find arsenic in their wells, or feel the tremors of earthquakes around fracking wells and disposal sites or have a friend/family member killed by a handgun, they are going to start to mobilize at a local, county level where their vote can be effective. this can create a situation where the locals are fighting their own city hall, and as more and more comes out about which politicians are members of ALEC there will be a back lash that will start locally but will grow. It will bubble up to the state level and then effect senate and House races. This will be ALEC’s worse nightmare.

  • Liberalism is Nonsense

    Since science traces today’s events to yesterday, it can lead to the notion that our actions are not of our own control or responsibility.