News Roundup for 2/2/12

Champions of central "local" control

-Headline of the Day-
"Oops: Florida Republican Forgets To Remove ALEC Mission Statement From Boilerplate Anti-Tax Bill."

It used to be that Republicans were always talking about "local control." What they meant was that states didn't need Big Government coming in and telling them what to do. State governments could make up their own minds, thank you very much, and no federal meddling was needed. You couldn't get them to shut up about it.

Now, things are different. Republicans don't talk as much about local control because they put together this thing called ALEC. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council and it's made up of state legislators. What do they do? They write laws -- well, they get lobbyists to write them anyway. And they do it for everyone. Then they can pretend they aren't Big Government goons pushing the states around. They're small government goons doing the pushing. I guess there's some difference.

See, this way you've got local control. Of course, the idea is that all the locals are controlling things exactly the same way across all the states. Every ALEC law is, in practice, one big national law, since the idea is that every state has the same one. Local control! Except it's not so local as it is central.

Yeah, it's a confusing mish-mash of contradicting argument, but that's Republicans for ya.

Anyhoo, this all strikes a lot of people as wrong -- not to mention hypocritical. People in Florida shouldn't be writing Wisconsin's laws and vice versa, for example. So all the ALEC people like to pretend that they came up with these identical laws all on their lonesome. It's all so common sense, they argue, why wouldn't a bunch of people come up with the same thing?

This argument took a little ding when Florida state Rep. Rachel Burgin introduced a bill calling on the feds to reduce corporate tax rates -- and left an ALEC identifier in it. "WHEREAS, it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council to advance Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, yada-yada-yada, wank-wank-wank...," Burgin's bill began, which was kind of letting the cat out of the bag. Someone else wrote this thing and Rachel just copied and pasted it -- apparently without even reading it.

According to the report, "Burgin quickly withdrew the bill hoping that no one had noticed and then re-introduced it 24-hours later, with a new bill number (HM 717), but now without the problematic paragraph."

As you can see, that strategy failed. Wait for this Florida bill to show up in your state, because local control is super-important. (ThinkProgress)

-Cartoon time with Mark Fiore-
Hey kids, ever wonder how to write an attack ad for a shadowy, secretive Super PAC? Yeah, me neither. But Uncle Mark's going to show us anyway! Yay!

Click for animation

Well that's just [adjective]. (MarkFiore.com)

-Bonus HotD-
"Trump endorses Mitt Romney for president."

Meanwhile, there's this from Pew:

Looks like The Donald can expect a thank-you note from Newt. (CBS News)

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