The jousting between Curtis Morrison and Denise Harper Angel has made for a more exciting than expected 35th District state senate primary.
Curtis, who is a regular Insider Louisville contributor, called out incumbent Harper Angel on his Louisville Courant blog as a Democrat who’s an American Legislative Exchange Council member. Harper Angel concedes she was, but hasn’t been active in the conservative think tank/legislation pedalling outfit since 2006.
Surprisingly, WFPL reporter Kenny Colston waded right into the middle of this liberal vs. liberal battle, essentially validating Morrison’s allegations that Harper Angel stayed in the group way longer then she’s claiming.
Which may make for a tighter race than anyone anticipates.
But none of this brings any clarity to the many, many questions I have for Kentucky’s Democratic legislators including, “What the hell are you thinking?”
According to Colston’s reporting, 10 of 15 Democratic state senators are ALEC members. Six have allowed their memberships to be automatically renewed by the Legislative Research Commission including African-American legislator Gerald Neal, which is sort of like John Lewis joining the White Citizens’ Council.
ALEC is not a non-partisan bridge to a higher political ground … a chance for Democrats to sing Kumbaya with the increasingly radical Tea Party Republicans.
This an organization that looked down on George Zimmerman shooting to death unarmed Trayvon Martin in Florida, then walking away scot-free under the “Stand Your Ground,” and said, “This is what America needs more of.”
Funded by the National Rifle Association and ultra-conservative donors such as the Koch Brothers, ALEC is still out there pedalling laws state to state that encourage Americans to shoot first and ask questions later.
(Full disclosure: I remain a gun owner and I was an NRA member when I was young. But once you’ve seen what a high-velocity round does to a human, you tend to fall out of love with gun violence and the fantasy you’re “protecting yourself” by packing heat.)
Part of ALEC’s hold on Kentucky is less than mysterious.
Kentucky has been ruled by Democrats for decades. But it is paradoxically the reddist of states, where our Kennedyesque Attorney General Gentleman Jack Conway – a Demorcat from a long line of Democrats –has a 100 percent NRA rating and is proud of it.
The NRA is a group that sells its slavish devotion to the Second Amendment in part as just protecting your right to hunt. But sadly, hardly anyone hunts anymore. Game, anyway.
When a friend was leaving the country recently, he tried to sell his never-fired Winchester 1400 shotgun. No one wanted it. When he asked clerks at the gun stores what was going on, they told him, “People only want military weapons. You can’t give away sporting guns.” (Happy ending: I got the Winchester with both a bird/skeet/sporting clays improved choke barrel and a full-choke long barrel!)
So, with ALEC’s help, the NRA has turned America into a society that’s scared, angry, armed and dangerous. Running out to the Trader Joe’s, the NRA and Conway wish to remind you to take your Glock. Just in case.
Because the more afraid you are of your neighbors, the more likely you will be to buy an expensive sidearm you have no clue how to use safely. Which guarantees Glock, Ruger and all arms makers can up contributions to their lobbying group, the NRA.
And all the more money the NRA hands over to ALEC to do the dirty work of greasing the skids in 50 state legislatures.
The end result in the ALEC/NRA vision is America as East Beirut, with neighborhood block watch captains shooting people on the suspicion they may not belong. Virginia Tech under siege by a madman. A congressman, a judge and a child among the crowd of people gunned down at an Arizona shopping center by a freak firing a Glock with a 30-round clip, (what every sportsman needs to bag Bambi.)
As you can tell, this is an issue with me. Enough of an issue to spend whatever time it takes understanding how the Kentucky General Assembly justifies using taxpayer’s money to pay legislator’s dues in ALEC, a partisan group that spoon-feeds lawmakers, saving them the trouble of independent thinking or consulting with constituents.
I’m also hearing that ALEC was involved in the Beshear Administrations’ failed privatization of Medicaid.
This could get interesting.