Longtime readers of the Arkansas Times blog have noticed that hidden, sinister forces play a large role in the thoughts of its chief writer, Max Brantley. Occasionally, after reading his blog, I become curious about what conversations with Brantley must be like. I wonder if they’re something like this:
Balanced, stable person: Hmm. Looks like it’s about to rain.
Brantley: Yup. I imagine ALEC is responsible.
We are therefore honored to announce the premiere of a new series here at The Arkansas Project. For the first time, we have decided to scientifically measure the degree to which Brantley is, um, absorbed by such matters. We call it “The Max Brantley Conspiratometer.”
In this series, we will quantify Max’s remarkable attention to conservative forces that promote dangerous and heretical ideas like limited government and fiscal responsibility. Some of these groups include the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Koch brothers. As a control, I have included an actual Arkansas political figure — Arkansas’s Secretary of State, Mark Martin. (We wanted to be even-handed and include mention of George Soros and the Council on Foreign Relations too, but for some reason on these topics Max is as quiet as a mouse.)
Here’s the tally of Arkansas Blog mentions from last week [April 22-28]:
Brantley’s fury over ALEC reached something of an apex last week, given his endorsement of Common Cause’s notion that when conservatives get together and talk about ideas, this constitutes “lobbying” that must be monitored by and disclosed to the government. One might almost suspect that what Brantley really finds objectionable are ideas as such – requiring voters to show ID at the polls, permitting those who are attacked to defend themselves, and requiring disclosure of the burdens that Obamacare places on state governments. Unlike many of the ideas that are regularly flogged on the Arkansas Times blog, these are ideas that enjoy broad popular support. And notably, as has already been discussed on this here blog, the majority of these proposals are ideas from Arkansas legislators that were brought to ALEC, not the other way around.
Can Brantley top 66 mentions of ALEC in a week? Will Brantley continue to be shocked and appalled by measures to oppose vote fraud, protect taxpayers, and promote self-defense? Is Brantley campaigning to be this century’s version of a left-wing Robert Welch? We’ll see.