Many probably hoped that after the General Assembly left town for a few weeks, cooler heads would prevail and the left's hysteria would settle down a bit. Those of us who have been around here very long recognized just how unlikely that would be. So now it's House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg) who is in the cross-hairs of the far-left and their media allies. At a press conference this week regarding Virginia's high business climate rankings, the liberal machine continued its attacks on anything conservative. Now, the new attack line in Richmond is that Republicans are part of some kind of vast conspiracy of ideology and policy being led by a stealth-like corporate organization with a scary name: the American Legislative Exchange Council. After the press event's formal question and answer period ended, a liberal with something called ProgressVA approached the Speaker and  pushed him on his comments. Speaker Howell responded in a way for which he apologized yesterday.

You can read more about the exchange here at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot and here at Bearing DriftBut the real story is the left's concentrated attack campaign on ALEC. Why was a representative of ProgressVA at the press conference in the first place? Previously, it issued a half-truth laced "report" on ALEC given credence by the Mainstream Media, especially the Washington Post.  In reality, it is a propaganda piece, not unlike NARAL's "study" on Pregnancy Resource Centers two years ago, which the MSM also jumped on. See a pattern here?

Despite the "report," ALEC reports its activities on its comprehensive website — hardly secretive. As with any other think tank, it provides state legislators with research, legislative concepts and model legislation, but from a distinctly conservative perspective. ALEC was co-founded in 1973 by conservative icon Paul Weyrich. In recent months, though, the far-left and its media allies have set their sights on ALEC and its corporate sponsors, bringing with them the hysteria and bullying that seems to drive American politics these days. Within hours, corporate sponsors of ALEC, such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's, caved faster than the Susan Komen group did to Planned Parenthood.

Writing at Bearing Drift, our friend Norman Leahy succinctly captures the absurdity of it all:

A shoddy report combined with sloppy reporting followed up by badgering questions and even more sloppy reporting. No wonder Howell was frustrated. 

I think the real entity owed an apology here is ALEC — by the WaPo, ProgressVa and the assorted nitwits who insist that the Speaker is engaging in a Somme-like offensive on women.

You may be asking yourself, why does this matter?

Frankly, the only crime that ALEC has committed is to formulate, organize and propagate conservative ideas and assist legislators in seeing those conservative principles put into practice. But in the age of Obama, doing so is viewed by the MSM and the far-left (redundant, I know) as a threat to the American way of life. Conservative discourse has become something that must be silenced. There was a time when the battle of ideas was at the heart of who we are as Americans, and was the very freedom the Founders fought and died (as did subsequent generations) to ensure would exist. Those days are gone.

That's why you should care. We expect the far-left to do all in its power to silence religious conservatives for reasons that go way beyond politics, but now it's going after the most a-religious of conservative organizations with the same hatred and ferocity. It's no longer only about "social issues" — it's about simply being conservative and our right to organize, advocate and promote our principles. The left fears our ideas, cannot defeat our ideas, so it must silence our ideas.

If anyone in Richmond thought the battle this past session was only about ultrasounds and adoption, they were sorely mistaken. It is about all of our conservative beliefs and whether our culture will even allow them to be spoken of. If you don't understand that, you don't understand just how extreme the far-left has become.