In Indiana and Arkansas, large corporations recently joined left-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from strong protections for religious liberty.... That political leaders in both states quickly cowered amid the shrieks of big business and the radical left should alarm us all. As the fight for religious liberty moves to Louisiana, I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath.
The legal fight over marriage equality is ongoing, but as the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments in the case that may resolve the issue, the court of public opinion has effectively already issued its decision.
A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found a 61% majority support equal-marriage rights, while only about a third of the country still disagrees. It's the most lopsided results ever in this poll, and it's a complete reversal from public attitudes from a decade ago.
It's against this backdrop that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), gearing up for a presidential campaign, has a New York Times op-ed today proudly declaring he's "holding firm" against the push for equal treatment under the law.
Much of the argument is familiar, boilerplate rhetoric, including an unpersuasive defense of a pending state discrimination measure, but of particular interest was the governor's disdain for the private sector's guidance on the issue.
The Republican governor added that business leaders have "already contacted" him about moving away from a discriminatory agenda, "but they will not deter me."
It's a curious form of far-right cultural populism -- when the left stands up to Corporate America on workers' rights and the minimum wage, Republicans are shocked by liberals' hostility towards "job creators." When the right stands up to Corporate America on marriage equality, they brag about it in New York Times op-eds.
Look at that excerpt again, but this time, imagine a Democratic governor talking about the right to affordable, quality health care. "Large corporations recently joined right-wing activists to bully elected officials into backing away from health security for working families," a progressive voice might say. "I have a clear message for any corporation that contemplates bullying our state: Save your breath."
Such a posture would be widely rejected by the right as anti-business. And yet, here we are.
It's an amazing argument, which is becoming increasingly common: America's private sector might think progressive social values are good for business, but Republicans would really appreciate if businesses did the opposite anyway.
As we talked about a couple of weeks ago, Republicans have spent years telling the public that corporate leaders are "job creators" who form the backbone of American free enterprise, who deserve as many tax breaks as humanly possible, and whose opinions are supposed to be sacrosanct.
Unless, that is, they support LGBT rights, at which point Bobby Jindal wants business leaders to shut up and get with the program.
The governor's piece concludes with a proposed grand bargain: "This strategy requires populist social conservatives to ally with the business community on economic matters and corporate titans to side with social conservatives on cultural matters."
To which Ed Kilgore joked, "And if 'corporate titans' don't respect the 'grand bargain,' then Bobby will see you in Hell, money-changers!"