Posted: 9:09 am Friday, February 28th, 2014

Arizona – and Georgia – as proof that Big Business is wading deeper into social issues 

By Jim Galloway, Greg Bluestein and Daniel Malloy

Jan Brewer

Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, right, speaks at a news conference announcing she has vetoed SB1062, a bill designed to give added protection from lawsuits to people who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays, at the Arizona Capitol on Wednesday. AP/Ross D. Franklin

This morning, Politico has an inside look at how big business helped take down the Arizona religious liberty bill. Just like Delta spooked lawmakers in Atlanta:

The Arizona legislation was an especially acute uproar over gay rights and religious liberty, but the larger dynamic at play there — pitting powerful business interests against ardent social conservatives — has played out over and over as the fight over same-sex marriage has spread across the country.

Your daily jolt on politics from the AJC's Political insider blog

In blue states like New York, big companies have played a pivotal role in pushing same-sex marriage measures into law. In battlegrounds like Virginia and now Arizona, corporate America has slowed or halted hard-right social policy from taking effect.

What Arizona proved, as much as any other in recent American politics, is that there’s currently no more powerful constituency for gay rights than the Fortune 500 list.

The Associated Press tackled the same topic. A few paragraphs:

Companies have long spoken out about certain issues they felt threatened their bottom lines, such as taxation and the minimum wage. The strong opposition to the Arizona bill signals an acknowledgement by businesses that it’s not just economic policies that can be harmful to their profits. They need to be more willing than ever to wade into social issues.

Companies also recognize that many of their employees and customers are gay and try to foster an open and inviting corporate environment.

“Business used to restrict itself to economic issues but they’re now seeing the importance of other kinds of issues,” said Darrell M. West, vice president of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

***

Reverberations are still being felt from this week’s cratering of two religious liberty bills in Georgia’s state Capitol. Jonathan Shapiro of WABE (90.1FM) caught up with House Majority Leader Larry O’Neal, R-Bonaire:

“If I don’t want to sell you my angel food cake, I don’t have to. And why should a particular group of non-recognized — a group of people that do not have a basis for discrimination kind of cases — why should they have any more rights against that baker than me or any other citizen in society?”     

When asked whether he believed LGBT people, in general, faced discrimination in Georgia or in the country, O’Neal was unequivocal.

“I absolutely do not, no,” said O’Neal.

***

Qualifying for the 2014 elections begins on Monday, but state Rep. Ed Lindsey, R-Atlanta, reports that he won’t be signing up for his 11th District congressional contest until Tuesday.

That’s because Monday is Crossover Day – the deadline for bills to pass one chamber or another, he told his supporters in an email. The former member of the House GOP leadership team said he’ll be on the House floor “to promote two bills fighting against President Obama’s failed healthcare overhaul.”

Lindsey specifically named HB 707 and HB 990, which are not yet on the House calendar.

Lindsey is either misinformed, which is unlikely, or just spilled the beans, our AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin informed us.

That HB 990 would get a vote comes as no surprise. That’s the bill backed by Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, and Speaker pro tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, to put Medicaid expansion under the control of the Legislature.

No, the surprise would be HB 707 – which would bar any local government in Georgia from aiding or abetting the Affordable Care Act. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, for instance, would be barred from hosting a health fair that helped his residents sign up for insurance offered by federal Obamacare exchanges.

***

Speaking of qualifying: Democrats only have a smattering of candidates for down-ticket races so far, but state party chairman DuBose Porter promises more to come next week. He wouldn’t name names, but he said he’s landed a challenger to Attorney General Sam Olens. Others are being vetted.

“Exceptional people are stepping forward,” he said. “We’ll have more than people ever expected.”

***

There’s been a spate of retirement announcements recently among long-serving Democrats in Congress, prompting us to pose the question to Georgia’s longest-tenured House member, Atlanta Democrat John Lewis, ahead of qualifying next week: Is he running again?

“Early Monday morning, I will be there putting down my check,” he replied. “I will be there. I don’t plan on retiring any time soon.”

***

We reported earlier that Jack Kingston, the Savannah congressman and U.S. Senate candidate, would be on CNN’s “Crossfire” on Thursday evening with his friend Newt Gingrich.

Alas, the event was postponed. Kingston, obviously, was double-booked:

kingstonfundraiser

***

Kingston needs the dough to support what is quickly turning into a television ad war, a little less than three months from the Senate primary.

We’re told that David Perdue’s campaign will put the “crybabies” ad back on the air tomorrow and mix in a new spot over the next three weeks, in order to match Kingston’s ad spending.

The Perdue and Kingston campaigns have the most money to work with, so expect to see a lot of their stuff on the air for the next three months. Or now might be the time to fully commit to Netflix.

***

Look for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday. He’ll be there to discuss Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s proposal to shrink the U.S. military to its smallest size since WWII.

***

File away another entry in the battle over who’s the most conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The American Conservative Union weighed in with its rankings of each member of Congress on Thursday. The breakdown for Georgia Senate hopefuls is as follows: Paul Broun 96 percent (a lifetime rating of 99), Jack Kingston 91 percent (a lifetime rating of 96), and Phil Gingrey 88 percent (a lifetime rating 96).

Broun’s scores were the highest in the delegation.

Memorizing the above information won’t be necessary.  By May, someone will have spent a boatload of money to drill these numbers into your head with a 30-second TV spot.

***

Savannah’s own Paula Deen is back in the news with a People magazine interview in which she compares herself with openly gay football player Michael Sam. Seriously.

Here’s what she said, via The Wrap:

“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out,” Deen said in a People magazine cover story, which hits newsstands on Friday. “He said, ‘I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player.’ I know exactly what he’s saying.”

77 comments
mrob
mrob

Red states are dangerous states with lawmakers equally dangerous to enact dangerous laws to drive home a point to exhibit conservatism---mrob

iseestupidpeople
iseestupidpeople

Ok so when do the liberal masses march in protest of big corporate interest being involved in politics ?

Come on now, you guys hate it when they contribute billions to conservative issues or push lower tax rates--be consistent

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

A tip of my hat, in thanks, to the reader of "MaryElizabethSings" who selected the following entry on my blog to read today.  Through that reader's having selected that entry to read, I was also motivated to re-read my words of November 7, 2012.


My entry, entitled "What the Re-election of Barack Obama as President Means to America and to the World," is pertinent to this thread's discussion, imo.  I am posting the link to that entry, below, in case others might, also, care to read its message.


http://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/11/07/what-the-re-election-of-barack-obama-as-president-means-to-america-and-to-the-world/

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

Lessee, Wall Street gets it, the Fortune 500 gets it, the liberals get it, most independents get it, Walt Freakin Disney gets it, even the danged US Military gets it..


Discrimination is simply bad policy, socially AND economically.


I suspect the wing-nut politicians will only get it when the anti-gay campaign cash-cow well dries up.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

Many of these corporations could and should take one further step to prevent these hateful and discriminatory laws ever being considered to begin with, and that is withdrawing their support from the man who gives them the tea party their marching orders, rush limbaugh. Likewise it should be dropped from the other hatemongers saturating talk radio. I don't know who the corporate sponsors of these modern day goebbels are, since I don't listen to them, but the huge paycheck limbaugh and his like are drawing would not be possible without some deep pocket, corporate backing. If any of those companies that expressed displeasure with the Arizona and Jawja laws are paying the freight to air the misogynistic,racist, and hateful discourse of talk radio and limbaugh, then I have to view their expressions of empathy and inclusiveness with a grain of salt.

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

These so-called religious liberty bills are nothing but a license to discriminate and its as simple as that. At least corporate America is getting this issue right. And I think its very telling that Big Business has more sway with conservative leaders than the Tea Party loving evangelical base of Republicans does. What other proof do these radical nutcases need in order to convince them that their rapidly shrinking "movement" is nothing more than a paper tiger; and also, that when it comes down to dollar bills and so called "values', then cash money wins out every time.


Indeed, Republicans leave their morals at the door as soon as a deep pocketed company comes along.

CherokeeCounty
CherokeeCounty

Uhh let's see - here are a few:

Delta

Home Depot

UPS

Lowes

Coca Cola

Pepsi

McDonalds

Of course, they don't support the 'gay' point of view - just the rights of all Americans to live without the threat of discrimnination.

leefrommeeks
leefrommeeks

Jim please post a list of companies that support the " gay" point of view. So I can not support them with my money.

Williebkind
Williebkind

If employers want to wade deeper into social issues then how about HIRING employees instead of sitting on that trillion dollars of cash.

severian37
severian37

I'm guessing Sams doesn't want to be known as "that black football player" either.

anothercomment
anothercomment

Ed Lindsey will not have my vote if he is so stupid to vote on those two votes in session on Monday.

How much is it to register as a candidate as a Dem.,for Congress. If their is no one running than I may just go run and start my internet campaign. For all those who want the ACA and Medicare expansion. This district is not this red, their are plenty of moderates.

TrueBlueDem
TrueBlueDem

Sam Olens will have to face the wrath of many, many Georgia Tech alumni as a result of his open disdain for GA TECH that he uttered last year. Mr Olens will soon find that GT folks have long memories and hold grudges against big-mouthed fat old politicians who insult GT. This alone won't shift the election but it will be a constant source of irritation for Fat Sam. Let the Games Begin!

NWGAL
NWGAL

The only folks who benefit from unlimited campaign spending and long campaigns are ad companies and media outlets. The rest of us suffer through the slog of self promotion and half lies.

scrappy-22
scrappy-22

"No, the surprise would be HB 707 – which would bar any local government in Georgia from aiding or abetting the Affordable Care Act. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, for instance, would be barred from hosting a health fair that helped his residents sign up for insurance offered by federal Obamacare exchanges."

Why isn't this getting more attention? This is ridiculous.  The ACA is a law (already vetted by the Supreme Court) but the GOP of Georgia want to make it illegal for communities to help someone sign up or understand it?  Bad enough they have blocked the expansion of Medicaid in GA, now they want to block help.

Seriously, why don't the GOP want people to be able to sign up for healthcare?  Me thinks they would rather just have us all go bankrupt or die...

EliasDenny
EliasDenny

I am retired from a major airline and I think its time for large companys to speak up since they are now recognized as people 

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

To quote silent Cal "The business of America is business."  Most smart people like to make money - the degree of sharing is usually the political debate.  Any businessman knows that excluding patrons or becoming public regarding some political issue that will eventually exclude or discourage patrons is the direct step to loss of business, loss of money, and life under the freeway over-pass.  Large businesses in Georgia and Arizona have realized that the prominent right wing positions taken in their states to damage public education, resegregate communities and schools, foster violence through more guns, and block affordable healthcare for the working poor drives out thinking smart people that like to make money. 

MANGLER
MANGLER

So, Mr. O'Neal from Bonaire, 

It's quite clear that you don't recognize anyone who's LGBT as people because Georgia law doesn't compel you to.  One can quite easily conclude that you only begrudgingly recognize people like employees, children, women, blacks, etc, because Georgia and federal law implicitly compels you to.

Baumer_1
Baumer_1

Yeah...liberals don't just blindly follow. That is the work of conservatives.

centgaboy
centgaboy

@iseestupidpeople I applaud the fact that they are the only thing standing between us and these nitwit Ga politicians that want to turn us into a theocracy. I may march in their favor bubba

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@iseestupidpeople  

Big business does not give a damn about what you and I pay in taxes, only what THEY pay.

As for conservative issues, HORSE-HOCKEY!

The only thing big business wants from the righties is less government oversight. And we saw how well that worked out 6 years ago.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@leefrommeeks - I bet you would say you are a GOD FEARING Christian and a Follower of The Teachings and The Words of Our Lord Jesus Christ......


Jesus would say "YOU are an IMPOSTER , a Follower and Lover of the Angel of Light."

uh..huh.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@leefrommeeks  

I took a quick peek at Kam's list.  A big ole chunk of what is on the shelves at Korger is on that list.  I then did a quick search for companies that DO actively discriminate against gays.

Cracker Barrel, Chik-Fil-A and Purina are on it.

Bon appetiti!

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@leefrommeeks Then you won't have many from which to choose. As I wrote earlier: "As of 2013---62% of the Fortune 500 companies offer domestic partners health insurance to employees; 88% prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation; and 57% prohibit discrimination based on gender identity (transgenders). Among the even more selective Fortune 10 companies, 8 prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation; 7 prohibit discrimination based on gender identity; and 8 provide health benefits for domestic partners of employees."

Kamchak
Kamchak

Jim please post a list of companies that support the " gay" point of view.

First day with that brand new google thingie?

Just askin'.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=list+of+companies+that+support+same+sex+rights

SouthernDem
SouthernDem

@leefrommeeks  Then the list would be quite long--and will continue to grow. From your close-minded point of view, I can see your concern. I mean, the nerve of companies expecting political leaders to not discriminate! How dare these for-profit entities demand that each and every citizen be treated with dignity and respect. I mean, what are they thinking?!


I mean, from your point of view, if this keeps up, blacks may want to ride at the front of the bus. Or, heavens to goodness, they may even want to vote! And what on Earth will we do then? And they may even convince some women to do the same thing. Next thing you know, one of them might even have the nerve to run for office. Oh, the humanities!

anothercomment
anothercomment

Olens has turned on his own religion, Jewish by pandering to these bible thumping evangelical Christians. Next he will put a tatoo of Jesus on his body, to show he is with the tea partiers.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@NWGAL  

Um ..many of these ads do not contain enough fact in them to be considered just a "half lie" unless you count the candidate's name being spelled correctly.

BuckheadBoy
BuckheadBoy

@scrappy-22 Why do Republicans hate the ACA? The answer is simple: 3.8%. That's the new tax that the ACA imposes on passive income. Now, you may say, the average Republican voter hardly even knows what passive income is. True. But, the flies atop the GOP dung hill that excrete money onto it surely do. Think what having to write that 3.8% check to the IRS for the first time this year is going to mean to them; and the Trumps and Romneys are relative paupers in that swarm. They didn't want to have to do it this year, and they definitely don't want to have to do it year after year. What's a few hundred million dollars to mobilize the GOP politicians and ignorant base against the ACA when billions are at stake? So the next time that you hear a GOP politician or one of those parasites paid by an organization with "Growth", "Prosperity", "Heritage" or other misleading name disparage the ACA, just think 3.8%.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@scrappy-22


You ask "why don't the GOP want people to be able to sign up for healthcare?"  The answer is simply political, scrappy-22.  As I have mentioned earlier in posts today, Georgia's leadership is under the political will of the national Republican agenda to cause the ACA to fail. (ALEC members in Georgia's legislature, for instance, represent 38% of the legislature, including the Senate Speaker pro tem. ALEC does not, and its supporters of the Koch Brothers et al do not, support the success of the ACA across the nation, including in Georgia. Right now, political will is winning out in Georgia relative to the ACA.  Once the people of Georgia catch on to this, and vote Republicans out of office in our legislature and in Georgia's governorship, then the people's will in Georgia shall prevail and the working poor (and all citizens) will have medical support in Georgia not necessarily tied to their jobs through the success of the ACA in this state.


Vote Democratic.

Kamchak
Kamchak

Me thinks they would rather just have us all go bankrupt or die... 


AKA: Their answer to the oft asked question -- what do you intend to replace the PPACA with if you ever do mange to repeal it?

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@scrappy-22 I should think that HB707 is also illegal, since state law cannot supersede federal law.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@BravesFan456


I agree, "Good for them." 


However, we must not be naïve to the fact that the business community is doing this only because not doing so would hurt their bottom line of monetary profit.  If it were more economically profitable for businesses to support the extreme rightwing social agenda, then businesses would support that rightwing agenda.  But, it no longer is to their monetary benefit to do so. That is because the tipping point has now occurred in the moral consciousness of the American people toward egalitarianism for all. And, businesses are simply following the lead of the moral will of the majority of the American people.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Ralph-43


Ralph, then why does Georgia's Republican-dominated legislature continue to create legislative bills which do "damage education, resegregate communities and schools, foster violence through more guns, and block affordable healthcare for the working poor"?


I do not know how old you are but I well remember when businessmen excluded blacks as their patrons because they felt that they would incur a loss of money and business from the majority public.


Georgia's legislature has dominant leaders, like the Senate Speaker pro tem, who are members of a group of business CEOs who work with Republican legislatures across this nation (ALEC) to insure that their common interest in creating more private sector control of government agencies is accomplished. You write "(a)ny businessman knows that excluding patrons . . . is the direct step to loss of business, loss of money. . . ."  Please look deeper. You have excellent analytical reasoning but this issue, imho, is much more complex that your words suggest you understand.

TrueBlueDem
TrueBlueDem

Sam Olens is Jewish? And a Republican? How did that happen? He must downplay his religion.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@JAWJA @LookbeforeIleap  

"It has 3 of the 4 basic food groups; salt, sugar, grease, and alcohol."

By that reasoning so does Rush Limbaugh.  Come to think of it, if hot air was one of the 4 basic food groups, he'd be batting 1,000

JAWJA
JAWJA

@LookbeforeIleap @JAWJA  Sorry, I'm a Southerner and love the grease. Seriously, the veggies. Hadn't heard they were discriminatory. I've dropped the Chik, but, CB is gonna be hard. It has 3 of the 4 basic food groups; salt, sugar, grease, and alcohol.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@JAWJA  

Well not STRAIGHT into the trash chute, I keep the "Summer Sausage" and keep it near the front door in case I need a "stand your ground" billy club.

LookbeforeIleap
LookbeforeIleap

@JAWJA

Good lord!  Why would you eat there?  The food is terrible!

Every year I get a Cracker Barrel "gift basket" from my sister for Christmas and every year it goes straight into the trash chute.

And every year I send her OmahaSteaks.

I'm getting royally screwed.

AuntieChrist
AuntieChrist

@TrueBlueDem I think he said something like, "I don't follow in the steps of Jesus Christ."  The repubs said, "well, neither do we, come on in!"