SB 1062 Uproar: Can Arizona Democrats Capitalize on It in November?
Back in the dark ages, Republicans used to be all about the economy, stupid. A chicken in every pot, a home-entertainment center in every living room.
Take, for instance, our last great Republican president -- William Jefferson Clinton. He demonstrated that a Democrat (in name) could be pro-business, and during his presidency, the nation enjoyed eight years of peace and prosperity.
Sadly, the GOP long ago abandoned the putative goal of economic prosperity for the mental mud-wrestling of ideological politics.
Nationally, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner recently abandoned a push for immigration reform, bowing to the extremists in the GOP and those GOPers who are afraid of the Teabagger caucus.
This, despite a study from the Bipartisan Policy Center showing the benefits of such reform: a 4.8 percent increase in economic growth, a $68 billion boost to the housing market per year, a slight bump in long-term wages, and a $1.2 trillion reduction in the deficit over the next two decades.
The BPC's immigration task force includes such noted leftists as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, both Rs, natch.
So why can't we have immigration reform? Because Tea Party fools don't like brown people.
Locally, Arizona's business community long has played a devil's game with the GOP, allowing the far right to have its way with the state Legislature, as long as business gets what it wants: low taxes, tax breaks, and any other goodies it can lay claim to.
Now, the Legislature once again has passed a bill revealing Arizona to be a hotbed of hatred and bigotry: the anti-gay legislation, Senate Bill 1062, which would amend Arizona's version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to allow business owners to discriminate against gays if their "sincerely held" religious beliefs so dictate.
The bill's language does not single out the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community by name. But it doesn't need to. Other minorities are regarded as "protected classes" by the feds and by some states.