Thursday, November 07, 2013

Crazy ideas

ENDA Infographic
The infographic above is from The Huffington Post and is meant to show how asinine it is for Republicans in the US House of Representatives to oppose to ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Opposing ENDA, they're suggesting, is a fringe position. Because, well, it IS a fringe position.

FactCheck.org is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center (and not to be confused with the utterly useless "fact checking" site run by a Florida newspaper). FactCheck.org took a look at Republicans' opposition in "Spinning ENDA", and show how off-base Republicans are.

The opposition of US House Speaker John Boehner is based on his assertion that ENDA will lead to a dramatic increase in "frivolous" discrimination-related lawsuits. But the FactCheck.org piece points out that's not been the case in any of the states that already have civil rights protections. They also add that, contrary to Republican claims, the bill will not affect most small businesses at all. Moreover, 88% of Fortune 500 companies already have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies and 57% have policies barring gender identity discrimination.

So, I'm wondering: If Republicans' claims of a massive increase in "frivolous" lawsuits can't be supported by known history, and if they're flat out wrong about its affects on small business, and if large businesses already have policies in place that include ENDA-like protections, then what are the Republicans really playing at?

Simple, really: Like usual, Republicans like Boehner are pandering to the most rightwing and bigoted parts of their base. Boehner knows how far out of step with the USA the Republican Party is on LGBT issues, but he can't fight the aggressive far-right extremist base of his party. However, he doesn't want to piss off non-bigoted Republican voters, so he has to spin and lie so his pandering to bigots isn't as obvious.

This must be the case because if he was really sure his caucus opposed ENDA, he'd allow it to move through the legislative process. Instead, it's obvious he's afraid that enough of his own caucus would vote with enough Democrats to pass ENDA. So, I think the real issue here is that Boehner's a coward. If he allows ENDA to move through and its approved, the radical base of the party will hold him solely responsible. The irony is that he may be defeated for re-election by the radicals or dumped as Speaker in a coup, no matter what he does.

So, like the minority of Americans who believe in "crazy" things—like opposing workplace protections for LGBT people—John Boehner finds himself out on the fringes. Come to think of it, how do I KNOW that Bohener isn't an alien?

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