The Feb. 15 J. Peder Zane column “GOP turned wrong – instead of right – on HB2”: Oh, Peder Zane. He may not be naive about the left, but he may be about the right. Like many Republicans, he wants the GOP to act like the Libertarians they once were, but it will never happen.
Needing votes in the 1980s, the Libertarian right gave up its soul and married the religious right, creating an internal conflict that is unfortunately much more powerful than irony. If they want to stay in office, they must legislate morality, or at least act like it; their constituency consisting of holier than thous demands it.
In the past, they mostly paid lip service to those asking them to use religion as a sword. But as votes have gotten harder to come by, they’ve doubled down on this zero sum game to get voters to the polls, stoking the flames of fear, framing discrimination as religious belief to pass laws that suppress folks their insulated followers have nothing to fear from.
Like Zane, I would love to see the GOP move back toward personal responsibility and small government, but as long as it stays beholden to Jerry Falwell’s moral majority, now a necessity to getting the votes it needs, it will never happen.