Rob Horowitz: Brewer Veto Cripples Effort to Roll Back Gay Rights
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
As a prominent conservative elected official, Governor Brewer’s veto—done after she carefully considered the political pros and cons—sends a message to other conservatives to proceed with caution on this political hot potato. Brewer faced fierce pressure to veto the measure from the business and corporate sector as well as from national Republicans—the same powerful forces that would likely be activated if progress towards adoption is glimpsed in any of the other states where this kind of legislation has been introduced.
Bad for business
The business sector weighed in because they were concerned about the negative economic consequences of adopting the legislation, including the possibility of groups boycotting Arizona. As The Los Angeles Times reported, Apple, American Airlines, Marriott, and Delta Airlines were among the companies imploring a veto.
Smaller, local businesses also joined the effort. For example, according to NPR, Tuscon's Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizza received much media attention for posting a sign warning patrons that the restaurant reserves the right "to refuse service to Arizona legislators.”
Opposition from heavy-hitters
The NFL added their voice of opposition to the measure, raising alarm bells that next year’s Super Bowl, scheduled to be played in Arizona, could be moved to another state. It was precisely because of this concern that the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee voiced their disapproval of the legislation, proclaiming it would “deal a significant blow" to the state’s economy. The prospect of losing the Super Bowl is more than a theoretical threat to Arizona residents—the 1993 Super Bowl was moved from Arizona to California because the state repealed Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday.
Republican national leaders including both of Arizona’s US Senators, Jeff Flake and John McCain, as well as Mitt Romney urged a veto. Nationally, Republicans—even if they don’t support same sex marriage—do not want to seem harsh or unwelcoming of gay Americans. According to recent polling, even a plurality of Republicans under 50 support same sex marriage. As the Republican National Committee’s own analysis of their recent national election failures accurately points out, “Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays—and for many younger voters, this issue is a gateway into whether the party is a place they want to be.”
As American history shows, discrimination dies hard. But the Arizona result demonstrates that in the case of gay and lesbian Americans it is dying. And that is truly some good news.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
Related Slideshow: 10 Historically Bold Moves Made By Big Companies
10. RJ Reynolds
The Smokeless Cigarette
In 1988, long after the American public wised up to the dangers of cigarettes, RJ Reynolds launched the Premier cigarette. They called it a “smokeless nicotine delivery mechanism that looks and feels like a premium cigarette.” It didn't. Smokers said it tasted like charcoal, and drug users quickly figured out how to use it to smoke crack. It has been reported that RJ Reynolds lost $1 billion on the product.
The alleged lobster roll – no one's sure there was ever any real lobster in there – from McDonald's was about as successful in New England as their McCrabcake was in Maryland. It looked bad, tasted worse, and was shunned by even the most die hard Golden Arches fans. (Unlike the McRib, which continues to have a bewildering trance on McDonald's fans.) The sandwich is still available in some Canadian franchises and occasionally in Maine.
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When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer became the company’s chief executive, she instated Google-like food options, offered new benefits, and insisted full-time employees work in the office. The tech world was shocked, and Mayer admitted the mandate could diminish productivity. However, she saw an up side.
Sony was right to support Blu-ray over the failed HD DVD, probably because they learned their lesson with the Betamax experience in 1975. That's the year the Betamax video recorder hit stores shelves. A year later, the VHS format hit the market. Sony never licensed its Betamax technology, and the two formats were not compatible. Consumers had to choose between the two. You know how that story ended.
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One of the world's most famous college drop outs, Steve Jobs founded Apple, helped it grow into a billion-plus public company, and launched the Macintosh. He was also ousted by Apple's Board of Directors in 1985. The popular take is that the board was stupid to fire Jobs as the leader of the Mac division, because Apple would have more quickly become the company it is today. A new take on the decision posits that the then-30-year old Jobs was disruptive and incompetent in that role. After 12 years away from the company he founded, he learned the skills and discipline required for Apple's rebirth.
Takes on Sony + Nintendo in the Console Gaming Market
Microsoft has one person to thank for its console gaming success, and that person isn't even real. Master Chief is the hero of the insanely popular "Halo" franchise, which was first released was a launch title with the original Xbox. The game revolutionized First Person Shooters on consoles, and sold millions of consoles along the way. At the time, Microsoft was known as primarily a software company. They may have took a bath on those early consoles, but they now join Sony as one of the two major console makers left standing. (Sorry, Nintendo. The Wii U is going to sink you.)
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Netflix is back on top now, but it almost went under in 2011 when it mishandled its pricing changes and attempted to slice off it DVD business under the name Qwikster. As they did with the New Coke launch, customers responded with immediate anger, leading Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to apologize. The company reverted to its $7.99 streaming plan and has never looked back.
Opts out of Government Loans
After Detroit’s automakers went to Washington in 2008 asking for emergency loans to keep their enterprises afloat, the big bus oval was the only one to opt out of the bailout. Ford decided to mortgage all of its assets to raise operating funds instead. Taxpayers eventually spent $80 billion to rescue General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. Ford focused on efficiency and increasing sales without using government bailout money - thus avoiding the federal tinkering that Chrysler and GM had to accept as a part of their deals. The company has since kept pace with GM, the country's largest automaker.
Perhaps the most famous brand misstep since Ford's Edsel, New Coke is the Titanic of corporate miscalculation. In the 1970s and early 80s, the soft drink giant faced increased competition from Pepsi and other products. To stay on top, Coke executives stopped production of the classic formula and introduced New Coke with tremendous fanfare. The public's responded with immediate outrage. Coca-Cola re-launched its original formula – called Coc-Cola Classic – almost immediately. Today, unopened cans of New Coke go for hundreds on eBay.
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