1. On culture-war matters, Republicans need a spinal transplant. If the mainstream media and the social-justice warriors (but I’m being redundant) kick a bit of sand in their faces, they retreat — even from popular positions. As Ramesh has noted, large majorities of Americans don’t want to see citizens penalized or fined for refusing to participate in gay weddings, yet Republicans caved anyway — from laws that wouldn’t even clearly or necessarily protect the rare objecting baker, florist, or photographer. The laws would simply give those vendors a fighting chance. And of course the retreats are hardly confined to same-sex marriage. Don’t forget the House Republicans’ dreadful display the very day of the March for Life, when they withdrew a popular pro-life bill in the face of inconsequential political opposition.
2. Yet when big business says, “jump,” Republicans jump. I note with interest that just as elected Republicans retreat with extreme speed on life and religious liberty, they stand like Leonidas at Thermopylae to block politically popular increases in the federal minimum wage. What’s the common factor in the religious liberty rout and the minimum-wage stand? The corporate will. I’m not yet ready to declare – as Rod Dreher does – that the battle between Democrats and Republicans is the battle of the “party of lust” versus the “party of greed,” but that’s what this week certainly looked like.