At this point, it’s unlikely to be unaware of what transpired in Arizona, the ruling of SB 1062, a bill meant to protect the religious freedom of business owners. Brewer’s veto was celebrated among gay rights advocates everywhere.
And it’s no surprise. The retaliation against the bill was enormous. Established conservatives like Mitt Romney and John McCain urged Brewer to veto it immediately. Even former supporters were swayed in favor of the opposition.
Businesses, the center of this bill — the ones this bill was supposedly protecting — did not hesitate to show their opposition to the bill either.
Brewer’s justification for the veto was that it could have “unintended and negative consequences.” A popular sentiment, to be sure.
There is no question that this is a major victory for the LGBT community as well as its supporters. But did Brewer come to this conclusion out of her own convictions?
It’s no secret that Google will bring Google Fiber to Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe. And Apple will bring 2,000 jobs to Mesa. And the Superbowl 2015 was planned to take place in Phoenix. Brewer was pressured by all three parties to refrain from signing the bill. And there was the matter of the NFL exploring alternative to Arizona as the host for the Superbowl as well.
It’s not unreasonable to think that Brewer gave in to peer pressure. The reactionary conservative media isn’t shy at all about exploiting that possibility. Even so, it’s not a hugely radical claim, given her past decisions as governor.
But conspiracy theories and political agendas aside, Brewer’s choice was a brilliant one. It’s perfectly feasible to say that her choice to veto was a stellar public relations tactic. And it’s easy to see why.
The peer pressure was incredible, yes, but then, Arizona has never been particularly favorable in the opinions of the masses, not even its own citizens. All the tweeting and Facebook “likes” in the world seem insignificant when it comes to the state’s deep conservative convictions.
Arizona is on the verge of some enormous creative and financial opportunities. Google? Apple? The Super Bowl? That’s not chump change. That’s some serious cash cow milk. In this kind of economic Armageddon, it’s a gift that is so easy to give. And so easy to take away. Really, really easy.
Whatever the political implications, Brewer’s decision is akin to a cross-pollination between business and politics. If the state’s financial opportunities hung in the balance of her decision, they seem to be saved.
Is the decision to bring business matters into political decisions in line with Brewer’s political practices? If so, was it ethical of her to do so? Should it even matter? No one seems to be questioning if this is a change of heart for Brewer, a deviation from her other political moves. For now, the veto saved some great financial opportunities — a hallmark of intelligent PR — but how long will it last? Is that sort of public relations maneuvering smart to do in the long run?
I’m scratching my head on this one, personally.