By now, anyone half-awake has heard about the Chick-fil-A controversy. What you may not have heard is that the survival of the Chick-fil-A company in the face of an all-out boycott campaign conducted by the allied forces of political correctness spells trouble for President Obama.
Three things connect Obama to the disastrous Chick-fil-A boycott. First, there is the high-profile involvement of his friends and Democrat allies in inserting government into the controversy. Second, the advent of government participation in the boycott raises the specter of totalitarianism in our domestic politics, thus connecting the boycott to other political issues.
And then there is the media’s black eye: Obama’s obvious reliance on the mass media to play the pied piper for his “four-more-years” parade is suddenly a lot more risky.
The fast-food company has thus far survived this vicious, hypocritical “anti-hate” campaign. The battle is not over, and the attempted boycott will continue to sputter along. Yet, Chic-fil-A occupies the high ground both morally and politically.
Let’s look at what happened. This is a story of elitist hubris and over-reach. What started as a controversy over one man’s religious views quickly morphed into the story of Democrat Party arrogance and mass media comeuppance. None of that is good news for Barack Obama.
Two weeks ago when the story broke about the Chick-fil-A president’s statement in support of traditional marriage, the Las Vegas odds against the company surviving the negative media attack must have been about 50-to-1. Consider what company CEO Dan Cathy had arrayed against him:
o The news media had his statement on tape, and the clip went “viral” on YouTube, so backtracking was impossible.
o The company has a record of financial support for avowedly Christian groups and opposition to gay marriage ballot initiatives like California’s Proposition 8.
o Gay and Lesbian organizations were condemning the company and asking for a nationwide boycott.
o The company’s long-time public relations chief dropped dead of a heart attack a few days into the media firestorm.
o The major news media, liberal blogs and late-night television shows were reporting only one side of the controversy and pretty openly supporting the boycott.
Then, suddenly, everything changed. Millions of ordinary folk were outraged by political correctness run amok. They decided the boycott is downright un-American, and to show their disapproval, they voted the only way they could, with their dollars. They flocked to Chick-fil-A stores everywhere.
The fatal mistake of the boycott forces was the blatant politicization of the controversy. Chicago Mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel inserted government into the issue, and he was joined by other Democrat mayors in cities like Boston, Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. They declared that Chick-fil-A would be banned from operating in their kingdoms. “Chick-fil-A does not represent Chicago values,” asserted Mayor Emanuel.
Suddenly, with the intervention of prominent Democrat leaders, the controversy was no longer about one private fast-food company’s views on same-sex marriage. It was now about denial of a business license based on the political views of the business owners. It became a controversy over citizens’ First Amendment rights of free speech versus the alarming assertion of unprecedented government power.
People began asking, “If government can suppress Chick-fil-A today, who will it be tomorrow?” There was no evidence and indeed, no claim, that Chick-fil-A discriminated against gay or lesbian employees or customers. The boycott was based entirely on the owner’s political views and his furtherance of those views in acts of private charity.
Why did those supposedly smart politicians jump on the boycott bandwagon by offering to deploy the heavy hand of government in the battle? To understand why they made this mistake, we have to understand two things: the power of political correctness in the mind-set of the Democrat Party establishment today, and the quasi-religious character of their sincere belief in the unlimited powers of government.
o While enforcing a boycott through the licensing power of government may seem like an unconstitutional expansion of government power to ordinary Americans, to a liberal Democrat it is no more unorthodox than, say, a government takeover of the healthcare industry or energy or pre-school child care.
o The Democrat Party has just announced that support for same-sex marriage will be added to the Party’s 2012 national party platform at its convention in Charlotte. So jumping on the bandwagon of an organized boycott against an opponent of same-sex marriage seems like a no-brainer.
A few weeks ago, the chief executive officer of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, announced a large gift to an organization promoting same-sex marriage. Did we see an attempted boycott of Amazon by conservatives who hold a different view? No. It’s his money, so he has the right to spend it as he chooses. But the American left is not restrained by such tolerance.
Fortunately for both Chick-fil-A and the nation at large, there is no sign the left has learned any lesson from the Chick-fil-A disaster, so their arrogance will continue unabated. Let them sleep in their comfortable cocoon. November 6 is less than 100 days away, so, by all means, let them sleep.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans will be contemplating the menu of President Mitt Romney’s first White House State Dinner. It should be catered by Chick-fil-A.