I know I promised not to bring up the Toll Road again, but I was chatting with someone the other day who asked a political strategy question I hadn't thought much about before: Why is it seemingly okay for Republicans to trot out homophobia when they rail against gay marriage/adoption/rights, but Democrats are horrible, awful people for suggesting that it might not be a great idea to sell off our state and federal assets to private, foreign interests?
Both arguments play on social fears, but one -- "Don't go givin' those gays any more rights, or they'll try to convert ya" -- seems to meet with more political acceptance than the other -- "What was built and paid for by Hoosiers should remain under Hoosier control." (Note: No one ever said that foreign investment in Indiana is a bad thing, but plenty of people questioned and continue to question whether selling off our assets is such a good long-range plan.)
Is it because politicians can more easily tie foreign investment to economic development? Is it because everyone needs a job, but straight folks have to think outside the box to understand why gay rights are important to society as a whole? Is it because -- and I hope this one's way off-base -- we've become accustomed to gay-bashing as a political sport, but the xenophobia argument only rears its head on immigration issues and the occasional ports deal?
I honestly don't know, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.