2016 likely GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush offered his opinion on Indiana’s discriminatory and anti-gay “religious freedom” lawÂ â€“ and gets so much wrong in the process.
As Americans get to know Jeb Bush, two clearÂ characterÂ traits are emerging.
First, he is cautious. Unlike some of his likely opponents, the elder Bush brother thinks before he speaks. He recognizes that every public statement, every opinion, every action, has weight, especially at this early stage.
And second, he is condescending. It’s not as clear or obvious as is his cautious and thoughtful nature, but it’s very much there.
Take Bush’s interview with Republican talk show host and law professor Hugh Hewitt yesterday.
(Hewitt, who teaches at the same university as NOM Chairman John Eastman, will conduct one of the 2016 presidential debates. He is known for his insightful and intelligent interviews, which is why Donald Trump‘s time with Hewitt was so embarrassing.)
Bush was asked to weigh in on Indiana’s highly-controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been the top headline around the nation since Gov. Mike Pence signed it into law Thursday.
Top multi-billion dollar corporations, like Apple, Inc. and Salesforce, multi-million dollar Indiana-based companies, like Angie’s list, states like Washington and Connecticut, and cities like San Francisco and Seattle, have all come out denouncing quite strongly this anti-gay bill as discriminatory.
Does anyone think Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, or Connecticut’s Governor Dan Malloy, did not consult with attorneys before issuing strong statements?Â
Cue Jeb Bush, audio and transcript:
HEWITT: Earlier today, I watched Peter Hamby on CNN, which is on over your head, say that, and I want to quote him correctly, you donâ€™t see a lot of Republicans rallying to Mike Penceâ€™s defense right now. Thatâ€™s a direct quote from Hamby. Heâ€™s a great reporter talking about the Indiana Religious Freedom Act. What do you make of the controversy? Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, great company, had a blast at it in the Washington Post yesterday. What do you think?
BUSH: I think if you, if they actually got briefed on the law that they wouldnâ€™t be blasting this law. I think Governor Pence has done the right thing. Florida has a law like this. Bill Clinton signed a law like this at the federal level. This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to have, to be able to be people of conscience. I just think once the facts are established, people arenâ€™t going to see this as discriminatory at all.Â
HEWITT: You know, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed in 1993. Itâ€™s been the law in the District of Columbia for 22 years. I do not know of a single incidence of the sort that Tim Cook was warning about occurring in the District in the last 22 years.Â
BUSH: But there are incidents of people who, for example, the florist in Washington State who had a business that based on her conscience, she couldnâ€™t be participating in a gay wedding, organizing it, even though the person, one of the people was a friend of hers. And she was taken to court, and is still in court, or the photographer in New Mexico. There are many cases where people acting on their conscience have been castigated by the government. And this law simply says the government has to have a level of burden to be able to establish that thereâ€™s been some kind of discrimination. Weâ€™re going to need this. This is really an important value for our country to, in a diverse country, where you can respect and be tolerant of peopleâ€™s lifestyles, but allow for people of faith to be able to exercise theirs.
First, Bush has not read the bill, does not know the necessary details of the cases he’s cited, and most importantly, does not understand the context of any of this. It’s like he’s Rip Van Winkle and just woke up to this national story that’s based in two decades of events that he’s never observed first hand.
Second, if he had read Indiana’s RFRA, and the federal RFRA, he would immediately recognize how vastly different they are.
Finally, Jeb Bush thinks that once people know the facts they’ll come to support this law.
Does the former Florida governor think people haven’t read the bill, or can’t think for themselves?
The condescensionÂ is subtle, but staggering.
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