Earlier this week it came to light that the CEO of Gold's Gym, Robert Rowling, had donated around $2 million to an organization set up by Karl Rove to get conservative Republicans elected all over the country. It's basically the same as the controversy over MN Forward, where just after the Citizens United decision Target donated to an independent group that would support, but not coordinate, with far-right candidates and then got in trouble because at least one of the candidates was anti-gay. The list of people Rove's org is helping includes Sharron Angle and Ken Buck, so that $2 million went pretty directly to fund homophobia.
So there was outcry and a petition and four Bay Area Gold's Gyms left the brand over the fracas and now Rowling came out with a statement saying that it's not personal, it's business. He's just screwing over Americans, generally, not picking on gay people particularly, which makes it all OK:
"The facts are so distorted," Rowling told Fox News, explaining that his donation to American Crossroads had nothing to do with social policies that could spark crossfire. "I've never heard one discussion of a social issue. This is all about fiscal sanity."
Boo hoo hoo! The facts are all distorted, whines a poor, poor billionaire, who got rich by investing his daddy's millions, who's buying ad time all over the country to air various lies he favors because they advance his political agenda. Why can't Americans see that I'm in favor of full equality now? I want everybody to suffer.
He doesn't describe "fiscal sanity" any more closely, but judging from the candidates he supports, it probably means making small cuts to various social programs in order to "balance the budget" because.... Well, don't ask me. I'm not the one who wants to balance the budget, and I just read James Galbraith's recent book in which he makes the basic historic and economic argument that balanced budgets lead to recessions.
The fun part isn't the balanced budget, since the folks American Crossroads are supporting aren't ever going to balance the budget anyway (Karl Rove worked in the Bush White House for eight years and just now he decides to care about "fiscal sanity"?). But it's a wonderful excuse to cut programs that keep people out of poverty, provide education and health care and food to many Americans, and keep unemployment down, all so that taxes can be cut. Why would a billionaire like Rowling care about those programs when he can buy education for his kids, access health care by just writing a $100K check if he needs to, and has his retirement already planned merely because it's impossible for him to spend all his money? Those concerns are for losers.
So, just like Target and Best Buy before him, Rowling's argument is that he didn't violate any totems of identity politics so he's allowed to screw people over.
Does that get him off the hook? I don't think so, and I think a large number of Americans are getting wise to the fact that the only reason media, political, and business elites want to raise the retirement age on Social Security is so that they can save a few thousand dollars in payroll taxes that they won't even notice. But what do they care? They don't need Social Security when they retire, and anyone who does can just buy their own national gym franchise for $158 million with their daddy's oil company's money and become a billionaire.
Losers. Don't they know anything about gumption?
Anyway, homophobia in the GOP isn't going anywhere and if people want to get upset with Gold's Gym over the candidates' homophobia, then it's better than people not getting upset at all. The fact that these rich donors are doing everything they can to keep their names hidden shows that they know if things get worse in America, which they will if their policies get implemented, it could turn ugly for them. At least they don't think we're complete rubes.