Commentary: Republican Legislator Called Out For Not Knowing Difference Between Legislation & Private Business Decisions
Hasbro has rebranded (slightly) their longstanding Potato Head toys. Dr. Seuss Enterprises has made a business decision to stop publishing certain books. Amazon is making corporate decisions about what products to carry on their website. At least one GOP legislator thinks, or thinks his voting base will believe, that this is somehow connected to the Democratic majority in Congress.
In the 2020 elections, Dems maintained control of the House, and Republicans lost control of the Senate. However, no legislation has suggested that a toy company must stop using gendered terms for their characters, or moved to prevent the publication of books with racist imagery, right-wing conspiracy theories, or false information. The above are businesses’s individual decisions, made for reasons relating to customers and profits. If you tried to explain that to Representative Greg Steube (R-FL), you wouldn’t be the first.
Mr. Potato Head is gender neutral, Dr. Seuss is cancelled, and Amazon is banning books.
This is what a Democrat majority looks like.
— Congressman Greg Steube (@RepGregSteube) March 2, 2021
“This is what a Democrat majority looks like,” Stebe tweeted, referring to three separate decisions in which Congress had zero input.
Twitter users responded, piling on the try to help the Congressman understand this had nothing to do with legislation. Some users merely gently corrected the suggestion that Congress had anything to do with these business decisions, and others were more mocking.
There is NO DEM legislation involved in any of these events that were made by the individual corp. entities based on their internal business models. You know GOP… that thing called free market capitalism. Should read about it.
(Yeah… right… GOP… READ?)
— Brent O (@OnlineDetective) March 3, 2021
Literally none of these things have anything to do with Congress, you weirdo.
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) March 2, 2021
They are private companies. I thought you liked the free market or was that bullshit too?
— Fred Wellman (@FPWellman) March 2, 2021
1. Potatoes don't have a gender
2. You didn't know the six Dr. Seuss books which will no longer be published existed before today
3. Amazon, as a private company, can sell or not sell whatever it wants. I thought you believed in the free market?
— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) March 2, 2021
None of this is coming from Congress. Like, at all. How hard is that to understand?
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 3, 2021
How did you vote on those bills?
Oh, you didn’t vote on them because they weren’t laws Congress passed and in fact aren’t actually anything at all?
— Jamison Foser (@jamisonfoser) March 3, 2021
Steube didn’t respond to the criticism, merely leaving the misleading tweet up and moving on to the topic of sanctions on Iran.
Steube is not the only right-wing politician to take personal offense at these private business decisions. Fellow Florida Republican Representative Brian Mast, for instance, tweeted, quoting President Barack Obama on Suess, after learning that six of the author’s books will no longer be published.
"The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, have sparked a love for reading in generations of students. His whimsical wordplay and curious characters inspire children to dream big…" – @BarackObama pic.twitter.com/vVAFjexldy
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) March 3, 2021
It’s not clear if Mast thinks that Obama’s expression of support for the author somehow negates racist imagery in several of the books, but Mast and Steube both are examples of right-wing legislators getting upset over the decisions of a corporation for its own intellectual property.