The right’s new approach to employment discrimination

THE RIGHT’S NEW APPROACH TO EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION…. Neal Boortz, a far-right radio host, argued today, “If Obama is hurting your business, and you have to lay off someone, why not lay off an Obama voter? They contributed to your problem.” Boortz added, “Why should you have to provide a livelihood to someone actively working to destroy your business?”

Now, as a matter of reality, the notion that President Obama might be hurting businesses is quite foolish. It was, after all, the president’s policies that rescued the economy and generated growth and job creation. I don’t know what Boortz is whining about.

But it’s this notion that conservative employers should fire Democratic employees that seems insane — and illegal*. That it may actually be happening is especially disconcerting.

Last Friday, someone going by the name “dermdoc” posted a thread on a message board for Texas A&M students and alumni with this topic: “Laid off my first Obama voting employee today.”

“Our reimbursement rates are spiraling downward, taxes are projected to go up with Obamacare, so I did it,” the person wrote. He later added: “I made this decision because I can.”

“It is kind of interesting watching their face as you explain to them the economic consequences of the policies of the guy they voted for,” wrote dermdoc. […]

“Elections have consequences,” wrote dermdoc. “If you vote for someone who raises my taxes and lowers my income, you pay the cost.”

Obviously, as a substantive matter, this doesn’t make any sense. As a legal matter, it’s a crime to fire an employee based on how he or she voted.

But there’s also the larger context to consider — in 2010, we’re reaching a point in which a right-wing doctor doesn’t want to treat Democratic patients, and right-wing employer doesn’t want to keep Democratic workers on the payroll.

The Republican culture is taking on a vaguely repressive, totalitarian worldview.

* Clarification: Several readers have brought to my attention that I overstated this. The government can’t fire employees based on their voting behavior, but some private employers can. It depends on the state — some states, but not all, have laws specifically making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of an employee’s political activity or affiliation.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.