In the 24 hour news cycle, everyone wants an immediate comment on everything. This doesn’t mean you need to provide the immediate comment, especially when you have not even declared as a candidate. I know it is asking too much for a politician to stick to their principles, but at minimum, wait to see what the political reaction from the middle is going to be.
It was an easy prediction that the Indiana law was going to be a bad play for the middle. The culture warrior play against gay and lesbians only plays to the hard right. In 2012, it was probably seen as something that did not do to much damage to a GOP candidate but in 2015, I wouldn’t be so sure. See: http://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2014/03/05/National-Politics/Polling/release_301.xml?uuid=MCZgxKQjEeO4ZTiyVNkgYw
Its fair to say the middle will push back pretty hard against this stuff.
At a minimum, a GOP contender should attempt to balance this request for equal rights with religious rights. A statement that says something to the effect of “I support laws that protect religious freedoms of all Americans, and such freedoms should be protected along with equal treatment and rights of all Americans.” Simple. Yet, Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal (or their advisers) think the old generic play to the hard right is the way to go. Ask Romney how that worked out.
Jeb goes all in with appealing to the hard right:
“There are many cases where people acting on their conscience have been cascaded by the government,” Bush said. “This law simply says the government has to have a level of burden to be able to establish there has been some kind of discrimination. We’re going to need this. This is really an important value in our country, where you can respect and be tolerant of people’s lifestyles but allow for people of faith to exercise theirs.”
Bad play. Be ready for Hillary to jump on this stuff like Obama did to push these guys so far to the right they cannot come back again. The first test of the 2016 field was failed.