In a groveling August 5th letter to employees, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel apologized for making a donation to Minnesota Forward, a pro-business group dedicated to improving Minnesota’s lousy business and tax climate. The real heat forcing this mea culpa was generated by the left-wing political action group MoveOn.org. and various gay activist groups, who object to MN Forward’s endorsement of the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer.
Emmer, in addition to opposing high taxes and big government also opposes, like most Republicans and the majority of Americans – even in California – gay marriage. It is not a fringe position, and Target, hoping to advance its corporate interests by promoting a better Minnesota business climate, could hardly be expected to spurn MN Forward and its mainly economic agenda over the opposition to gay marriage by one of its endorsees.
The irony is that Target Corporation is a national leader in maintaining a gay-friendly workplace and stores, one of the first companies to extend benefits to domestic partners. You would think that Target could blunt the fire storm of criticism over the MN Forward contribution by pointing to its trailblazing in this regard, which has certainly not been without a PR downside. Apparently not. There is no gratitude in some circles.
In the meanwhile, the alternative to Emmer for governor of Minnesota is Mark Dayton, whose approach to a bad economy and bad business climate is to double down on higher taxes and more government.
So Target Corporation has allowed itself to be forced to the sidelines of the political debate, and refrain from pursuing its economic and business interests over a single issue which it does not endorse, and to which it is tied only at several removes.
In the meantime Minnesota’s public employee unions are making political contributions which dwarf and drown Target’s $150,000 to MN Forward, and virtually every nickel goes to promote the ideology and agenda of the left-wing and the government classes. It is safe to say that many of their positions are way out on the fringe. There is no resultant clamor in the media.
Target should have stuck to its guns.