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Prez in Gay Flip Flop Flap

Filed under: LGBT
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The headline is tongue-in-cheek. Last night, that’s what I predicted the New York Post’s headline would be. I had to put myself in the mindset of an alliterative Murdoch-paid wingnut headline author.  Instead, the Post went with a Travolta massage story

Yesterday, I wrote

Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place here. If he follows his head and comes out in support of same-sex marriage, he risks alienating a huge swath of the electorate – especially those in swing states. This is all about independent and undecided voters, and a vicious campaign based on a selective, phony reliance on obscure Biblical passages ensures that the homophobic drive to oppose same-sex marriage will continue to be strong, and risk Obama’s re-election. 

Unfortunately, this is the perfect opportunity for Obama to led on this particular issue. It’s a great chance for him to give one of those barn-burner, epic, historical speeches he’s known for where he appeals to people’s decency and common sense to try and change minds. 

Later that same day, President Obama said that he had come around to the opinion that, in his opinion, gay couples should be able to get married. This was a shift from his previous opinion – that civil unions would do the trick.  As we learned during the debate in New York over same sex marriage, civil unions don’t do the trick very much at all. 

I’ve seen lots of reaction over Obama’s change of opinion. Some Republicans accuse him of flip-flopping.  But that only works when the politician has changed his view to something safe.  I don’t think this is safe at all – I think it’s risky. This is not a poll-driven thing – this came up unexpectedly thanks to Joe Biden’s appearance on Meet the Press last weekend. The White House took only a few days to get its act together on it.  Mitt Romney reaffirmed his position that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, thus further alienating a particular population – something the Republican field (including Swiss-American Michele Bachmann) had been doing throughout this campaign. 

But it’s clear that Romney is a bit irked by the attention Obama’s getting. 

 

Some Republicans quip that Obama has become – at long last – a clone of Dick Cheney.  For Republicans, that would be valid were it true that Cheney’s view was the mainstream Republican position, but it isn’t.  But even though Obama’s statement in support of same sex marriage didn’t come right out and advocate for any change in legislation – state or federal – it’s a pretty big deal. And it’s quite risky. 

But one thing it might do for Obama is reignite youthful enthusiasm for his re-election. The acceptance of same sex marriage isn’t just geographical or philosophical – it’s generational. 

I don’t know whether Taibbi’s right about this race being a yawn-fest. At the very least, it’ll be fun to watch the Republicans begrudgingly fall behind one-size-fits-all Romney, and I’m sure the attacks on Obama will be as ridiculous as they will be ubiquitous. But Obama has many vulnerabilities, and it will be a test of Romney’s … “managerial” bona fides to see how he exploits that. 


  • Max Planck

    If anything, this episode demonstrates Willard’s lack of conviction, who shamelessly and readily lip-syncs the ‘issue of the day’ to differentiate himself but ends up embracing the many disparate constituencies within today’s GOP, which is fracturing like the Polar Ice Caps. 

  • Jesse Griffis

    He was forced to make a decision by Biden’s loose lips.

    If he didn’t, every. single. goddamned. press. conference would include “what about the gay marriage thing?!” until the media beat him into the ground. His coming out (sic) now gives it a chance to quiet down well before the election.

    It’s not that complicated, to me.

  • BlackRockLifer

    Lets hope Obamas stand appeals to the majority of decent Americans that have evolved as well on this issue.  My generation (baby boomers) can take some credit for the progress we have made but it is the younger generation that has moved beyond past prejudice and moved us all forward on this issue. 

  • What an awkward interview hah. Romney really freaked out over the medical Marijuana question. Obviously he knows he’s on the wrong side of that issue.

  • Big Government needs to step in and control who can marry who.  This is a decision that cannot be left up to individuals.  Big Government needs to restrict the rights of free people who do not follow its ban on freely chosen marriage partners.  All conservatives need to get behind Big Government and assure that people have to ask the government who they are allowed to choose as a legal partner for life.