Robert's Virtual Soapbox

(or, The Sanctimonious Professional Leftist's Blog)
MAY 9, 2012 11:14PM

Obama’s cold calculation on same-sex marriage

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President Barack Obama made headlines today by having proclaimed in an interview with ABC News, “...[A]t a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

I can tell you what that “certain point” was: the point at which Obama finally calculated (correctly) that his stubborn refusal to publicly endorse same-sex marriage was causing him more political harm than political gain.

On Saturday, I presciently raked Obama over the coals for having yet to fulfill what I had considered to be at least a strongly implied 2008 campaign promise: his endorsement of same-sex marriage — of full marriage equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation – in all 50 states.

Among other things, I wrote:

Instead of delivering upon his relentless, ubiquitous [2008] campaign promises of “hope” and “change,” [Obama] for the most part has maintained the status quo and has told us dreamers of full equality for all that our dream must be deferred.

No, it doesn’t have to be deferred. It’s that Barack Obama lacks the character, the courage and the moral conviction to deliver upon what he promised (explicitly and implicitly…) …

On Sunday I felt fairly psychic, for the big news of that day was that Vice President Joe Biden had come out in support of same-sex marriage. But, as I wrote on Sunday, Biden’s endorsement of same-sex marriage was not nearly enough.

To a commenter on Saturday’s piece, I responded:

Nationwide polls taken over the last year or so show that about 52 percent of Americans, when asked to give a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down to legalized same-sex marriage, give it their thumbs-up. (The spread is about 51 percent to 53 percent. See http://pollingreport.com/civil.htm.)

As Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008, there probably is great overlap — at least 90-something percent, I venture — among those who voted for Obama in 2008 and those who support same-sex marriage.

So I don’t see what Obama gains politically, especially in terms of votes for re-election, by claiming that he’s still “evolving” on same-sex marriage. For any support from the homophobes that he might get (and most of them hate him because he’s black), Obama is losing the support of those like me who used to support him but who no longer do, in large part because he is still “evolving” on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Sacrificing your base in order to cater to the “swing voters” is, I think, a huge fucking mistake.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mittens becomes the next president. And after Election Day we can say that it was completely avoidable, that Barack Obama fucked it up royally.

Again, while it’s hard to calculate and thus hard to prove, I do believe that any political gain that Obama might have garnered from refusing to “evolve” already and publicly endorse same-sex marriage was canceled out by the loss of support from his base. And it’s your base, not the fucking “swing voters,” who give you money, who enthusiastically give you their votes, who talk up your candidacy to their associates, and who even volunteer for your campaign.

And we gay men and lesbians (and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals) long have been sick and fucking tired of the Democratic Party asking us for our money and our votes — the term “gAyTM” was coined for this phenomenon — while refusing to fight for our equal human and civil rights, instead perpetually telling us that it’s not the right time yet.

A recent nationwide Gallup poll (which was taken between May 3 and May 6 and was released after I wrote the paragraphs above) put support for same-sex marriage at 50 percent and opposition at 48 percent, with 2 percent “unsure.”

Now, it seems to me that if you’re vehemently against same-sex marriage you are vehemently against same-sex marriage, so I surmise that more than half of those who are “unsure” would support same-sex marriage if they had to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, so, I surmise, we’re looking at at least 51-percent support.

A Pew Research Center nationwide poll taken last month showed that 47 percent favor same-sex marriage, 43 percent oppose it, and 11 percent are unsure (yes, that’s 101 percent — which Pew says is due to rounding). Let’s give the freedom-hating homophobes more than half of the unsures — 6 percent — and the lovers of liberty and justice for all only 5 percent of the unsures. That still is 52 percent for same-sex marriage. I stand by my earlier assertion that we’re at about 52 percent of Americans favoring same-sex marriage.

Indeed, an ABC News/Washington Post nationwide poll in March found that 52 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage, while only 43 percent oppose it, with 5 percent unsure. Give the pro side only 2 percent of the unsures, and that’s 54 percent support.

Again, Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in 2008 — which very apparently is within a percentage point of the percentage of Americans who support same-sex marriage.

Obama had nothing to gain, but, I surmise, had a lot to lose by continuing to hold out on same-sex marriage.

If we cannot agree on that, well, then, at least we had better agree that we cannot call Obama’s new-found stance on same-sex marriage an epiphany or even a change of heart — not when he put himself on record as being a supporter of same-sex marriage way back in 1996, when he answered a question of a campaign questionnaire as follows: “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Politico.com reported back in January 2009, the month that Obama took over the Oval Office, that this response was typed out and that the document was signed by Obama, and Politico included this graphic with the January 2009 story:

Image from Politico.com

So: Of course it has been cold, political calculation on Obama’s part.

But at least this is one clear contrast between Obama and the multi-millionaire Mormon Mittens Romney, who today in response to Obama’s surprise pro-same-sex-marriage pronouncement affirmed his homophobic, “Christo”fascist, anti-liberty-and-justice-for-all stance on same-sex marriage.

(The patriarchal, misogynist, homophobic, racist Mormon cult, which is led by a cabal of stupid old evil white men in Salt Lake City, did, after all, give millions of dollars in support of Proposition H8 here in California, as did Mitten’s fellow “Christo”fascist nutjob Prick Santorum’s Catholick cult, which is led by a cabal of stupid old evil white men in the Vatican.)

Mittens — who, if elected, might as well move the Oval Office to the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City — proclaimed today: “Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name. My view is [that]domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”

Whether or not it’s too late for Obama to recapture enough of the love that he has lost over the past few years in order to ensure his re-election remains to be seen. He has disappointed millions within his base, and he has only six months to try to woo them back.

He might find that mere words aren’t enough; after all, it was the words “hope” and “change” that took him all the way to the White House (on the wave that Howard Dean had created in his ill-fated 2004 quest for the White House), and it has been the fact that those words have remained, for the most part, just words that accounts for the gap of enthusiasm for Obama of today from a few years ago.

P.S. I note that Obama apparently hasn’t abandoned his “states’ rights” “argument.” In a fundraising e-mail that he sent out today titled “Marriage,” he wrote: “I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.”

That is not the same as saying that no state should be allowed to outlaw same-sex marriage, of course, even though he had just finished asserting, “But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally.”

“All Americans” means all 50 states.

This very much reminds me of the days of slavery, when some states retained slavery and others rejected slavery.

Speaking of which, North Carolina was a slave state, of course, so it’s no fucking shock that the backasswards state’s voters decided to write discrimination into their state’s constitution yesterday by banning same-sex marriage.

None of the former slave states is exactly enlightened.

(To wit, the haters of North Carolina voted not only to ban same-sex marriage, but voted to ban even separate-and-unequal civil unions and domestic partnerships as well, to be extra hateful.)

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[r] totally agree it is COLDLY politically calculated. wonder what other election enticements he will trickle out to hungry for social justice America. re the states v. federal rights, obama is hunting down states allowing medical marijuana and asserting federal law against them. so now he may be putting his big fat executive thumb on the states side of the scale re gay marriage issue? situationally ethical (which means not very) Obama!!! libby
It's well known that gays not only are excellent fund raisers, but disciplined campaign worker bees. No, it couldn't have anything to do with his statement today.
"it’s not the right time yet" yeah, always

but he did it, it came out of his mouth. I actually heard it at work and had to go hide to cry. He's got my vote now. Don't care how calculated it was. He actually said it.
It was important to him because some of his supporters who voted previously were unsure of his stance on equality.

We already know Romney's mindset on same-sex marriages, health issues, education, taxes, etc.

I'll repeat my previous predictions...Obama will be re-elected.
hyblaean-Julie: Salon.com columnist Glenn Greenwald basically shares your stance, which essentially is that it doesn't matter how or why you got there, but that you got there.

I disagree. How you got there is indicative of your character and is indicative of how you will act (or will neglect to act) in the future.

I prefer Ted Rall's stance. In his latest column, he notes, "True leaders lead. They declare what society needs and tells it what it should want. Leaders anticipate what is possible. They open the space where long-held dreams intersect with current reality, allowing progress," and "If Obama was a real leader, he wouldn't care about offending ... right-wing homophobes. He would have gotten out front of the issue four years ago, when it mattered.... But it comes too late to be meaningful.

"Gay marriage was a historical inevitability before Obama spoke," Rall continues. "That hasn't changed. ... I see a nation that led itself on this issue. The public debated and thought and finally, at long last, concluded that gays and lesbians deserve equal treatment before the law.

"Obama didn't lead us. We led him.

"So tell me--what good is he, exactly?"

Exactly.

Obama is a shitty leader who doesn't deserve a second term. That he's not as fascistic as is Mittens Romney doesn't mean that Obama deserves to continue to sit in the Oval Office.

But, I agree with you, Belinda: Obama, the lesser of the two evils, is likely to be re-elected.
If you have the (Hate Obama) hammer in your hand the whole world looks like a nail.

Of course no one should get to vote on others' con-law rights.

Yet as to the polling, this does not bode well for him in at least 7 states that make a difference and that he won in 2004 despite the national polling.

It takes no courage whatever for some writers here to use this to slap him about. These writers would doubt it if the man said Water Is Wet. BFD.
Obama didn't say that water is wet. He courted the LGBT vote -- hit the gAyTM quite often, indeed -- yet didn't really deliver until his fourth year in office. And even then, he's still A-OK with some -- well, actually, MOST -- states continuing to violate LGBT individuals' constitutional rights, with which you apparently are perfectly fine.

We LGBT individuals get only table scraps because people like you slobber over table scraps instead of insisting of having a place at the table and no longer being thrown the occasional table scrap.

Really, screw you.
P.S. Just visited your blog. "Transformational leadership"? WTF? Obama FINALLY endorses same-sex marriage ONLY after his delay in doing so becomes beyond ludicrous and becomes politically difficult, yet you call this either "transformational" OR "leadership"?

We should put Obama's re-election polling in some swing states above equal human and civil rights for all Americans? Is that truly your stance? That we LGBT individuals should continue to bend over and take it from the Democratic Party?

Like I said -- the reason that assholes like Obama throw us only scraps is because too many dipshits like you can't thank these assholes enough for even the scraps that they occasionally throw our way. The LGBT community is so weak in no small part because of queer quislings like you.
At first I disagreed with you but then read closer and gave it more serious thought. Thanks for the inspiration.  See Obama: Not ‘Evolution’ but Failed Resurrection   and Obama on Marriage Equality: Eight years behind Dick Cheney!   and also   Part 2: Obama Eight years behind Cheney
While I will leave you to read the links I pointed to you need to back up a bit. Prior to the "strongly implied 08' promises there were the many 1996 TOTALLY UNEQUIVOCAL statements. For those just see Obama: Not ‘Evolution’ but Failed Resurrection   and
Julie: Really. Do your homework my friend. FAR better came out of his mouth 16 years ago. See my posts.

And Robert while I too find irresistible its a waste time arguing with fraudulent nincompoop march in lock-step trolls (you know who) . After all the best outcome you can hope for is that you just won an argument with a nincompoop march in lock-step troll.