Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Obama's position on gay marriage needs to evolve a little faster *and so it does*

That's not just my opinion.

On Tuesday night, Jon Stewart delved in to the twilight zone that is Washington D.C. to discuss an issue dominating the news this week: gay marriage. Tracing the chronology — from Joe Biden‘s remark on Sunday, to the reaction that followed, to the subsequent reassessing of President Obama‘s “evolution” on the issue — The Daily Show looked at how far the president has come in terms of supporting marriage equality. He has evolved: from openly supporting gay marriage to becoming, well, a political candidate.

Ron Reagan was even better in describing it.

“This whole evolving thing has really jumped the shark at this point,” Reagan said. “I mean, [Obama's] taking more time evolving on this issue than humans took evolving from apes.” He acknowledged that’s a bit of “hyperbole,” but digressed. We all know it’s a “political calculation,” he added: we could argue whether it’s a correct or incorrect one, but it’s an “obvious” calculation.

Reagan continued: “He’s taking a civil rights issue and he’s trying to kind of, you know, straddle the fence on it, and it’s unseemly. He’s beginning to look ridiculous on this issue. He needs to just get off the fence and just go wherever they know he really is in the first place.”

Matthews asked, “If he loses the election because of this, and Mitt Romney walks into the White House, a man who says he will not evolve — doesn’t evolve, RINO, doesn’t believe in evolution, period — [...] is that good for the cause?” Reagan replied, “It’s not good for the cause, although the cause will continue and will prevail just because of demographics if nothing else.”

He further added: “I understand what the calculation is, but I think the calculation is now incorrect. You can only make this political calculation when people don’t generally see it as a political calculation. If people know that you’re not actually speaking your mind and your heart, if you are inauthentic about this issue – and it is an important issue to some people, a lot of people – then you’re doing yourself harm. You’re actually harming your electoral prospects.” 

What's amazing to me is that this president -- who took the biggest risk possible for his electoral prospects when he ordered the raid on bin Laden's compound -- is so equivocating on a civil rights issue. To me it's more cowardly than his lack of effort stamping the Affordable Health Care Act with a public option, which of course was way watered down from 'universal health care'.

Obama needs to get off the goddamned fence and take a stand on this, and he needs to do it yesterday. Let the conservatives wail and froth, and promptly counter-punch their teeth out. He could give a grand speech invoking Martin Luther King and LBJ and 1964 and call for legislation and out the Republicans in Congress in all their bigoted, hate-filled glory.

Ten-to-one nothing like that happens, though. This president is way too cautious -- way too conservative himself -- to stand up and fight for anything as messy as gay marriage in an election year. He'll probably promise to do something after he gets re-elected, and a whole lot of Democrats will be just fine with that.

That's not leadership; that's management by swing-state polling.

Update: Somebody should have taken my bet.

"At 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," he concluded.

Steve Clemons at The Atlantic leads the cheers.

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