It’s amazing how President Obama’s stance on gay marriage has “evolved”. Was there ever any doubt what his position was; and that the “evolving” line was a smokescreen to aid him at the ballot box? There wasn’t, at least, not until yesterday.
Most pundits are saying he did it to energize his liberal base. Well, speaking as a member of that base, I don’t feel particularly energized. I already knew where he stood on the issue, and understood that he simply wasn’t saying it explicitly for political reasons. Unfortunate, perhaps, but an understandable move given that gay marriage faces heavy opposition in many swing states.
The whole thing reminds me of the long-form birth certificate incident last year. Everything made sense: Obama wasn’t releasing the long-form birth certificate because that wasn’t what the State of Hawaii gives a person who requests a birth-certificate. The short-form is good enough for everyone else, so why should it not be good enough for the President of the United States? To go to the trouble of getting the long-form would be to capitulate to conspiracy theorists.
And then he went and released the long-form birth certificate. This muddied the waters, and suddenly what had been a perfectly logical stance on his part became somewhat mystifying. It is much the same thing here: the original plan was quite understandable and rational. Then the sudden, seemingly impulsive change at the strangest possible time. I really don’t know what to think.
It may be Obama has decided to simply “draw a line in the sand”, as they say, and make clear the differences between him and the Republicans. Not an unreasonable idea, though again an odd change of strategy for someone who has typically been a moderate, non-standoffish type.
The thing is, most opponents of gay-marriage had simply taken for granted that Obama supported it. This is because most opponents of gay-marriage are people who will not hesitate in ascribing all manner of things they consider “evil” to the President. By all appearances, they have simply assumed that he is a Marxist, Muslim Kenyan usurper who means to destroy both the economic and moral fabric of the country, and anything he says or does to contradict such claims they assume to be lies or deception. This may indicate to him and his advisers that whatever he may say about gay marriage–or really, anything–is irrelevant to how the public perceives him.
I think Obama is a great President, but sometimes he does have an odd way of timing things. In the end, though, I don’t think this will change anything about the election. I think the fact that he did this suggests he is very confident.