The President With Two Faces

The Advocate reports:

When it comes to same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama acknowledged Wednesday that "attitudes evolve, including mine" during an interview with five progressive bloggers....

On the question of marriage, President Obama began by clarifying that he wasn't going to "make big news" at that particular moment. But his answer gave the first indication that he might be rethinking what has so far been his unremitting support for civil unions ever since adopting that stance during his 2004 U.S. Senate bid.

"I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to same-sex marriage primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of marriage," he said. "But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships. I have staff members who are in committed, monogamous relationships, who are raising children, who are wonderful parents. And I care about them deeply. And so while I'm not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Roosevelt Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it's fair to say that it's something that I think a lot about. That's probably the best you'll do out of me today."

Adam Serwer unpacks that:

If Obama began to openly support marriage equality, that wouldn't just be an "evolution" of his views, it would be a return to where they once were. After all, in 1996, while running for the Illinois State Senate, he said he supported marriage equality. In response to a newspaper questionnaire, he wrote, "I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages."

As we all know, the Illinois State Senate candidate who once supported marriage equality ultimately ran for president in a country in which a majority of citizens did not support same-sex marriage, and his administration has defended in court laws that do just that. Polls are now beginning to show a majority of Americans favoring marriage equality, and you can sense a palpable relief in the president's statement that someday soon, he'll be able to stop pretending that his religious beliefs demand that he oppose equal rights for gay and lesbian couples.

The underlying lesson here -- aside from "Don't trust Barack Obama" -- is the exaggerated importance people put on the presidency. Activists love to project secret agendas onto their favorite politicians. In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart, but that hasn't done a thing to advance the cause; it may even have retarded it slightly, to the extent that his gay admirers are less likely to hold his feet to the fire. Progress is coming from changing views at the grassroots, and the fellow who theoretically leads the country is, at best, waiting for public opinion to lead him.

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  • ||

    That's probably the best you'll do out of me today.

    Doesn't that say it all?

  • TickleStick||

    "Obama Suggests His Stance on Gay Marriage Could 'Evolve' "--headline, FoxNews.com"

    Would that make it wider?

  • ||

    What an asshole.

    Also, for referring to Obama's face you get this:

    RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIST!

  • -||

    What does he get for the cock reference?

  • Wind Rider||

    An erection out of several among the commentariat, most likely.

  • Old Mexican||

    The underlying lesson here -- aside from "Don't trust Barack Obama" -- is the exaggerated importance people put on the presidency.

    Unless the presidency happens to be occupied by "the other guy."

    Activists love to project secret agendas onto their favorite politicians.

    No! Say it ain't so!

  • ||

    In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart, but that hasn't done a thing to advance the cause; it may even have retarded it slightly, to the extent that his gay admirers are less likely to hold his feet to the fire.

    And will yet vote for him again, which Obama knows.

    "Whadaya gonna do? Vote for a republican? Hahahahaha!"

  • Old Mexican||

    In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart,

    "Almost certainly" he supports it in his mind - whenever expediency dictates.

    [...]but that hasn't done a thing to advance the cause; it may even have retarded it slightly, to the extent that his gay admirers are less likely to hold his feet to the fire.

    Maybe, but he will still have the heart of his gay admirers as his perfectly chiseled pectorals glisten under the sun.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    ""Almost certainly" he supports it in his mind - whenever expediency dictates."

    That's really what it all boils down to--"how will supporting it affect my re-election chances?" Not that this is much different from any other politician, but this non-committal position of his shows that it really is all about him.

    Ultimately, though, I doubt this is going to be something he'll push on as long as the economy is in the toilet. Realistically, gay marraige (and DODT) are considered "good times" issues that are tackled when people aren't stressing out about putting food on the table and working. I doubt, for example, that Bush would have pushed his Social Security reform ideas in the pre-housing bubble years, even if 9/11 had never happened--all the attention would have been on the economy itself and when we were going to crawl out of the dotcom recession.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    That should be DADT not DODT. Oops

  • ||

    Don't Ogle, Don't tell?

  • ||

    My theory is that Team Blue wants to talk about supporting gay marriage year after year, yet they don't want it to pass because once it's passed, the gays will be off the plantation.

    With no other reason to support the Dems, gays would be free to support candidates that are more aligned with the remaining 99% of their daily life. Team Blue knows this and will continue to pander for the gay vote without actually doing anything for the gay community.

    DADT repeal happened in the courts. Obama chose to appeal the case. Without the appeal, DADT is done. Obama could have easily claimed it was the court and he abided by the ruling of a separate and equal branch of government (to the socially conservative Democrats out there), and could have championed the effort as a step toward equality (for the socially liberal ones). It's not like it'd be the first time a politician used spin on something and the compliant media would undoubtably give him a pass.

    Nope. Obama wants to keep gays on the plantation.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Good point. Another thing is that Obama is a craven coward. Ending MM raids would not have cost him anything politically - but it also wouldn't have gotten him anything, either. Never mind having the balls to fight DOMA, or to follow through on some of his transparency pledges.

    Janus was the god of doors. Here's hoping one slams Obama's ass hard on his way out.

  • Abraham Lincoln||

    "I have been to this point unwilling to sign on to freeing the slaves primarily because of my understandings of the traditional definitions of slavery, but I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are slave holders. And so while I'm not prepared to reverse myself here, sitting in the Jefferson Room at 3:30 in the afternoon, I think it's fair to say that it's something that I think a lot about. That's probably the best you'll do out of me today."

  • Bee Tagger||

    I always knew the Lincoln Log Republicans were made up of self-hating gays.

  • ||

    Uh, that was actually Abe Lincoln's public position on slavery until 1863...that states where it was legal should not be forced to free them, but that slavery should not expand into the Western territories.

  • Abraham Lincoln||

    Then I accept your apology.

  • ||

    They'll get gay marriage before the environmentalists will actually get Democrats to stop supporting corn ethanol, though.

  • ||

    I, personally am in full support of civil unions for gays. And civil unions for straight couples. And civil unions for a child and an indigent parent. And for any other two individuals (or more) that want to have a legally-recognized bond for survivorship, insurance and myriad other rights.

    Now, if we could just get the government out of the marriage business, we'd actually have a chance at equality for all.

  • MNG||

    In other words, your a GOP'er.

    (not really MNG)

  • ||

    I just couldn't resist.

  • ||

    At first I was like .......

    But then I was like..........

    Nice one.

  • x,y||

    Activists love to project secret agendas onto their favorite politicians. In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart...

    Activists and libertarian writers.

  • ||

    In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart,

    I see no reason to believe that Obama supports anything in his heart that doesn't lead to the immediate glorification and and aggrandizement of Obama.

    Gay marriage doesn't do that, right now, so he doesn't support it in his heart, right now.

  • ||

    I see no reason to believe that Obama supports anything in his heart that doesn't lead to the immediate glorification and and aggrandizement of Obama.

    I see no reason to bother believing what any politician "supports in his heart." It's a fool's game to do so. Even if he does, so?

    Whether politicians believe something or not, politics and elections force them to adapt their beliefs to what people want, or else they get eliminated.

  • ||

    Obamacare and the stimulus certainly didn't lead to glory for Obama.

  • ||

    I blame this on stupidity and poor political calculation, not malice.

  • Jimmy Carter.||

    Gay marriage doesn't do that, right now, so he doesn't support it in his heart, right now.

    I had lust in my heart. Does that count for anything?

  • Palestinians||

    We forgive you Jimmeh.

  • Born Again||

    Born-again Barack has in his heart what he learned in his Rev Wright church pew.

  • ||

    Just when I thought you couldn't top "reproductive choice" as an empty euphemism for something most people find unpleasant to think about, they come up with "marriage equality" and prove me wrong.

  • Progressive||

    "But I also think you're right that attitudes evolve, including mine. And I think that it is an issue that I wrestle with and think about because I have a whole host of friends who are in gay partnerships.

    Good enough for me. He's got my vote in 2012.

  • prolefeed||

    In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart

    Based on what? On his public statements as a politician?

    Or on his acts, which do the opposite of what you claim is in his heart.

    Google "revealed preference", mmm-kay?

  • Jesse Walker||

    Based on what?

    Based on the facts laid out in the post.

    Google "revealed preference", mmm-kay?

    I don't need to; I know what it means.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    In this case, Obama almost certainly does support gay marriage in his heart

    I am pretty damn certain that Obama simply doesn't give a shit about gay marriage one way or the other. He neither supports it nor opposes it. He just doesn't care at all.

  • IceTrey||

    So is he going to legalize same sex marriage across the country under the Commerce Clause? Because last time I checked deciding you gets a marriage license wasn't one of the seventeen enumerated powers given to Congress.

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