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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Politics, Society | 9 comments

Obama On Marriage Equality: All Part of A Plan ?

Other TMV commentators have already discussed the fact that President Obama has announced his support for marriage equality. I thought I’d take a different tack on the subject, the issue of whether this was really the result of Obama being forced on the issue or part of a broader plan. I lean to the 2nd option.

As Politico has pointed out, Obama expressed support for marriage equality as far back as his first campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1996. Indeed I don’t think many of us were surprised at his position, merely that he made it official.

There is the suggestion that VP Biden forced the move by his “blunder” during a Meet the Press interview, and certainly Biden has a history of blunders and foot in the mouth disease. But at the same time he has been in professional politics for 40 years and this was a pre-taped interview, not a spontaneous campaign event. My feeling is he knew just what he was saying.

Furthermore, even if Biden did make a blunder, the fact that two members of the cabinet also expressed support for marriage equality strongly suggests that this was a planned setup. They could have easily dodged the question, said it was not for them to say, etc. They’ve done so in the past and could have done so again.

And of course there is the timing, happening just a day after North Carolina voted in one of the most prejudiced anti-equality laws in the country, that hardly seems to be a happenstance.

So why would they put forward such a strategy now ?

I can think of several reasons.

First, they knew that it was going to be an issue in the campaign, not just the question of Obama’s views on equality but the fact that his private views and public positions seemed to differ. By getting things out now, they end that as an issue down the road.

Second, it gives energy to the bases, both the GLBT community and the left in general. Recent reports had suggested that fundraising by the Obama campaign were less than expected and this could perk up those contributions.

Finally, I think this formalizes a decision that has been building over the past few months regarding the official general election campaign strategy. One big question that had to be answered was whether they would try to expand on the 2008 strategy to branch into the states like North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana or if they would focus more on energizing the youth vote and the suburban vote.

Recent results in the South (including those last night in North Carolina where about 20% of Democrats bypassed Obama simply served to confirm that the latter strategy is more plausible, and this announcement plays into that.

In short those voters likely to abandon Obama over support for marriage equality have probably already done so and thus he does nothing but gain from those who were weakening on him over lack of support.

I could be wrong of course, and am sure some will say so here, but it seems to me the Obama campaign is too clever to have allowed this to happen by mistake.

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  • ShannonLeee

    Obama Inc is in campaign mode. Everything is carefully planned. I think Obama has always felt this way, but it was just politically too dangerous for him to touch while he was pushing through and protecting health care “reform”. Obama also knows the the left is very upset at him for not doing more to protect the gay community.

    the timing is great… as backwoods states continue to pass anti-gay laws, this issue will be a nice wedge issue to demonstrate to moderates and centrists that the Republican party has been become too radical and cannot be trusted with the WH.

    Best case scenario for Obama would be Paul Ryan as VP candidate. Social and economic extremism in full display.

  • Obama should be called out for being about a week too late. Is his guilt over not speaking early enough to matter in North Carolina spurring his action now?

    I think Obama is a slacker in many, many ways. Slow to act and ineffective when he does (not always but enough to make me question his commitment & drive).

  • StockBoyLA

    I don’t think Obama speaking up earlier would have swayed 11% of the North Carolina voters to vote “his” way. We all know that same-sex marriage is a big issue which people feel strongly about. Perhaps if the vote was 52%/48% or so, then I could see how his support MIGHT have made a difference.

    Obama has done tremendous good for the gay community since he has been in office and I am very pleased (even without this latest) with his actions. As a president he can’t tackle everything all at once. He has placed issues important to the GLBT community at a pretty high level. In a positive way. Let us not forget conservatives push gay issues the other, negative way.

  • DaGoat

    the issue of whether this was really the result of Obama being forced on the issue or part of a broader plan.

    A little of both. I believe Obama has wanted to take this position for some time and his administration had planned for it, but the timing was forced on them by Biden’s comments. If you read the Politico article Biden’s office tried to walk back his comments, saying he too was evolving on the issue. Also anyone listening to Carney’s press conferences the past week can’t come away with the impression this was carefully orchestrated.

  • zephyr

    He’s doing the right thing. That’s all I care about, especially considering what rightwing troglodytes in NC and other places are trying to do.

  • rudi

    Typical “fair and balanced” response at the Faux News website. These are the compassionate conservatives.

    I’m surprised he didn’t go one step further in approving of inter-species marriage, seeing as how he’s married to a baboon, or is she a really tall chimpanze? Anyway, if it’s cool in kenya, why not here???


    Obama thinks everyone should get screw’d up the a$$, no matter what gender they are.


    NiggyThe Panderer’s failure of the day!!! Keep failing NigBama!!!


    LOL! 0bama’s ol’ lady has a face ugly enough to stamp out gorilla cookies, a sham marriage, sham birth certificate and a deceased gayloverOFcourse he is in favor. Maybe now 0bama can do the first honest thing in his life and marry another dude…that’s what 0bama REALLY wants.


    Homosexuality and lesbianism are personal sin issues trying to pass themselves off as ‘rights’.

  • StockBoy: what total BS. Are you suggesting that one should only pipe up for what’s right only if it can make a difference? This country would have made NO PROGRESS on civil rights if that’s all people did.

    He’s the “leader of the free world” for Chrissakes. He needs to grow hair on his nuts if all he cares about are “whether or not it’ll matter to a vote count”.

  • roro80

    Oh my god more testicle talk. I know men love their testes, but JESUS PEOPLE.

  • zephyr

    “He has placed issues important to the GLBT community at a pretty high level. In a positive way. Let us not forget conservatives push gay issues the other, negative way.” StockBoy

    Exactly right. Still not sure about it? Go visit the comments rudi referenced and you’ll see how the troglodyte wing of the political right views LBGT issues.

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